Sheila Samples: They Were Young Once, And Fit
They Were Young Once, And Fit
By Sheila Samples
The empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism . . . expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians of fierce manners and unknown language. . . "Wherever you are," said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, "remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror." ~Historian Edward Gibbon
My dad always responded to anything that was patently obvious with, "Well, yea-ah. Anybody with half sense and one eye knows that," which was his way of saying don't go with the flow, but look at facts and come to your own conclusions. He also said, "If you're determined to show your ass, make sure it's a clean 'un," or -- get those facts straight before you jump out there and start concluding...
Well, I've looked at heaps and piles of facts about what the deranged leaders of this nation are willing to do to the men and women who wear the US military uniform, and I've come to two conclusions. This country's most expendable commodity is its children and, with few exceptions, Americans appear to be both senseless and blind.
Give Us Your Young, Your Poor...
Of course there's going to be a draft, if for no other reason than George Bush has steadfastly promised there wouldn't be one.
They're coming after our children -- sweeping them all up -- bullying them at schools, stalking them, offering them big bucks to join the military. And there's no one to stop them. Servile Americans, even those who can still see, feel helpless. When faced with the decision to stand up and speak up, or give up their children, they are bombarded from all sides with strident demands for patriotism so, like their counterparts of empirical Rome, Americans await their fate -- their children's fate -- in silent despair.
There is nowhere to hide -- no one to turn to. The mainstream media has dropped all pretense of objectivity and has become a worthless tool of the state. The media's once envied "public service" to the people has become little more than applauding each new atrocity of this warmongering administration in the hopes of earning a share of the spoils. Vigilant no longer, the watchdog media has become, in the words of Czech novelist Milan Kundera, "a parade of people marching by with raised fists . . . shouting identical syllables in unison."
We can forget the Congress suddenly realizing it has a Constitutional mandate for oversight and restraint. Ain't gonna happen. The elected members of both parties are far too busy struggling under the weight of their own corruption to worry about the relentless dismantling of the republic or the worldwide chaos their lack of attention is causing. There's no indication that the injury, maiming or death of thousands of US servicemembers, or as Henry Kissenger describes them, "dumb, stupid animals" will appear on their radar as long as the media can prevent it from appearing on ours. They're not only cold, they're evil. Rotten to the core. Rotten from the core -- on in...
On February 8, President George Bush proudly bragged to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."
Do you hear that, moms and dads? If your president's juvenile, paranoid announcement doesn't cross your minds whenever you're loading up your sons and daughters and sending them off to Iraq -- perhaps it will as you unload their flag-draped coffins at your cemeteries when they return home...
Many foolishly believed Bush's signature legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, meant that all children in this country -- all children -- would have equal opportunity for education. However, it didn't take long for those paying attention to realize that, as with anything Bush tells us, the opposite is true. The No Child Left Behind Act is little more than an increasingly harsh and punitive testing apparatus, the funding of which has been pushed off on states in a Catch-22 requirement -- either fund the program and meet the testing standards or face sanctions and, ultimately, closure.
Other than underfunding it, putting sanctions on schools, and wreaking havoc throughout the public school system, Bush has mostly ignored the Act's provisions -- with one exception. Buried deep within its 670 pages is a requirement that secondary school officials must provide contact information for every student as well as allow military recruiters unlimited access to their facilities, or lose federal aid. From the various sites these uniformed child abusers are setting up shop, primarily in minority neighborhoods and lower socio-economic areas, it's obvious whose children are being targeted. If Bush succeeds, none of them will be left behind.
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off To War We Go...
The empire is in the hands of a single madman who demands that we show our loyalty and patriotism by trading our humanity, our freedom, our dignity and, sadly, our children, for the mere illusion of safety in a world that is crumbling around us.
There are times when war, if not inevitable, is unavoidable although, to my mind, rarely justifiable. We needed a Pearl Harbor to drop-kick a foot-dragging nation through the goal posts of World War II, just as we needed a draft to mobilize the necessary manpower. We had an enemy. That enemy had a name and a face. Once he was defeated, the war was over. Of the 16.1 million Americans who served in WWII, 406,000 were killed and 671,000 wounded. The remaining troops returned to cheers, parades and dancing in the streets.
Korea and Vietnam taught us that war is not a John Wayne movie, an Uncle Sam poster, or a "Johnny Comes Marching Home" ditty after all. We learned, too late, that Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon were actually pretty pre-emptive kinds of guys -- not "shock and awe" shysters, but men who were willing to expand, little by little, an initial deployment of 900 military "advisors," escalating the destruction over 15 years by sending more and more until our bewildered children were standing knee-deep in an oozing quagmire with no clear idea of who the enemy was. It had neither name nor face; therefore, they were forced to shoot anything that moved.
Of the 2.1 million American servicemen and women who struggled through the Vietnam mess, 58,156 were killed, 303,329 were wounded in action, and 75,000 were severely disabled. These figures do not include the tens of thousands who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange and who continue to battle for benefits and proper care from a Veteran's Administration in full denial about repercussions from "gassing" our own people. Unlike heroes from WWII, those who returned were met with jeers and catcalls; many were abandoned in the streets. The number of veterans who have committed suicide since the Vietnam war is greater than the number who were killed in that war.
Vietnam was a soul-numbing fiasco -- an undeclared war that resulted in a litany of human rights abuses and atrocities too numerous to cite. It gave suceeding administrations an unabated taste for blood and power as well as a cold, pugnacious disregard for "collateral" damage. Might is right. George Bush has the power. He has tasted the blood. He likes it, and he wants more. He wants it all the time. If 9-11 had not happened, Bush's addiction would have forced him to create it.
