Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two Trains Have Left The Station (Your Viet Nam)

There are two trains that have left the station. One is a train bound for war. The other is a train for peace.

The death count of American troops in Iraq is approaching 2,000. The make-up of these deaths crosses all boundaries.......all races.......male and female. Most are young Americans from YOUR generation. Are you watching? Are you concerned? Will you act?

This war in Iraq certainly cannot be truly compared to the war (conflict) in Viet Nam. That war lasted from 1965 to 1973. More than 58,000 American troops lost their lives during Viet Nam. It was American's longest war. Do we have another Viet Nam brewing? Let's hope not but I am beyond worried.

I have many concerns about the situation in Iraq. But my greatest concern is the apathy being shown by today's youth. During the Viet Nam War, American youth took to the streets to protest the war. The movement stretched from coast to coast, campus to campus. The youth were tired of the senseless killing of their own and decided enough was enough. They waged a war on the older generation of this country......the leaders in Washington as well as their own parents. Our parents' generation, for the most part, supported what our leaders said or did, regardless of the end result...a sort-of Blind Faith in leadership. It took time and many conflicts, but slowly our parents joined in the fight. The flag-covered coffins began to roll into small town America.....the children of small town America. Slowly, the majority of Americans began to question the motives and decisions of our elected officials and climbed on the train to end the war. A major turning point in the struggle occured on Kent State University in Ohio. It was there that the youth war turned ugly. Four students were killed by the American National Guard. American youth killing American youth. It was a call to arms! Now granted, there were issues on both sides of the conflict and they seemed to boil over on that day. But the shooting deaths of these students sent a message to the folks back home....the parents of the college students. The message was very clear....the establishment had now made the decision to shoot our own citizens. There was now a two-front war....one is Southeast Asia and one at home.

I have not seen a major reaction to the war in Iraq other than some small groups gathering outside the Bush Ranch in Texas or a few arrests in Washington. All I see is apathy.....apathy not only from the youth but from all generations. Have we given in to the powers of the elected ones....the chosen ones who dictate how we operate? This too is Blind Faith and our leaders are convinced that because we have not reacted then we accept the course. Are they wrong? Do we have to wait until the polls open to express our views? Do we even have any views to express?

I urge the campuses across America to become vocal once again. After all, when the troops are stretched so thin that all the "bases" can't be covered, you bring in "fresh troops". And where do you get the fresh troops? Salem College.....ETSU....Clemson....UGa....Ga Tech....UT...Berkely....a high school in Henry County, or Boiling Springs, or Colorado Springs or Krypton or Conyers or Knoxville or Clinton or Oak Ridge...the list goes on and on. And folks there won't be any discrimination when it comes to pulling you out of school. Male, Female, Black, White, Latino, Oriental........the only ones that might possibly escape the pull are the children of our elected officials. They write the laws the to protect themselves....they are NOT protecting you.

There are two trains that have left the station. One is a train bound for war. The other is a train for peace. Which train did you board?


jon said...

Well said. I am amazed that we are in a war but daily activities do not even reveal that it is occurring. I am just as guilty as the next guy. Because of finances and other issues, I tend to try to help my family and myself survive with little thought given to the war. I think most people have stopped supporting what is happening in Iraq because little profit has come from it. I think the people should stand up and scream, "BRING 'EM HOME."

Anonymous said...

That answered my question to myself. I've been waiting to see if I should go to the march on DC this year. But you're right, most of the day we're too consumed in our own lives to realize that half the world is living in a place where the person standing next to them could kill them with a suicide bomb-- and the headlines of the death counts have become so routine that we gloss over them in our complacency.

Three years ago, the Green party here had a die-in on campus that got a LOT of attention. Nadja and I have talked about doing it again this year. I think the hardest part about truly changing things is that the same people take on the tasks over and over again. And it can become draining. But you're absolutely right. When did I start putting myself before the entire world? Why the hell do I think that my life is any more important than the lives of Iraqi civilians or the soldiers that I graduated with from school?

It's not about asking "the people" to stand up and scream. It's about realizing that WE are "the people," and not a damn thing is going to change until we understand that. I think when we feel powerless we lose that vision. But I think that when we feel most powerless is when we have the most power-- because a group of angry and educated citizens can destroy the foundations of evil.

So here we go.

Twerpette said...

This is big news, thanks for addressing it. When will Bush learn? I just finished a post on this topic too: http://twerpette.blogspot.com/2005/10/news-us-troop-deaths-in-iraq-reach.html

NewLiz said...

