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#789313 - 08/25/04 02:13 PM John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
This is John Kerry's epilogue to a GREAT BOOK. What ever happened to that John Kerry that turned him from greatness into an empty shell?


Epilogue

And so a New Soldier has returned to America, to a nation torn apart by the killing we were asked to do. But, unlike veterans of other wars and some of this one, the New Soldier does not accept the old myths.

We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans' Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the "greater glory of the United States." We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars-in fact, we will find it hard to join anything at all and when we do, we will demand relevancy such as other organizations have recently been unable to provide. We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim.

It is from these things the New Soldier is asking America to turn. We are asking America to turn from false glory, hollow victory, fabricated foreign threats, fear which threatens us as a nation, shallow pride which feeds off fear, and mostly from the promises which have proven so deceiving these past ten years.

For many of us there is little to remember but the promises and, most poignantly, the loss of the symbols of those promises -- of John and Robert Kennedy, of Martin Luther King, Jr., of Medgar Evers, of Fred Hampton and Malcolm X, of Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller, and William Schroeder from Kent State and Philip Gibbs and James Green from Jackson State; the loss, too, of friends, of Richard Pershing, Peter Johnson, Johnny White, Don Droz, and the other 53,000 Americans who have lost their lives in this degrading and immoral war. The promises of peace candidates who were not peacemakers; of civil rights laws which were not enforced; of educational and medical aid which was downgraded in priority below bombs and guns; of equal opportunity while Mexican-Americans and blacks were drafted in numbers disproportionate to their representation in this country and then made up casualties in even greater disproportion.

I think that, more than anything, the New Soldier is trying to point out how there are two Americas -- the one the speeches are about and the one we really are. Rhetoric has blinded us so much that we are unable to see the realities which exist in this country.

We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children. We knew the saying "War is hell" and we knew also that wars take their toll in civilian casualties. In Vietnam, though, the "greatest soldiers in the world," better armed and better equipped than the opposition, unleashed the power of the greatest technology in the world against thatch huts and mud paths. In the process we created a nation of refugees, bomb craters, amputees, orphans, widows, and prostitutes, and we gave new meaning to the words of the Roman historian Tacitus: "Where they made a desert they called it peace."

The New Soldier has come back determined to make changes without making the world more unjust in the effort to make it just. We have come back determined that human will can control technology and that there is greater dignity and power in human spirit than we have yet been willing to grant ourselves. In Vietnam we made it particularly easy to deny that spirit. We extended an indifference which has too often been part of this country's history and made it easy for men to deal in abstractions. "Oriental human beings" -- "gooks" -- "body count" -- "Nape" -- "Waste 'em" -- "free-fire zone" -- "lf they're dead, they're VC" -- the abstractions took command from the commanders themselves and we realized too late that we were the prisoners of our own neglect and callowness.

By discussing crimes committed in war, the New Soldier is trying to break through the callowness and end the neglect. Regardless of whether crimes have been committed in other wars or even by the other side in this one, America must understand how our participation in Vietnam and the methods and motives used by American fighting men are part of a continuing national moral standard. As New Soldiers we are seeking to elevate that standard as well as to demonstrate where it has been part of a significant illusion. Individuals are trying, by denying themselves the luxury of forgetting about their acts, to spare others the agony of having to commit them at some time in the future.

This is not to say that all soldiers have departed Vietnam with the same feelings about their military service. Certainly not all veterans of this war are New Soldiers. Not all want to be or even understand what many of their veteran contemporaries are trying to say.

Even among the New Soldiers, in our hatred for the war and our drive for change, there is a wide divergence on approaches to change, or, for that matter, on what causes the need for change. I know that my own views do not necessarily represent the feelings of some Vietnam Veterans Against The War. But among all there is an intense and deep-rooted agreement that America has lost sight, hopefully only temporarily, of much that we knew as our greatness.

The New Soldier does not have all the answers. We do not even pretend to. Unquestionably we lack some of the depth of experience from which to provide guidelines for many policy questions. We are aware also of all the traditional arguments -- that those in power have access to information, that America can do no wrong, that America has particular interests which it must safeguard, and so on. In reality, however, there is a big difference between these arguments and what happens to the people involved. In the end, the abstractions never convey the reality of human life.

