Dear Veterans, part 5: "Blaming Rape Victims"?

One of the best things about writing a column like this is getting to learn how others think. I have received so many angry letters on this series. I have been challenged often and well from a variety of angles, from the curt and uncensored "F__ you"s over on the Daily Kos to thousand-word commentaries, from numerous encouragements to leave the country because I don't deserve to live in the land of freedom to a wonderfully worded debate on Buddhist tenets I violated in my "attack on vets."

But to me the quintessential retort I get runs along the lines of the message sent from Dave in Bremerton who equated my holding military personnel responsible for military actions "approximately the same as blaming rape victims for rape."

I think not. More like blaming the pregnant girl who wouldn't use birth control, because she thought she would keep safe or be lucky. Dude, you KNEW they were going to screw you. Talk about "Just Say No."

I knew it 30 years ago when I joined and joined anyway figuring I could tolerate the obvious wrongness of the whole enterprise and then when I didn't want to be the kind of person who would stomach that crap any longer I got out. When I heard what garbage we were spewing, when I saw the death we were creating, when I saw that the whole thing was set up to internally and externally produce oppression, I said that's wrong by me and I won't do this. I literally sat on the floor and refused to move.

I wound up with an honorable discharge through sheer good fortune, but it was a lesson that I learned. And I was not the only person in the military to choose to turn their back on it no matter the consequences because they could not continue to support the cause. Hundreds, maybe thousands, refuse to serve, and thousands more vets join anti-war groups. I am not a vet, mere former military, but as the song goes, I came to a point where I just wasn't "gonna study war no more."

To me the person who joins and won't come to that point is A) dense, or B) into it, and since I now think, for the last 30 years that is, now think the whole mess is wrong, I have to think the people are wrong if they support it. Our brave men were just soldiers doing what they were told? How far down the line do you give forgiveness to a 1940s German soldier who killed Americans because "he was just following orders"?

Still, having been in the service and having gotten out, I used to be sympathetic to the impulse that would make one join. But my late wife would call me on it every time on the hypocrisy of my saying, "I'm against the war, but I support the troops." The troops are making the war. They offered to be the sword. It's a moral choice to me. Suppose they gave a war and nobody came. I still believe it was more than just a crappy '70s movie, it's a doable idea.

Politicians can call all they want for valor and honor when what they actually want are pre-emptive wars of aggression or propping up resource-controlling 3rd-world dictators who are US business partners; but they aren't the ones having to blow-up buildings or dodge bullets. Congress has the power to declare war because it was meant to be the people's choice to go to arms. Washington didn't even want standing armies.

In every war since Vietnam, the folly has been plain to see to those who look at our government with a critical eye. I am not a lone voice crying in the wilderness on this one. I'm just a guy with a TV and a computer finding basic widely available info that counters the official government story or at least calls me to question it. Again and again. Republo-crat, Demo-lican, doesn't seem to make a difference. In war and in peace they lie and distort, using our own loyalty of country as a weapon against us--a weapon of mass deception; and it is our right, our duty, to stand against government hypocrisy, deception and wrongheadedness. So I act to work against war, and I am only one of thousands, probably tens of thousands, of voices trying to battle against the noise machine that clamors for more war and more consumption and that the world was meant to be a battlefield.

I did this, I turned against war. Others also did this, you can do it too.

If the people will not support the war, the war can be stopped. But we will never want to stop a war as long as we as a people always have a dog in the hunt. We don't want to admit our country was wrong or that our loved ones were wrong to enable it with their numbers; and we surely don't want our loved ones in the military to have to admit the fighting might have been in vain. If they really are just loved ones, how could you support as they enter into, engage in, or afterwards champion an industry based on hate. You cannot claim to love the warrior and claim to hate the war. Well, you could claim it, but with a lie that obvious, what's the point?

Without the war, what is left of the warrior? Some say 'well then love the man,' and I say yes; then if you hate the war and love the man then you won't want to honor its mark upon him.

--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