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Ron Kovic served two tours of duty as a U.S. Marine in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In combat on Jan. 20, 1968, he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He became one of the best-known peace activists among the veterans...


The Forgotten Wounded of Iraq

Thirty-eight years ago, on Jan. 20, 1968, I was shot and paralyzed from my mid-chest down during my second tour of duty in Vietnam. It is a date that I can never forget, a day that was to change my life forever. Each year as the anniversary of my wounding in the war approached I would become extremely restless, experiencing terrible bouts of insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks and horrifying nightmares. I dreaded that day and what it represented, always fearing that the terrible trauma of my wounding might repeat itself all over again. It was a difficult day for me for decades and it remained that way until the anxieties and nightmares finally began to subside.

As I now contemplate another January 20th I cannot help but think of the young men and women who have been wounded in the war in Iraq. They have been coming home now for almost three years, flooding Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke Army Medical Center and veterans hospitals all across the country. Paraplegics, amputees, burn victims, the blinded and maimed, shocked and stunned, brain-damaged and psychologically stressed, over 16,000 of them, a whole new generation of severely maimed is returning from Iraq, young men and women who were not even born when I came home wounded to the Bronx veterans hospital in 1968.

I, like most other Americans, have occasionally seen them on TV or at the local veterans hospital, but for the most part they remain hidden, like the flag-draped caskets of our dead, returned to Dover Air Force Base in the darkness of night as this administration continues to pursue a policy of censorship, tightly controlling the images coming out of that war and rarely ever allowing the human cost of its policy to be seen.

Mosul, Fallouja, Basra, Baghdad, a roadside bomb, an RPG, an ambush, the bullets cracking all around them, the reality that they are in a war, that they have suddenly been hit. No more John Wayne-Audie Murphy movie fantasies. No more false bravado, stirring words of patriotism, romantic notions of war or what it might really mean to be in combat, to sacrifice for one’s country. All that means nothing now. The reality has struck, the awful, shocking and frightening truth of what it really means to be hit by a bullet, an RPG, an improvised explosive device, shrapnel, a booby trap, friendly fire. They are now in a life-and-death situation and they have suddenly come face to face with the foreign policy of their own nation. The initial shock is wearing off; the painful reality is beginning to sink in, clearly something terrible has happened, something awful and inexplicable.

All the conditioning, all the discipline, shouting, screaming, bullying and threatening verbal abuse of their boot camp drill instructors have now disappeared in this one instant, in this one damaging blow. All they want to do now is stay alive, keep breathing, somehow get out of this place anyway they can. People are dying all around them, someone has been shot and killed right next to them and behind them but all they can really think of at this moment is staying alive.

You don’t think of God, or praying, or even your mother or your father. There is no time for that. Your heart is pounding. Blood is seeping out. You will always go back to that day, that moment you got hit, the day you nearly died yet somehow survived. It will be a day you will never forget—when you were trapped in that open area and could not move, when bullets were cracking all around you, when the first Marine tried to save you and was shot dead at your feet and the second, a black Marine—whom you would never see again and who would be killed later that afternoon—would carry you back under heavy fire.

You are now with other wounded all around you heading to a place where there will be help. There are people in pain and great distress, shocked and stunned, frightened beyond anything you can imagine. You are afraid to close your eyes. To close your eyes now means that you may die and never wake up. You toss and turn, your heart pounding, racked with insomnia ... and for many this will go on for months, years after they return home.

They are being put on a helicopter, with the wounded all around them. They try to stay calm. Some are amazed that they are still alive. You just have to keep trying to stay awake, make it to the next stage, keep moving toward the rear, toward another aid station, a corpsman, a doctor a nurse someone who can help you, someone who will operate and keep you alive so you can make it home, home to your backyard and your neighbors and your mother and father. To where it all began, to where it was once peaceful and safe. They just try to keep breathing because they have got to get back.

They are in the intensive-care ward now, the place where they will be operated on, and where in Vietnam a Catholic priest gave me the Last Rites. Someone is putting a mask over their faces just as they put one over mine in Da Nang in 1968. There is the swirl of darkness and soon they awaken to screams all around them. The dead and dying are everywhere. There are things here you can never forget, images and sounds and smells that you will never see on TV or read about in the newspapers. The black pilot dying next to me as the corpsman and nurse tried furiously to save him, pounding on his chest with their fists as they laughed and joked trying to keep from going insane. The Green Beret who died of spinal meningitis, the tiny Vietnamese nun handing out apples and rosary beads to the wounded, the dead being carted in and out like clockwork,19- and 20-year-olds.

There is the long flight home packed with the wounded all around you, every conceivable and horrifying wound you could imagine. Even the unconscious and brain-dead whose minds have been blown apart by bullets and shrapnel make that ride with you, because we are all going home now, back to our country. And this is only the beginning.

The frustrations, anger and rage, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety attacks, terrible restlessness and desperate need to keep moving will come later, but for now we are so thankful to have just made it out of that place, so grateful to be alive even with these grievous wounds.

I cannot help but wonder what it will be like for the young men and women wounded in Iraq. What will their homecoming be like? I feel close to them. Though many years separate us we are brothers and sisters. We have all been to the same place. For us in 1968 it was the Bronx veterans hospital paraplegic ward, overcrowded, understaffed, rats on the ward, a flood of memories and images, I can never forget; urine bags overflowing onto the floor. It seemed more like a slum than a hospital. Paralyzed men lying in their own excrement, pushing call buttons for aides who never came, wondering how our government could spend so much money (billions of dollars) on the most lethal, technologically advanced weaponry to kill and maim human beings but not be able to take care of its own wounded when they came home.

Will it be the same for them? Will they have to return to these same unspeakable conditions? Has any of it changed? I have heard that our government has already attempted to cut back millions in much needed funds for veterans hospitals—and this when thousands of wounded soldiers are returning from Iraq. Will they too be left abandoned and forgotten by a president and administration whose patriotic rhetoric does not match the needs of our wounded troops now returning? Do the American people, the president, the politicians, senators and congressmen who sent us to this war have any idea what it really means to lose an arm or a leg, to be paralyzed, to begin to cope with the psychological wounds of that war? Do they have any concept of the long-term effects of these injuries, how the struggles of the wounded are only now just beginning? How many will die young and never live out their lives because of all the stress and myriad of problems that come with sending young men and women into combat?

It is so difficult at first. You return home and both physically and emotionally don’t know how you are going to live with this wound, but you just keep trying, just keep waking up to this frightening reality every morning. “My God, what has happened to me?” But you somehow get up, you somehow go on and find a way to move through each day. Even though it is impossible, you go on. Maybe there will be a day years from now, if you are lucky to live that long, when it will get better and you will not feel so overwhelmed. You must have something to hope for, some way to believe it will not always be this way. This is exactly what many of them are going through right now.

They are alone in their rooms all over this country, right now. Just as I was alone in my room in Massapequa. I know they’re there—just as I was. This is the part you never see. The part that is never reported in the news. The part that the president and vice president never mention. This is the agonizing part, the lonely part, when you have to awake to the wound each morning and suddenly realize what you’ve lost, what is gone forever. They’re out there and they have mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives and children. And they’re not saying much right now. Just like me they’re just trying to get through each day. Trying to be brave and not cry. They still are extremely grateful to be alive, but slowly, agonizingly they are beginning to think about what has really happened to them.

What will it be like for them when one morning they suddenly find themselves naked sitting before that mirror in their room and must come face to face with their injury? I want to reach out to them. I want them to know that I’ve been there too. I want to just sit with them in their room and tell them that they must not give up. They must try to be patient, try to just get through each day, each morning, each afternoon any way they can. That no matter how impossible and frustrating it may seem, how painful, regardless of the anxiety attacks and nightmares and thoughts of suicide, they must not quit. Somewhere out there there will be a turning point, somewhere through this all they will find a reason to keep on living.

In the months and years that are to follow, others will be less fortunate. Young men and women who survived the battlefield, the intensive-care ward, veterans hospitals and initial homecoming will be unable to make the difficult and often agonizing adjustment.

Is this what is awaiting all of them? Is this the nightmare no one ever told them about, the part no one now wants to talk about or has the time to deal with? The car accidents, and drinking and drug overdoses, the depression, anger and rage, spousal abuse, bedsores and breakdowns, prison, homelessness, sleeping under the piers and bridges. The ones who never leave the hospital, the ones who can’t hold a job, can’t keep a relationship together, can’t love or feel any emotions anymore, the brutal insomnia that leaves you exhausted and practically unable to function, the frightening anxiety attacks that come upon you when you least expect them, and always the dread that each day may be your last.

Marty, Billy, Bobby, Max, Tom, Washington, Pat, Joe? I knew them all. It’s a long list. It’s amazing that you’re still alive when so many others you knew are dead, and at such a young age. Isn’t all this dying supposed to happen when you’re much older? Not now, not while we’re so young. How come the recruiters never mentioned these things? This was never in the slick pamphlets they showed us! This should be a time of innocence, a time of joy and happiness, no cares and youthful dreams—not all these friends dying so young, all this grief and numbness, emptiness and feelings of being so lost.

The physical and psychological battles from the war in Iraq will rage on for decades, deeply impacting the lives of citizens in both our countries.

As this the 38th anniversary of my wounding in Vietnam approaches, in many ways I feel my injury in that war has been a blessing in disguise. I have been given the opportunity to move through that dark night of the soul to a new shore, to gain an understanding, a knowledge, an entirely different vision. I now believe that I have suffered for a reason and in many ways I have found that reason in my commitment to peace and nonviolence. We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph. I have come to believe that there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.

We must break this cycle of violence and begin to move in a different direction;  war is not the answer, violence is not the solution. A more peaceful world is possible.

I am the living death
The memorial day on wheels
I am your yankee doodle dandy
Your John Wayne come home
Your Fourth of July firecracker
Exploding in the grave

Listen to this item Listen: Poem read by the author


Dig last updated on Jan. 18, 2006

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By Funny sms, August 4, 2011 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
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Article is almost a few years old now, will probably get a refresh pretty soon.

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By gynexin, July 19, 2011 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
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Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hoping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us.

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By gynexin, July 19, 2011 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
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It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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By Andrew CNA, June 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment
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I believe that war is never a solution, reading this article has further strengthened my belief. Life it to live, respect and support others not to crush them.

