Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quit Whining?

Ted Rall has another fine opinion piece HEY, SOLDIERS: QUIT WHINING!...

It's bad enough that a majority of soldiers voted for Bush in 2004. Over and over since the war began, American troops have been seen on television applauding Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and others whose cynical recklessness have sent their buddies to their graves. Sailors cheered wildly when Bush staged his notorious "Mission Accomplished" photo op on an aircraft carrier. They swooned when he joined them for Thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad.

I'm sure I read somewhere that in the last election, the military in Iraq voted just about the same as the general population. *?* And who in a uniform can refuse to stand as a backdrop for the president? I'm equally sure they cherry pick those soldiers who get that "honor", the same way they cherrypick the partisans who go to his speeches and pressers.

Four years after the WMDs and liberation flora failed to turn up, people still enlist. After soldiers die, their parents insist that theirs was a noble sacrifice. Tell me again: Why should I care about the war? Why shouldn't I go shopping?

Soldiers who want antiwar Americans to march to demand that they be brought home should take a cue from Vietnam veterans. They marched with peace protesters and threw their medals at the Capitol. Soldiers serving on the front refused orders. Some fragged their officers. Vietnam Veterans Against the War claimed more than 50,000 members by 1971. That year saw numerous dramatic acts of dissent by U.S. troops, including 50 veterans who marched to the Pentagon and demanded that they be arrested as war criminals. Fifteen vets took over and barricaded the Statue of Liberty for two days. These acts swayed opinions and helped convince lawmakers it was time to withdraw.

There are a few Iraqi vets making noise, but most just stuff a sock in it and go on with their lives after leaving the hell we made in Iraq. Maybe they just want to forget. I wouldn't blame them for that, having never served I can't pretend to know how bad it is. The news is horrifying enough. Another part is that they keep getting called back into service with stop loss. Not so for Vietnam - if you survived one year in hell, you went home permanently. I sure wouldn't want to be protesting one day and be on the front lines the next. Could make it exponentially more dangerous. *Fair Game*

Besides, taking to the streets was a '60's thing. The powers that be have found ways to take the sting out of protests. Unless it makes the evening news and the front page, it didn't even happen. With the new megacorp control of the media, you won't find any support for protesters in the press.

So, how do we crack this nut? I'm convinced that the nexus of all the problems we have with the government is campaign finance reform. Corruption is rampant, and conflict of interest reigns supreme. These are not saints, they have the same failings as politicians have always had. So -

Make it illegal to use any money other than a stipend from the govt that is equal to all who can gather a requisite number of signatures.

It would shorten the campaign season[thank goodness] - noone would want to run out of $$. It would even the playing field, and bring new blood into the process.


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