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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Saturday, July 21, 2007

DON'T GO son!

I stood on a busy corner again today in Wyandotte – a ‘suburb’ of Detroit – and joined about 30-40 people who have been protesting the war since May. They began with 6 people at this weekly vigil and grow every week as passers-by, neighbors, friends join in.

As I stand, a young buff man with those kool mirror sunglasses, approaches me and asks if I’m in charge. I respond with a smile "I like to think I am – I’m not in charge of this vigil though."

He tells me "ma’am I’m a soldier on leave scheduled to return for my 3rd tour of duty in August."

I grab his arm, ask him his name, attempt to look deep into his eyes, and tell him “son, don’t go”.

He tells me he has to go. I tell him “no, you do not.”

He tells me he doesn’t like Bush either but he’s not going for Bush.

I tell him no one in this country wants him to go, but Bush and his cronies.

He tells me he will go to jail & he has a family to support.

I tell him he MIGHT go to jail; but he MIGHT not. He MIGHT be alive to support his family but he DEFINITELY will be alive to support his family if he doesn't go.

I tell him to call the GI Rights hot-line. He hasn’t heard of them.

He tells me he has men serving under him. I tell him it is even more important that he be the really brave example and doesn’t go. I ask him if he knows about Lt. Watada.

He tells me he’s not that brave. I tell him sure he is. He shakes his head, not believing.

There is a veteran for peace, a tall white older man, standing close by. I tell Sam to talk to the vet. I tell the vet Sam is considering going back for a 3rd time. The vet fails me and Sam and grabs his hand in a brotherhood of soldiers handshake, pound on the back, touching shoulders kind of embrace, and tells him “Best of luck man, I know you have to do it”.

I grab Sam & tell him not to listen to this fellow, who tells me I don’t understand. I say I understand too well how many billions of dollars the military has spent on brainwashing these young men into being more loyal to their buddies and commanders than their own conscience, mothers, wives.

I ask Sam what his wife says, his mother. He doesn’t answer. I tell him do NOT listen to this vet, whom I glower at, but to listen to me.

I make him promise to at the very least call the GI Rights hot-line and find out what his options are. I tell him he can call anonymously.

He promises me. I make him shake on it. I tell him he has given his word. He solemnly leaves.


  • At 22/7/07 6:38 PM, Anonymous Kathy said…

    I picked up on the 3rd tour:(
    No wonder they can't make sound decisions.
    Doctors state soldiers shouldn't do 2 tour back to back and shouldn't do 3 tours period. But bush and the military started waving more money under the noses of these poor kids who are trying to support a family. Come Judgment Day I'd like to see what the bush regime get.
    Alarming Increase in Suicides Among U.S. Soldiers Fighting in Iraq
    LUFKIN, Texas -- Army Spec. Joseph Suell had been distressed before. He missed his wife and their daughters so badly last year that he was granted a short visit home from his yearlong assignment in South Korea.

    It was a different story this year. In March, five months after completing his Korean tour and right after re-enlisting, the 24-year-old was sent to Kuwait and then Iraq.

    The day after Father's Day, Suell died in Iraq, reportedly after taking a bottle of Tylenol. His death was classified as "non-hostile," but a military chaplain told Suell's wife, Rebecca, it was a suicide.

    Suell's death comes at a time when the military is investigating the growing number of suicides by U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf region. Since the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in the spring, 18 soldiers and two Marines have committed suicide, most of them after major combat was declared over May 1, the military said.

    The Army is concerned about the deaths. Outside experts have said the rate is alarmingly high compared with the military's average suicide rate. A report by a 12-member team of military and civilian mental-health professionals dispatched to Iraq in October to evaluate troops is expected to be released after the holidays, officials said.

    Independent experts said they hope the team's report offers some insight into the suicides. Did they result from personal issues, such as the loss of close relationship, or from legal or financial matters? Or did they involve larger, more sensitive issues about the U.S. mission?

    Those broader questions relate to the morale of troops in Iraq, many of whom have complained of their long deployments. And they bear upon whether the Bush administration is overstraining the military with such practices as deploying soldiers, such as Suell, on consecutive tours with insufficient family time, experts said.

    Army officials have declined to comment on the potential contents of the report.

    Suell's widow and mother don't believe he killed himself and wonder whether the military did enough to address whatever medical problem he may have suffered.

  • At 26/7/07 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Zanne, I was so honored to meet you at last on the 24th in Springfield. You totally ROCK woman and I commend you for all your work and efforts for peace. Please keep in touch! I have the photos if you let me know where to send them. They are also on YOUTUBE. Here is my CODEPINK blog



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