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By seo services, June 5, 2011 at 12:58 am Link to this comment
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Gripping, I passed this on to a friend of mine, and he actually bought me lunch because I found this for him, so let me rephrase: Thanks for lunch

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By jamaicawillson, June 1, 2011 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my bookmark list. Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to see more of this.

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By Online CNA Classes, May 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

This is really great! I am hoping to read more helpful articles from you. Thanks!

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By Karen, March 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you for your courage in the face of such outrageous abuses.

We would love to interview you and offer you a platform to raise your voice on

We are calling for a 3 day global strike April 15-17, and hopefully we’ll get enough participation to continue and be able to peacefully begin to reverse current policies and recreate our world.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is how you can reach me.

Power to the People through Peaceful Unity!

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By Drew Waddell, January 16, 2009 at 1:50 am Link to this comment
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My brother Bob Waddell was a friend of yours in years past, (Long Beach VA and Venice). Glad to see you still have the passion to speak out.
I wish you a long life with even more passion.
Bob is at Peace now. His ashes were spread in the ocean at Baker Beach, San Francisco. The same beach we played as kids.
As Brother Bob wrote ending his letters:
Peace, Love and Understanding…....

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By RJL, July 15, 2008 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
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Ron, you brought back allot of memories - some I wish I could forget. ‘72 was a long time ago but from time to time it revisits me. There is nothing about war that is fair, nor about patriotism. War is a real life game of survival with dire consequences in which there is only one rule for the combatant, kill or be killed. Iraq like Vietnam IS NOT about national security. It never was. It is about oil, wealth, hidden secrets and lies.

The sad part is we the citizens of this Nation have allowed for it to happen. We hold part if not a large portion of the blame by our failure to demand the President and Congress to work in the interest of us and not themselves. We are failing each other by not speaking up. By not demanding a government free of lobbist, free of elite politicians, free of irresponsible representation. The government and Nation we fought for was at one time of the people, for the people, by the people. Suddenly, I don’t recognize the country I walked into war for.

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By Wilbur McCullah, July 14, 2008 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
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War is hell, and while I probably agree and disagree with Mr. Kovic on various issues I do agree with the senselessness of the Iraq occupation and the waste of the all this meaningless suffering. It was not a neccessary war or was Iraq responsible for any attacks against us. Iraq did not possess any WMD as Bush claimed. So we were lied too. What else is new ? Now don’t misunderstand me, there are times that we must fight to preserve our nation and way of life but I don’t see that as the litmus test in most of our conflicts since WW2. The american public is being submersed in a myriad of smoking mirrors and questionable foreign policy built on a foundation designed to support the elites and their profits while simultaneously discarding the constitution and the system of checks and balances that require congressional approval for war.  I am a veteran having served in the army and I see very little if any patriotism in anything that this administration has ever done.

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By Jay Mucci, February 24, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
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Dear Mr. Kovic,
I have read your book & seen the movie and I have to say that I was deeply deeply moved by your story. You are an inspiration to millions of people. Not by being a hero. But by simply speaking out & telling your story. By speaking the truth, when so many people (including the government) wanted to sweep all veterans under the rug & not let them be heard, unless it was strictly pro-war. It is people like you though who never stopped speaking the truth. And we need more people like you.
I was in favor of the war in Iraq in the beginning, thinking there was no other way to solve the problem. I still have to admit that even though there might not have been WMDs, I’m still glad to see Hussein out of power….but at what cost to our nation?? It is time for this war to END…before any more young or innocent are killed or maimed. It turned out to be just another senseless war, like almost every war throughout time has been.
Anyhow, thank you for serving your country. You gave up alot to protect us, more than any young person should have to give up. It’s a shame it turned out to be a war that solved nothing. But may your story (& stories like yours) never be forgotten. 
God bless you Ron Kovic. May you live a long & happy life.

Jay Mucci

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By Theresa Nielsen, January 20, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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I was born in New York and later lived in Long Island while attending Nassau Community College. True that Massapequa and many other great suburbs and towns were once such a great symbol of all that is great with America. Families dined together, the air was crisp and neighborhood friends connected regardless of personal circumstances. Life even if challenging was good and most of us always had that sense for optimism and looking forward towards a brighter future. Today, that sense of hope and optimism for the future is fading especially since we are not truly aware of the hold by outside interets of our economics and congress. Our media is not being honest to the People. Thank you Ron Kovic for being that symbol and inspiration that regardless of time passed and or changes have helped to remind us of all of that which has been so great about us both as a Nation and as a People. Thanks for the time in educating us and just know that we will never forget the sacrifices nor the dreams of all our Vets and soldiers who have served.  In your name and of those who served for noble causes we will once again do our best to try and take this Nation back, back like to those beautiful breezy optimistic days in Massapequa.

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By Rich Klein, January 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment
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Please see my blog post on the 40th anniversary of Ron Kovic’s injury at

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By stu bob, January 8, 2008 at 1:59 am Link to this comment
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Hey, thanks for your service to our country! Your article sceams “look at poor me!” I hate that people get hurt in wars…. But that’s what happens when the ONLY thing that these people seem to understand is destruction of ANYONE who does not believe as they poddo. America is not perfect,Bush is not perfect…Will we ever have a perfect President? I doubt it..The media would never let any such thing happen. I hate that the Democrats seem to have “tunnell vision” in hating the present administration. Hopefully this same attitude will lose them the election AGAIN this year. At least this election may force someone to come up with a plan…..

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By Maureen Morrow, January 3, 2008 at 4:32 am Link to this comment
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I have been looking for you Ron Kovic. In 1990, I came to Redondo Beach with my 6 year old grandson. I had an idea for a new movie,however my words were weak, I said, “Back To The Future”. That is not what I meant, but that was then. Now, I have a definite idea and you would listen I believe. My grandson is now 23 years old. I have two other grandsons, both 18 years old! We are moving towards a great disaster of which I can’t ignore. We must stop George Bush now. Please write to me. I have a CD of my story. Both of my daughters have been in California prisons for non-violent crimes due to their dad’s suicide! Please help us.        Sincerely, Maureen Morrow

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By tankmach, December 29, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
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you got to stop reading the far left blogs,Give your info and i will send you a ticket to hugo chavas, of fidal castroes place to life your paranoid got to quit smoking the pot.

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By 1drees, November 30, 2007 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
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I wonder how it feels to go to war and fight it for ages and sacrifice yourself for the war and health in that WAR and return to find your life really changed negativly owing to the PDSD and the tortures and massacres witenssed and later to FIND OUT THAT PRESIDENT LYNDON B JOHNSON LIED.

And years later you find out that the same scanario is bieng relived with a now different name called George W Bullshit and its the same kind of lies and seems you been born in a WARMONGER LIAR NATION.

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By Billy Dillon, October 11, 2007 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
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Ron,,,,Marine,68,Nam…........Somehow I was one of the lucky ones…..I came home educated myself, became a super success and a millionaire….However there has not been a day in 39 years I dont wake up with a terrible feeling and pain….I, like you knew about iraq and had the knowledge to know you can not defeat an enemy assulted and from our knowledge of the nam that it was unwinnable…I salute you my brother, with most humility,,,,,,,,I can only say Semper Fi,,,,So sad our country is headed by men who stepped down when it was their time to step up….Such cowards,,,,,,,,,,,,Billy

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By Marnie Delano, October 4, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
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Ron, I read Born on the Fourth of July when it first came out and since then, have celebrated your birthday of that date as I followed your activism over the years.  You are still incredibly articulate and your words are still incredibly moving.  There is little one can say that does not sound facile, hollow or clicheed but I just want you to know how much of an impact your work and your story has made on my life and that of so many others.  Your spirit is a shining light amidst all the darkness in which our country now finds itself and I want to thank you for sharing your journey with us all.

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By Anti-Hate, October 3, 2007 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you for sharing your story.I watch the movie that depict your experience with war.I was deeply moved.God Bless you.

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By Dave Schoenstein,, October 3, 2007 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment
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I am glad to see you are still keeping up the fight and I hope that you will keep the pressure up on the V.A.  and make sure they take care of us who have served our country. If it wasnt for guys like you, I think there would not have been any investigations into the V.A. They do not care about us, they use us, no matter if your in the Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Army, or the Marine Corp, active duty or reserves, our government has turned our backs on us and are not doing a damn thing to take care of us. I feel, as many out here, we were being used and now they have not owned up to their part of the bargain. I think if people REALLY care for the people who have served, then they need to call up their congressman and congress woman and make then do what is right and take care of the veterans and especially those who are coming back from the Iraq or the Afghan War.

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By Theresa, June 7, 2007 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
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Ron, I will pray for you and if you are ill please do not forget to leave us and future generations of Americans a video message. If you could have someone do a recent interview, and a question and answer segment so that you could educate others about your views on todays current events. This will serve as a time capsule for many are doing this in the event are country is totally lost then info. saved will serve as testimony to future generations.

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By Rich Klein, June 5, 2007 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment
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Ron Kovic will always be my hometown hero from Massapequa, NY. When I was in high school, I did a book report on “Born on the Fourth of July” and had the honor of getting it into Mr. Kovic’s hands who praised my efforts. Ron..I hear you are ill and I’m praying for you.

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By Theresa, May 29, 2007 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
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Well, the Vets usually go through stages of recovery. The first is denial that they may or not be kind of sick, then there is grieving, later facing the reality of the “Shell Shock” or the true nature of an injury or pysc. trauma of a War and then self-realization. Here the Vet may say to himself, “This is B.S. and what up with my arm or leg etc., and why can’t we just do things better or more effectively in OUR SOCIETY etc. Here is the point where if his needs are not being met and symptoms continue Anger sets In and then ACTION takes place after the anger stage. The Vet studies-researches- and then with KNOWLEADGE organizes but we have a more controlled media so harder to voice out. Research please first then take action. There is a link called US Republic and follow the dots on this page then Lets all do something here: Our entire country’s future is at stake.

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By loveinatub, May 29, 2007 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Why aren’t there any US Army veterans who’ve already served in Iraq coming together to mobilize and organize themselves as “Iraqi veterans against the war”

I mean, why????  Why doesn’t Ron Kovic chime in on this??  After all, you had Vietnam Vets against the war.  Where the hell are the Iraqi vets???

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By loveinatub, May 29, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Why aren’t there any US Army veterans who’ve already served in Iraq coming together to mobilize and organize themselves as “Iraqi veterans against the war”

I mean, why????  Why doesn’t Ron Kovic chime in on this??  After all, you had Vietnam Vets against the war.  Where the hell are the Iraqi vets against the US occupation???

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By Theresa Nielsen, April 14, 2007 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
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Yes , Keith thanks for serving. Just down the road you may wish to ask leaders exactly, What is it that we are truly fighting for and for whom, the American people or for Corporatocracy? Not every country wishes to have a McDonalds nor make high interest payments to the banks. Many of our own policies abroad is what made many of these countries poor anyway just view excerpts of the new book by John Perkins, The old Game of Empire or The Economic Hitman. Either way countries are able to fight their own wars and maybe we will lool like Africa or the Middle East after we go broke for the Never Ending Wars fought for the Never Ending Peace.  We have a war on the streets of America which is poverty, lack of sound healthy education and drugs. I am always proud of our soldiers but we have a war here in America and that is the war on our Minds and of our economy.

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By keith, March 25, 2007 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
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Everyone in the Military today wants to be there, thats why they join. I am leaving for the Marine Corp this next year and I do belive we need to fight for peace. It is good for you to be active and support of our Troops but do not down talk this government. If you feel they’ve done wrong, goto Africa or the Middle East and see what’s going on there and be happy that we are fighting for thoes who are not so lucky.                                          -Semper Fi and god bless you

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By Brad Cotton, March 24, 2007 at 3:44 am Link to this comment
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Have you ever spoken at Kent State 4 May 1970 commemorations?

I was arrested with you there 12 July 1977.
Will be visiting/possibly speaking there this year.

The times feel so much like April-May 1970, escalating a useless war.

Take care of yourself

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By Theresa, March 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
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I read comments below that had asked for individuals that may be able to go and organize a Washington rally or organize a march to voice the concerns about the war so here it is:
Individuals of diverse backgrounds and social concerns often will come together to reach out and help those in harms way etc. Les has a background and college degree in psychotherapy etc. and has been concerned for many years on social issues. Even if many of us may NOT agree with all his views expressed in other political issues, we often do share information on issues that affect society. I had a study on the effect of an over-vigilant society on the human mind by a phd. professor teaching in Australia that in essense said that human beings are like a seed-they need to grow from the inside out etc. naturally but a society that restricts the human mind etc. from the outside and takes away freedom, opresses or silences opposition or criticism-could have a damaging effect on the nature of man and the mind. Anyway, this is how I know Les Blough as a person that has shared information and research. I do not have a phd. so when I read a challenging scientific or political study I ask or send for views or analysis when needed. We at times may dis-agree but we do have our care for society and of our country very much in common. Today, I received this story of a gathering in Washiington and I thought some here would like to know about it.

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By Theresa, February 27, 2007 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
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Excellent dialogue and comments. I wish I had more strength to organize activities that would help improve Vets current circumstances (specially financial) and living conditions. etc. What many of us could also do is Pray and have faith and positive thoughts that events for all concerned will be good. I pray everyday and do my best to think positive. God willing I become more financially able you bet I would do my very best to support our soldiers both active and our Veterans. I do Pray and ask for all to join in prayer.

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By PeaceVet, February 27, 2007 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
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Heard you on Randi tonight bro. 

The “Use Once Throw Away”  policies of the bastids who sent us and continue to send our children into the blood baths must be stopped.

They fill their pockets and gain power while those of us foolish enough to fall for their BS and the innocent pay in blood.

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By Stephen Rose, February 26, 2007 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
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First off, I have to say it’s refreshing for those of us on the other side of the pond to see that there are Americans who have pushed past the smoke and mirrors used by Bush and his lunatic cronies and can see the reality of the situation. 

Iraq is a lost cause with no tangible objective in sight.  The issue we have is that both our governments (amongst others) have created such an awful mess in the name of outright greed, that a unilateral and immediate removal of all UK and US involvement would be tantamount to war crimes, as the ensuing mess and bloodbath would be just beyond human limits.  A slow withdrawal is a right start and a programme for educating self-governance within the reasonable parameters of local law, culture and basic human rights is what we should facilitate.

The UK has not got things always right (far from it), but we have started this re-deployment and are sending troops to Afghanistan where the Taliban are still acting in their own interest to feed its own greedy agenda at the expense of local schools, hospitals and general social wellbeing.  Even Blair has a conscious and before he leaves office, he has seen the true nature of his contribution to the current state of affairs in Iraq and so has started to try to undo this - albeit under the auspices of a positive political message, but then again we never expected him to say ‘I was wrong’.  Nevertheless, the UK public is not so daft not to read between the lines and we’d rather see action under PR spin than prideful inaction. 

You guys in US now have a solid and credible chance to put similar pressure on your government.  Don’t sit back and accept you are all too small individually to do something about it - you’re not.  You’re circa 250 million voices and at the moment there is a strong common opinion.  To send more troops to Iraq is simply obstinacy and downright ignorance and an incredulous willingness to make human sacrifice of the people he is meant to look after, at the cost of swallowing some pride. 

You have been lied to and manipulated and whilst we damn other selfish tyrants like Pinochet, Mugabe, Chavez the same problem exists in your own government set by supposed law abiding freedom fighters under a supposed democracy.  Right now the use of the word democracy is nothing more than a label - true democracies listen to the people and act on their general wishes and this is not a description that befits the current Administration. 

I genuinely don’t know the final answer for Iraq, Iran, N Korea, Afghanistan but my first guess is that it starts with understanding and communication before action.  Good luck chaps - we really do share your sentiments here and as an ex-soldier I can understand your fears and concerns.  A lot of you are also ex-soldiers and you are taught not to follow blind orders but to act under initiative.  Apply this training to your civilian lives - regroup and take concrete action against your common enemy.  Sadly enough on this occasion it’s not in Baghdad…

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By Linda Alband, February 26, 2007 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment
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Ron ... Great article. I always appreciate your writing. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you about 13 years ago when we last spoke. That was after Randy Shilts’ death in 1994. I appreciated so much that you attended Randy’s memorial service even though you had never met him. We two have lost so many dear friends over the years—friends like Shelly Ramsdell and Jack McClosky—and the VA just seems to get worse and worse, doesn’t it? I would swear that fully 1/3 of the homeless men I see are vets. I think a country can be judged on how it treats its children, its veterans, and its poor and by that standard America has been failing badly for years, particularly since the early 80s. I hope that your singular voice is heard far and wide on the issue of vets care. This is shameful. Linda

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By AAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH, February 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
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Dear People:
Can somebody with connections:
1. Organize a march on D.C. akin to that scene in Forrest Gump for Veterans’ rights ? (Sorry for the seemingly trite reference, but the visual works.)
2. Organize a petition demanding funding for VA benefits/upgrade of facilities/sending the wounded to trauma centers closer to their homes/increasing the benefits to the catastrophically injured and mentally ill?
3. More housing for mentally ill vets. (Hud could turn over some unsold properties for the effort…)
I am just a still disabled vet from the first Gulf war-I can’t do too much. (Still on doxycycline on and off.)
I see some of the returning vets when they come to the VA hospital in my area. A lot of them are messed up and alienated.

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By joe mama, January 17, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment
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U no what those pics r sad and depressing i hate the war!!!!! #32695 is right the people don’t care that they are wounded they want 2 kill the people who gave their life for us. Thats NOT RIGHT !!!!!!! Well peeps all i say is why in the hell would they let them die. Who cares if its cheaper.

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By sophia, January 15, 2007 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
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i don’t think we should be over in iraq. we went over there on false pretenses.  bush made a mistake i get that..but the war was started and it didn’t need to be.  we are trying to westernize other countries to be like us and i don’t think that is right.  we are trying to make them have our government when our own has problems meaning lying to the public. and when our “information” we got to go over in iraq was wrong that should’ve been the end of it when we found no wmds. because we went over there under false i don’t get why we want other countries to be like us when we have our own problems.  i am against the war and bush as well. i don’t think he’s a good president.  a 2 year old could do a better job then he is.  we are sending more troops into iraq for what.  basically for them to be killed..there is so much violence over its not even funny. and the main resason why there is is because they don’t want us over in the first place trying to solve there problems when its no of our business.  this war has been going on for 4 years and how many deaths are there and still many americans have died and vise verse. it just needs to end..and the bush administration just needs to say that they made a mistake and this is what we are doing to fix it. but that’s not going to happen.

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By Joe Faria, January 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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Re: #47164 Theresa,

In Prof. Marjorie Cohn’s piece the bit that makes most sense to me is:

“United States dependence on Middle East—and soon Caspian—oil—has led our government to engage itself in heavy-handed, and deadly, interventions,” immediately followed by, “The development of a sensible U.S. energy policy would obviate the perceived need to dominate other countries.”

And although like many contributors here I’m also a mere average citizen, nevertheless it’s plain to see now, as Rich ( #45093 ) also states below, the US admin has outright lied from the outset - it’s been about “oil” from the very start and 9/11 provided the much needed excuse Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co. were looking for to declare war on Saddam Hussein, (even though there’s no doubt the former Iraqi dictator was indeed a nasty piece of work in his own right) and so remove him. But when we hear Bush say solemnly this war’s about establishing a “democratic government” in the Mid East, that all of a sudden the US admin’s concerned about the democratic free-speech rights of Iraqi citizens, for answers to this absolute nonsense (considering they’re curbing the civil liberties of their very own US citizens) then refer to Dr Michael Parenti’s talk given October 9, 2002 at the St. Andrews Wesley Church in Vancouver Canada. Quote (from Part 2):

“And you look ... at the Middle East, and you see this terrorism emerging, .... Well, these countries have been the object of state-sponsored terrorism for generations. And the global system of US global imperialism has destroyed democratic and popular reform movements in Pakistan, in Turkey, in Syria, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, in Yemen, in Iran, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan… Popular democratic movements in country after country, destroyed. And so what do the young people have left? People who look and see their societies being destroyed, their cultures being undermined; they move toward a religious totality, they move toward an apocalyptic confrontation. They decide, they must, attack the demon, who’s doing this. Lacking a class analysis, they think in terms of national units; it’s not the United States, it’s not the Americans who are doing this to them, ‘it’s the ruling interests in America, who are doing this to them,’ ...”

The Dr. Parenti piece is called “Terrorism, Globalism and Conspiracy” and the above abbreviated quote is taken from Part 2. You can get the whole of it here (worth downloading and keeping):

When you ask, “What can WE The People do on our own to make our lives and country better?” Well Ron’s sentiments posted Jan 9, 2007 ( ) “Ron Kovic: Surging Past the Tipping Point” are correct for mine. Sending more troops will be a disaster resulting only in more unnecessary casualties on both sides of an unwinnable war, therefore exercising one’s democratic right to peaceful protest against the president’s ‘new’ plan would appear the way forward.

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By Theresa, January 12, 2007 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
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Re# 45929 Interesting link from law professor comments and the caspian oil info. This has been discussed in many other articles, books and publications in other countries to include ours. I believe that most citizens are smart and know that some facts or given information does not add up. What we must ask ourselves is: What does it all signify? What is the true goal for all these events? How will some of these irresponsible acts across the globe affect us? Is it really necessary to go all out? What implications will all this create for our families and future generations? What can WE The People do on our own to make our lives and country better? Could we encourage self-reliance and responsible entrepeneurship? Could a concerned entrepeneur form some sort of -The Peoples Corporation-and have this co. kick corporate butt and fight to keep business and productivity and creativity for the US and its citizens. What could we do as citizens to change things for the better without depending on the present mostly corrupt system. Any suggestions?

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By Joe, January 6, 2007 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
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If I may I’d like to recommend a book that sheds considerable light on 9/11, the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan followed by Iraq; it’s ‘House of Bush, House of Saud’ written by journalist Craig Unger which exposes among other things, “The secret relationship between the world’s two most powerful dynasties,” i.e., the book’s title of course.

Very broadly speaking another reason for toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan has everything to do with, “...Caspian oil, landlocked between Russia, Iran and former Soviet republics, ...” presenting, “...formidable transport challenges. Afghanistan ... strategically located near the Caspian Sea. In 1994, the U.S. State Department and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency sought to install a stable regime in Afghanistan to enhance the prospects for Western oil pipelines. They financed, armed and trained the Taliban in its civil war against the Northern Alliance.”

The article, “THE DEADLY PIPELINE WAR: U.S. AFGHAN POLICY DRIVEN BY OIL INTERESTS” is written by Professor Marjorie Cohn of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law . The rest of it can be read here:

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By Rich, January 2, 2007 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
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By now it should be painfully obvious to all Americans, except to the diminutive number of loyal diehard, that the conflict in Iraq was conceived and executed through deliberate deception and outright lies. Our fight was and still is with al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban who offered them sanctuary in Afghanistan. This was the enemy responsible for the attacks on September 11th; vaporizing 3000 people. Not Iraq. Not Saddam.

Ignoring the warnings of those who counseled them to the contrary, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and a host of civilian and military advisors manipulated facts, distorted the truth, denounced their detractors as traitors, and convinced America that the “central” war on terrorism was in Iraq.  A little background is needed here.

The August 6th, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing titled “bin Laden determined to strike U. S.,” prepared by the CIA and delivered to the president vacationing in Crawford, Texas, warned of possible hijackings and other attacks on American soil. Bush ignored it.  Although the PDB indicated that the FBI reported “patterns of suspicious activity” in the U.S. “consistent with preparations for…attacks,” then NSA Adviser, Condoleeza Rice dismissed the document as “historical” with no “new threat information.” The PDB, and the 9 / 11attacks which happened on their watch, suggest otherwise.

Seven months before the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, a British foreign intelligence officer, having met with American intelligence in Washington, reported to Tony Blair that President Bush desired to topple Saddam Hussein through military action and that limited American intelligence and facts were being “fixed around the policy” to build a case for war. He also reported that there was little discussion regarding the aftermath of the military action.



Nearly 3000 American servicemen and woman, and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq since the invasion of March 2003. The “war” these men declared would last mere weeks is now in its 44th month with no foreseeable resolve on the horizon. It has been anything but a “cake walk,” and the Republicans, in part, have lost their control of Congress over the protracted occupation of Iraq and subsequent loss of life and treasury. 

Under continuous barrage by retired military leaders voicing their lack of confidence in him, Rumsfeld was finally shown the door immediately after the humiliating Republican mid-term thrashing this November 7th. But this alone will not salvage our nation’s tarnished reputation nor justify the deaths of 9 / 11, or of our soldiers in a fraudulent and illegitimate conflict. Those men and women in the administration responsible for misleading the American people and the world into the invasion and occupation of Iraq, allowing bin Laden to escape and remain free to this day, must be held accountable for the death and misery wrought on our soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

There are certainly issues in our country which may be more pressing and critical than an impeachment process, but at the very least, shouldn’t a small fraction of the time, effort and money spent on investigating President Clinton’s sexual indiscretion be spent investigating those responsible for the disaster in Iraq? And if impeachment is found to be warranted, let the chips fall where they may.  The dead from the WTC attacks and Iraq wail for justice to be served.

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By Tom Goodwin,G.G., December 24, 2006 at 5:04 am Link to this comment
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Ron, I haven’t seen you in years but think of you often during the course of this useless war in Iraq. Thank You for putting the human face on the suffering which envelops the survivors. For those who take issue with what you have said, let them try to walk a mile in your shoes. Semper Fi!

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By Joe, December 23, 2006 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
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And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Written by Eric Bogle

Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack,
and I lived the free life, of the rover
From the Murray’s Green Basin, to the dusty outback,
well I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen, my country said “Son,
it’s time you stopped ramblin’, there’s work to be done.”
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
and they marched me away to the war

And the band, played “Waltzing Matilda”,
As the ship pulled, away from the quay
And amidst all of the cheers, the flag waving
and tears, we sailed off, for Gal-ip-ol-li…

And how well I remember, that terrible day,
how our blood stained, the sand and the water
And of how in that hell, that they called Suvla Bay,
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk, he was waitin’, he’d primed himself well,
he showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell
And in five minutes flat, he’d blown us all ta hell,
Nearly blew us, right back, to Australia…

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

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

For I’ll go, no more waltzing Matilda,
All around the green bush far and free,
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more waltzing Matilda for me…

So they gathered, the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
and they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane;
those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled, into Circular Quay,
I looked at the blanks, where me legs used to be,
and thanked Christ, there was nobody waitin’ for me,
to grieve, to mourn, and to pity…

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

And so now, every April, I sit on me porch,
and I watch, the parade pass before me
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
reviving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore;
they’re tired old heroes, from a forgotten war
And the young people ask: “What are they marching for?”
And I ask, meself, the same question.

But the band, plays “Waltzing Matilda”,
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear,
Some day no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard,
As they march by that billabong, 
Who’ll come a Waltzing Matilda with me…

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By Yariveliz Martinez, December 14, 2006 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this article is to long and doesnt give people the information they need

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By luz rebollo, December 11, 2006 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment
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By Katie, December 6, 2006 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Ron - I don’t know if you’re reading the comments, but I wanted to mention to you that I’ve had “Born of the 4th of July” on my reading list for many years; and I finally picked it up this weekend.  And I’m so angry and sad that it only took a little over 30 years for young men and women to be snowed by a lying government, and to excitedly trot off to a ridiculous, humiliating war again.  How do we nip that desire in young people in the bud, before they have to learn the hard way?

I was glad to read this article by you, 38 years after your wounding.

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By Sleeper, November 27, 2006 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
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RE:  39792 Theresa Neilsen

I think you are right on with the Corporation of the United States of America.  I don’t understand it very well, but it seems this theory has been put in place to in essence dismantle the Constitution and the Declaration of Indepsndence.

The problem is that anyone of any official capacity by attempting to dismantle the Constitution is by definition committed Treason to the oath they took when they were installed to their capacity.  All oaths swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic.

It sounds to me like a white collar treacherous attemp at fraud.  It looks like that is exactly what has happened and still no one has adaquately challenged this because the Constitution is supposedly the cornerstone of all American Law.

This Business therory is exactly why vets have not been adaquately taken care of throughout our history.  They attempt all efforts at deniability including the divisions between service connected and non service connected.  There are probably as many vets listed as non service connected that are truly service connected as their are listed as service connected.  It is just an easy attemp not to properly look at the facts.

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By THECOLONEL, November 26, 2006 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sammy Williams:
What planet did you come from? This is a good conversation with meaning and substance. Try again Sammy.
Come out of your foxhole and lets see your true feelings…

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By Theresa Nielsen, November 26, 2006 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rumor has it that when the District of Columbia, was formed our system of government became like a Corporation. Our government needed to operate this way in order to deal with some business issues. For example like when the federal Reserve was formed in 1933, look up definition=semi-public-semiprivate(nonsense you really cannot be both) You are either dressed or undressed, you are either Public or a private business. This was to circumvent around our Constitution which states that only OUR Country goverment can COIN their own money. Problem=Foreign interests own part of the semi-private portion of our money Federal Reserve system. Research on google the forming of the district of Columbia. So, WARS are normally funded by Banks and like in Hitlers days, would also tend to fund both side of a war. So, that in itself is a conflict of interest and one of the many reasons that Our Country is Getting engaged in these type of conflicts. As a business person myself I do understand why our government had to do certain things, however not at the expense of our future. A system of Checks and Balances is the best form of government. Our problem is that if we continue to act mostly like a Corporation with corp or prior Corp executives running it (i.e. Dick Cheney-prior Halliburton-Bush-prior Oil man etc) then all bets are off in LOOKING after the people and the well being of the Republic. The main thing for a business as taught in Business schools is Profit. Our country is practically being lost to the “Corporatocracy”. For example when our ports were going to be sold to UAE, Panama Canal(now has China running ports on both sides of it), Toll roads sold to other countries etc. and reason for most americans fearing the “North American Union” uniting airspace with Canada and Mexico. Eventually this centralization of commerce, could lead to centralized banking-government dissolving slowy our Sovereignty-Our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Scary but true. Look it up.

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By THECOLONEL, November 26, 2006 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
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Stephen Rose:
Well written! I love my country also but hate politicians! They go in as political servants and come out rich.
There are noble causes all over the world but Iraq is not one of them. Just look at the innocent being slaughtered in the Sudan-ven with the UN there…

I think we would be better off spending money on birth control and a non-violent pill.

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By Sammy Williams, November 25, 2006 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
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#33145 by B.E. Lantz

“So long as society holds to views voiced on this blog, we will invite our enemies to attack us.  We were viewed by UBL as weak, indecisive and unwilling to defend ourselves in his comments to his cohorts, which is what inspired him to 9/11.”

Please, please, please stop this silly argument.  Can’t you and those who continue to spout such stupid garbage come up with something better? 

There is a big difference between fighting a war to protect one’s country and invading a country for George Bush and his ilk.  Nothing about Iraq justifies the death and maiming of a single American soldier.

And why are you posting on this site?  You should be fighting in Iraq, which anyone with an IQ of 50 knows was not involved in 911.  Some of these soldiers are on their third or fourth tour because there are not enough of them to rotate through Iraq.  Why aren’t you and yours do your patriotric duty.  Could it be the same reason that none of the useless Bush and Cheney family offsprings have seen fit to do their duty?

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By Stephen Rose, November 25, 2006 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
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I have served my country (UK) and was extremely proud to do so because I do this for the people that I love.  In saying this, it is impossible to expect us to make any headway in creating a peaceful world if we continue with the current agenda.  Since the army I have consulted to government and while there I learned one thing - the motives and personal agendas of senior government officials and civil servants is phenomanally influential in what decisions are taken.  Whether it be taking bribes (it is often called lobbying), hiding bad decisions due to pride or simply bad judgement we are massively at the mercy of many idiots.  Moreover, our politician’s sense of self induldged belief means that we talk but never listen.  Therefore they never understand.  Bush and Bin Laden have one thing in common - they are both delusional.  They both believe they are right and the other is wrong.  How can this be?  They come from opposite sides of the planet with totally contrasting (but no less fascinating) cultures and completely different perspectives of life.  Until they attempt to identify with each other, even when they don’t agree, they will never learn what gets each other out of bed in the morning, what drives them to take the decisions that they do.  Neither is right or wrong.  Both are fueled by personal agenda, personal pride and personal ambition.  This is a recipe for disaster.  Just because a loss of a limb or life is government sanctioned doesn’t make it justifiable.  No matter what Bin Laden claims in the name of Allah, I can assure you no religious leader that understands the bible, koran or torah would ever claim the violence is justifiable.  It’s not.  It’s moronic.  It says ‘I am not intelligent enough to find common ground.  I do not want to work in the interest of anyone but myself and that your wants and needs as a citizen of this planet are less important than mine’.  Forget religion and boarders, they are meaningless.  While we sit here and claim, ‘I did this for…’ in the name of whoever we justify our violence in the name of think of this - the planet never started with a boarder and as far I know there is not any evidence showing the human race started with one religion that was more righteous than the next.  It started with the basics of survival and in the early days we learned that if we worked together our chances of surivival increased.  Somewhere along the line this became distorted and we figured out that if we collaborate together and pick on the weak, we get more - even though we don’t need it.  It’s about time we went back to basics.  Simple.

Please note, I am not a ranter or a self proclaimed tree hugging do-gooder.  I am a guy with two kids and a girlfriend I love.  I have a good job that is well paid and I am grateful for this.  In return I try to give something back, some charity every year, seperate glass and paper in the rubbish etc. but most of all I try to foster postive relationships around me that in turn help me have a decent life.  I do this by listening to what others have got to say and if I don’t agree, I do not reach for a bat and beat them until they accept my point of view.  Instead I persist in trying to understand why we disagree and this itterative process of discussion generally works if the person I am talking to shares a similar mindset.  Believe me, this approach makes for a simpler and more enjoyable life.

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By Harry Williams, November 22, 2006 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Loved your article - but why don’t Americans ever ever ever mention the dead and wounded Iraqis?????????

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By Dr. Cindy Mason, November 21, 2006 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 1991 I was paralyzed on my right side and medivaced from
a 3rd world country.  Although I was not in the war, I have
some understanding of what this is you are going through.

Because of my experience, I have devoted a lot of my life to trying
to reach out, with some of the things that helped me.  I made
a website with what you might call, carrots and celery healthcare.
Its some quick, helpful selfcare that I spent most of my savings
studying for my own health, and now I share it wherever I can.
Its also helpful because medicine is expensive, but also, our
feelings, our experiences, create such strong feelings, and the
things I learned and put on that website are also helpful for

All the best to all of you…

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By Carolena Pierce, November 13, 2006 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Ron:  Saw you in US vs John Lennon.  You look great.  Haven’t seen you since I visited your place somewhere down by Santa Cruz.
      You look like you have found some peace. It is great to see.  I wish you the very best.
      This war is killing all our men.  What are my grandchildren going to do?
      Peace to you dear one.

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By Kris, November 13, 2006 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
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I will always support our troops.  I cannot support this government’s war.  What I want to know is:  Where are this generations war protestors, demonstrators, peace-niks, artists, musicians, etc., what have you?  Why is this nation not screaming out and protesting in the streets about this vile war?  It is not that much different than Vietnam… have we as a nation, as a people, really learned nothing from that experience?  Does it take more deaths, more maiming, a draft?

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By Theresa Nielsen, November 13, 2006 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
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Message to P.Tillman
Your brother will forever be a symbol of what is Great and Noble in our Country. We wont forget him, and perhaps it was God’s will to call on him early so the rest of US could Learn a symbolic message. Your loss is also our Nation’s Loss and we feel your pain more than you may know at present. Trust me if we can find missing important documents from the libray of Congress, future generations will find info. on your handsome patriotic brother.

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By Astrid Myers, November 12, 2006 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Ron,

I thank you for your courage and for sharing
your experience.  Your words are enlightening and
send a strong message for all of us - and I for one
will heed your words.  You have touched my heart and
I will do my part whenever and wherever I can.

Astrid Myers

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By vet240, November 12, 2006 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have been wondering when the issue of Wounded would finally get some attention. The true cost of any war cannot be summed up based only on those killed. The totally horrifying results of war must include some thought be given to those who come back physically or psychologically wounded.

For each of the wounded who will suffer for years to come there are family members, lovers,spouses, children and friends who will suffer indirectly as they help their loved one cope. There is also the cost based on economics. The financial burden is great. The funds needed to support our wounded could have been put to other uses if we hadn’t insisted that they sacrifice themselves to someones perceived notion of a threat.

Viet Nam is the best example ever. Thousands of American kids died and tens of thousands were wounded to fight a supposed deadly enemy. Today Americans can take vacations to Viet Nam.

Our men and women in the service should never be used in any pre-emptive way. If they are willing to serve our country, surely we should only call on them under the direst of circumstances. The cost is just too high.

God bless those who serve.

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By Tony Litwinko, November 10, 2006 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #32827 by Egor on 10/23 at 8:40 pm:

Egor, I would respectfully ask you to refer to the recent information that has come out about Pat Tillman, your hero, particularly the fine essay by his brother. If Tillman is truly your hero, you should find out much more about him, including his critical stance on the invasion of Iraq, and how his noble volunteering to go to Afghanistan was manipulated by the government so much so that the facts surrounding his death by friendly fire was covered up egregiously by his unit. I think that Pat Tillman would expect you to become familiar with the facts on all levels. Try reading one of his favorite authors, Noam Chomsky.

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By Lowell Gomes, November 10, 2006 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
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On the eve of the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th month, the time signifying the end of WW1, I scanned through some of the postings by fellow vets, and I am angered and saddened by the pain that war has inflicted.  However, even without being in an active war, being in the military is no OSHA-approved activity.  I was on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean during the Viet Nam war (1964-65) as a communication officer with Carrier Division Four, and we had people killed and injured in the damnedest ways: 

An off-duty marine gunny sergeant was standing in a catwalk during aircraft launching, admiring the seascape.  The shear pin that releases the steam-propelled shuttle to launch an F-4 threw off a piece of the pin that hit the gunny in the head and killed him on the spot.

A marine A-4 got blown overboard by the jet wash of an F-8 Corsair because of a green flight-deck petty officer who didn’t deploy the jet blast deflector behind the F-8, which would have prevented the accident.  He was not recovered.

Another marine pilot was lost while taxiing up the flight deck after landing.  The elevator in front of the island was lowered, and when the pilot was signaled to slow his plane, the left brake failed while the right one caused the jet to pirouette over into the space above the elevator.  He punched out on the way down and his helmet left a mark on a cherry picker (hoist) after he was blown out of the cockpit and into the air.  His helmet was the only thing recovered.

As I wrote, not exactly OSHA –approved.  These were all accidents that happen all-together too often in the military, resulting in people just and dead or maimed as in combat.  Being is the military is a dangerous occupation for many, even without an active war.

Me, I was one of the lucky.  I only got in one situation, being dropped by winch from a helicopter to the fantail of a destroyer underway in a heavy sea, where I was close to being injured, and got out of it without harm.

Semper Fi to my Marine buddies and other vets

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, November 10, 2006 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
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This from Wikipedia
Acinetobacter is frequently isolated in nosocomial infections and is especially prevalent in intensive care units, where both sporadic cases as well as epidemic and endemic occurance is common. A. baumannii is a frequent cause of nosocomial pneumonia, especially of late-onset ventilator associated pneumonia. It can cause various other infections including skin and wound infections, bacteremia, and meningitis, but A. lwoffi is mostly responsible for the latter. A. baumannii can survive on the human skin or dry surfaces for weeks.


Since the start of the Iraq War, over 300 cases of A. baumannii had infected U.S. soldiers in the Middle East. At least five have died.

Ethanol has been found to stimulate the virulence of A. baumannii.[1] Tests on infected nematode worms dosed with ethanol found that the worms laid fewer eggs and their life spans were only 80% of worms infected with a non-ethanol responsive strain of A. baumannii, suggesting the common misconception that drinking alcohol kills infections is false and drinking alcohol may actually help the infection’s spread.

Acinetobacter species are innately resistant to many classes of antibiotics, including penicillin, chloramphenicol, and often aminoglycosides. Resistance to fluoroquinolones has been reported during therapy and this has also resulted in increased resistance to other drug classes mediated through active drug efflux. A dramatic increase in antibiotic resistance in Acinetobacter strains has been reported by the CDC and the carbapenems are recognised as the gold-standard and/or treatment of last resort. Rather worringly is an increase in resistance to the carbapenems which leaves very little treatment option although there some success reported with polymyxin B as well as the use of novel combinations of antibiotics.[2] Acinetobacter species are unusual in that they are sensitive to sulbactam; sulbactam is most commonly used to inhibit bacterial β-lactamase, but this is an example of the antibacterial property of sulbactam itself.[3]

In November, 2004, the CDC reported an increasing number of A. baumannii bloodstream infections in patients at military medical facilities in which service members injured in the Iraq/Kuwait region during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) were treated.[4] Most of these were multidrug-resistant. Among one set of isolates from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 13 (35%) were susceptible to imipenem only, and two (4%) were resistant to all drugs tested. One antimicrobial agent, colistin (polymyxin E), has been used to treat infections with multidrug-resistant A. baumannii; however, antimicrobial susceptibility testing for colistin was not performed on isolates described in this report. Because A. baumannii can survive on dry surfaces for up to 20 days, they pose a high risk of spread and contamination in hospitals, potentially putting immune-compromised and other patients at risk for drug resistant infections that are often fatal and generally expensive to treat.

I had seen the first reference to this bug in an article about the Brit´s medical system which has been putting returning soldiers in the general population of the hospital with this bug then causing an almost epidemic of infections.

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By Pat in Montana, November 10, 2006 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
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Thanks J.K. Sorry about your loss. I wish we’d had a larger difference. Less than 3000 votes. PITIFUL``````Ihope our Dems will Stand-up, Stand-out and Stand-fast!

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By DAVID, November 9, 2006 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment
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By enemy of the people, November 9, 2006 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment
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You got it in January, I got it with 5th Marines in March. Mine was nothing like yours but it still counted. Got me some morf too; that was nice and the round-eyed angels at Charlie Med were pretty cool too, for a few days anyway.
Our anguish over the years has been painful but at least we can feel it. Tonight the traveling wall is in the courtyard next door to my office building. 58000 of our brothers are on it, many of which you and I saw die. One day our grief will come to an end.
Semper Fi, Ron.

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By THECOLONEL, November 9, 2006 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
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According to for Disease Control) the A. baumannii has been isolated in the lab (Oct. 2006). It is supposedly related to body lice. The disease has also been experienced in France.

Quote from CDC:

Acinetobacter baumannii in Human Body Louse | CDC EID

Semper Fi

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By FreeDem, November 9, 2006 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
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I was born with a bone disease that has left most of them lumpy, twisted and/or painful. I might have gone to Nam but of course they would never take me, though I was headed for a draft till I got to the physical exam.

At every twinge of pain (and they have increased over the years) I think of the fate of yourself and so many others of our generation, and consider myself so lucky not to have shared in it.

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By Theresa Nielsen, November 8, 2006 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
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In this article found through yahoo it mentions that this particular “bacteria” may be linked to the combat “soil” then it says something about the military facilities may not be super clean during the soldiers care etc. I must say that I have read some info. prior that this mysterious flu(parents later found out) has occured in Iraq first. In the story I read the parents questioned the cause of death was for it was not clear then as they requested more investigations it turned out that their young Son (soldier) had died of that flu. I doubt very much that it’s the lack of cleaning areas since the military facilities in my case Army where are extremely clean and sanitary. I raised my 2 kids with military medical appointments and the facilities where always very clean even to the point of being impressive. Fort Carson has a beautiful hospital. The floor always shines etc. This is what concerns me is that most of these problems can be avoided if we investigate and discuss the problems. The initial response is to cover that which seems out of the ordinary. We do need to be concerned although not create hysteria. One Member of this adminitration had stock in Tami-flu Giliad Labs. That concerns me for its a conflict of interest. A flu problem could be profit for others. Not a good thing. Just like there is talk that a prominent other member has stock value in Halliburton at 40 million. Why let go of a war if someone that is a key figure makes profits from it? We declared our freedom from England, however members in our congress are like British LORDS. Too many law degrees and with the “missing 13th amendment” NO one with titles of Nobility should serve in US Congress. We the People are like their “Commoners” subject to whatever conditions dictated by wanna-be kings. I hate to sound like a nerd but just do the Math.

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By THECOLONEL, November 8, 2006 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
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I have heard about the bacteria you discussed in your on-line discussion. Go to The CDC can be very helpful and keep you updated on new information. Let us know what you find.

Mark Dolce:
You are very insightful! The fact of the matter is that the military has new programs to help vets alleviate PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) now. They didn’t have nay program other than a section 8(psychological discharge) in WWI and WWII and Korea and Viet Nam. Viet Nam brought this aspect to light because more families weren’t afraid to complain and get involved. Prior to that vets suffered high rates of suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction. Talking and listening can do wonders..
Semper Fi

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By J.K. Frazier, November 8, 2006 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
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To Pat in Montana.  Congrats!  Looks like you guys did it.  Too bad we couldn’t add another senator to those who will at least ask questions about Bush’s colossal incompetence.  The soldiers and vets deserve better than they’ve gotten from the current “leadership.”

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, November 8, 2006 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
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A. baumannii is resistant to most common antibiotics and, if left untreated, can lead to pneumonia, fever and septicaemia. It has been identified in more than 240 military personnel in the US since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has been associated with five deaths.

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By Mark Dolce, November 7, 2006 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
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How the thousands of casualties from war assimilate back into society is a scary concept. Where do they go? How do they return and live their lives? What affect war has on their future behavior as citizens, family members, parents, husbands or wives appears to be a lost concern of those who support the ravages of war. It appears easy to send troops to die for a cause but how we treat and support the lives of those who went and return is a moral misgiving we continue to ignore. I have never been in a war. I do not claim or pretend to know of war from a first hand experience. As a child I fantasized about “war games” and set up plastic Civil War soldiers in my yard to knock them down. Somehow this ‘romantic’ concept is perpetrated to adulthood and even taken advantage of by our government. Ever since WW I, we have seen the slaughter of citizens and people in uniform on a scale that precedes our tolerance.  It was “the war to end all wars.” But not so.

A moment of silence for the Veterans of war.
A moment of truth for the Veterans of war.
A moment of remembrance for the Veterans of war.

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By Pat in Montana, November 6, 2006 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
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To J.K.Frazier, Thanks, for the comment. Here in Montana it’s hard to find anyone who agrees that we’re on the wrong track. CONrad burns was really energized by bush’s visit last Friday. What an honor that our president would come to Montana, etc. I commented today that ‘they’ were all having a laugh on Montanans (much like they do the Christian “Nuts.”) as the plane headed back to D.C. We are watching your state as well as our own.I still have a hope that we’ll pull it out. Big thing here is the pork ole CONrad brings us.

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By THE COLONEL, November 6, 2006 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
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Yes, this is a spirited avenue to voice our hurt and anger. I love my country and would gladly join my brothers in heaven for freedom. The very sad part is memories of so many who paid the ultimate sacrifice stay fresh in my mind even as an old man.
Our society is now just noticing the corruption that exists in our public offices. The public is sick and tired of higher taxes and politicians who get rich in office.

Go see the movie - “Flags Of Our Fathers.” It will make your emotions work overtime.
Semper Fi!

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By J.K. Frazier, November 6, 2006 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
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To Pat in Montana from JK in Tennessee.  I feel the same way about the people here.  we have to change the culture of ignorance that has befallen certain areas of the country.  we need our friends and neighbors to wake up to the cost of too much fox “news,” spin, propaganda, lies, cronyism, hatred, meanness, manipulation, corruption and ignorance.  i am hoping that tennessee will pleasantly surprise all of us by sending harold ford jr. to the senate, instead of another bush patsy, rubberstamp like bob corker.  am not holding my breath, but there is a chance.

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By Pat in Montana, November 6, 2006 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
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Thanks, Mother of U.S.Special Forces soldier; Thanks for the info. I went there and am adding it to my list. The people here in Montana for the most part are Pro-Life and at the same time Pro-War. They do NOT want to see any pictures of wounded anybody. I’m spending the next couple of days with a knot in my midsection. We cannot all be so non-perceptive, here in this great State.

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By Sleeper, November 6, 2006 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
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This has become quite spirited.  Thank You all.  I want to say I enjoy the Espirit de Corps added by Eddie and the Colonel in the last few posts. 

This administration has sent so many good young men to their deaths or into a future that is dramactically changed in a matter of moments owe more then they could ever pay to the men who do the dirty work.  The problem is that they have no intention of treating their men with an ounce of honor.  They think its a joke that they choose to not even acknowledge.  Is it right?  Hell no!!!  They need to be held accountable. 

Our nation needs to acknowledge the sacrifices of our wounded and allow them a chance at a life.  If billions are going to end up missing it should be in taking care of the families who have sacrificed for this nation and it is criminal that the ones responsible for the lies have made at least this much money disappear into their pockets while they deny the wounded the justice they deserve.

Until there is no enemy, but PEACE. A place where Honor and Integrity are valued leadership principles.

Semper Fi.

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By THE COLONEL, November 5, 2006 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
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To Sally:
GOD Bless you! We used to call you our guardian angels! The Nurses or Corpsmen were the last person many a Marine saw before departing our earthly plain.

The memories live on and on. I hope your life is blessed with the best!
Semper Fi

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By Eddie, November 5, 2006 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
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1st off, Semper Fi to my fellow Marine brother, Ron Kovic! Though we are seperated by 30 yrs, I too served in the USMC from 1988-1992 & then after being out for 8yrs, I decided to get back in & served from 2000-2004. Both my tours were with 2ndMarDiv, 2/8 out of Lejuene as an 81mm mortarman. I got out in July of 04 as a Sgt of Marines. I served proudly & was discharged both times with Honorable discharges.  For those of you that have never served a day in your life & are are pro-Bush, all I have to say is STFU! I fyou believe so strongly in Bush’s agenda & in his reasons for us being in Afganistan & especially in Iraq, then march your asses into the Army or Marine recruiter’s office & sign right up for the infantry! NO, I highly doubt any of you will do that, but yet you have the gall to talk smack about us staying the course & not “cutting & running’! I was in OIF 1 back in 03 & though we were very fortunate not to have any Marines in my battalion KIA, we did suffer 64 WIA & were involved in a very brutal firefight in An-Nasariyah on the night of 3-26-03 where both my ammo men were wounded by shrapnel & bullet fragmnents. We also served in Afghanistan from Nov 03 till 4-22-04 which coincidentaly was the day Pat Tillman was Killed by his own men in Afghanistan.

I will tell you straight up that this war in Iraq is this generation’s Vietnam. We are stuck in a quagmire from which we have no strategic exit plan for & probably never did. The Iraqi people do not want us there any longer & they will keep fighting/killing/wounding us till we leave their country! Iraq is in the stages of a civil war & Bush & his cronies are in serious self denial if they think otherwise.You know this war is going badly when 5 American Generals that have BTDT (Been there, done that) publicly state that Rumsfeld has screwed this war up & has cost us any chance of victory due to his incompetence & stubborness to listen to how many troops were truly needed to win this war.

As far as the crap coming out about how we’re training all these Iraqi troops to fight for their own country & how we’ve already trained & equipped like 20-25 Battalions to take over for our troops, pleeeeez, do you really think these Iraqi soldiers really wanna go at it with these hard core insurgents when they have us to do it for them? Did any of you know that these soldiers sign no enlistment contracts & can quit anytime they want & they also decide if they want to go on deployments too far from their home town. I would not trust any Iraqi soldier to be watching my back during a firefight. They are also heavily infiltrated by the insurgents & are just gathering all the training & intel we give them & supplying it to their fellow insurgents on the outside so they can use our own tactics on us later on. They are very much like the VC were in Nam., friendly & helpful towards us in the day, planting roadside IEDs alongside the roads or in dead mules/dogs at night & sniping us from the safety of their homes as well. An enemy such as this cannot be defeated! We need to set a deadline & tell the Iraqi people & their Govt that by such & such date, we will leave the defense of their country in their hands! We cannot endlessly continue to fight their war for them!
While I am proud to have been a Marine & serve our country, I am not proud of the false pretenses under which we went in there under & continue to use as justification for our continued presence in Iraq.

What kind of an administration talks so much BS about how they support the troops they send to Iraq to fight & die for their lies, but yet once they’re killed over there, wants thier flag draped coffins flown home to Dover AFB in the dead of night so the sleeping American public nor the media doesn’t see them & is reminded that Young Americans are being killed by the thousands in a country that has never in their history attacked us.

Just like I’m sure my fellow Vietnam Vet Marines/Soldiers had respect for their enemies, the VC & the NVA, we have respect for our enemy in Iraq, they are fighting an invading army in their home soil that is bombing them & killing/maiming thousands of their people & in some cases are commiting murder , rape & other atrocities against them, If I were in their place, I’d do the same thing if foriegn invaders came to our country under false pretense & were bombing/killing thousands of my fellow Americans.

In closing, I just want to say…BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!

Sgt of Marines
2/8 wpns co 81s plt

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By Sally, November 5, 2006 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Kovic,
Brilliant writing. I cried while reading it. As a former VA nurse, I have vivid memories of night shifts talking with Vets who could not sleep, and worse. Vets from WWII, Korea and Vietnam, each with their own story, their own agony, that somehow was always worse at night. Their stories will always be with me.
This new batch of veterans will have their stories too, and so will the nurses who care for them. Our nation won’t know, because there are too few voices and no mainstream media outlets that will tell the story, tell of the funding cuts, tell of the long term suffering, tell of the courage of our wounded as they face their personal battles. No, it’s more important to our media to tell about Brad and Angelina, and dish out celebrity information to keep their ratings up and the cash rolling in.

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By THE COLONEL, November 4, 2006 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment
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To Pat in Montana:
I served in Viet Nam with my Marines in 1970. My Father, his Brother and my Brother all served. My son is a Marine.I am a proud American who has seen his share of dead brothers and dead enemy. I have seen my share of suffering during and after the battle. I don’t believe in war unless my freedom or safety is at jeopardy.
The best solution is to let the foreign nations who despise us fight their own war for freedom. Enough American blood has been shed for lazy, freeloading people who sit back and criticize our fallen heroes.
Marines and Soldiers do what they’re told. Let’s pull them home to guard our borders. If all Americans saw what a combat veteran saw we would have less wars.
Let Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld duke it out with the idiots in the near east and Korea…
Semper Fi!

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By J.K. Frazier, November 4, 2006 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
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Someone should tell the citizens of this country (“governed by the people, for the people,” at least in theory) that citizenship has responsibilities, as well as fun and profit.  one of those responsibilities is to look at what is being done in our name. 
Look, at least, into the eyes of the soldiers in their last photographs.  Look at each one, as they continue to be sneaked home in caskets. 
We’re told we are not permitted to see the caskets.  This is an example of the Bush Administration’s danger to America.
We have a duty to see those caskets, and know who is dying, know the wreckage being inflicted on lives, and see that these are people, just like us. 
I don’t know how many military families want their sons to come home in secret, as if ashamed that they fought with honor.  I suspect a few arms were twisted, or emotions played upon, fake events staged, etc. to create an excuse for keeping the sacrifices of our soldiers nearly secret. 
We owe those soliders more than that.  We owe them our full attention, full knowledge that they are dying, and why, really why, not just the self-serving propaganda of Fox “news,” and the Bush Administration. 
And, then, we can hope that America-at-large will take some responsibility for the insanity that has been launched in our name, and bring it to a halt.

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By Wounded NEEDS are very "real"!, November 4, 2006 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
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To:  Pat in Montana

those Midwest individuals “need” education 101.  They may start same by reading this here:

Additionally, since they wish NOT to see the blood, guts and killing than they should NOT vote RED! Myself, I fully support CNN showing of same, America’s WAKE UP CALL!

RED equals WARS and massive financial ” profit gains ” for defense and oil corporations.  The indice structure and components NEVER LIE! Further, I can point blot history back into the xxx birth.

However, try posting this on the web site, they can at least HELP and see it for their own eyeballs at a local VA hospital:

-  bring needed supplies, NEW pjs’s, bathroom supplies, backpacks, and “what is needed”.  The needs are “REAL”!

I will encourage each of you reading this blog to make 1 call to a local VA.  Visit a soldier and see what their needs are!


If I were you I would ” collect 200 + women and or supporters ” and park myself at your State Senators home for dinner. They LOVE company.  Bring along some “extra guests”.  I know of a few journalists and a cameramen that enjoy getting out of the office. <smile> Additionally, YOU would be amazed at the info on the web in reference to House Reps and Senators.  We maintain a Santa List of “naughty and nice” very detailed file, and its brewing!<smile>

Sometimes you have to FIGHT a fire with fire, literally.  All the best to you.  Please keep us updated.

Mother of a US Special Forces Soldier

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By Sleeper, November 4, 2006 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
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I don’t know how much a presidential election will effect veterans spending.  I attempted a claim once and I think my claim is more then valid.  I also know a number of veitnam vets who have been in the system for quite some time.  It seems to me that the larger the conflict and the larger the number of vets with disabillities the easier it is to be accepted. 

I say accepted because the VA is a buraucracy and it seems to me it matters more who you know more then the problems you experience because of experiences you have had doing a job for your uncle SAM.

I know there are a number of Beirut Veterans that have disabilities.  I carried the strechers on Oct. 23, 1983 and there were more injured and killed then just on that one day.  I know others that have since received disabilities for PTSD although the ones I know stayed in and didn’t become disabled until after they went to Bosnia or the first Persian Gulf War.

This war will receive more funding, but it will probably take some time,  Many of the Veitnam vets waited 15 or more years for recognition of problems with Agent Orange.  I believe the best way to get more appropriate funding is to support compassionate vets for Congressional seats and then get them on the right committees.

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By Mike Killingsworth, November 3, 2006 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
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I saw the movie “Born on the Fourth of July” and recently read your rereleased book by the same title. It should be required reading for every high school student while a senior.

The Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind” purports to be an education improvemnet plan, but in truth is a plan to recruit fresh young bodies from high school campuses. It is law that schools must allow recruiters on campus, at high schools, junior colleges and universities.  Federal funding can be withdrawn from schools who do not allow it.

I have started going to high schools in my city to tell young students the truth about recruiting and the lies told by recruiters. I recently was told that I could no longer go into classrooms, being allowed only to go into the Career Centers and place administration approved materials. I plan to challenge this practice if turns out that my first amendment rights are being abused.

I give students a handout of reading materials (your book is included), websites, and news articles that have appeared in the local newspaper. I especially show those which report huge cutbacks in spending on Veteran’s benefits. I point out how gung ho the administration is to get soldiers to risk their lives for us, but how they get little respect from the politicos when they come home mutilated in whatever way. I point out that the president is always willing to stand in front of veteran’s groups to give John Wayne cheerleading stories, but rarely stands behind them when they return home needing health and other care.

Keep talking to anyone who will listen Ron, you will never know how many young lives you have saved from death and lifelong injuries. I really appreciate what you do and hope to do some small part of the same.

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By Margaret Currey, November 3, 2006 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
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When the next presidential election comes around the questions about the treatment of the returning veaterns will be addressed, the question about stem cell research will hit the front page then, all the vets paralized and in wheel chairs will be seen for all to see, shame that it will take two more years for all to come to the surface, I can hope that with all the harm that this president/vice president have done that the american people will insist on impeachment, after all even if the Dems take control of the House and Senate, the war will still go on.  The GOP has always said the Dems will not compromise, has everyone forgot what Newt Gingridge did for our government, a lot of people who depended on their paycheck certainly remember Newt.

MTC from Vancouver Washington

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By Pat in Montana, November 3, 2006 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
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If anyone could read the comments on the Billings Gazette Forum, you’d cringe. People here do NOT want to see anything like the sniper story that aired on CNN. One even commented thet the CNN has guys Imbedded (sic) with the terrorists. Her husband has done a tour over there. Another said she “hoped they’d get shot and/or taken prisoner by the terrorists.“This is chilling.

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By Candra, November 3, 2006 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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Dear Ron,

Good morning.  I watched the movie, “Born On The Fourth of July” for the first time and it brought me to tears. I never really thought too much about what soldiers go through, etc. until after watching the film based on your memoir. 

I admire your strength, courage, soul, and intellect in expressing the truths about what goes on during and after war. 

You are quite an inspiration in being strong and a blessing to many others with your strength of telling it like it is, inspiring others, speaking out, and to persevere. You are an inspiration and blessing to many, many people!!  I feel that you being heard gives others something to think about. Honestly, I am shocked that from your public memoir and the film, that politicians, not even the President, is even considering things for the country.

Ron, PLEASE continue to speak!!!  The country needs someone like you to tell it like it is and to make these knuckle-heads try to do things for individuals instead of taking them for granted.

Ron, I really admire you and hope you will continue to work toward speaking and writing about your experiences and being active in politics. May God Bless You Forever! smile


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By DANNY BARRETT, November 2, 2006 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
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I support our troops, but like most Americans, I have not been to Iraq.  I just pray they all come home safely. I am one Independant who doesn’t like either major political party.  I do think the current administration is a little to the far right of middle America.  God bless the souls of the men and women who lost everything and bless and protect those returning from all adversities. Stupid political policies can’t be stopped when you are in uniform.