To be sure, those who make the decisions experience special interest pressures which others, not directly involved in the decisionmaking process, will not feel. Consequently, those on the outside of the power spectrum find it easier to prescribe solutions for the myriad problems we confront today. In their simplicity these solutions sometimes ignore reality. But more often they cut to the quick of the problem and those on the outside of the power structure show in the absoluteness of their criticisms and demands more wisdom, more moral strength, more compassion, and far more willingness to consider what effect the prescribed solution will have on people -- not the people whose security and social welfare is already guaranteed, but those thousands who are literally and figuratively "in the street."

I myself went into the service with very little awareness of the people in the streets. I accepted then and still accept the idea of service to one's country. But because of all that I saw in Vietnam, the treatment of civilians, the ravaging of their countryside, the needless, useless deaths, the deception and duplicity of our policy, I changed. Traditional assumptions and expectations simply were not enough. I still want to serve my country. I am still willing to pick up arms and defend it -- die for it, if necessary. Now, however, I will not go blindly because my government says that I must go. I will not go unless we can make real our promises of self-determination and justice at home. I will not go unless the threat is a real one and we all know it to be so. I will not go unless the people of this country decide for themselves that we must all of us go.

J.K.

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#789314 - 08/25/04 02:41 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Shant,

You keep calling Kerry a suit, a poser and so forth. Yet the right keeps saying he is such a wild-eyed, die-hard liberal that he cannot possibly be trusted with this great country of ours.

What specifically is it that makes you say that? Seriously, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#789315 - 08/25/04 02:54 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
Oh, the rightwing would say that about whomever the Democrats nominated. Didn't matter. They had their knives out for whomever came out of the process. This is what they get paid to do, and there's good money in it. Ignore them.

What is different about Kerry is that, as a neo-liberal, there is less substance there than in any of the other candidates the Democrats could have nominated. And they know it - that's why he got nominated. He was a total media creation - and made by a single tv ad - the Jim Rassman one -- in Iowa, without which he was a distant fourth. Vietnam is in fact the only issue he can run on, because once you get beyond that, there isn't a lot of "there, there". He's been in politics for 25 years - can you honestly say that you can name even one thing -- just ONE thing -- that he is done in 30 years? I don't care the subject: race, education, military, health care, environment, higher education -- he's been MIA for 25 years!

As a neo-liberal, he is a fatalist apologist for capitalist controlled globalizaton policy. He'll take the edge off, sure, provide health care, but only by ensuring the profits to private health care companies. He'll "protect the environment", but not before supporting NAFTA, the Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, GATT, etc. He will ensure the peace, and increase the size of the military by 40,000. He doesn't have a jobs policy. He supports No Child Left Untested. He supports the Patriot Act.

He wouldn't stand a chance if he wasn't playing "Flip" to the other guy's "Flop".

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#789316 - 08/25/04 02:56 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by shantinik:
Oh, the rightwing would say that about whomever the Democrats nominated. Didn't matter. They had their knives out for whomever came out of the process. This is what they get paid to do, and there's good money in it.

What is different about Kerry is that, as a neo-liberal, there is less substance there than in any of the other candidates the Democrats could have nominated. And they know it - that's why he got nominated. He was a total media creation - and made by a single tv ad - the Jim Rassman one -- in Iowa, without which he was a distant fourth. Vietnam is in fact the only issue he can run on, because once you get beyond that, there isn't a lot of "there, there". He's been in politics for 25 years - can you honestly say that you can name even one thing -- just ONE thing -- that he is done in 30 years? I don't care the subject: race, education, military, health care, environment, higher education -- he's been MIA for 25 years!

As a neo-liberal, he is a fatalist apologist for capitalist controlled globalizaton policy. He'll take the edge off, sure, provide health care, but only by ensuring the profits to private health care companies. He'll "protect the environment", but not before supporting NAFTA, the Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, GATT, etc. He will ensure the peace, and increase the size of the military by 40,000. He doesn't have a jobs policy. He supports No Child Left Untested. He supports the Patriot Act.

He wouldn't stand a chance if it wasn't playing "Flip" to the other guy's "Flop". [/b]
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#789317 - 08/25/04 03:08 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Oh. OK. The problem is that he's a moderate. ;\)

You know, we moderates tend not to make big change. That's why we're called "moderates."

