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Marie Cocco: The Hippie Factor

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Posted on Aug 14, 2006
Jane Fonda and Cindy Sheehan

Jane Fonda, left, during a Vietnam-era antiwar rally, and Cindy Sheehan speaking during a rally against the Iraq war.

By Marie Cocco

Tempting though it may be to lump them together, Baghdad is not Saigon, and Cindy Sheehan is not Jane Fonda.


WASHINGTON—Iraq is not Vietnam.

This may disappoint those repulsed by George W. Bush’s Nixonian penchant for deception and his ruthless political cynicism. But it does not alter the essential fact. The catastrophic American invasion of Iraq and the catastrophic American entanglement in Southeast Asia have never been one and the same.

I cannot predict whether the new Republican battle cry—that somehow a foiled terrorist plot to blow up airliners means American voters should endorse the Iraq misadventure and punish Democrats who seek an orderly end to it—will work in the November congressional elections. Politically speaking, it suffices that Republicans in their hearts believe it will work. Otherwise, the coordinated screeching of the theme would not now be heard.

The political lesson the Republican Party took from Vietnam was that the charge of “cut and run’’ could be unerringly effective, even if the president who did the cutting and running from Saigon was, in fact, Republican Richard Nixon. But here is where the essential differences between the two wars complicate the counterfeit argument: The political origins of the conflicts were fundamentally different, as was the opposition that grew up around them.

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American involvement in Vietnam was not the result of some newfangled doctrine cooked up by a small but influential group of partisan insiders. It was, at the start, a logical extension of the policy of containment—that the United States would deter what it saw as the global march of Soviet-style communism anywhere in the world. The notion of containment was bipartisan, had broad support among the public and was unquestioned for decades after World War II.

Containment was pursued through the Vietnam era by Democrat Harry Truman,  Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat John F. Kennedy, then by Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican Nixon. Bush can claim no such history of consensus or bipartisanship on Iraq.

The consensus about Iraq, when the administration was first hatching the idea of an invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, was that United Nations sanctions had worked to prevent the Iraqi dictator from enhancing his military capability. Secretary of State Colin Powell said so, publicly and repeatedly, through much of 2001. So did then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Most famously, so did Vice President Dick Cheney: “Saddam Hussein’s bottled up,’’ he declared during a Sept. 16, 2001, interview on “Meet the Press.’‘

Containment was the world’s policy toward Iraq. Bush disrupted it with his new doctrine of preemptive war. The new policy shattered a long-standing, bipartisan consensus in Washington on the use of American military force. The soft-on-terrorism smear that Bush then used in 2002 against any Democrat who disagreed, however minutely, with any aspect of the Bush war policies deepened the divide.

It is, though, not nearly as ugly as the national trauma over Vietnam. Why? No hippies.

Can anyone disentangle the political turmoil churned up by Vietnam from the other cultural upheavals of the era? The provocative newsreel that was the 1960s and ‘70s featured unending film footage of civil rights protests and the violence that often accompanied them; of young women discarding sorority pearls and demure sweaters for love beads and T-shirts; of young men who grew their hair as long as young women—and burned their draft cards to boot.

The shattering of racial and sexual taboos and the barriers that fell, one quickly after another, gave Americans the impression of a society upended, as indeed it was. When Nixon appealed to a “great silent majority’” in 1969, a majority of Americans already had turned against the Vietnam War—about half were calling it morally indefensible; nearly two-thirds told pollsters it was a mistake. So it is impossible to imagine a “silent majority” of Nixon supporters who somehow focused on Vietnam but not on street riots, rebellious blacks and the sense of a society in chaos.

Today the faces of the movement against the Iraq war do not resemble Jane Fonda or Stokely Carmichael. They are the innocuous images of Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, the preppy-looking businessman who defeated Sen. Joe Lieberman in the state’s Democratic primary, and Cindy Sheehan, a middle-aged mother whose son was killed in Iraq. Republicans try, nonetheless, to demonize them. The task is difficult when those supposedly belonging to a dangerous fringe look as bland as a neighbor you might bump into at the grocery store.

It is harder, still, when the protest movement isn’t unfolding in the public glare of television cameras but in the privacy of the voting booth.
   
Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at symbol)washpost.com.


