Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm all for peace ...

My friends and I used to say that a lot back in the day. Doesn't really work in print or as an adult for that matter. It doesn't work for me now that I've embraced hiking and the clothing that makes it more comfortable, either. It isn't really that I was ever pro-war or anti-nature, I just grew up wanting to be different than my fellow Oregonians. And I was obnoxiously urbane in a spoiled brat, punk rock sort of way. I was so eager to distance myself from all things hippie that I was all too happy to avoid the woods. I was also willing to appear indifferent to war so as not to besmirch my image with anything resembling a peace sign.
The Students for Social Justice at Portland's Wilson High School recently posted some signs at the school. One banner read, Let Peace Be Heard. Due to a parent's complaint the signs were removed lest it be interpreted the students at Wilson do not support our troops. I am pretty sure that aside from the violence hungry sociopaths in the military, that the troops are in favor of peace. Especially the ones that come home missing limbs and are otherwise incapacitated.
It's becoming ever so clear that America did not recover from Vietnam. Our nation needs some therapy.

Signore Direttore


Bill said...

Preface to rant..I was a soldier for 20 years. I serve my country with honour and with respect.

Rant mode on....Those idiots who say "I support the troops but I don't support the mission" are so full of shit their eyes are brown. Every man jack of them is there because he volunteered to serve his country. He is acutely aware that unlike some yokel who only votes once in a while, he is putting his "vote" out there every single day since his enlistment! More than any other person in the nation, he IS the government, he IS THE MISSION.
The nation that got invaded swore that there would be one dead soldier every day there was a foreign presence on his soil. You gonna tell me that an army of Iranians invading New Jersey would not face the same, or greater? I thought so!
And if you look at the statistics, you will likely find that because the boys in theatre are not allowed to drink, drive, or go boating, motorcycling, surfing, or any of a thousand other things which attract young, horny boys with active cajones that there are fewer casualties at the end of the year than there would be if they stayed in garrison! You can't keep these fellas down, they ain't momma's boys! They gonna raise hell, so I was pleased to lead them to where hell lives.
Promotion possibilities are much more likely in theatre than back home pounding a parade square. And no, it is not because of casualties, (remember, there are fewer than when they are home!) but because they get a chance to show their stuff, let their supervisors see how good they are, and to show themselves just how darned good their training has made them! Personal development has its own price.

Rant mode off. Ahhh, I feel better now. I just had to get this off my chest. I know, its hard to imagine that a soldier actually WANTS to do his job, and will happily do it for the real and perceived rewards. Sort of like film making, I suppose. And LIKE film making, there is so much more to soldiering than hits the screen! Men I know that learned welding, teaching, mechanics, computer technology, and believe it or not, film making from the military are always prepared to give back. The "Mission" as perceived by civilians is so vague, unfocused, and spun with political bias as to be nothing more than a straw man.

(I hope I am using that phrase right...grin! I hate using buzz words wrongly!)
email me at if you disagree, or if you wish to add to this rant. Or visit my blog I just posted a bunch of pictures from my trip to Ypres which put things into perspective for me.

Signore Direttore said...

Well whoever you are, please refrain from calling anyone an idiot because you decided to spend twenty years of your life in the military. Two was enough for me. Honorable discharge with Army Medal of Commendation, Overseas Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal, promoted from E-1 to E-4 in thirteen months. I cashed in thirty-five days of leave when I out-processed because I earned so many three and four day passes for outstanding service I traveled all over Europe without spending leave time.
Basically you have a different point of view than mine. I don't agree with you or your politics. When I was the "mission" and hyped up to show what I could do as a soldier I still believed in freedom of fucking speech.
I met some great guys in the military. I also met a lot of dumb as dirt evil maniacs the likes of which I have never come across in civilian life.
When you enlist in the military you sign your life away. You do it for any number of reasons. Many do it without consciously realizing they've put themselves in the way of extreme danger. Maybe because they're too young or too desperate to weigh the consequences. Maybe because they lack intelligence. But I'm not shedding any tears for them, especially if they want to go to war to get promotions or wave the flag. I'm more concerned with the many innocent victims that die because of the arrogance of this country's leadership.
I "vote" for peace. I vote for cutting military spending. I vote for responsible use of force only after extensive attempts at diplomacy. I vote for Basic Human Rights.
And if you don't like it, go read someone else's blog.

Bill said...

Good for you.

STAG said...

Your suggestions are germane. How about this change?

Rant mode on....I keep watching the news, and see people who say "I support the troops but I don't support the mission". Like all sloganeering, this one carries a seed of truth which has grown out of proportion, and resulted in a complete reversal of reality.
Every soldier is there because he volunteered to serve his country. He is acutely aware that unlike some yokel who only votes once in a while, he is putting his "vote" out there every single day since his enlistment! More than any other person in the nation, he IS the government, he IS THE MISSION.

Slightly less emotional content, and less name calling. Good idea. Should I replace the word "yokel" with "civvie"?

And I don't think I advocated anything harming freedom of speech. It what I admire about you and I always exercised it during my military career. And of course I don't expect many people to agree with me, my viewpoint is not the prevailing popular one! I am gratified that you agree with me on not shedding tears over the ones in it for promotion!

(and this time I went to the trouble to sign in...I never post anonomously.)

Signore Direttore said...

Look, personal experience and opinion aside, if the public stays silent about a situation in which many soldiers and civilians are losing their lives and suffering extreme psychological trauma because they don't want to disrespect the individual soldiers on the front lines, the generals and political leaders will continue to mismanage the war. Read this Sunday's New York Times. The junior officers are questioning the generals in this war. The soldiers are put in an untenable situation. Staying silent will not expedite necessary change. There must be a change in strategy in this war. The most effective strategies were the initial "shock and awe" tactics favored by Rumsfeld. A strategy that rejected the number of troops that the Army initially requested. The blast through Iraq dismantled Saddam's regime, but left power vacuums everywhere. The only effective stabilizing strategy was devised by a Colonel McMaster who positioned one thousand troops every square kilometer in and around a city. It should be noted that McMaster was passed over for promotion to Brigadier General.
Once more, our silence is not disrespectful. Our calls for peace are wise and necessary.