I believe Kerry's signature achievement is his bi-partisan work on POWs. He also voted against the first Iraq war, voted consistently for balanced budget initiatives, and voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Cindy -- who can't think of a signature achievement of Sen. Johnson or Sen. JFK (or even Sen. RFK) that justified their elevation to the White House
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#789318 - 08/25/04 03:16 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
No the problem is not that he's moderate, but that he's intellectually bankrupt. If he was a moderate, all those undecided votes would no longer be so undecided.

So you don't want big changes, even if it means 5-10 more years in Iraq.

That's why I'm not voting for him. (and, yes, believe it or not, I think GWII could have us out more quickly, if he cared to. Sistani is waiting....)

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#789319 - 08/25/04 03:34 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
bcarey Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3378
Loc: North Carolina
Shant,

Contrary to your version of popular opinion, which is sometimes, forgive me very twisted, there are a lot of us out there who do know the difference between competent governance and incompetent governance.

If we go for the current administration, we do know what we will get. Incompetence. Do I have to refresh your memory? If we go for a new direction, granted that the path may be unknown, but can you honestly say that we could do worse?

Pacifist that I believe you to be, I'm thinking that you think Bush would get us out of Iraq quicker than Kerry. Am I right or wrong? If I'm right then all you want to do is stop the killing. Right?

Then who are you or I to say that more killing would not happen with a quick exodus?

Look at the facts and who got us in this "quagmire" to begin with! Can you even begin to fathom a war with Iran in the next four years?

When it boils down to it, it's who you trust. I would not trust Bush or his cronies to feed my dog. If I had one.

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#789320 - 08/25/04 03:36 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Well said, Bcarey.

It's "leap of faith" time, plain and simple. Changing administrations always is. I hope the American people have the guts for it.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#789321 - 08/25/04 03:40 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
 Quote:
Originally posted by bcarey:
Shant,

Contrary to your version of popular opinion, which is sometimes, forgive me very twisted, [/b]
always best when this comes from a spouse, family member or friend...

;\)

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#789322 - 08/25/04 03:46 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
I don't trust either of them. I seem to remember a million Iraqis dying under Bill Clinton, half a million of them children, and Madeleine Albright going on national tv and saying that was quite acceptable to her. (not a peep out of Mr. Kerry.) What has happened under GWII (who, as you know, I think is a terrible Prez) doesn't hold a candle next to the horrors of the Clinton Administration, which gave us a million dead in Iraq, welfare "reform", NAFTA and new "free trade" agreements (and with them, unprecedented glboal environmental destruction), and the largest number of inmates in federal prisons for nonviolent drug offenses in the nation's history.

I think there would be much, much, much less killing with a very quick exodus, provided the proper arrangement was made with the man who is going to end up ruling the country anyway - Ayatollah Sistani - with guarantees for the Kurds (and a U.S. military base), and some more limited ones for the Sunnis. (Let's not overstate the killing either: the American people as whole don't care in the least how many Iraqis are killed.)

But a quick exodus won't happen under Bush because he knows very well why we are there: to secure long-term access to middle eastern oil, and to secure a long-term forward U.S. military base outside of Saudi Arabia. He knows what the stakes are. (But since he understands the lay of the land, who knows? If Ollie North could make nice to Iranian mullahs in the past, anything is possible.)

From what I've heard from Kerry - he hasn't a clue why we are there. And his track record is not one that inspires trust.

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#789323 - 08/26/04 02:57 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
So, to no one's great surprise, Sistani brokers a peace agreement. The only one that could do it. Will stop killing in Najaf, for at least a little while.

First requirement of the peace deal - the Americans have to get out of Najaf. Quick exodus. Like NOW. (If they don't, all hell will break loose.) Good to see that he can order the Americans around so easily.

Sadr isn't going away of course. Hey, it is HIS country.

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#789324 - 08/26/04 03:11 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
Sadr is going away, and Sistani is the one who's going to drive the knife into his back.

To the hilt.

With no fingerprints on it...
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#789325 - 08/26/04 03:22 PM Re: John Kerry's Epilogue to "The New Soldier"
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
Yup, and the first condition is that the U.S. has to leave. NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. NOW. Quick exodus. It will start with Najaf, and spread.

Of course, the U.S. is real good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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