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By Theresa Nielsen, November 2, 2006 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am the spouse of a retired Sgt. Major (marriage was 20+ years) and I suffered an injury to my lungs from a Chlorine gas release that happened at Fort Polk Louisiana (1999) as I was walking my dogs on base. This happened since they were doing some constrution projects to try and speed to save this base since it was mentioned on a possible base round-up closing. I suffered burns to the lining of my lungs and skin and to this day suffer from respiratory sypmtoms but spend a lot of money on antioxidants, good diet etc. I just recently lost my Tricare coverage copay for I could not keep up with the payments with retirement income, regular living expenses with a chronic health condition. I have tried starting my own business which is not easy but slowly I am working at it. The reason I am responding to this is that I was abused with my attempts at getting medical care. I was constantly ignored for my sypmtoms,(lots of congestion that would literally shock me), I was being spinned by the system, and to this day have not received appropriate and sincere care for this respiratory concern. News got around town that my health is kind of frail, also my credit suffered after my separation with my spouse who retired so my employment opportunities are next to none. Even my spouse that has retired with 30 years of service(Army) and served in Afganistan one looking for Osama in the montains, also has a chronic health condition and cannot find work mainly due to his health. So, what the media does not tell Our soldiers is, How do they treat you after you get injured and when you retire you even have to copay into your chronic medical coverage pay? Society in itself is COMPETITIVE and its very hard for both men and women that who prior to their injuries were Strong and vibrant to now find themselves Weak and alone. Its very hard that also in an extremely competitive society were LOOKS and Good physical appearance is almost the most imp. prerequisite to have that an ailment, handicap, chronic condition gets in the way of you functioning. I was advised not to come forward for it could hurt my business image etc. etc. and even make matters worse but I need to TELL THE TRUTH. Profit and saving a buck seems more important to the Dept. of Defense but then allow Halliburton(many other Corps)to give shady accounting where thousands or trillions of dollars go missing and now in all areas of this situation in Iraq. Instead of one woman in my area going around town getting spinned, I wish them luck dealing with the thousands that will as time goes on develop even more medical problems and with our country’s irresponsible spending, maybe possible economic collapse, Who is going to care for so many more Vets Chronic health problems? their unemployment? etc. etc. Yet those people at Fort Polk now have a brand new CPO building where many in the local area earn 35 to 45,000 a year(out of the construction project) which the chlorine alarm went-off many times but we were not warned the families for no extra money was available after the other buildings were constructed. Yet I get the spinning, villification and barely have enough to eat, and now lost my Tricare coverage for not being able to keep up with the payments.

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By J.K. Frazier, November 2, 2006 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few of the comments on this blog suggest that US belligerence was the only answer to threats from Bin Laden and his ilk.  I strongly disagree.  The war in Iraq has merely metastacized terrorism, giving Bin Laden an enormously effective recruitment tool.  There were many alternatives to invading Iraq, which was done without a valid reason, without a thoughtful plan and without understanding the culture being invaded. 
America has the tools, technology and talent to respond intelligently to terrorism, instead of making it worse by using dumb brute force on the wrong target, killing a hundred thousand innocent civilians. 
Instead we could have utilized the broad international support we once had to shut down the madrassas, re-educate the ignorant who follow Bin Laden, and persuade everyone that we are, in fact, better than the terrorists, that we are a fair and honorable nation, and that we have a sane, cooperative approach to solving global problems.  Too bad those opportunities were ignored and destroyed by the current clueless administration, which has shown no care for the troops it claims to “support.”  I respect and honor our soldiers.  Accordingly, I believe they should be called upon to make sacrifices ONLY when it is absolutely necessary.  No one can say this war was necessary.

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By Sleeper, October 31, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
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“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”
- Mahatma Gandhi

I think it makes a difference.  When comes close to home we always look for reasons to accept it.  We need to make some form of reasoning put the loss into an acceptable compartment.

Governments look for lables no matter how absurd.  Our involvement in Iraq has nothing to do with liberty or democracy.  That is the story that is told to the ones doing the fighting, but it doesn’t pan out.  Totalitarianism on the other hand is being advanced globally because of our involvment.  It is not only being pushed on our enemies it is being advanced on our own citizenry.

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By Paul Amigo, October 31, 2006 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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I have a response to the right-wing perverted slogan “cut & run”, It is “Stay and Die” in Iraq for our brave soldiers who have been deprived of proper body armour,extra troops to get the job done and worst of all, NO PLAN OR SRTATEGY TO DEAL WITH THE INSURGENTS !!!!!!!!!
This adminstration and its ‘rubber-stamp’ republican congress is GUILTY of letting down our brave soldiers !!!!!!!!!!!!!

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”
- Mahatma Gandhi

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By bob, October 31, 2006 at 4:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At least you know how many soldiers are injured and dead.
Where as for Iraqi’s “we dont do death counts”.
There just not worth it.

Excellent commet Rick.

Help your brother in oppression.

When he is being oppressed help him.
When he is oppressing, stop him.

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By Wilma Lamb, October 29, 2006 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Horrifying and heartbreaking that this is going on in a country supposed to be so civilized, caring and god-loving. This HAS to be the most cynical, greedy, lying bunch that ever ran this country. One would expectit from a two bit dictator of some dinky little country but the one that has held itself up as a model for the rest of the world????!! WAIT a minute!! Our country is being hijacked and nobody is doing anything about it. The most advanced country in the world should give nothing but the best to those who fought and died for her, not substandard body armor and armoured vehicles that should and don’t protect our fighting men. My husband was a 21 year veteran and if he were alive today he would be apalled at what we have sunk to.

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By Rick Lindsay, October 28, 2006 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Born on the 4th of July is an excellent movie; rent it some time if you have not seen it! 

One thing about it that sticks out in my mind even today is how one character (I won’t reveal which) says “My country, right or wrong.”  I remember people using that jingoistic phrase a lot back then (and the same sentiment—if not the exact phrase—is common today as well).  The thing is, I have discovered that the entire quote is:

“Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.”—Carl Schurz

When taken in its entirety, this quote means something entirely different, something excellent instead of something simplistic.  I wish this whole quote were better known, and that America would take it to heart!

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By Fadel Abdallah, October 28, 2006 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The frustrations, anger and rage, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety attacks, terrible restlessness and desperate need to keep moving will come later, but for now we are so thankful to have just made it out of that place, so grateful to be alive even with these grievous wounds.”

“I cannot help but wonder what it will be like for the young men and women wounded in Iraq. What will their homecoming be like? I feel close to them. Though many years separate us we are brothers and sisters. We have all been to the same place. For us in 1968 it was the Bronx veterans hospital paraplegic ward, overcrowded, understaffed, rats on the ward, a flood of memories and images, I can never forget; urine bags overflowing onto the floor. It seemed more like a slum than a hospital. Paralyzed men lying in their own excrement, pushing call buttons for aides who never came, wondering how our government could spend so much money (billions of dollars) on the most lethal, technologically advanced weaponry to kill and maim human beings but not be able to take care of its own wounded when they came home.”
Dear Ron Kovic:

I take my hat off in admiration for having the stamina and courage to tell the story of your pain and remind us about the pain of the thousands of other victims of American imperial wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
I, for one, would rather die a terrible death, than survive a terrible war crippled for life.

Having read your piece twice, while reflecting on every word and sentence you wrote, I practically lived the psychological pain you eloquently expressed throughout your piece. Through this experience, there were few thoughts that occupied my pained soul and mind:

1. As a pacifist, I am increasingly confirmed in my belief that there is no justifiable war. All wars are evil through and through, no matter what justifying label crooked and evil leaders try to give them. Vietnam and Iraq wars are even less justifiable for being based on lies, deception and evil motivations. How come so many, supposedly the most enlightened people of the world, be so much deceived?!

2. I wonder how is it possible that a nation, with long tradition of democracy and high rate of literacy and education, can be deceived for so long and several times in a short period of 50 years or so to get itself into several aggressive wars and invasions half way around the world!

3. Though I am a pacifist, I am more astonished how a nation can read what you have said and not rise in large numbers and walk, en masse, on the White House and the Pentagon to remove or stop the evil being cooked there in their names and with their tax-payers money!
4. May I say, with an excruciating pain, that a nation that does not have enough Kevin Tillman and enough Ron Kovic types deserve what has befallen it!!!

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, October 28, 2006 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rolf in Brasil…Sorry to be so long and I hope you see this. I know how frustrating it is to ask and not be answered.

1-50% of the people did not vote for GB and his merry gang of thieves and sociopaths. The election was stolen, probably both of them. Go to Greg Palast on the internet….he did most of the investigation…..and he jokes but does not lie.
2-Big Media are owned by Big Corporations, who, in effect, own the government of the US, and it´s military, who act as policeman, judge and jury all over the world to make it safe for said corporations to loot the entire world. Said corps also make the guns, bullets, tanks, planes, bombs, etc, that you see making a right mess in Iraq or some other country…..very profitable….they have to be replaced very, very often when you have a shooting war…which brings us to 9/11, the Pearl Harbour of this century. This was the enabler for all that has taken place since….also the making of the presidency and administration in office now, who were seriously floundering before the event. Find PNAC on the internet and read it…..these people are so arrogant they published their intentions. Also find a book called THE NEW PEARL HARBOR by David Ray Griffin.
3- Yes, It is very painful and uncormfortable to admit you are not only very wrong but also stupid.

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By Boomer, October 27, 2006 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Your description of the intense destruction of war is profound. It completely astonishes me that the U.S government wields its might so iresponsibly and with such undignified arrogance , that it makes me ashamed to think that I too was over there (1991).

Specifically, I am terrified of this governments policies. What also horifies me is this nations determined lack of understanding to how there policies destroy families abroad, breeding genuine and complete hate ( BLOW BACK ).

Also , I simply cannot understand how the U.S media denies to demonstrate the extent to which this govenments actions have erased entirely , any goodwill that may have been usefull in the days following 9/11.

I dont wish to consume insumountable bandwidth, so ; Thank you Ron for reminding us the cost. I want to help, but what can a vet do ?

I am devestated for the Simple and beutifull Iraqi people as well. We are now there sport.

occupation = resistance.

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