An Honor To Stand Up Against War

By Harvey H. Reading 

08/11/05 "ICH"
-- -- This is for you who might otherwise be visibly protesting the unjustifiable and immoral war that your government wages on the people of Iraq, and those of the Muslim faith in general. For you who hesitate for fear of being compared with the untruthfully labeled "spitters" and "traitors" who protested the Vietnam war, from its beginnings in 1945untilitsend.You should be proud to carry on a great tradition of protest that stretches back to the founding of our country. And, let me tell you, we need a massive, proud, long-lasting reassertion of the peace movement right now ... before the ruling criminals steal every last bit of our freedom. 

Those of you who were children during, or born after the Vietnam war have some excuse for falling prey to myth, to the rewriting of history, particularly those of you whose educational opportunities were limited by increased college costs to the brainwashing of our K-12 system. However, those of you who, like me, came of age during the 60's have no excuse for deleting from your memories the truth of what was happening then. Your self-imposed ignorance is in large part responsible for the repetition of history that unfolds in Iraq. Your memory lapse and willingness to support the current crop of ruling criminals, and the criminals who preceded them, are responsible for killing nearly a million Iraqis and two thousand - and climbing - of your own children in our military. 

Shame on you! You're falling for the same pack of lies that you were fed 35 years ago. Democracy my foot. The criminals in charge don't give a damn about democracy. They want CONTROL. Just like they did in Vietnam. But, as in Vietnam, they're not going to get it. In their bloody process of reaching that conclusion you, the self-deluded, and the rest of us, are going to have sons and daughters die or be maimed, not for defense of country, but for their lies. Are you delusional fools going to sit idly, again, for another four or more years while your kids and Iraqi civilians keep dying for criminals who should be sitting in the dock of an international war crimes tribunal - they are the ones who dishonor troops and veterans, not the peace movement. It is inconceivable that intelligent people could even consider such a stupid response. 

During the Vietnam war, the only spitting was by pro-war types on peace demonstrators. Claims to the contrary are just lies from supporters of that war, like the current one, based entirely on lies. Not a shred of evidence has been found to support the charge that the peace movement of that day (or the present) was spitting on troops. There weren't even rumors. It's just a right-wing myth, much like the myth that encourages people to believe that Vietnam continues to hold U.S. prisoners. These myths were conceived by vile liars whose massive egos were "shamed" by our loss to a people determined to fight to the death against colonialism, first against the French, then against our government. The myths continue, promoted by pathetic, and dangerous, supporters of U.S. dominance over the world. This nonsense must be discarded. 

My former, and home state, the great "liberal" enclave called California (which elected Reagan twice as governor, twice as President, and Nixon twice as President) considered a legislative bill in 2003, as the Iraq invasion became imminent. It was approved by the current parody of a governor in August 2003. The new law doubled the penalties for assault and battery (spitting is battery), against victims belonging to U.S. armed forces. The power of a myth. Why did it take over 30 years for such a law to be passed? Simple, assaults on military personnel were NOT EVEN RUMORED during the Vietnam war. The law is simply an example of jingoism, not patriotism, in action. An example of deification of militarism. Just like those meaningless magnets that people plaster on their cars. 

Do a little research. Find out what was happening in this country during the mid 60's through the mid 70's. Study our history of dealing with Vietnam from 1945 through the present. Type the following into your favorite Internet search program: spit Vietnam; then start digging, don't stop with the first page that fits into your preconceived notion of reality. You'll learn that Vietnam veterans joined the peace movement in droves and in leadership roles. You'll find that only about three percent of them reported unfriendly homecomings of any sort, and that 75 percent returned opposing the war, all based on surveys taken at the time. 

You'll find that the active-duty troops were supportive of the peace movement, that many of them risked courts-martial, prison, and less-than-honorable discharges in the name of peace. You my age may find yourself reacquainted with the word "fragging", with widespread disobedience to orders, with sabotage of naval vessels, particularly aircraft carriers, by crews. You'll have your memory jogged over printing of underground newspapers opposing the war by active duty troops on land and sea. You'll remember that "support the troops" was code for "support the war", then as now, though the preferred hawk bumper sticker was "America, Love It, or Leave It". That's how it was. Not what you younger folks learned in the page or two of high school history covering that war. 

You know, every time I hear Cindy Sheehan speak on television, or read something she has written, I break into tears and sobs, uncontrollable. And then, I feel an incredibly deep and abiding anger over what is being done to my country by those in power who murdered her son. For the sake of all those who have lost sons or daughters, and all those who may, for the sake of our own humanity and survival, we must rise up in numbers uncountable, demanding an end to this war NOW, not later. And, we must accept no double-talk or compromise from those who we pay to represent us. It is our patriotic duty. 

Harvey H. Reading <> Retired and mad as hell in Shoshoni, WY

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