Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Hate The War

We live in a different time than we lived in the 1960's. Military service today is voluntary, not compulsory. There is no draft. Men and women in uniform today are they because they have enlisted or been commissioned of their own accord, not because they have been called into service by the draft board. National Guard units have been deployed overseas in this war, in the Gulf War, in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. For Glass to proclaim that he was told he would not have to be deployed overseas goes entirely against the mission and purpose of the National Guard, which is to act as a supplementary and reserve branch of the military at large.

That garbage is from something called "" billed as "The Power of Citizen Journalism" but truly just exhibiting the "power" of stupidity.

"We live in a different time than we lived in the 1960's." It was the very end of the 1960s (choronological) when Canada finally weclomed war resisters legally. The bulk of the 1960s offered no legal protections to war resisters. One wonders what "time" the writer lived throught?

"Military service today is voluntary, not compulsory. There is no draft. Men and women in uniform today are they because they have enlisted or been commissioned of their own accord, not because they have been called into service by the draft board." Again with the stupidity.

Now when we called out Tom Hayden and others with pot-baked 'memories' of Vietnam for repeatedly talking about 'the draft' and getting it wrong, especially when speaking of Canada, some whiner would show up in the public account saying that was harsh. It wasn't harsh.

It's a shame others didn't do the same because if they had the lie being repeated as truth would be loudly called out. "There is no draft." So what?

Canada didn't base the decision on there being a draft. The US involvement in Vietnam was illegal, it was a slaughter. Their decision wasn't about the draft.

This is so remedial but apparently still needed. There were "draft dodgers" and "deserters." The former was a male who had been called out but did not report for induction. The latter was someone was part of the military and decided to leave. They were both welcomed in Canada. Had "draft dodgers" been the only ones welcomed (legally) then (and Tom Hayden and other idiots) would have a point. But that's not reality.

"Deserters," members of the military who checked out, were welcomed into Canada. There was no question about, "Wait, you were drafted, right? You didn't enlist on your own, did you?" There was no, "Oh, wait! You chose to enlist. Sorry, no safe haven for you."

The safe haven was not dependent on the draft during Vietnam. That is a lie. It is a lie that has been repeated over and over and in 2006, when we tackled Tom Hayden first acting loony in print, the point was underscored that these lies are damaging to today's war resisters going to Canada.

It's past time that people stopped repeating them. (I'll assume didn't live through that period and just heard the lie repeated.) Had the truth been told, war resisters in Canada would not have to deal with this nonsense argument that has no basis in reality.

We've covered what Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter offered. We'll cover it again. Ford offered a limited amnesty to both "draft dodgers" and "deserters" where you had to leap through hoops. He had no hoops for Tricky Dick to leap through. Tricky Dick betrayed the country, the Constitution and broke every law on the books. But he just got a pardon. War resisters who refused to take part in the slaughter were made to jump through hoops. Ford's proposal saw a tiny trickle back to the US. Most ridiculed it.

But if they thought they'd seen bad, they only had to wait for Jimmy. Jimmy decided to issue the amnesty . . . for "draft dodgers." Those who had ignored the draft notice and gone to Canada could be forgiven. Those who were "deserters" were left out in the cold completely.

There were two categories. Liars and baked-hazed minds have forgotten that and they have created a revisionary lie that has caused more trouble to war resisters in Canada today than anything else.

And you can include some of the 'helpers' in Canada from that period in the list of those who have been failures. For instance, the one pooh-pahing Kyle Snyder's arrest (on US orders) on Canadian radio has also repeatedly pushed the lie that only draft dodgers were welcomed in Canada. He himself is a draft dodger and apparently can't seen beyond himself.

