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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Murder by War: Honoring a Family Legacy

We got to New Mexico just before dusk last nite – the town of Clovis. After going thru desolate, almost empty stretches of land, Clovis appears to be a huge city of around 30,000 with tons of military present and very visible.
We stopped at a convenience store and ran into two such young – I mean entering 11th grade – males in uniform: military recruits, one black, one white. These two young men-boys eagerly revealed, to our blossoming horror, they had already enlisted this summer in the army and were willing to die defending their country.
They bragged they were getting paid $1500 per month – more money than Ben’s mom made – for early enlistment (who could resist that, especially in this drab, dearth of a town in New Mexico). They both gullibly believed the propaganda that although Iraq did not attack the u.s. on September 11th, the war against Iraq is a war against terrorism and a necessity to keep Iraqis (Muslims understood) from invading us.
These young men fervently dialogued with us for close to 45 minutes and if we could have stomached it, they probably would have gone on for another 45 but let me say this: we (adults) have failed our youth in New Mexico. Ben, the young African American man-boy, was of the mind-set that slavery was good for his people because how else would Africans have come to this country? He reeled back in shock when I wondered if I should put him in chains and drag him off to China so his great, great, great grandchildren will have the opportunity of living in China. He of course declared his love of the u.s.ofa. vs China as I nodded and said, “yes, sir, that’s how your ancestors felt about where they were living.”
The young white man's whole life was a military legacy since his grandfather was killed in world war II, his dad in the Viet Nam war, and maybe he'll be killed in this war - he's willing to die for us, not to mention carry on a family tradition.
We wept.
Ben told us his mother would be very happy, very proud of him, if he was killed defending his country. They both spoke of honor, pride, self-preservation as if they had a clue what these things are and how to obtain them. They both said that even though they thought bush was wrong going to war against Iraq, even though they both believed we should not be at war with Iraq, they personally would fight there to protect our country when ordered to do so.
Ben was much more open to speaking with us and even invited us to come talk to his class of air force rotc recruits. George swiftly nixed that idea without a moment's consideration, titling his head as he shook it “no!” adamant the officer who taught the class would never allow us in.
I tried to point out to Ben how this is just a beginning example of how he was going to willingly give up the freedom his people had died to secure for him.
We talked for a few more minutes about how american was this and that it didn’t have to be this way.
Then we left sadly, hoping we had de-glorified war just a little bit in these boys' eyes.


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