"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. Truth was never put to the worse in a free and open encounter..."
~ Milton
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

Reading:
A Fistful of Euros
Andrew Tobias
Angry Liberal
Archy
Bad Attitudes
Common Dreams
Fablog
Hullabaloo
Informed Comment
Madelaine Kane
Mahablog
Obsidian Wings
Off the Kuff
Orcinus
Sarah Kendzior
War and Piece
Washington Monthly

Books
The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis & Teixeira)
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Franken)
Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot (Franken)
The True Believer (Hoffer)
Still Being Bushwhacked

All Book Reviews
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
It's always "us" vs "them"
Women's March on (fill in your location)
Children learn what their parents teach them.
You Got My Support. But.
Even Endangered Penguins Do It

All Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Campaigns and Voting
Where do we go from here?
It's always "us" vs "them"
Some interpretations
On and on I go
Just appalled

All Campaigns and Voting
Lecture Circuit
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
July 2, 1964
Pledge
May 14-15, 1970
The Erotica of Bare Knees

All Lecture Circuit
Media
The Liberal Media, At It Again
Fairly UNbalanced
P.S.
What's this?
OHMIGOD

All Media
Big Brother
Shoulda' Guessed
Where did my country go?
You know what you never thought you'd read?
Not in his name
Sleight of Hand

All Big Brother
World O'Blog
It's Vocabulary Time!
They wrote it
Mighty-fine blogging
Other People Said....
Phillipines

All World O'Blog
Aimless Ranting
It's always "us" vs "them"
So, I'm thinking with half my brain
Do You Know Peter?
Long, Little Privacy Rant
My Takeaway

All Aimless Ranting
Archives
February 05, 2017 - February 11, 2017
January 22, 2017 - January 28, 2017
January 15, 2017 - January 21, 2017
November 13, 2016 - November 19, 2016
October 09, 2016 - October 15, 2016

All Weekly Archives


Electioneering
Open Secrets
Political Wire Exit Polls
Politics1
Polling Report

Information
American Research Group
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Public Integrity
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Congressional Report Cards
Death Row Roll Call
DebtChannel.org
Democracy Now
Economic Policy Institute
FairVote Colorado
Foreign Policy In Focus
Global Exchange
Human Rights Watch
Independent Judiciary
Inequality
Institute on Money in State Politics
Institute for Public Accuracy
JobWatch
Lying in ponds
Media Reform
Media Transparency
Move On
One World
Open Democracy
Pew Research Center
Project Censored
Public Citizen Health Research Group
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Take Back The Media
The Urban Institute
WHO Outbreak News

Connections
XML & RDF
Peevish for PDA



Blog Directory


Search








Credits
Powered by Movable Type

Site Design by Sekimori





All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

May 01, 2005
Looking Back

I was nodding as I read the teaser for this:

Divisive war haunts the US more than the people it fought

I don't know how much it haunts the people of Vietnam, but I know it haunts me. It's odd, considering that for most of that era, I was far too young to have any idea about what was happening, but it's true.

Possibly it's subconscious memories of news reports. Some of my earliest memories are of the television playing in the background; the nightly news filled with words spoken in hushed voices.

Mei Lei. Casualties. Massacre. American dead. Napalm. Dead. Agent Orange. Dead. Retreat. Dead. Deforestation. Dead. Body bags. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Those words, and the pictures that went with them, have the power to move me still.

The truth is, though, that I didn't so much grow up with the war as I grew up with the aftermath. Men with haunted eyes and shaking hands. Men only a little older than myself who were tight-lipped and radiating pain, years after they left the battlefield.

War is hell.

I think that's a lot of what ails the Democratic Party today, in reference to Iraq.

The Left protested the war, but not just the Left. Many millions of people didn't want us fighting that war. For decades, those of us too young to remember or too far away to see for ourselves have been told that returning soldiers were met with near-universal contempt and abuse, that the legacy of our protests is that we hurt no one but the men who'd been in battle. And we've been ashamed.

Eric Alterman gives us a very brief history of the 40 years that led up to the Bush Administration. Brief and selective, but worth reading.

Timing-wise, I went from that to Mahablog and read about The Persistence of False Memory.

Sigh. (I could write a lot, at the moment, about how this determination on the part of the Wingnut Right to turn this country into a tool for their own ends robbed us of much of our faith in each other and our systems of government, but I don't want to get side-tracked.)

Still. Whether the stories are true or not, that's what we've all been told for decades. That we committed unforgivable sins against returning soldiers. It's universally "known" to be true so whether it's true or not, it affects our behavior.

I think that's why we don't hear what we expect to hear from the leadership on the Left about Iraq. Whether they know/remember the truth or not, they're afraid of being tarred with the same brush today. That makes them afraid to speak out too strongly.

How do you protest a war without offending or seeming unsupportive of the men (and women) actually fighting it? Especially when those in favor of the war can command the support of the MSM and can count on it to print lies in their favor?

Well, I think that bothers those who should be leading us from the Left.

(That, and they don't have any more idea than the men who started the killing do about how to salvage the situation. Clearly we can't leave Iraq until some measure of stability and safety are available to the ordinary citizens whose lives we've trashed and just as clearly there won't be true stability until we've left.)

I find myself wondering if John Kerry and the Democratic leadership wanted to win in November. If they did, they'd have won the fallout of George Bush's punitive invasion of Iraq.

I'm just sort of speculating out loud, you understand. I know you know I'm no expert.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:09 AM


Comments

I just listened to Phil Ochs' Song of a Soldier and was struck all over again at how the left was actually the portion of the country that cared about and had sympathy for its soldiers - just like today.

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at May 1, 2005 04:22 PM

Well, it's mixed, really. They also were the direction from which the idea of the soldier as someone who makes a choice to participate comes from: moral agency is generally seen as a good thing, but it comes with responsibility. Buffy St. Marie's Universal Soldier, for example, or Phil Ochs' own Draft Dodger Rag.

Of course, it was mixed with real sympathy, as you say: Ochs' "Man behind the guns" still gets me, and there are lots of other examples. But there were just enough actual draft dodgers to give those critiques some real bite, as well.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at May 2, 2005 01:06 AM