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By Spin Boldak, April 23, 2007 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You (we) Baby Boomers all talk big about fixing this current mess but you are all gutless and lazy. Cheney-Rove, Inc. will continue to practice their depredations with impunity.  Our current OIF/OEF vets will be thrown on the dogsh*t pile just as the Vietnam vets were and still are.  Lookin’ to place blame Boomers?, run to the nearest mirror!

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By Spinoza, August 21, 2006 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sheehan for President

We need someone who has a sense of ethics.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 20, 2006 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There should be mandatory NATIONAL SERVICE allowing for NO deferments—it should include women and ALL economic classes.  Every citizen needs to be involved and face the consequences of political decisions enacted by this government. Perhaps, apathy and detachment would be replaced with political activism.

If middle-class and upper-class families truly support Bush and the Iraq War, they need to do more than slap a sticker on their car—saying support the troops—their own children MUST serve.

It’s nice having someone else do your dirty work—but military service should not be outsourced to the poor or working-class—political participation SHOULD NOT BE ELECTIVE; everyone needs to be involved.

It is totally insane that, more people vote during an American Idol competition than in a presidential election.  In Australia voting is mandatory, if you don’t vote you are fined—-how can we consider ourselves a representative government if more than 50 percent of the population does not participate???

Just look at the last election, 50 percent did not vote and of the 50 percent that did vote, only 25 percent voted for Bush.  So, what kind of democracy do we have, when 75 percent of the population is not represented???

We have a right-wing fundamentalist cabal, that are obsessed with “democratizing” the world, while repressing our own civil liberties, a cabal who is interested in privatizing all social services while creating an astounding national debt and an uncertain future for the next generation

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By Sleeper, August 19, 2006 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eleanore,

I agree that a draft would no doubt raise the consciousness of those who feel untouchable at the moment.  The problem is that the rich and influencial have always been able to skirt service or at least real service in a combat zone.

My Son applied to one college and he should have spent more time on his essay, but it was more then that.  He would have been so far in debt had he been accepted to Rensalear in Troy, NY for aerospace engineering.  Now instead he is going to be taught how to fly unmanned aircraft and receive a decent package to further his education later.

I’m nervous as hell.  He is smart and very computer literate.  I’m all mixed up.  I hate our involvement in Iraq.  I hate using our troops to occupy any nation especially one that is having a civil war and both sides want us gone or dead.  I hate the fact that the kids of those responsible for this war won’t share in the dying. 

He had no help with school.  I’m not stable enough to provide the funds to put my children through college and since I was denied a disability they won’t receive help from the Government.  It sucks and I feel so helpless.

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By Sleeper, August 19, 2006 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s my fault and the responsibility of my contemporaries if our acts of rebellion taught the power structure how to routinize and commercialize cultural change, while helping the powers that be hone the art of emotional politics, I do not wish that as my legacy.

The power structure in the U.S. is your generation who once did stop sending our troops into a War zone where we had no intention of winning.  It is the same generation who has brought about all this fight or flight munipulation and focused it on the younger generation of today.

The terroist are not waiting to rampantly kill Americans any more then the communists were waiting in holywood to ruin our freedom when we had our red scare.

It was World Trade Centers that were attacked.  Symbols of the World Trade Organization that portrays Global Power and oppression of anyone not belonging to the Global Ruling class.

“We have nothing to Fear but Fear itself” are words with eternal meaning.  There were 3000 killed out of 270 + million here in the U.S. 

I have no problem reverting to the fight instinct, but I try to reserve it for a True enemy.  One that threatens my freedom every minute of every day not some far away people who believe or look differently then me.

My Son just joined the Army.  I’m proud that he sees things in this nation worth sacrificing for and I have done my sacrificing years ago for very similar reasons.  It is up to someone to fight here at home for freedom.  This can only be done by getting a message out to those who are not too appathetic to speak up, to vote, & to participate by ensuring that the counts are just.  Our Government will revolve.  The big question is how radical the peaks and troughs will be.  Can we change direction in 2006, 2008 or even a later date?

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 19, 2006 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

POVERTY RATHER THAN LOTTERY!

An all-voluntary military is nothing more than an economic draft,  where desperate kids have few choices and conscription is based on poverty rather than lottery.

  These kids   come from small towns and poor inner cities, all they want is a “shot” at a better life,  what they all have in common is one thing—the promise of a free education and a second chance. 

