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Member since: Wed Oct 3, 2012, 09:48 PM
Number of posts: 408

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April 23, 1971:

"How Do You Ask a Man to be the Last Man to Die for a Mistake?"

"I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia.

These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

Atrocities in Vietnam

They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

The Winter Soldier Investigation

We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term Winter Soldier is a play on words of Thomas Paine's in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriots and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now.

We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out...

The Height of Criminal Hypocrisy

In our opinion and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.

And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart.

They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.

American Taxes Used for a Corrupt Dictatorial Regime

We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime.

We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties.

We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong. We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them.

We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.

We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts.

We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against 'oriental human beings.'

We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater.

We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and after losing one platoon or two platoons they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese.

It Didn't Matter How Many American Bodies Were Lost

We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamizing the Vietnamese.

Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake.

Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, 'the first President to lose a war.'

The Last Man to Die for a Mistake

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?...

We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy.

It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country -

the question of racism which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions such as the use of weapons;

the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions;

in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam.

That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.

An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly.

He told me how as a boy on an Indian reservation he had watched television and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "My God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people," and he stopped.

Where Are the Leaders of Our Country?

And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.

We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership?

We're here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned?

These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war.

The Army says they never leave their wounded. The marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They've left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country...

We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us.

But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission -

to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war,
to pacify our own hearts,

to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more.

And more. . . "


The 2004 campaign was eight years ago. It's 2012, we have a second term Dem president supported all the way by Kerry, and as far as I know Kerry's the only one of the contenders to have openly expressed strong opposition to any US war, and he's been at it for a while.

Kerry would be my pick too.

Who wants to be the last man to die for a mistake?

We need to end the Exxon-Halliburton war first policy now and Kerry's the one who can do it. Probably the only one. And I'm confident MA won't let his senate seat won't go red.

On the other hand...

Petraeus took a powder on Nov. 9, DeMint is "retiring early," JJ Jr. managed to get reelected without setting off a CNN shitstorm, we haven't been regaled with Larry Sinclair tales 24/7, heads have quietly rolled at Goldmans Sachs and other usury mills, the Tea Party crashed and burned on Nov. 6 and let's not forget Rove's televised meltdown . Can Holder take credit for all this? Yes, since the DOJ runs the FBI and other responsible agencies, including the Office of Tribal Justice, and let's not forget that $3.4 billion settlement Native Americans just won:

Native Americans to soon receive settlement checks

Federal officials are working to send out $1,000 checks in the next few weeks to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. The money stems from a settlement of the Cobell case, a landmark $3.4 billion settlement over mismanagement of federal lands held in trust for Native American people.


So Holder hasn't been a complete slouch.

Let's see, end of Bush tax cuts, new capital gains tax, defense cuts...

are we sure this "fiscal cliff" isn't just a little spanking for the 1%ers? Potential changes:

Letís take a look at what may happen January 1st should congress and the president fail to reach a new agreement on taxes and spending: *

1. End of 2% Payroll Tax Cut in place for past 2 years.

2. New 3.8% Tax on Dividends, Capital Gains & Interest.

3. 0.9% Medicare Tax increase on earning above $200k ($250 for married filing jointly).

4. Lower Threshold for Alternative Minimum Tax (resulting in $100 billion increase in taxes).

5. Return to 2000 ordinary income tax rates. Eliminates 10% income bracket and increases other tax brackets. Highest marginal tax rate goes back to 39.5%.

6. Increase in Long Term Capital Gains tax rate. Lower income earners move from 0% to 10% and higher income earners move from 15% to 20%.

7. Qualified Dividends no longer taxed at Long Term Capital Gain rate but at higher ordinary income rate.

8. Child Tax Credit goes from $1,000 per child to $500 per child.

9. Estate Tax Exemption lowered from $5.12 million to $1million. Top marginal rate goes back to 55%.

10. Automatic $70 billion mandatory spending cut across Defense, Social Services, Infrastructure and Medicare.[/b

Potential year-over-year impact from Congressional Budget Office: $400-$600 Billion
*Congressional Budget Office

from: http://berkeleycp.com/content/defining-fiscal-cliff

If we're going to get stuck with middle class "austerity" measures anyway, and we are, why not just go home and let the economy go over the cliff, which looks a lot more to me like a speed bump for the Romney class?

p.s. And no, I don't believe it will have any measurable effect on job growth.
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