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WilliamPitt

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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,704

Journal Archives

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda



When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia

But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying

For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
I see the old men, all twisted and torn
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me...

I Hate That I Hate Veterans Day



Source: Wikipedia

I Hate That I Hate Veterans Day
By William Rivers Pitt
BuzzFlash at Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 11 November 2014

My deepest and most sincere apologies to all of my veteran friends, but I need to be honest: I simply hate this day. I've had this low-and-slow weeping thing going on basically from the moment I got out of bed this morning. Tomas Young is dead, and I can't stop thinking about all the letters I've received from the loved ones of so many other fallen soldiers over the last 12 years.

What's worse, this maudlin weepiness makes me sick because my emotions are making it about me, and not them, and that sucks big rocks, but I can't seem to help it. When I was 13 years old, all I wanted was to serve the way my father who volunteered for service in Vietnam did. An accumulation of experiences and opinions culminated with the recruiter sitting in my living room some 25 years ago, days after my 18th birthday, telling me Saddam Hussein was worse than Hitler and his army was vast, but if I signed up right then and there, I probably wouldn't see combat for at least four years, and the only thing going through my head was BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT THIS GUY IS FULL OF BULLSHIT, so I didn't sign, and I never served, and I'm glad of it, because it was the correct decision...

...but all these years later, on this day of days, I recall that decision, and I think of the men and women who went when I didn't, and how very many of them are gone, or damaged, or simply done. We're averaging 22 veteran suicides a day these days. Once upon a time, I wrote that when a person dons the uniform of the armed services and swears the oath, the nation to which they have pledged their life also owes an oath: not to cast that precious life onto the pyre of profit and political ambition. I weep slowly today, to no small degree, because the other half of that oath has not been kept.

A nation that does not care for its war veterans has absolutely no business making new ones. All the treacly televised nonsense singing the praises of broken men and women whom the networks cheerleaded into a bloodbath so they can now run commercials praising the very people they invited into the meat grinder of war makes me want to tear my teeth out. I simply cannot stand it. I hate this day. I'm sorry, but I do. A soldier will die in agony tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, for the same wretched, failed, flawed reasons as the soldier who died yesterday. That raw fact makes this day grotesque, and there is no getting around that truth.

I hate this day. I hate the reasons why I hate this day. On this day, I hate.

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/william-rivers-pitt-i-hate-that-i-hate-veterans-day

Tomas Young saved me from myself.

William Rivers Pitt | Waking From My Moral Coma
13 March 2013
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/15088-waking-from-my-moral-coma

From the moment the Supreme Court decision came down in 2000 that gifted the White House to Bush, to the moment he was finally and forever out of power, I resisted him and his works, because I knew what he represented, what he was about, and what he was doing to my beloved country. My instincts were finely honed, and I gave probably a million words - in print, and spoken aloud on the road for some 800,000 miles - to the cause of thwarting him and everything he stood for.

And now? Now I'm suddenly wondering where that guy has been. He sure as hell isn't the one I see in the mirror. He lapsed into a moral coma, lulled by his idea of America and by the election of someone who can talk the birds out of the trees even as the lumberjacks clear-cut the forest.

Make no mistake, now: that's not an "Obama is the same as Bush" argument. Nobody is Bush, because Bush stands alone, and whoever makes that kind of equivalency either slept through the first eight years of this century, hit their head and forgot what those eight years were like, or is trying to sell you something.

The issue is not about Obama being the same as Bush. The issue is the fact that it doesn't matter a tinker's damn who sits in that fine round room. I believe Mr. Obama to be a better man than his predecessor, and if we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.

I believe in the idea that is America, but I also believe in Tomas Young, who was re-introduced to me by way of a Chris Hedges article that should be mandatory reading for every sentient American on the continent. Young was shot through the spine and permanently paralyzed during his deployment to Iraq, and later went on to be one of the first veterans to actively and publicly denounce the war...and now? Now, after a number of physical setbacks, he actively seeks his own death, but lacks the capability to do it himself, and will not allow anyone to finish things for him. So he sits in hospice and waits to die.

I believe in the idea that is America, but Tomas Young is dying because he believed, too. He is dying, and the people who delivered him to the slow sunset of his death remain utterly unmolested by the rule of law we Americans take so much misguided pride in. I live with my idea of America in one hand, and the dying light of Tomas Young in the other, and when I look in the mirror, I cannot meet my own eyes. I spent all those years fighting against everything that is ending Tomas Young's life, I made documenting their serial crimes my life's work...and then I let it slide, because Bush was gone, and I couldn't summon the necessary energy to remain outraged over the fact that they all got away with the crime of the millennium scot-free.

It is enough.

I am finished with the moral geometry that says this is better than that, which makes this good. This is not good; this is, in fact, intolerable. Allowing the perpetrators of war crimes - widely televised ones at that - to retain their good name and go on Sunday talk shows as if they had anything to offer besides their ideology of murder and carnage is intolerable. Entertaining the idea that the billions we spend preparing for war cannot be touched, and so the elderly and the infirm and the young and the weak and the voiceless must pay the freight instead, is intolerable.

The pornography of America's global killing spree is intolerable, and, by the by, I am sick of hearing about drones. A child killed by a Hellfire missile that was fired from a drone is exactly, precisely as dead as a child killed by a Hellfire missile fired from an Apache attack helicopter, precisely as dead as a child killed by a smart bomb, precisely as dead as a child killed by a sniper, precisely as dead as a child killed by a land mine, or by a cruise missile, or by any of the myriad other ways instant death is dealt by this hyper-weaponized nation of ours.