Since the beginning of this all-volunteer military, African-Americans have enlisted for service in the armed forces at much higher levels.

After reaching a high of 28 percent in 1979, black enlistment levels hovered around 20 percent until 2000.  But the past five years have seen a drop in overall African American enlistment levels.

Black enlistment rates in the Army and the Marines have declined since 2000. These trends spell trouble for the Army, which has depended on blacks to meet its recruiting goals.  Since 2001, the military has especially targeted Latinos in the Southwest. This includes both Chicanos born in the US and Mexican immigrants.

The immigration issue is used as both a threat and a promise by recruiters who are even recruiting in Mexico, both near the border and in the interior of Mexico—the most desperate and poor are used as cannon fodder to enrich war profiteers.

So as a result, a new phenomena is occurring—21,880 new soldiers recruited in 2005 were admitted under waivers—these are recruits who are incapable of meeting so-called “normal standards.” These waivers represent a 42 percent increase since the pre-Iraq year of 2000.

Equally significant,  is the Army’s liberal use of “moral waivers,” which are issued to recruits who have committed criminal offenses.

Officially, the Pentagon states that most waivers issued on moral grounds are for minor infractions like traffic tickets. Yet many of the offenses are more serious in nature—so isn’t interesting that the prisons are primarily dominated by poor African-Americans, and when the military needs to fulfill their quotas they grant waivers to poor African-American males who are only left with TWO CHOICES—JAIL or IRAQ!

  ECONOMIC DRAFT: WE’LL TAKE YOU, WHAT ELSE WILL YOU DO?

Young adults with limited opportunities who do not have access to well-paying jobs, and financial aid to attend college are especially susceptible to the enticements of recruitment. 

Those who sign up in the National Guard need the monthly payments to supplement their income and some were under the false impression that they would stay in their state, perhaps helping out with civil disasters and doing their one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer—similar to what George Bush did, after his father used his high level connections to ensure that, his son would stay in Texas during the Vietnam War.

  Now, however,  the National Guard and Reserve units have been activated, and are deployed to Iraq.

  ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH; TWICE IS NOT ENOUGH—WILL THREE TIMES BE A CHARM?

Military obligations that was supposed to end are NOW NOT ENDING, soldiers are being retained under a new strategy called “STOP-LOSS DRAFT”—it’s basically a method of protracting military service, so instead of finishing your tour of duty, you are reassigned for four or five additional tours—STOP-LOSS, NEED I SAY MORE. 

    IT DOESN’T AFFECT ME!   
   
If Middle-class and upper-class children were drafted, political consciousness would be raised at lightening speed—self-interest has a way of sparking enlightenment.

The draft is a “volatile issue” and politicians are clever, they know what issues to avoid—civil rebellion and the memories of the Vietnam War are still ever-present.  But is it fair,  to ask the poor and working-class to fight a war, only to make war profiteers rich?

When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”—Jean-Paul Sartre

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By JoeGarcia, August 19, 2006 at 7:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kaput of the Counter-Culture

The anti-Iraq war movement is extremely different from the movement to end the war in Vietnam. The 1960s protests did not only concern the war but advocated counter-cultural values. These values frightened the power structure more than the Vietnam protesters themselves.

It was the people out of doors: the Chicago Democratic National Convention, unrest at colleges and universities around the country, radical students demand for ROTC programs and other war machine funded research to end.

Student strikes meant rioting, seizing and closing university president or dean officers, some of these actions were joined in by faculty members. Startling events transmitted via TV: the summer of love in Haight Asbury, the Woodstock nation, the SDS, the killings of students at Kent State by National Guardsmen.

Dying for peace is like fucking for chastity.

An attempt to levitate the Pentagon, draft card burning, Draft Board fires started by two Jesuit priests and their friends. The Black Panthers and Stockley Carmichael’s “Black Power” challenge to Martin Luther King’s nonviolent approach to gaining full equality and civil rights.

A new underground railroad this time not transporting slaves but young men from the clutches of the United States Army helping them reach Canada or Mexico.

Women fighting for their rights, with the rumblings of a gay rights movement’s fast approach. Tuning-in and dropping out, forming collectives, Maoist or not. Kids were telling their WW II veteran daddies, “Fuck You, I won’t go,” while other vets watched the first living room war, and although patriotic, wanted their kid to stay home and in some cases assisted flight via the underground.

