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Praise the Warrior, Not the War…

By 1968, with more than 500,000 troops in Vietnam, many were returning home from the war.  Survivors usually served 13 months in-country, unlike the multiple deployments today. And, of course, Vietnam was the last war of involuntary conscription…unlike the “poverty draft” today.

Gallop polls back in 1967 indicated 52% of the American public was opposed to the war. With mass demonstrations growing, the American antiwar movement welcomed many Vietnam veterans into its ranks (besides, we had rock ‘n roll, dope, long hair and free love…where else were they gonna go?).

As a Vietnam era veteran of the 101st Airborne (1959-61), I co-founded the Veterans Against the War (VAW, 1967) in Detroit, Michigan. With other national vet groups, we then helped found the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). By May of 1970, there were some 50,000 members of the VVAW.

Of the myths we were fighting at the time (and since) is the idea that antiwar activists opposed Vietnam vets. Exactly the opposite was true.  Our opposition was to the war and its corporate/political leadership.

Popularized in the corporate media and pro-war TV and movie drama (to wit: Rambo, ad nauseam) the myth of the opposition has become an urban legend.

As both activist and as a doctor of forensic psychology (PsyD), conservative faux-history is actually the transference and projection of pro-war protestors who themselves spit upon antiwar activists.

They also revised the time-worn “stab in the back” analysis (originally used by the Nazis to explain the loss by Germany of the First World War by blaming it on the Communists, Jews, etc.). Someone has to be blamed for why an imperial war was fought and “lost.”

In fact, 93% of returning vets found their homecoming friendly, and 75% of the vets themselves were opposed to the war.

Jerry Lembcke, a 1969 Vietnam vet and later a sociologist, published The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, in 1998 (New York University Press).

One of the ways in which the movement attempts to preserve its history—in addition to educating the current generation—is thru the use of teach-ins and testimonials. Veterans were and remain a significant part of this process.

In January-February of 1971, I covered the first Winter Soldier Investigation by the VVAW in Detroit, Michigan, for Creem magazine (the mid-west’s version of Rolling Stone).

For three days, over 100 officers and enlisted men who served in Vietnam testified to their roles in that conflict. It was a rare view for the public and a damning exposé that its corporate and political leadership preferred to remain hidden.

The term, Winter Soldier, is derived from Tom Paine’s derogatory reference of “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” during the first American Revolution. The true patriot is s/he who serves the nation and its people in the worst of times and conditions: The Winter Soldier.

Another group that follows in the Winter Soldier tradition is the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Today their work and sacrifice follows the VVAW in putting the lie to what former Commandant of the Marine Corps, 4-star General David M. Shoup, referred to as “our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers” in the business and affairs of other nations.

It’s apropos that all of this continues even as President Obama expands upon the anti-Constitutional powers usurped by former criminal administrations after the World Trade Center Reichstag Firethey themselves in fact helped promote thru their willingfully ignoring all the warnings and clear evidence.

Conservative Dreams...

Obama is today prepared to sign the National Defense Authorization Act just passed by Congress. This Act includes giving powers to the military to arrest and indefinitely detain without charge any persons—including US citizens–they choose in the name of “anti-terrorism.”

This is also occurring even as more info and testimony is coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan regarding mass war crimes, and as Army PFC Bradley Manning is being tried for his role in the Pentagon Papers-like exposé to WikiLeaks of American corporate and political perfidy throughout the world.

I suppose we should thank Obama. If he is the best of what America’s monopoly corporate system has to offer, then he’s the best witness and example to scrap it.

Occupy Wall Street…Occupy America!

Dr. Publico

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