Cindy Sheehan: Volunteers for Endless War
Volunteers for Endless War
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 23 March 2006
Being on the road constantly and being in the trenches for peace leaves me little time (and, if truth be told, little inclination) to keep up with George's dishonest and often incoherent ramblings; nonetheless, this week, two of his more calculated comments caught my attention.
The first comment was on the White House lawn on Sunday, March 19th, the 3rd anniversary of the invasion. By the way, the White House website has entitled this speech "The President's Remarks on the Third Anniversary of the Liberation!!!! (italics and exclamation points added by me) of Iraq." A few sentences in his short remarks were:
Ours is an amazing nation where thousands have volunteered to serve our country. They volunteered to - many volunteered after 9/11, knowing full well that their time in the military could put them in harm's way.
Notice how many times George says a variation on the word "volunteer:" three times in one sentence. This caught my eye because right-wing warniks who don't want to take any responsibility for supporting George's war of terror and it's accompanying mayhem are always reminding me that Casey "volunteered." And you know what? The warniks got me there! Casey did volunteer. He volunteered in May of 2000, to, first of all, serve his country and, second of all, get the benefits that his recruiter deceived him about. The biggest lie that Casey's recruiter told him was that "even if there is a war, you won't see combat ... you scored so high on the ASVAB test, you will only go to war in a support role." The tragic thing about this false promise is that Casey, a Humvee mechanic, was killed in combat five days after he arrived in Baghdad. The truly alarming and upsetting thing about the false promise made to Casey, though, is that recruiters are using that same lie today to potential volunteers while our country is in the middle of an occupation where many of our troops are being deployed for their third and fourth tours of duty.
I believe another aspect of George emphasizing the word "volunteer" so many times in one sentence is that he would love to absolve himself of the mortal sin of sending our troops to die and kill innocent people immorally, while still reaping (in his mind) the so-called benefits of being a "war president." George Bush wants to play-act at commander in chief, but thinks he can wash the gore of over 2,300 brave human beings off of his hands by resting assured that they "volunteered."
I have so many other problems with this volunteer rationale, too. For instance, if one volunteers to be in the military why can't one just "un-volunteer" if he/she doesn't find the lifestyle suitable; or say, if they don't find the mission compelling enough, or legal and moral enough, to go fight, perhaps die and kill innocent people for?
What about the people who volunteered after 9/11? Whatever reason they volunteered for: revenge, patriotism, a sense of duty, a sense of hopelessness - they all volunteered to protect America - not be sent to die for the war machine. They volunteered to wear the uniform of our country, which most of them didn't know or realize is the identical uniform of the war profiteers, and that they would soon be asked to invade and occupy a country that was no threat to the USA, and neither did they truly comprehend that the very thing they enlisted to prevent was being engineered by the neo-cons.
Even more exploited than our regular military are our states' National Guard units, which comprise almost 40 percent of the forces in Iraq and a disproportionately high amount of the casualties. I have spoken to many of our families who have had a national guard soldier killed in Iraq and they feel so betrayed because their family member did not sign up to go to Iraq - they volunteered to guard the nation.
In my opinion the most loathsome piece of George and the warniks who support the immorality in Iraq, while pardoning themselves for the deaths without doing any penance, is that what they are saying is essentially this: your loved one got what he/she deserved for volunteering to join our armed forces. If we want to have a military to defend our country, then it is our responsibility to elect leaders that the entire world can depend on to use our military as an absolute last resort to protect America - not as a first option to solve invented problems to fulfill their lust for mammon.
The solution to the problem of our troops being sent to die for George's war is obvious and simple: no one should volunteer to be cannon fodder for this cowardly commander in chief and the war machine. Soldiers who don't want to go to die for George should also volunteer to stay home. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a soldier does not have to obey an unlawful order. The occupation of Iraq is unlawful by all standards, including our own constitution.
I don't know what the American public expected when a silver spoon failure was "elected" to be our leader: a sub par student who failed at every business attempt he made and who had to be bailed out of his failures and the Vietnam War by Daddy and his friends over his entire lifetime. We are all human and make mistakes or do some things that we aren't proud of. I don't have a problem with George being a failure, as long as his mistakes are localized - as most people's are.
Now George, who as the head of the corrupt and failed ship of our state, has failed in Iraq in huge, D.W. Griffith epic proportions and has left the solution and the bail-out to some "future" president. Recently, George said in his last, unfunny stand-up comedy show, which he likes to call a "press conference," in response to a question about some undetermined, future, non-timetable-ish day when there will be no American troops in Iraq:
That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.
This is another way for George to be bailed out of his failures and to again wash his hands of the flesh and blood that he is up to his elbows in. We should all be appalled, horrified, angry and up in peaceful arms about this statement. George just admitted that the occupation of Iraq is lasting at least almost another three years.
The answer to this problem is glaringly obvious: we need a new president, ASAP. We need someone else who is willing to ask directions and change course when it is so apparent that the course is not only wrong, but damaging our country in palpable ways. Only a delusional, self absorbed, irrational person would stay such a misguided and murderous course.
It is also conspicuously evident that even if George had the will to leave Iraq, he doesn't have the tools to get out of the chaos he has gotten everybody into there. The bull can't put the china shop back together again and the destruction won't stop until the bull gets out of that china shop.
We can't wait for future presidents. We can't wait for November 2006: people are dying every day for volunteering - and the innocent men, women and children of Iraq did not volunteer to be liberated by being killed by the thousands.
George, and every person in his administration that lied to us, needs to be impeached, removed from office and held accountable for the crimes of Iraq and the crimes against Americans.
We can't allow them to get away with murder.
Cindy Sheehan is the proud mother of Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on April 4, 2004, and Carly, Andy and Janey who hold down the fort; founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and author of Not One More Mother's Child.