Exactly, precisely as God damned dead, and the blood is on our hands regardless of the means used to do the killing. The issue is not the drones. The issue is our hard, black hearts, and the grim fact that the debate in this country right now is not about whether the killing is wrong, but about the most morally acceptable way of going about that killing. Drones are bad, but snipers are better, because you don't hear the buzzing sound in the sky before your lights go out forever. Or something.

It is the killing, it is the permanent war, it is our deranged national priorities. It is the system we live under which requires the serial deaths of all those innocents to maintain our economic health that should appall us. We sup upon the blood and bonemeal that is the byproduct of the idea that is America, and we sleep. And we sleep.

I mean to face the stranger in the mirror tomorrow, and so I must acknowledge my own culpability in all this. I am to blame; I went to sleep, because I have an idea of America that I cling to desperately, and so I bought into the soothing nonsense of cosmetic change even as the sound of the same old gears ground on around me.

I am sorry.

I still believe in that idea.

And I am awake.



Thank you, Tomas, for my life and from my soul. I'm so sorry you're gone. Rest easy, good sir.

VETERANS DAY AMBUSH MAKEOVERS

Happened to flip on NBC just now, and they're running a segment titled:

"VETERANS DAY AMBUSH MAKEOVERS: Honoring Servicewomen With A Whole New Look"

"Ambush," really? Fucking REALLY?

I was going to eat. Not so much any more. I swear to God and sonny Jesus, I am not built for this place. I want to crawl out of my skin.

"Ambush makeovers" for veterans. It beggars language. My tongue is in my teeth.

Un-fucking-real.

A nation that does not care for its veterans has no business making new ones.

Period. End of file.

ZOMG YOU GUYS IT'S 11:11:11 ON 11/11 YOU GUYS

"The Last Letter": A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran



"The Last Letter": A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
By Tomas Young
Truthdig

18 March 2013

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

(snip)

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Full letter: http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318

Tomas Young has passed.

One of these days I'm going to buy a serious camera

so as to do justice to what I see in this place.

I tried again tonight with this massive 3/4 moon, and I suppose the effort yields its own rewards...but man o man o man...this ain't the half of it.

About the most gut-wrenching, terrifying thing I've ever seen...

...because of how many people in positions of incredible power hold this to be Gospel truth.

Reaping the Whirlwind, Again



President Barack Obama during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington,
November 5, 2014. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)


Reaping the Whirlwind, Again
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Friday 07 November 2014

I am tired. I am tired of speech
and of action. In the heart of me
you will find a tiny handful of
dust. Take it and blow it out
upon the wind. Let the wind have
it and it will find its way home.

- Tennessee Williams


Here in rural New Hampshire, in this town without a traffic light, with a population so small that it would have trouble filling a Pop Warner football stadium, the old folks came out to vote in force on Tuesday.

We vote here at the Community Center on Main Street, an old clapboard building with a coat of white paint that remembers the Eisenhower administration. It has wheelchair access, and thank God for it, because squadrons of elderly voters on Tuesday went through the long endurance required in order to simply leave the house, and came out, and made it inside the polling place, and got their ballots, and cut their chosen "X" through the provided spaces, and slipped their ballot into the box, and left the way they came: proud voters, each wearing an "I Voted" sticker that announced they had done their duty.

I am world-weary enough at this point to swallow my tongue when I witness this kind of phenomenon first-hand while reading about how national turnout for Tuesday's midterm elections was historically low. When the President of the United States gave a press conference the day after an electoral wipeout of historic proportions to basically apologize for even feigning to represent the things that inspired people to vote for him in the first place, I didn't blink. People for whom voting requires half a day's hard effort showed up to cast their ballots, while the President could not summon the will to explain why his party might deserve their vote, and I refused to be surprised or astonished or disappointed.

Par for the course.

Hell, I called it on the third of October. "Come November," I wrote at the time, "if the Democrats wind up flopping and flailing for an explanation as to why they got routed at the polls, let me offer a succinct reply: You stand for nothing. You are the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters. Everyone expects you to go down to defeat, because you always lay down, because you are paid to do so. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's the way it is. When the midterms eat you alive, remember what I said. When you stand for nothing, you get nothing in return."

(snip)

We managed here, with the geriatric squad being the only crew with the requisite number of damns to give in order to summon the will to actually raise their hands on the most important day of the year, to jettison the unendurable political herpe that is Scott Brown. Maggie Hassan likewise managed to hold the governorship. It's a hell of a thing when New Hampshire comes off as the liberal whackadoo state that actually votes for people who intend to govern. Go figure.

I'm really glad the DCCC sent out those thousands of doom-and-gloom fundraising emails over the last couple of months. You know, the ones that said "It's over" and "Don't bother" and "TRAGIC NEWS" and the like. That really seemed to do the trick, yeah? I hate to quote myself again, but I'm going to: "Here's a memo to whoever came up with this particularly obnoxious fundraising tactic: You suck. I hope you get fired with such velocity that you can't even get a job drowning puppies in a kill shelter."

(snip)

The environment. The wars. The economy. The living and the dead, and the damned besides. We are not our brother's keeper, despite all the strident oratory that would have us believe this nation actually stands for something beyond bedrock greed, lazy coddled indolence, and bluejeans on the cheap. That much, at least, was proven on Tuesday.

"God is a comedian," said H.L. Mencken, "playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." The old folks here in rural New Hampshire came out on Main Street to vote on Tuesday. Most of the rest of the country couldn't be bothered, or weren't given a reason, or were denied the chance, and we will all reap the whirlwind because of it, again. So it goes.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27300-reaping-the-whirlwind-again
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