I also agree. The apparent apathy of today's youth frightens me. America was torn apart by VietNam and yes this has not reached that proportion. But I don't think we should wait for the numbers to hit 5 figures. It's already higher than it should be. Yes, bring home our children. Before we have a country split wide open again and more protests that result in beatings and death. Saddam Hussein has been captured, he will go to trial, the Iraqis have had their elections. Time to let them do what they will in their own country. Let's not lose anymore children of promise to a futile effort that will leave a country covered in the same sand that has shifted across its surface for hundreds of years, changed only by the spilled blood of young Americans who fought for Iraqi freedom. Giv them their freedom and give us back our soldiers.

Shay said...

Ahhh, and what is this "war" about? Really about? I don't think its the freedom of the Iraqi people. I don't think its to bring terrorism to its knees. Just excuses to engage in an armed conflict for oil. My country's young men are worth more than any foreign oil supply.

People who oppose the war are considered liberals and that is a dirty word in many circles. Well death is a dirtier word. Its so much easier to go with the flow, than to stand up and labor for a "cause". I am as guilty as the rest.

I saw a group of young people at the high school football game on Friday night who were dressed in their ROTC uniforms and I mentally saluted them as they went by, and felt a groan of anguish for the cannon fodder they may become.

God Save us all, for it appears we are too weak-minded to save ourselves.

Sam I Am said...

My father was in the military and was fortunate enough to avoid war. He however wanted to rejoin when this war first started. He is getting close to fifty and has back problems or I'm sure he would have found a way in. I think it is time for the troops to come home but you must realize this is the path they have chosen. If I were not married to a man who could not stand to let me go I would be in the military myself. If we pull them out before the job, whatever it may be, is done then those 2,001 lives were lost for nothing. They all knew there was a possiblity they would not come back. As one of the youth I am not ignoring what is going on, I pay attention every single day. Trust me, if the government starts to force people into war who do not choose a military path you will hear a larger uproar from the youth than you could possibly imagine. We may seem silent to you now but we are powerful. We will get what we want when we decide that we want it. For now let us pray for those who are defending our freedom and help those in the world who are less fortunate than we are. Please visit www.one.org today and take some action on another strong issue that has been going on for far too long and the youth of today are the ones trying to fix it.

carly said...

Sam I Am- you should not say that by leaving the war these 2000 have died for nothing. I think that by stayinging in the war we kill thousands more for our president's war.
The reason we are at war with Iraq is this: Operation Iraqi Liberation, or oil. I can never respect a person who kills his children to make his wallet thick and green. This is what Bush is doing to America. He is slaughtering American youth so that the oil reserves can come to America and he can profit from stock he holds.
Many seem afraid to admit this, becuase they feel that to not support our president is to not support God. I'm not sure where the idea began that to be American meant you were Christian, and to not be in support of the president meant you did not support God's will. I have trouble believing a man who rules with two hands in his wallet has been placed in power by God.
I am Christian and cannot see how the merciless slaughter of our soldiers and women, men and children over seas is justified. I pray for and support our soldiers, which is precisely why i wish them to come home. I do not wish to kill by brother and sister so that my president can get richer. I want to support my troops and bring them home. I love my country and the freedoms we have-I am prepared to fight for them against the monarchy that is forming. So thankyou Dad for your message-I'm ready for protest, I'm ready for an end to this war, I'm ready for my freinds, and family, my neighbors to quit dying when they are 18,19,20. Let this be a time of revolution, let this be a time of protest to end this war before the five year old of today are being layed down six feet into the ground. This war has gone on to long. Let US begin our march of freedom. Let US preserve humanity. Let US obey God's words, Love Thy Neighbor as thyself. Let US save our children from death. Let US love one another.

Hidden Wizard said...

Well said, Carly....my daughter, my friend.....and my fellow activist!

NewLiz said...

I have to agree with Wiz on this one. I question our current leaders true goals in this war and also feel like it is time to bring our young people home. We hear about dedlines, when (a) happens or when (b) happens. But still they are there. I have spoken personally to soldiers who have the same questions and concerns we have. Yes they are there fighting because that is what they committed to do. But they are uncertain about their purpose. That scares me. They fight because they are Americans and have sworn to defend our country. But what they are doing is not what they expected. A lot of these young people signed up in order to further their education and find ways to better their lives. A lot of them are now dead. That scares me. I confess, when recruiters call my house to talk to my 18 year old son I tell them not to call back. If he makes that decision it will be because he actively seeks it out, not because he was "telemarketed" with a slick line by some stateside staff sargent. Sorry guys. This one hits close to home for me. When I was little I wanted to join the Navy. My oldest daughter was in ROTC. Things have changed. If we don't ask questions how can we be sure we are not being ood winked by our leadership?

Sam I Am said...

I don't think God and the President have anything to do with each other, I respect all of your opinions, although they are all democratic, I sit on the fence with political parties. I would like for the troops to come home as well, but sudden removal could have consequences that America is not prepared to take. All we can do is ask God to let the President know that it is time to start moving in the direction of bringing them home.