Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Protests and veterans issues

The Campus Antiwar Network commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings with an anti-war protest Tuesday, May 4.
The protest took place on the corner of Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive. The members of CAN held signs protesting the war and asking people to "Remember Kent State."
"It's part of our history right here in Ohio," said CAN member Kyle Galindez, a third-year sociology student. "And most people don't realize that after the shootings, students responded nationwide with the largest student strike in our country's history."

The above is from Ariel Cheung's "CAN pays homage to Kent State" (News Record) and also reporting on student action yesterday is Aaron Sanborn (Foster's Daily Democrat) who notes the events in Durham including Peter Rivierre discussing the 1970 events at Kent State (he "was then executive editor of the student newspaper") and Sanborn reports:

Fast-forward to today and there's still national issues that students are concerned about but would likely never strike for, according to Alex Freid of the Peace and Justice League at UNH, who put on the event.
Freid said there's still war -- troops remain in both Iraq and Afghanistan -- and there' still issues of students wanting more power both within and outside the university. All of these were the key ingredients that led to the 1970 strike.
A current issue Fried gave as an example was the issue earlier this year with Smith Hall when students protested in front of President Mark Huddleston's office to show their displeasure for the university's decision to turn the international dorm into an office building.

As noted yesterday, News Provider reports, "May 4th, students from Kent State held their annual commemoration of the martyrs of the anti-war movement, but was also present the new Vietnam: Iraq. Hundreds of students who oppose the American occupation of Iraq began to go off campus, but were immediately repressed by the police who made dozens of arrests, claiming that the demonstration was 'not authorized'. The University outlawed the protest because he believed that 'induced violence,' while the students said that 'the only violence that was expected from the police'."

Turning to veterans issues, Senate Daniel Akaka visits the White House this afternoon.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At 1:30 p.m. [today] (EST), Wednesday, May 5, 2010, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, is scheduled to attend the White House bill signing of S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. This landmark bill, authored by Akaka, will establish an unprecedented permanent program to support the caregivers of wounded warriors, improve health care for veterans in rural areas, help VA adapt to the needs of women veterans, and expand supportive services for homeless veterans.

Also on veterans issues, Jennifer Huberdeau files "The wounds of war" (Eureka Times-Standard) which is planned to be the first of several columns on the topic:

At first blush, Andy Jean-Baptiste doesn't look like the typical Iraqi War veteran -- it's hard to imagine the petite African-American woman, who stands no taller than 5-foot-3 in fatigues, wielding heavy artillery.
But within minutes of meeting her, the soldier in Jean-Baptiste becomes apparent. There's seriousness as she talks about her tour in Iraq, where she served as a patient admissions specialist, tracking patients as they came into the level-three hospital (similar to a civilian trauma center) she was assigned to in a western province of the war-torn country.
"We treated Americans, Iraqis, insurgents and children," she said Saturday, a somber look crossing her face as she spoke to a small group of journalists making up this year's Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Coverage Fellowship.
"In my hospital, there were a lot of doctors, a lot of nurses, but only one psychiatrist to take care of the whole province," she said.
While many civilians don't see the lack of psychiatrists at military hospitals in Iraq as being a big deal, mental health issues make up the second largest medical problem troops face during their time abroad and upon returning home.

Meanwhile in Minnesota, the St. Cloud VA Medical Center plans to hold a workshop Thursday, May 20th on alcohol addiction and related issues:

Contact: Joan Vincent (320) 255-6381
Public Affairs Officer

May 4, 2010
St. Cloud VA Medical Center to Present
"Battling Alcohol: How Veterans Beat the Addiction" May 20

St. Cloud, MN -- Professional staff from the St. Cloud VA Medical Center will present a program
on alcohol use and how Veterans beat addictions at a Family and Community Meeting on Thursday, May 20 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library's Bremer Room.
Mike Mynczywor, VA's Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom program manager, will introduce the "RethinkingDrinking" Web site and talk about alcohol use among returning service members.
Dennis Rogers, VA addictions therapist, will present on the 12-Step program.
Ellen Dinsmore, VA clinical social worker, will present on the stages of change, evidence-based therapies and current treatment options available to Veterans at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center.
This program is free and open to any interested member of the public.
For more information, call VA's Operation Enduring & Iraqi Freedom Program
at (320) 255-6453.


The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Chris Hedges' "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" (Information Clearing House):

The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war -- death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. They know how war fosters alienation, leads inevitably to nihilism, and is a turning away from the sanctity and preservation of life. All other narratives about war too easily fall prey to the allure and seductiveness of violence, as well as the attraction of the godlike power that comes with the license to kill with impunity.
But the words of the vanquished come later, sometimes long after the war, when grown men and women unpack the suffering they endured as children, what it was like to see their mother or father killed or taken away, or what it was like to lose their homes, their community, their security, and be discarded as human refuse. But by then few listen. The truth about war comes out, but usually too late. We are assured by the war-makers that these stories have no bearing on the glorious violent enterprise the nation is about to inaugurate. And, lapping up the myth of war and its sense of empowerment, we prefer not to look.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends