If there is one thing I understand it is simply this, once one “sees” war up close and personal and you look into the abyss, that “Heart of Darkness” of war; you are forever changed--period. Some become very self-defensive and become strong supporters of war—what else can they do? If they do not support war then they would be compelled to revisit “war” and come to terms with it. That in itself shakes the very foundations of one’s beliefs, and this is something a lot of people just do not want to do, or are unwilling to do; it hurts like hell!
Then there are those like Jim Massey, Mike Hoffman, Kevin Benderman, Dave Bischel, Tim Goodrich, Camillo Mejas just to name a very few, who have confronted the issue of wars immorality and inhumanity from the perspective of those who have participated in war; and thru that participation have found war sorely lacking, and due to that have come out in opposition to participation and opposition to war in general, as a methodology of solving our problems.
These men are not alone in their outspoken opposition to war, or their refusals to no longer be a participant in the destruction of their fellow human beings. They are just a few in the growing numbers of people in uniform who are currently taking the very same position.
One very important thing everyone should keep in the fore-front of their minds; these people, the men and women that are starting to refuse deployment—or re-deployment—to Iraq, they are not “nut jobs.” Far from it! Not only are they very sane, they have the absolute moral right to choose what they will or will not participate in when it is their lives being put on the line and in jeopardy.
In fact, Monica Benderman, Sgt. Kevin Benderman’s wife, puts it much better than I in the questions she has posited: “What is wrong with a country when a man can walk into a military recruiting office, sign on the dotted line and find himself in a war zone 2 months later, without one question directed toward his sanity?”
What is wrong with the direction of the world when a man and his wife receive phone calls and emails from all over their country asking them to explain themselves, calling them coward, wondering if they have ever read the Bible or studied the scripture, all because that man has chosen to speak out against war and violence, and his wife has chosen to stand with him?
Have we gone so far away from Truth that people actually believe war and killing is right, and that a man must be crazy to want to walk away?
These are powerful words, and questions which have not only got to be pondered, but answered. As a disabled Vietnam veteran -- Vietnam from 8/65 thru 5/67 -- and one that has been an anti-war activist ever since coming back “home,” a term I use loosely, not only do I agree with the anti-war movement within the ranks, but I fully support it as well; and those that take this stand.
The men and women in today’s military are doing what it took those in uniform being sent to Vietnam over 4 years to start doing, oppose war and start refusing to be participants. Sooner rather than later is a good thing.
As a veteran of a war, as an American citizen, as a writer, I fully support those who see the senselessness of “legal” murder, for to large degree, that is what war is -- at least in the minds of those that propel the rest of us into their wars of “choice” -- and publicly denounce it and refuse to participate.
Additionally, as co-editor of the Project for the Old American Century (as opposed to the Project for a New American Century wing-nuts) we have come out strongly anti-war and will fully support any and all of the men and women in uniform who, as a matter of conviction, maintain their moral right to stand against war, and refuse deployment to Iraq (or any other war the Bush cabal may choose to start).
Jack Dalton is a disabled Vietnam veteran and Co-Editor of the Project for the Old American Century web publication (http://oldamericancentury.org/index.htm).
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