Fighting an Unpopular, Politically Driven War
By: Jack Dalton
How are you doing George? I’m back. But then when I wrote the last letter (part 1) I told you I’d be writing again. If you ember when I closed the last letter I asked you what your definition of freedom and democracy were. Never did get a response, but then I never really expected to get one either, so no real disappointment there. Besides, judging by your speeches and your press secretaries news conferences, I have a pretty good idea of what they are.
At any rate, on with the letter. Some of this might not make sense to you George. And you might not understand some of this either. It would have been a lot easier for you to understand and relate to if you would have been willing to meet your obligations when in the Texas Air National Guard; if you would have gone to Vietnam when your unit was called up instead of going AWOL for over a year. But, here goes anyway.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with the Vietnam war, it’s causes, purposes, policies, politics, people went and served (we looked and waited for you George, but you were nowhere to be found). For a lot of us that did go and fight in that obscenity, the one thing that still haunts many of us the most, is the toll that war took on innocent civilian lives. Caught in the middle of a war they neither wanted, nor were participants in, at least not in the classic sense, the civilian death toll was enormous: bombs, bullets and Agent Orange…no name death flying through the air…terrorism by another name is still terrorism. What do you think about that one George? What do you think about declaring things such as Agent Orange and Depleted Uranium, Weapons of Mass Destruction? No…well it was just a thought George. Back to what I was saying.
After a while the civilian population started getting real ugly. Who was right, who was wrong, who were the good guys, who were the bad guys, were questions most of the Vietnamese didn’t spend a lot of time attempting to answer; they were to busy trying to stay alive. The Viet Cong, North Vietnamese and the U.S. military were killing them in wholesale numbers.
We’ve come to bring you a better life, peace, safety, security, democracy and a better government. “Would you excuse us for a moment while we burn your home, your village down to the ground?” We do this to prevent the bad guys from invading and taking over your village. We burn it down because you won’t tell us where the bad guys are. We burn it down so the bad guys can’t take your “stuff” and use it against us, the good guys. We burn it down ‘cause we’re pissed about being shot at everyday and ‘cause we’re scared as hell! We burn it down because we can. We burn it down because we don’t understand how or why you live in such squalor. We burn it down because you’re Vietnamese and can’t be trusted. We burn it down because we can no longer tell who are the bad guys and who are the innocent civilians caught up in the middle of an obscenity. We burn it down because we’re trying to “win the peace” and make Vietnam safe for democracy. We burn it down because we want to “win your hearts and minds.” By now George, I know you must be asking yourself, what does this have to do with Iraq? Well George, it’s like this; it was the insane policies of the U.S. in Vietnam that gave impetus to the building Vietnamese resentment toward us (you would have seen it George if you would have been there…but nooooooo, you went AWOL, didn’t you George?) As we were winning the “hearts and minds” of the people, it was the “doublespeak” of the U.S. military and political “leaders” that drove so many the Vietnamese people to pick up arms against us (are you seeing were this is headed George…are you starting to see the Vietnam/Iraq connection yet?). As you should know George, when words and actions do not coincide, most people will ignore what is being said and will choose a course of action based on what they see (not what they hear George).
Unfortunately George, the “words” that come forth from the mouths of our “leaders” and the subsequent actions hardly ever match. What about that George? What do Iraq and Vietnam have in common? (I do like repeating myself George) Well…both were born from and out of lies. In both instances we had to demonize the people in the country we were to invade; makes it a lot easier to kill people when you can look at them as the dregs and scum of the earth. A lot easier to pull the trigger.
We went to Iraq telling the Iraqi people essentially the same thing we told the Vietnamese; to save them, to free them, to bring them peace, liberty, safety, security, freedom and democracy. While at the same time pulling people from their homes in the dead of night; U.S. companies importing labor to work in Iraq in the face of 60-70% unemployment (no resentment here is there George); Unions outlawed; Iraq’s public systems being sold off to the highest bidder—privatization of the whole country; controlled media…and some outlawed; who wouldn’t rise up in anger under these circumstances?
Iraq, like Vietnam, leaves me with the same unanswered question: When our “leaders” talk about democracy (like you are always doing George) and freedom, what do you guys mean? What is your definition of those terms George? I must be sounding like a broken record by now…the same question keeps coming up, democracy and freedom…what do you mean? We are told by your compatriots, as well as yourself, pretty much non-stop that for the first time in over 30 years the Iraqi people are a free people. No longer are they under the oppressive yoke of Saddam Hussein…free at last. My question George is they are free to do what? You guys are not going to allow one man one vote elections…you have already stated that…free, but no popular election…have a lot of problems with that one George. But it gets worse. You have our kids plowing up the fields of Iraqi farmers…apparently they are deemed uncooperative with our forces. The real good one though George is the surrounding of entire towns and villages with barbed and razor wire…the Nazi’s did that to the Jews, South Africa did the same thing during Apartheid…is that what you mean by freedom and democracy? If it is I fully understand why so many of the Iraqi’s are rising up and killing our young people in uniform…and it’s all on you George…I think you had best to bring them home…if the bullets don’t kill them the Depleted Uranium will.
How are actions like what I have mentioned going to help to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people? Jeez George, those were the same exact words that were used about Vietnam…win the hearts and minds. And everyday those words were spoken, more people died, on both sides. What are you going to do George, wait until the dead and wounded coming back start to stack up like cordwood before you get them out and back home? Let’s face it George, you lied your ass off and now there are a lot of dead, dying, and wounded, with the numbers increasing daily. How many more are you going to sit back and watch die while trying to feed us all the same line of crap? I’ll be getting back to you on this George. Existing vets, the new ones you are creating and no VA (to a large degree) to take care of them on their return.
I remember, vividly, these same things happening in Vietnam. Are not a free press and one man one vote the basic foundations of a democratic people, of a democracy? If this is so, how can you and your little rat pack tell us we are bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, while at the same time not allowing one man one vote to take place and making illegal all media but the U.S. controlled media? Which once again brings me back to my favorite question: exactly what do you mean, what is your definition of the terms, freedom and democracy?
Ya know George; we were sold a bill of goods about Vietnam, one deception and lie after another…for years. Why are you doing the same exact thing? Why are you out to dismantle this country and drive it to ruin? Where are your ethics? Where is your integrity? Have you no honor at all? Or did you turn that in when you were inducted in to the Order of Skull and Bone? Where exactly do your loyalties lie?
Be writing again real soon George, until then, bye bye.