Corey Glass is an Iraq War veteran and US war resister. He joined up in 2002, joined the National Guard, and was told he'd be helping at home, in natural disasters. 2002 was when the country was still looking for a sense of purpose in response to 9-11 and all Bully Boy was offering was encouraging them to shop. Corey signed up with good intentions. He signed up with the National Guard. Traditionally, the National Guard has not served in wars the way they do today. He signed up and the man in the uniform, extolling the virtues and representing the US government (the government is over the military) told him he wouldn't be sent overseas and he believed it. Six years later, Corey Glass is 25. In 2002, he was 19-years-old. There are people much older than that who get taken in by recruiters. That someone so young would be taken in is not surprising and it's nothing for Corey to be ashamed of or to have to apologize for.

There's no reason in the world that recruiters should be allowed to lie. But they do. They lie in times of war and they lie in times of peace. You don't see your recruiter if you sign up. You're not on the phone in basic training with your recruiter insisting, "Wait a minute! You told me . . ." They know that. That's why they get away with it. People who have been lied to by their recruiters (and lived through whatever they were assigned) should be confronting their recruiters. They should track them down and confront them. To the recruiters, you're just one more signature closer to their monthly target. You are not a person. You are not their best friend. Though, yes, they pretend you are as they try to hook you in. They are used car salesman (and women) and nothing more.

Corey is not the foolish one for believing whatever a representative of the government told him. We are the foolish ones for allowing our government to lie. Recruiters lie. That's not a new development in this decade. And we've tolerated it. We've sometimes said, "You can't do it at my kid's school!" But it's past time that the message was sent that you can't do that period. Until that's done, this cycle will repeat and repeat. (And until recruiters are regularly confronted with their lies, they will continue to do as they have been taught because it's not like they're confronted with the wounds of those signed up. They're already thinking about the rest of the month's targets after they've got your signature on the dotted line.)

Corey Glass did a brave thing. He actually did several brave things. In the wake of 9-11, he wanted to help his community and he signed up for the National Guard. Instead he was shipped off to Iraq where he served for five months in military intelligence. He saw abuses and war crimes. He could have gone along with it. He could have ignored it. Instead, he couldn't live with it and he was faced with: What do I do now?

He self-checked out and he went to Canada. He knew somethng of Canada because he knew it had been welcoming in the past; therefore, he more than likely knew that making a life in Canada would mean he could never return to the US. He took a stand.

That is a great deal to expect from someone so young. Corey is a very brave person and doesn't deserve and hasn't earned scorn.

He also doesn't deserve silence. However, the news that Canada had told him to leave or be deported by June 12th was in Wednesday's snaspshot (and today's) and yet Amy Goodman with her daily -- Monday through Friday -- hour long show couldn't even mention him today. Forget that she didn't do a story on him (instead she went with a canned interview that honestly could have waited for a slow news day), she couldn't even make time for a headline.

Who are the cowards? People like Amy Goodman who banked their check from The Nation and never interviewed war resisters again. It's been 18 months since an emerging war resister has been interviewed on Democracy Now! That's cowardly. That's pathetic.

In her latest bad book, she writes about war resistance and, though just published in April, it stops in 2006 on the topic of war resisters because she hasn't been there for the new crop. She's never uttered the name "James Burmeister" (who is about to face a court-martial). Eli Israel who publicly resisted while serving in Iraq couldn't be noted. Kimberly Rivera, Matthis Chiroux, Josh Randall, Chuck Wiley, Brad McCall, Justiniano Rodriques, James Stepp, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Ross Spears . . . Do you realize how many war resister that have gone public have been ignored by Amy Goodman?

While she wants to preach her "going where the silences are" and "breaking the sound barrier" and "only with you, not without you" nonsense as she begs for more and more money (and uses up a healthy chunk of Pacifica money for that show), she ignores war resisters. We actually saw a preview of that in 2006. On her never ending self-promotion trail, she was giving various interviews in the summer of 2006 and patting herself on the back for going to Camp Casey. Camp Casey was going on right then and Goody wasn't there. She was bragging about her work in 2005. Bragging about it, putting herself above other reporters, while ignoring the ongoing Camp Casey. It's pretty pathetic and it can be filed under one of the many reasons the illegal war drags on.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4077. Tonight? 4079. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,213,716 up from 1,209,263 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War.

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