Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Getting this off my chest...

Too often I hear that the American Soldiers chose to fight this war. Sometimes this is in the instance of making the point that the Iraqi's didn't choose it. That they are losing their lives not by choice. Make no mistake I think all the loss of life during this or any war is tragic. Not just American. It is all unjust. Sometimes the statement is made because of the persons politics and they are defending their party.

I wish I lived in the perfect world that these people do. I wish that at 18,19 or 20 years of age we were informed enough to make the best decisions. I wish that at that age they had figured out who they were and what the world was about. Maybe there are a few who have. I wish they weren't naive enough to believe that their government wouldn't lie to them. I wish that they served a government that honored their service and respected them. I wish the military recruiters would be honest with the young people they enlist. They are sold an idea, they make a decision and go with it.

Am I the only one who regrets more than a few decisions made at that age? I wish at that age that I had seen the limitless possibilities and choices that lay at my feet. I didn't. Was I so different from others. I'm 44 and just started figuring out that I'm not invincible. I only recently got a hold on who I am. I hope someday that every choice I make is the correct one.

I just don't think things are that black and white. In the end all these humans on all sides are just pawns of warmongers. I honor them all. Peace.

The Warrior Was a Child

By Marty Webster

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and look up for a smile
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

A Soldier poem
By Doug Soderstrom

Not a sacred warrior,
Nor with a bayonet blessed by God,

Not even a human being,
Just a simple peasant ... a surrogate,
A sacrificial lamb, a frightened child,
Chosen by the rich to be an instrument of war,

A cold-blooded, battle-trained beast,
A mindless savage ordered to kill,

A molded piece of steel, an object ... a gear,
A very small cog in a far-reaching engine of death,
An insignificant fleck in the overall fabric of life,

A negligible notch on the handle of an enemy's gun,
A mere afterthought for those who extol the wonders of war,
An unkempt grunt,
A lonely, gutted, blood-spattered corpse lying on the ground,
Something like the trivial crush of dead dog on a lonely country road,
Dead meat ... with a tin tag,

A sacred breath of life having been stripped from its mother's womb,
A father's pride ... his very best friend,
Someone whose name is Abdul, Mohammed, Ishmael, Ibrahim, or Hassan,
Or then again ... perhaps even Mike, John, Eddy, Ben, or Bill,
A world diminished by the loss of another precious child!

Doug Soderstrom


Blogger dawn said...

You know Mary I whole heartedly agree. We had opening day ceremonies at our league. A gentleman brought a poster of his son a marine who just came home(he played for us)my only thought was he is a baby in a costume. You know I own a 20 year old too. They really can't know yet. I just pray they all come home soon and safe

4/18/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger dawn said...

I just read your comment on my post and I think if we were at the same game on a team the coaches would be very frightened

4/18/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi Mary, a difficult one
I have no party axe to grind

Every soldier (including your son) - can choose whether to fight on. They either believe in their cause, or what are they fighting for.
Sure someone has to do the job
But let us not forget the big lie, Iraq had no WMDs, Iraq posed no threat to mainland US or Britain.

What the pentagon did, was take the war to the enemy (in their heads) to the vipers nest - but any enemy of the US, whether Russia, or Vietnam or Korea or Iraq had no choice - it was Washington made them the enemy!

I remember Mohammed Ali, Cassius Clay - when he refused to go to Vietnam said - "no VietCon ever called me an effing nigger"

4/18/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

The Soldier Child brought tears to my eyes, especially following your own post. I could see both myself and my sons and daughter in it. I know that so many just want to do something to make a difference in this world and they know not what they are choosing. Talk about waking up - I was your age when I first comprehended that I actually have choices. Before that, I was living a pre-programmed life, breaking out only now and then to be who I truly am. Who I am becomes more and more apparent every day.

4/18/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mariamariacuchita said...

Thanks, Mary, for your essay on compassion and survival.

4/18/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Shrink wrapped scream said...

Oh, Mary,

You leave me speechless, and feeling so inadequate. Tony Blair and all those "High-Minded" officials at the Whitehouse, have truly cocked this one up between them. And, yes, it's the innocents, on both sides, who are paying the price for that, as ever. Such a salient point that, who the hell ever knows what choice to make in their twenties? I've just seen a documentary on some of our soldiers who went A-WAL recently. Most had huge post war traumatic stress, and had tried to summon help, before taking that option. None were given a scrap of it. I sometimes despair for humanity. Think I can feel a fresh post of my own coming on. Thank you.

4/18/2007 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

I'm incapable of adding anything to this masterpiece, except this:

I love who you are, what you believe, and your never ceasing efforts. You are so Special.......

4/19/2007 02:52:00 AM  
Blogger landsker said...

Mary, you lament the lack of information available to young people, you "wish" that you had been more aware when younger.

Your government told the people that Iraq needed to be invaded as it was full of "terrorists and WMD`s", then it was "removal of Saddam", then it was "to bring peace and democracy".

Oil? Geopolitical power and domination ?

Permit me, if you would, to recount a little of some events, that occurred almost forty years gone, and their relevance to what seems to be a slight parting of our philosophies .
Spain has long been an enigma, a place where Islam and Christianity have met and battled, where now there sits a curious secular peace.
In the sixties and seventies, Spanish law provided little or no extradition treaties with the united states, and thus attracted a fair number of American pacifists, resisters, or simply put, "Draft Dodgers", and quite a few deserters.
It was my lot in life, at the time, to have been living and working around that area, and as such I would often encounter these dear souls.
Sometimes they were just frightened kids, running and running, anywhere, but away from the front. Listening to their stories, was an "education".

They told me that they wanted nothing to do with a war for the sake of war, that the only winners were the makers of the jets and jeeps. The bombs and bullets were not bringing peace to Asia, but profits to America.

Some resisters had financial support from their families, others were forced to take menial work, even to beg.
All lived under the constant threat of arrest, imprisonment, shame, violence and if sent to Vietnam, the reality of being killed, or worse still, to kill strangers they never even knew.

As well as their spirit of peaceful resistance, those guys brought books and music, and reason.
I was of the same age, and in truth, yes, I had sometimes considered enlisting, fortunately for me I never did.
Instead of learning about the histories of Europe,I was introduced to the songs of "Woodstock", to the "Spirit of Hoffman".
I still listen regularly to "Woodie and Arlo."
The sound of Joan Baez singing, sends a shiver through my system.
Those "resisters" would often have copies of novels, by the popular american scribes, Mitchener, Miller, or perhaps Hemmingway or Poe.
As often as not , it was writers that dared to be different, Kesey, Ginsberg, Casteneda.
Some would extol Karl Marx, or the works of chairmen Mao, but that wasn`t for me.
I did collect the works of Vonnegut, bless him.

Well, I never did join an army, or serve a country in time of war, but I really do owe those resisters a debt, for giving me an education, far above any education I ever got from any government.

Bless them, for they are the peacemakers.

But please, stop being in denial, the american soldiers in Iraq are not fighting a war, they are participating in an armed occupation.
By all means, let us all join together to call for an end to all wars, but let us not forget those brave americans that burned their draft cards and forced the end of conscription.
They shouted with one voice, that war was wrong, and they walked away, risking prison, rather than fight.

"When you′re wounded and left,
On Afghanistan′s plains,
And the women come out,
To cut up your remains,
Just roll on your rifle,
And blow out your brains,
And go to your Gawd,
Like a soldier."

(Rudyard Kipling)


4/19/2007 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I really appreciate everyones comments here. Sorry to not have responded more promptly. Thankfully I am being kept busy in the studio.

Dawn- It's bad when I know the coach is blundering as I am not the greatest with rules and all.

Quasar- I just don't think that we all have it in us to be leaders and war resisters. I think it takes alot of strength of character. I am sure that the person I am today would stand up to any injustice. I think in MY youth it would have taken a few knocks.

Peacechick- It is for me the reward of getting older. I have alot in common w/you.

Mariamaria- De nada.

Shrink wrapped-It is all an abomination. It shows us how vigilant and aware we must be of our governments. We need to stay very involved.

TUA- you are dear.

Landsker- I have no illusions of fighting a war or being in Iraq for any reasonable motive. It would be ideal if everyone had the influence of peacemakers and resisters. It really would. I am simply saying that there are a myriad of reasons or paths that lead one to find themselves in the military. We can't all be leaders. We can't all see the way so clearly. I stand by honoring the soldiers. It's a hard path to be on for any of them. I do desperately want peace for them and for Iraqis.

4/19/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

I can only pray for all of them to be safe. That was a touching poem.

4/19/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger deuddersun said...

What folks who have never served don't understand is that while you may have been fooled into joining or fighting, the reason you stay is for your Brother & Sister Warriors. It becomes very personal very quickly, gone are the ideals, survival is utmost and dependent on your Comrades, thus loyalties are forged that can never be broken or understood by those who have never made them.

Those that are fighting now are fighting for each other, not oil, global domination or George Bush. Their loyalty to each other dictates that they stay with each other until they can all come home together.


4/19/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger deuddersun said...

One other thing - they are no longer children. Do not make the mistake of seeing them as such. And do not treat them as such. They know, far better than we do, what they are doing, what they are risking and why.

Our job is to put pressure on our Government to withdraw them, do not ask them to dishonor themselves.

Resident Scholar
American Patriot Institute

4/19/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Deuddersun- Thank you so much for your comment. That was very illuminating. I know you are right.

4/19/2007 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger deuddersun said...

Thank you Mary. It was a little hard to write. Remember, Honor The Warrior. Not The War.


4/19/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger deuddersun said...

Posted on this today and linked to it. Maybe other vets will offer their opinions, shed some light, so to speak. I posted mine. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but that's what great about America, or...used to be anyway.


4/20/2007 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger bluegrrrrl said...

wow mary, thank you for these poems...beautiful and painful.

I have heard many criticize those who "choose" to fight this war, and I have heard many others glorify those who "choose" to fight this war. I feel exactly as you...those who enlist do so for a multitude of reasons. most do not go in with the intention of killing people and being killed. They are young, strong (sometimes headstrong) kids just learning about life, just beginning to form their own opinions and values. They have their entire lives ahead of them, or they think they do.

I have a few years on you, Mary, and I'm still trying to figure out who I am, probably always will be. I thank god I have that privilege. We need to fight like hell for our young people sent to fight somebody else's battle in Iraq. We need to fight like hell so they can come home and begin the process of healing and finding their way through life as others their age are doing.

4/20/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Bluegrrrrl- You say it so much better than I can but we are in complete agreement.

4/20/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger JM said...

Sometimes what is portrayed as a choice, is in reality a lack of choice. Much like us bringing "freedom" to Iraq. If only the wisdom of our mistakes could somehow be applied retroactively.

4/20/2007 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Good for Me said...

thankyou for sharing this, mary. i love your passion. sometimes i feel so far removed from the war and its impact that i am numb in a way to something that should ignite every cell in my body. thank you for keeping this present, raw and real.

4/20/2007 01:17:00 PM  

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