The death of icons, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, dreams and youth are dead. In expressing their grief and suppression, rioting and looting took place the greater the forces of ghetto neo-colonization pushed the greater was the pushback.

The middle class feared their children, because their children weren’t their children anymore. They feared the communists. They feared if their kid(s) were in Vietnam he’d come home in a box or broken. They feared African Americans for they were either going to riot and loot, mug them, rape them, or rob their homes.

The Republicans artfully developed two messages “the silent majority” and “law and order”. The silent majority were those patriotic Americans who were disgusted with the values of the “counter-culture” and believed in wife, home and apple pie. America love it or leave it.

Law and order was a buzz phrase for (excuse me) keeping niggers in their place. While Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” was satire of urban American life in the 60s and 70s in much of the northeastern United States it wasn’t satire at all.

As mentioned previously, the neo-colonization of the ghetto was accompanied by structures of racism: police, district attorneys, the welfare and prison system, neighborhood legal services and other Great Society programs created both a black underclass of recipients and a black middle class of administrators. The same held true for urban Hispanic communities. Consequently, it became concomitant upon the administrators of the system to ensure the continued existence of recipients.

During the rise and fall of the counter-culture the mainstream media was minute as compared to today. To the media of yesterday the counter-culture was a unique phenomenon its distinctiveness made it news. This increased its reality, its fear and in a sense it was portrayed as a type of Bacchanalian anarchy, particularly when coupled with the anti-war demonstrations.

The corporate sector failed to develop up until then two important techniques learned by the experience of the 60s-70s counter-culture. They discovered how to quickly routinize trends, through mass-media and mass marketing. Expansion of mass media serves to routinize counter-culture (for example, African-American Art forms) it defuses—through mass marketing—a genuine sub-group dynamic, for all one must do to be a member of today’s sub-group is buy its paraphernalia. The Hippies in particular, and anti-Vietnam war movement in general, was sui generis a group of people who shared a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors that differed in some significant way from that of the larger society—an empirically identifiable sub-group.

While the Internet may encourage net root movements its politics does not translate into demonstrations, or actions of passive resistance. These net-rooters must clench their fists and show their power. How is power demonstrated in America, surely not by voting, but by the denial of money, by boycott? Net-rooters should devise a list and wean it down until consensus is reached on one corrupt felon that profit from consumers. The only weapon the middle and working class have in this country is consumer power.

The myriad of so-called “news” programming all simultaneously reporting on one lead story reinforces the fact that “x” is the present reality. How much media time have anti-Iraq war demonstrations and protests at G8 summits received?

There will never be another counter cultural, political or social movement in the United States of a left or right leaning bent for any movement that interferes with consumerism will be criticized by the punditry, belittled in news coverage, and by other opinion-makers.

A fusion of boycotts and net-rooters may be today’s catalysis for social change, will both resurrect and renew the counter-cultural aspirations of my generation with the hopes and desires of today’s youth.

It’s my fault and the responsibility of my contemporaries if our acts of rebellion taught the power structure how to routinize and commercialize cultural change, while helping the powers that be hone the art of emotional politics, I do not wish that as my legacy.

For Part One of Emotional Politics go to http://garart.squarespace.com

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By Sleeper, August 18, 2006 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. One out of every three homeless males who are sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box has served in the military.

Homeless veterans come from poor disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Forty-seven percent of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era. More than 67% served our country for at least three years and 33% were stationed in a war zone.


Elenore,

These are some hard hitting numbers and I don’t doubt them one bit.  Thank God, for people like you who will actually fight for the true facts concerning veterans.  My experience at Togus VA had one doctor saying to me in an interveiw that I had never been in Combat because I had never killed anyone.  This was just one statement during a few interveiws, but it was enough for me to immediately shut down.  I was instantly filled with so much anger.  I didn’t dare to speak.  Thank God he was an old feeble man cause if he were younger I would have assulted him at the very least.  I detached and eventually walked out of the place.  I knew it was a losing route to any recovery or understanding.  I have learned plenty since and I have seen individual counselors, but I agree with Dr. Tick in his analisis that PTSD is an identity issue.  He explained it as during a traumactic event the soul flees the body and may never completely return.  Thats why PTSD victims have so many problems with intimacy.  I need to get involved in a group that is finding their way through life together, but even my individual counselor have not introduced me to their groups.  I really don’t know where I fit in. 

Enough about me.  Thanks for fighting the good fight.  I’m convinced that too many employees of the VA love their government checks and see themselves as gatekeepers whose job is to deprieve vets with righteous claims from the best life they can salvage.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 17, 2006 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The price of military equipment is easy to quantify, but how do you calculate the psychological costs of war?   

200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. One out of every three homeless males who are sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box has served in the military.

Homeless veterans come from poor disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Forty-seven percent of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era. More than 67% served our country for at least three years and 33% were stationed in a war zone.

In 2005 Congress voted against the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs funding bill to add $53 million for veterans’ health care and other benefits.

The amendment would add $8 million for combat-related trauma care, $6 million for poly-trauma centers to support wounded troops once they return to their homes, $9 million for VA medical and prosthetic research and $7 million for 100 additional staff who process claims for compensation and pension benefits.

Finally, the amendment would provide $23 million to help approximately 4,100 spouses of service members with children whose spouse died during the War. The amendment failed 213-214. (Leadership Document, “Medical Quality Democratic Amendment Final.”) [HR 2528, Vote #224, 5/26/2005; Failed 213-214; R 19-210; D 193-4; I 1-0].

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By wed0c, August 17, 2006 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the article was tripe. there are more similarities than differences. in neither situation are we winning. in neither situation do we understand the culture.

I guess she is lamenting that there is no hateable antiwar movement. My guess is that the Iraqis are thinking what the h- did you come here for. I am sure the Vietnamese felt the same.

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By winterfire6, August 17, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not all of us sold out, and some only half sold out.

It is more important how you do anything that what it is you do.

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By Sleeper, August 17, 2006 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think the Veitnam veterans analogy is very valid.  There are many similarities.  When we finally pulled out of Veitnam this nation was hip to the fact that as Eisenhower predicted the Military industrial complex will produce its own conflicts.  It will do this to keep the money flowing.

It plays to the hippies turned Yuppies.  Now they can stuff their pockets with this profiteering greed.  They no longer have to fear the draft. the younger generations can die in order to supply the Blood money. 

The youger generations don’t remember the draft.  They just know that there are no jobs for them outside the military unless they want to work for a fast food chain or the local Big Box Store that sells 70% of their goods from China or other nations that leave plenty of room for 100% or more mark ups.

Veitnam vets at least have an opportunity to have some benifits although it took more then 15 years for many of them.  I’m a Combat Veteran from Lebanon back in 1983.  I never was eligible for a G.I. Bill and the VEAP that I was eligible for became null and void because I had to withdraw the $2700 that I had put into the program.  The program would have given me an additional $5400 added to my own money disbursed over the 4 years of a Bachelors degree program.  I have PTSD and filed a claim back in 1993 which was denied because no one bothered to research log books or anything to cooberate my claim.  They said that they did not dispute that I was subject to stressors only that they cannot accept my accounts as the sole input along with input from counselors that say my demeanor is consistant with that of someone who suffers from PTSD.  I have been told that if I aquire a buddy statment the case could be reopened.  I am in contact with a man that was in a guard tower one day in late August.  He and his partner had an RPG explode in front of the sand bags that protected them.  I later volunteered to bring up some NVG’s before it got dark on the last ladder a 50 - cal. machine gun fired on me and this man caught me as I dove behind the sandbags.  I remember him saying Bic those tracers were 3 feet off your ass.  He will write out that statement for me if I ever feel that I could stand the stress of going through the process again.  I have a problem focusing on this complicated mess.  I don’t know how I would react to further rejection and I don’t Trust the system.

Its been 23 years since October 23, 1983 the day that bothers me the most.  I felt so helpless on the deck of the Iwo Jima as I carried strechers from our helocopters to the elevators constantly looking for the jar heads that I knew who were living in that barracks.  I hoped that they would show up amonst the wounded because if they did not then they were gone.  We carried those strechers from 0700 to 1830 that day.

If I can’t make the cut then how many of these kids will be swept aside while our government hopes they die so that these profiteers can continue to say YUP and stuff their pockets with our taxpayers money.

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By winterfire6, August 17, 2006 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We, Hippies, are still here, older and wiser.

You have seen us, if you have been to a protest or a non-corporate coffee house.

We are your elders.

Knowledge isn’t enough. Wisdom is more important, now, and only time and heat makes a savory stew of knowledge, called Wisdom.

When the student is open to learning, the teacher arrives.

Few of us dress in recognizable outfits.

But we have not forgotten what we saw; we saw paradise, the face of God shown many of us, Jesus spoke to others.

We know what we saw and heard. No One will ever take it away from us.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 16, 2006 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the site that failed to hyperlink.

Iraq is a four-letter word for Vietnam

Apparently a lot of people don’t like to compare apples to apples….

Many people don’t like to hear that the situation in Iraq can be compared to what transpired in Vietnam, though I’m not really sure why they feel that way.

Perhaps the comparison troubles people because it’s a ghost from the past that every so often comes back to haunt us.  It’s an endless haunting.  It’s there forever.  Some bad choices were made back then by our leaders, and sometimes when we make bad decisions inn our lives, they haunt us forever.

I am a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and the two conflicts look VERY similar to me.  The comparison are very real.

There are too many mixed messages re: the current Iraq “war” and “restoration” in that sector of the world.  The game plan in Iraq is much like the hidden ball play in baseball.  Everyone thinks the pitcher has the ball until the first baseman tags out the runner.

It’s also similar to our involvement in Vietnam.  There also was an invader who aggressively attempted to conquer a smaller victim for political and economic gain.

The U.S. remains in Iraq mostly for all the wrong reasons.  History and hindsight show that under the leadership of George Walker Bush we had no business invading Iraq—- none at all from a humanitarian perspective and also being the nation who believes in “freedom” and nations governing themselves, our invasion of that country is absurd if not illegal and un-American.

Basically, as more Americans know now, we invaded Iraq and remain there for economic reasons, profiteering and an imperialistic perspective.

With the aggressive invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein and his government showed their blatant hostility and volatility to the world’s oil supply and other governments in that region, and from that perspective, it was necessary for the U.S. under George Bush Sr. to invade Iraq and dismantle the Hussein government to ensure the safety and “stabilization” of the region—- but mostly to protect the world’s oil supply.  While the mission was successful in driving Hussein’s forces back into Iraq, our administration failed to dethrone the Hussein dynasty from its rule, which in retrospect was a big mistake.

The current U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq mainly was an imperialistic move because the Bush administration gave an economic shot in the arm of Corporate America.  Still, it was a move that had any other nation invaded Iraq without support and agreement from world nations, we’d all be seated at the World Court in Den Haag demanding answers and accountability for those actions.

In addition, the Bush administration tried to justify its actions against Iraq by focusing the American public on false and/or misleading pretenses and “intelligence” because otherwise it knew Congress and the American People would NOT permit the transgression against Iraq.

By the way, why has the administration pretended that the “Downing Street Memo” doesn’t exist?  Why hasn’t the Bush administration answered the questions regarding the points and issues of that document?  Oh, I forgot.  The Bush administration feels it doesn’t have to respond to anything it doesn’t want to.

Regarding world terrorism and the 9/11 tragedy—- Saudi Arabia should have been and still should be the target of our search for terrorists because most of the 9/11 terrorists were citizens of or had ties with that government. But since the Bush family dynasty has long-time relations with the Saudis, that government was NOT and still is NOT being investigated and pursued.

Lastly, our Fascist pseudo, representative-democratic government should NOT be pushing its “ways and means” in Iraq. We have lost far too many of our children-soldiers so that Halliburton’s elite and other special interests continue to cushion their bank accounts.

In addition, as the population of dead and disabled U.S. Veterans grows, the Bush administration is cutting the funding of VA Hospital Services and other GI benefits. Why?  There will be a whole new generation of Post Traumatic Stress phantoms roaming on the streets of our nation, needing medical and financial help, but with nowhere to go—- much as the population of Vietnam-era Disabled Veterans.  By the way, soldiers in “Nam” were NOT provided the same government and public “pat on the back” as the soldiers in Iraq have.  Yet, those now returning will find that there is no tangible support in America, only lip-service support.  The cutbacks continue.

The U.S. needs to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. If we need to protect the oil fields, fine, guard them—- but stop the nonsense in Iraq. We need to stop killing off more human beings on both sides in the name of “Democracy”.  Otherwise, being there is counter-American—- it’s against our beliefs.  It’s two-faced!

