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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, March 17, 2010

How stupid can an almost college grad be?

Rarely does the thought cross my mind, geez, this person is stupid.

But engaging with a young white – part Jewish – very short man, growing the prerequisite hair on his face so he can ‘fit in’ better in Afghanistan or Iraq, I am struck with not just how little this young man knows but how incredibly stupid he sounds.

Who would say something like “we do not live in a blood-thirsty nation”? And “Americans do not support the military”.

I kid you not.

I ask him to name a nation he believes is “blood-thirsty”. He is dumbstruck. He searches his data bank and comes up empty.

I ask him what would a nation who is “blood-thirsty” look like then? He is still unable to answer.

I try to help, so I ask him if maybe it would look like a nation who has been the only nation in the entire world over the entire history of the bomb who has used the atomic bomb to kill over 300,000 human beings at once. Does he consider that “blood-thirsty”?

He says nope.

I ask him if maybe it’s a nation that has dropped bombs on over 25 nations since the end of WWII.

He says, “ummm, nope”

I ask him if maybe it’s a nation that is not only willing to use them on human beings but that also has more nuclear weapons than any other nation in the world?

He says, “not really”.

I ask him if maybe it’s a nation that has military troops occupying a country causing the death or displacement of at least 25% of that country’s population – that’s over 5 million people?

He says “definitely not”.

I tell him, okay, I give up. What does a “blood-thirsty” nation look like?

He grins, shrugging his shoulders, saying he didn’t know.

He tells me he is graduating, and from U.C. Berkeley. Frankly, I’m shocked. I thought at the very least kids got an education at Berkeley.

He tells me he has already made it through the officer selection process and he’s going to be inducted in August. I tell him don’t.

He tells me he takes his responsibilities seriously to shape the minds and bodies of the young people, 18-22 years of age, who will be under his command – as seriously as if he was their parent.

I ask him how he feels about winning their trust and then sending them off to kill. He has already reassured me that HE has no intention of ever killing anyone – afterall, he’s going to be an officer.

He stumbles a little and I can almost see the pages of the officer brainwashing manual swishing through his head until he lands on the one that says he will lead them to kill only the enemy.

I ask him how he has allowed, in his young life, to let someone convince him there are human beings he’s never met who are now suddenly his enemy? And how did that enemy become women and children like me?

He puffs up his small chest, indignant at the thought he would encourage his men to kill women and children. I ask about the US soldiers who murdered two pregnant women and a teenage girl in Afghanistan during a “night-time raid” as reported yesterday.

He responds by telling me Americans just do not support the military.

It’s my turn to stare dumb-struck. How does an allegedly educated young person say such a thing?

Duh. Pregnant women, mothers, girls dead. Gone. Lives over.

So again, it’s the question: “well, what would it look like to you if Americans supported the military?”

Again, he shrugs dumbly.

I say okay, maybe if the majority of our taxes were spent on the military, would that look like “support” to you?

“Sure” he says, obviously being oblivious to the fact that we spend 54% of our income taxes on the military.

I say okay so maybe if we have troops and military bases in over 120 or so out of 181 countries in the world, not to mention sustaining an active military occupation in at least 2 countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a covert military in many others including Haiti and Korea.

Now he’s back to shrugging “nah” again.

Okay, how about the one nation that spends its resources bombing over 25 other nations since WWII.

Exasperated he says, no what he means is that out of the hundreds of thousands of students at UCB, there are only THREE going into the military!

Well, hallelujah for that I think. What I say to him is “Doesn’t that make you want to stop and reconsider your decision? The PEOPLE are AGAINST war - so in your case, this means the PEOPLE are AGAINST YOU becoming the instrument of war. But even more importantly, YOU abusing younger men and women into making THEM instruments of war.”