Monday, March 17, 2008

Woman Without a Wing

Yesterday I was reading a post on a dissident voice website regarding the rules of engagement in Iraq having been "thrown out the window." The author quoted veterans of Iraq turned anti-war activists at the WinterSoldier event.

QUOTE: "John Michael Turner served two tours in the Marines as a machine gunner in Iraq. Visibly upset, he told the audience, “I was taught as a Marine to eat the apple to the core.” Turner then pulled his military metals off his shirt and threw them on the ground."

Alternet reports Turner quote as : " John Michael Turner began his testimony by telling the audience that as far as he was concerned, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" was history. For him it is now "Eat the apple and fuck the corps." Then he tossed his dog tags into the audience saying, "Fuck you, I don't work for you no more."

That made me hold my nose and the article lost credibility with me. It's so John Kerry-ish medal toss. Apparently the winter soldier event was not well-attended; Youtube has clips. And did Turner toss his "medals" or "dog tags"?

Another high-profile Iraq vet turned activist is Evan M. Knappenberger.

Knappenberger was fired from his job as an analyst while in Iraq but he served in the Army for almost four years. He was given a general discharge under honorable conditions in April 2007.

General under honorable discharge means the soldier's conduct was sufficient but not meriting an honorable discharge, usually a pattern of bad behavior; general discharge usually interferes with the Montgomery G.I. Bill and education assistance benefits but the vet can appeal for upgrade of his discharge.

When did Knappenberger have his anti-war epiphany? How do I know guys like Turner and Knappenberger are not just wannabee Kerrys in the making?

Having 3 sons (ages 24, 33, 37), nephews, and a DIL, in the military doing multiple tours, I have not heard first hand of any troop atrocities - not that such hasn't occurred in Iraq perpetrated by US troops. And believe me, my relationship with my sons is such they would tell me if they witnessed war crimes.

My oldest son told me recently that many of the Iraqi males he has come to know believe wholeheartedly that Saddam Hussein won the Gulf War. That in 1990-91 Saddam's army and the Republican Guard were victorious and ran the US out of Iraq. My son said he couldn't convince them otherwise. Certainly the educated informed Iraqi under Saddam knew better but the Iraqi masses, much like America's own, believed what their government (Saddam) told them.

Some Iraqi believe today they can repeat their Gulf War victory and drive the "infidels" out. But I think they are a small minority, although talk of US withdrawal probably fuels the "insurgent" hopes and their numbers with the idea that the US can be beaten again.

I want the war to end, protested before it began, but I'm not hearing definite ideas from the anti-war groups regarding after the war ends - I'm from the '60s Civil Rights and Peace Movements and I remember when Vietnam ended - and I could sit in the front of the bus and pee in the white bathroom - the US culture began a long ride in a hand basket, along with passengers by the name of recession, inflation, gas lines, kung fu movies, disco, and cocaine at every office party.

What happened to those radicals/peace activists of the '60s after Vietnam ended? Gee Bubba, the ones not assassinated just faded away overnight - or put on suits and got richer, e.g. Ellsberg, Kerry, Jesse, Tom Hayden, or former Black Panthers who went on to become crooked politicians like Chicago Bobby Rush (D), or the more radical of the radicals like Eldridge Cleaver and Abby Hoffman who ran away with their drug addictions and arrest warrants to be eulogized later as "prominent" social and political activists.

Meanwhile, the capitalist/corporate system that historically stages all wars was not altered at all. In fact, worsened, and continued to overtly and covertly fund dirty little wars and death squads in Africa, Central America, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, etc. Some leaders prefer to call their foreign meddling "humanitarian aid" and/or "peacekeeping" but it is always death to the natives.

So my distrust of today's participants in the anti-war or "peace movement" arises from the question - if you end the War on the Middle East - what then?

Do we get peace and prosperity? Do we get a more sane economic and political system? or do we just shuffle home and demand more "free" stuff from BigDaddy government until Daddy withholds it from our paychecks and we think it's "free", while the US political "monster" meanders off stage to plan the next generation's war? and today's "activists" run for office while siphoning funds off their newly founded foundations that promise a new dawn for all the little sheople.

Recently, using another name on a "dissident" forum, I posted similar sentiment as above. Did so politely as I believe I'm a guest when on another's forum and will behave as a guest should, even if I adamantly disagree. But as I was not swallowing and regurgitating the party line the other guests called me a petty liar, a troll, and even that I was likely so ugly my husband wouldn't sleep with me.

Oh the pain of it all - the "right" wing doesn't like me and the "left" wing won't have me ..... boo hoo hoo.


Marine Mom Out There said...

It was a closed event,was why there are only a few people pictured there. Only people who were pre-vetted for their DD214's and units/Iraq tours were on the panel and the bloggers/audience had to be pre-registared as well. It was to keep order since some of the subjects to be covered were somewhat difficult.

Kate-A said...

Thanks marine mom.

I've no doubt the vets served, and assumed they were vetted as they were in WSI 1971.

I've since heard too that Knappenberger was indefinitely suspended from IVAW for threats he made against conservative bloggers.

"I find it more and more difficult to relate to people not involved in this war..." I hear you. And for me, heart break is much worse than being scared shitless...

Best regards to you and yours.

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