Anyone who has traveled extensively throughout the Mid-East knows that you will NEVER get the “ancient” nations to accept Democracy any more than you would get most Americans to accept Islamic ways. Why can’t most Americans see that?  Why don’t they make our leaders listen?  As Vietnam was a grave American loss, so is Iraq.

The whole Iraq fiasco, which has become the modern day “Great American Tragedy”, is just another special interest scam premeditated, perpetrated and supported by the current administration along with the support of many misinformed Americans.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 16, 2006 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The current U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq mainly was an imperialistic move because the Bush administration gave an economic shot in the arm of Corporate America.  Still, it was a move that had any other nation invaded Iraq without support and agreement from world nations, we’d all be seated at the World Court in Den Haag demanding and accountability for those actions.”

http://pstern.statesmanblogs.com/entry.aspx?q=2629c6c2-a942-4f45-9f07-980b0110a1a5answers


Iraq and Vietnam are the same—the only difference is the geographical location—the mentality behind all invasions are the same and will always be the same—corporate greed, war profiteering, exploitation of Iraq’s resources, and denying a country the right to self-determination.

Many crooks have become very rich at the expense of many people; I guess that’s called imperialism—Bush calls it democracy.

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By chanceny, August 16, 2006 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
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As a rapidly aging angst-ridden graying hippie who actually did participate in the anti-war, civil rights and female liberation marches, I knew our country was aware of our dissent and cognizent of the size of the protest movement.  The press was there, nightly news covered the chanting masses, showed the posters held high, the earnest faces of committed citizens who were the sons, daughters, mothers and fathers easily identifiable as part of our society.  Sure, we were called Commies, Pinkos, Faggots, Lesbos, Druggies and worse.  But, we got coverage!  America knew there was a movement going on, a protest addressing the immoral direction in which our country was being led. Large numbers of concerned Americans who loved their country and were frustrated and just plain sick and tired of the constant warfare conducted in our name for no good reason. Our demands were reasonable - ending a futile killing spree in Viet Nam and inclusion for all citizens to attain the promised American dream.  Rational, sensible, passionate citizens who were not boogymen or treasonous monsters, but American neighbors voicing their constitutionally granted right to assemble and speak freely. And—- television stations, newspapers and all mainstream media payed attention.  Today’s media has been awol since 9/11, whether out of the fear that’s been shoveled at us constantly by this cabal of corrupt a-holes or just plain dread that they’d be excommuicated from the White House’s good graces.  There have been large numbers of protesters on numerous occasions, one in NYC last year that I attended.  Estimated crowds of over 10,000 lined the streets, marching toward City Hall.  No coverage!  Not a blip on the tv, and only a pictureless blurb in the newspapers. Maybe we need to dress more outrageously, use psychodellic rainbow dyes for our hair, print our slogans in not too subtle tatoos covering our bodies while we whip off our bras and ignite a bonfire! That couldn’t be overlooked, could it?  PROBABLY!

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By Spinoza, August 16, 2006 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is one struggle, fight fascism, fight imperialism

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By Clifford Weinstein, August 16, 2006 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very true. The two conflicts are different. Viet Nam was both a continuation of European Colonialism bolstered by treaties between the U.S. and its allies, and driven by fear of[ as the title of a late 1950’s book ” the Yellow Peril” describes]the advancing dominence of the Third World. Iraq is a seperate beast. It opposed the view of our allies in Europe, it broke treaties, and the fear that drives it foward is the fear the current Administration has of losing the spotlight it grabbed on about September 15 , 2001, when President Bush visited the site of the Twin Towers remains.

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By Arky, August 16, 2006 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, in Fonda’s autobiography she admits to a few mistakes, but does not wonder “what was I thinking?”  She is certain that her actions to end an unjust war were basically correct. 

In truth, her actions 35 years ago have been distorted by the same right wing media types that attack Sheehan.

My only point is that Fonda and Sheehan are more similar than it would appear at first glance.  Thanks to both for taking an honorable and brave stand against unjust wars!

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By bibisad, August 15, 2006 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
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I like Fonda. She was the patriot, not those idiot warmongers.
She was righ as Cindy is right.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, August 15, 2006 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
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Can anyone disentangle the political turmoil churned up by Vietnam from the other cultural upheavals of the era? The provocative newsreel that was the 1960s and ’70s featured unending film footage of civil rights protests and the violence that often accompanied them; of young women discarding sorority pearls and demure sweaters for love beads and T-shirts; of young men who grew their hair as long as young women—and burned their draft cards to boot.”