As CNN correspondents like to say proudly, "this president" is having the time of his life. Given the grisly silence of the citizenry, of the judicial branch, the legislative branch and the mainstream media, Bush is under no pressure to justify the senseless maiming and killing spree upon which he is embarked, even if he could remember the reason -- or coherently describe the enemy who has no face. Shortly after the devastating assault upon Iraq in 2003, a self-satisfied Bush crowed, "We're on their trail. We're smokin' em out. We got em on the run. We're huntin' em down one-by-one. We're on a scavenger hunt for terror..."
A scavenger hunt for terror? This is why thousands of young Americans must give up their lives before they've had a chance to live them? Hundreds of thousands of innocents must die -- nations must be destroyed -- for no other reason than George Bush is off on a scavenger hunt?
A Toxic Mess
Thanks to the morally bereft Bush father-son duo, as well as the morally challenged Bill Clinton, we are rapidly becoming an endangered species. The culprit is Depleted Uranium (DU), the neat little nuclear weapon of choice these three presidents unleashed upon Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, turning them into toxic wastelands and condemning anyone on their soil to a slow, agonizing death from radiation.
America -- do you know where your children are tonight?
There is no excuse for not knowing the consequences of DU. Scores of reports have been written based on studies and investigations conducted since 1991. Physicians, physicists, scientists, researchers, and even some media -- mostly foreign -- continue to sound the alarm. We are witnesses to the most egregious war crimes in the history of the world, orchestrated by three mass murderers, yet we continue to play a deadly game of "Kings-X" with the Pentagon and the media, primarily cable outlets CNN and Fox News. Until this axis of corruption admits that DU is a death sentence to all who come in contact with it -- a crime against both God and man -- apparently we are not "allowed" to speak out. Wouldn't be prudent...
The term, "Depleted Uranium," sounds innocuous, even weak. Actually, DU is radioactive waste left over from manufacturing nuclear fuel and bombs. It is anything but "weak." DU is 1.7 times heavier than lead and boasts a half-life of 4-1/2 billion years. It never goes away. The US has more than 10 million tons of DU -- an abundant nuclear-waste product which is given free to weapons manufacturers who make a tidy profit on their genocidal bullets and bombs.
In a March 9 report, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, former Chief of the Naval Staff, India, writes, "DU burns intensely and is very hard. It releases Uranium Oxide. The aerosol contains particles of 0.5-5 microns in size, once they are in the air or dust they are inhaled or ingested, including from contaminated soil. Once in the lungs one such particle is equivalent to having one X-Ray per hour, for life. (emphasis added) Because it is impossible to remove, the victim is gradually irradiated. Still births, birth defects, leukemia, damaged central nervous systems and other cancers have been common in children born since 1991."
Getting the attention of the American people is, for the most part, a futile exercise -- like screaming into the wind. One wonders how many birth defects, such as babies born with no internal organs, fused organs, no brains, no eyes in empty sockets, will it take before Americans join their international counterparts and cry, "Enough!" When will we realize we are the terrorists, and our *weapon of mass destruction is Depleted Uranium?
No one has screamed louder or longer than Dr. Doug Rokke, former Major and health physicist for the US Army. Rokke, the Army's nuclear expert, was sent to Iraq after Gulf War I to salvage tanks contaminated by DU. He admits he went into the project "with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war," but says what he and his team of 100 found there cost one-third of them their lives, cost Rokke his job because he refused to remain silent about his discovery, and continues to wreak havoc with the team's health, the health of millions of civilians in the Gulf, and the health of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War I, and now Gulf War II, veterans.
"We can't do it," Rokke says fervently. "We can't keep sending our citizens into that toxic mess. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity to use uranium munitions in a war, and it's devastating to ignore the consequences..."
Rokke's conclusion is that DU must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care be provided for everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the British or the Germans or the French but for citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kosovo and Okinawa to Maryland and Indiana, and other US states where DU munitions are tested.
For Americans to remain silent as Bush hands down death sentences for their children and their unborn grandchildren is a war crime in itself. Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York cites a study done by eminent scientist Leuren Moret which names DU as the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Bernklau says of the 580,400 US Gulf War I soldiers, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, when Bush and his draft-dodging warmongers were already planning Gulf War II, there were 325,000 military personnel on permanent medical disability. Currently, more than half of those who served in Gulf War I have pemanent medical problems.
This scandal is threatening to erupt, even as US officials continue to deny there are any long-lasting effects from DU radiation. Bernklau believes the Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up."
Moret works tirelessly on the issue of depleted uranium and its effects upon the planet and its inhabitants, especially children. She wrote the Forword to Discounted Casualties:The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, by Hiroshima journalist Akira Tashiro. The book can be read online, and should be required reading for all Americans, especially those who still possess half sense and one eye.
Moret says the use of DU by the United States defies all international treaties, and will slowly annihilate all species on earth, including the human species. She describes DU as "the Trojan Horse" of nuclear war -- the weapon that keeps on killing for billions of years." There's no way to turn DU off. There's no way to clean it up.
Because we are Americans, it is not acceptable that our bloodthirsty leaders be allowed to continue to rain DU down upon the world with full knowledge of its destructive potential. We cannot allow Bush to continue to kill our children -- our unborn children -- as he whips up new candidates for death in his rollicking "scavenger hunt for terror."
It's time we stopped it.
* See US Code, Title 50, Chapter 40, Section 2302 -- "The term "weapon of mass destructon" means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity."
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: email@example.com.
© 2005 Sheila Samples