If you are an extreme right-winger, no matter what I write about war, you will haul out the same old cliches about me being a peacenik and insulting our men and women in uniform. While that is grossly inaccurate to characterize me that way, I realize you can't help yourself. It is tough to be an American when your critics all won World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War single-handidly.
Every discussion about war seems to bring out the anonymous critics who identify themselves as being the Pentagon's greatest secret weapon, now or anytime. It is easy to be a hero when you can concoct fictional stories about yourself and your battle-tested comrades. But when it comes to real identities and truth, so many critics are like George W. Bush, protecting the U.S. from the Vietcong Air Force in Texas or Alabama or wherever he was that A.W.O.L. year.
Somewhat lost in the recent march in Madison by scores of thousands of Wisconsinites and others was the fact that there were many stories beyond the labor unions. But the right-wing critics, who hate to pay taxes, even to support our miiitary vets who need top-notch medical care, saw labor union dues as an easy target. And so they focused on the unions, and tried to veer away from Governor Walker and somehow brought themselves to defend his policies that were suddenly thrust upon an unsuspecting citizenry. But the people did have their voices heard. Many demonstrators had never been a labor union member, yet they fought for workers' rights. Those were wonderful examples of democracy in action. And violence was almost non-existent. Absolutely amazing. Oh, there were anonymous claims about violence, threats, etc. But in Madison, sometimes with a hundred thousand angry people, there was no violence. Amazing.
Here are some things you do not know because they are rarely, if ever, broadcast or written about in the media. I'm not criticizing the media. The media pay a terrible price if you get away from the "acceptable" take on events in the U.S. Media outlets will lose their sponsors and advertisers. Peace is never good news in the media because it doesn't sell newspapers or TV time. And advertisers make it very clear that they do not want their advertising outlets getting off the path of America and Mom, apple pie, support of our men and women in uniform, the "right" religion, the flag, our glorious capitalism, and baseball.
And so we live in a sort of capitalism bubble. Workers are greedy, war corporations are good. We are programmed to believe what corporate leaders want us to believe. We have become known around the world because of this as the "ugly Americans," unsophisticated, toeing the mark of capitalism, believing the fiction that is fed to us within our borders, no knowledge of history or international affairs, greed is good, sharing is for dummies, ad infinitum.
In Madison, during the march that was characterized as a statement for and by labor unions, did you ever see this sign in any mainstream media: "HOW IS THE WAR ECONOMY WORKING FOR YOU?"
That sign was prominently displayed by Veterans for Peace. And there were other, similar signs. They seem to have been absent in the photos and TV news I watched. As a matter of fact, Veterans for Peace is a growing organization. But they have been ignored and/or criticized by the "real Americans" who heroically saved the United States of America from our enemies [like the democratically elected government in Nicaragua, all the nations that signed the Geneva Convention, all the nations who support the Hague, all the nations who would put George Bush in the dock if he crossed their borders, all the nations who vehemently criticized our adventure in Vietnam, all liberals everywhere, the United Nations, Marcos in the Philippines, the Saudi family, Somoza in Nicarague, Batista in Cuba, and on and on and on and on and on]. How did we choose our enemies from that list? Who chose them? What did all of our military expenditures and lives lost get us? Have we totally gone nuts in recognizing the good from the bad? Who profited most from all that war activity, our corporations or our people?
Is it safe in the U.S. to write what I wrote above here? Is anybody safe when it comes to calling out the war corporations, the extreme right-wing politicians, the wild spenders in the Pentagon, Halliburton, Blackwater, the Tea Party, or all those super-patriotic organizations who do the bidding for the war corporations? Is our motto now: In God We Trust, Now Go Bomb Somebody. ???
P.S. Here are some facts about our recent military action in Libya:
"Since air operations began on March 19, the coalition had carried out 1,802 sorties on Libya. 500-pound bombs were being dropped. Thunderbolt aircraft have been deployed...Cannons are in use. The U.S. flew 370 attack missions, dropped 455 munitions, and fired 193 Tomahawk cruise missiles." -From Agence France Presse, Associated Press, New York Times, March 28-29
"ICBUW is concerned that the current use of US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier ground attack aircraft could lead to DU [Depleted Uranium] contamination should their cannon be deployed against ground targets. ICBUW is also concerned that the potential for contamination may increase significantly as the conflict develops if U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft are deployed." -statement regarding US/NATO attack on Libya issued March 21, 2011 by International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
Allow me to suggest that you visit a local Veteran Administration Hospital, VFW post, American Legion office, or some good organizations serving American military men and woman. Offer to volunteer. The need is great. These men and women deserve the best we have to offer. Their objective is noble. They are servng us in the best and most honorable way. I salute them!
Yes, by all means: God Bless America!