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LOCAL Commentary :: Peace & War

Vets have their day, but not for peace?

I was at the Armed Forces Day parade on Sat. and learned that our own Bill Motto VFW post was not allowed to march with a Veterans for Peace banner. What kind of message is this: you served and fought for your country to defend freedom, but you can't exercise that freedom in a parade to honor you? When peace is too controversial, even coming from veterans, something's wrong with the state of our city and nation.

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Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

The parade was clearly stated to be non political well in advance. I can tell you as a Vet that post will never be recognized by me as a true vet post. Before you become a veteran you had to do violence somewhere. The parade was simply there to honor veterans not to support peace or violence.

Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

While I understand that the march was intended to be apolitical, in reality you can't support veterans without implicitly supporting American militarism. As you say, they "had to do violence somewhere"--violence in the name of U.S. imperialism. (There are small exceptions to this--the Civil War, for example, and WWII, to a certain extent)

This is not to vilify veterans or encourage the type of behavior displayed toward them during Vietnam; we should respect all people. But respect does not have to equal approval or honor.

Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

Its a sad day when parade organizers who are supposedly honoring vets can silence and exclude actual veterans in their own parade. They must really be off the deep end to think this kind of thing is ok in a town such as SC. These veterans have formulated their opinions based on their own life experiences and have logically come to the conclusion that peace and respect for life and peoples self determination is the one and only way.

Pretending to honor veterans yet not the ones who don't follow your orders is just pathetic. Chalk one up to the majorly hypocritical column.

Collage and Interviews Tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz

Sunday May 22nd 9:40 a.m., I'll be playing about an hour of interviews and commentary from the Armed Forces Day Parade. 101.1 FM It'll be archived at Call in with your own thoughts at 831-427-3772.

fuck the vets

Ooooh big brave MEN went and killed and destroyed for thrills and money. whats to honor? most of these criminals should be in prison where they belong. when will we hold these amoral hired killers accountable for their international crimes?

Armed Forces Day Parade is Inherantly Political

There is NO WAY to have an "apolitical" version of this parade. The parade IS political. The US Armed Forces and its members cannot be celebrated without also tacitly celebrtating the actions that the US Armed Forces (and vets) have engaged in.

If you want to _reduce_ the political nature of such an event, then celebrate ALL veterans on ALL sides.

For that matter, make it a celebration of the survivors (mil and civilian) of war.

Or, make it a mourning procession for EVERYONE (mil and civilian) who has been killed in war.

The above actions are, of course, also political. But at least they escape the bounds of nationalist cheerleading. ("America totally kicks ass!")

As to the anon poster above who urges "Fuck the Vets," I think this is completely unhelpful and counterproductive. We should condemn the military (and the system under which it functions) for its actions, but condemning the vets is not so easy. Some of the actions of some vets are tantamount to knowingly engaging in crimes against humanity. We need to make that clear and we need to work for meaningful justice for the countless victims. But making blanket statements against vets doesn't get us anywhere. Vets are a mixed bunch, just like so many other groups. Should we condemn Howard Zinn for his actions? During WWII, he dropped bombs from 20.000 feet onto villages, doubtlessly killing innumerable civilians. How do we confront that contradiction: that he engaged in those acts, yet has since come to renounce war and has dedicated his life to the peaceful achievement of civil and human rights for all?

There are no easy answers.

Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

If anyone saw the KSBW TV 8 coverage yesterday, Richard Anderson of the Bill Motto VFW Post was interviewed about the banner flap. That happened because I was able to alert the reporter and bring Richard to be filmed. It changed the story enough to include several bites on the banned banner aspect.

As to the above comments, it's not black and white. These days, it should be noted the military is in large part targeting and recruiting people on a class basis, and many poor people end up going for education and job placement later. In many cases, it's their ticket out of poverty and the ghetto. Maybe they are gambling they won't be sent to war, and then policies dictated by US corporate interests kick out the command to fight for the the super-rich and those who go along for ideological reasons. Once "over there," the soldier must cope with orders and peer pressure, whether or not he or she understands why they are there and what it all means. Yes, some go believing in the cause, having been deceived like generations before them that we are defending freedom and democracy.

Are they innocent of blame? The choice to enlist, obey orders, get the job done is made by an individual with a conscience. A strong personality with conviction might opt out of military service in time of war (or anytime) on principle, but how does that young person come to make such a decision? It is the duty of the general society to educate and nuture the young to make informed moral decisions, but this pre-supposes the general society is informed or cares enough.

When there was a draft, we gave draft counseling, but what about enlistment counseling? Nowadays, we get the refusers after they've already gone and come back. How do we reach them before they go?

Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

Howard Zinn has killed and terrorized and should pay for his crimes like any other terrorist. We must not forgive some terrorists while we condemn others.

Re: Vets have their day, but not for peace?

I rolled up the Veterans For Peace banner at the request of one of the organizers. " It would be to political" I was told. I wanted to cooperate. I didn't see that at the end of the Parade were Republicans and Democrats. I guess the joke was on me. I do however understand Veterans for Peace may imply others are not for Peace? Nice Parade, good people...


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