Ideologically there are parallels between Vietnam and Iraq—the purview of an empire is to colonize—doesn’t every third world country need a garment factory?  Doesn’t the entire world want to work for 10 cents an hour? 

What’s different about Iraq,  is that there are no “draft cards” to burn—-this is an antiseptic invasion,  clinically removed from the suburban middle-class—an all volunteer army, a mercenary force that allows this generation to view warfare, like a feature movie—psychologically detached,  and spiritually apathetic.

No sacrifice is asked of anyone, life goes on, gas prices rise and more than 100,000 thousand Iraqis die.  The suburban housewife fills up her Expedition, and her teenagers will only drive another “cool” gas guzzling SUV.

This administration is a master of deception—like magicians performing a disappearing act, troops fight and die, but the public never sees the flag draped coffins.

This war is packaged to appeal to the “ME” generation, where one is NEVER expected to sacrifice, but only think about me, me, me!

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By Collin, August 15, 2006 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, they’re not *completely* the same.
But they both like Marxists/Communists.
(Chavez/Hanoi)

Is that world view what the *peace* movement is really all about?

Collin

http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

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By Amicusbriefs, August 15, 2006 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
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Vietnam was started by a staged non-event in the Gulf of Tonkin, so there is one similarity to Iraq and the nonexistent WMDs. Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia parallels Israel’s bombing of Lebanon with US-supplied F-16s and ordnance. And they are still using Napalm. The horror of war is unchanged. What is different is that corporate media has been censoring images and information from Iraq and Lebanon, the type of images that led to overwhelming public opinion shutting down Nixon’s escaltion of the conflict. In the 60’s, we had a free press. Now we’ve got spokesmen for Boeing, Exxon and Pfizer.

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By Spinoza, August 15, 2006 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is sometimes very discouraging to see outright fascists at Free Republic and people who are the scum of the earth like Ann Coulter being fetted on the so called “national” media.  The anti Arab racism promoted by right wingers is worse in some repects to the hatred of Blacks.  We do live in rather terrible times.

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By Fonder, August 15, 2006 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More Hippies !! Yes, it’s time to get radical again. Radical has been historically vindicated by the past 6 years. The frigid right, with all its puckered yin yang fetishes, has resulted in the murder and molestation of objectified others, whereas an acid trip only hurts those who go in blind in a bad mood.
Time to rip up all corporate schedules for  
” reality ” and start seeing where the free road leads us. The Beatles’ successor awaits.

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By steve, August 15, 2006 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
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I just wanted everyone to know that all of us “Hippies” are still here, and not just in the woods. I’m a retired science teacher who quit because I was being pressured to tow the propagandist line. I refuse to participate in supporting a government that is bankrupting the nation, manufacturing and distributing destruction and instability. When America returns to be a peaceful nation I will join in again. I am living with my elderly parents and working daily to replant the seeds of the peace movement in every way I can. It is gradual, like always. But people will want peace very soon.

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By anonymous, August 15, 2006 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it was the draft, stupid!

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By Todd, August 15, 2006 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
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At least Jane Fonda had convictions.  Cindy Sheehan is a pathetic media hound who is blingly being used by various people / groups.  She’d rather live in Venezuela than here?  Right.

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By Vigilante, August 15, 2006 at 5:55 am Link to this comment
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Marie Cocco, I added four excellent paragraphs of yours to my thread, Bridging the Troubled Waters Between Vietnam and Iraq?

Excellent points on containment!

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By Mad As Hell, August 15, 2006 at 4:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aging hippies are an anachronism.  But the idea that people go out and challenge the knee-jerk standards of the day is a good one.

We have legions of anti-hippies—the fundamentalist pseudo-Christian right-wingnut clones, all preaching the same thing, all looking like Ralph Reed, and led by men with Reed’s hypocritical cynicism.

I have my own issues with Jane Fonda’s actions 35 years ago. I think even she looks back and wonders “what was I thinking?”  But I have NO issues with Cindy Sheehan’s actions.  Like all right-wing attempts to separate people like Sheehan from their pain when they question Mad King George’s neo-fascist government, they would have you think that Ms. Sheehan didn’t REALLY lose her beloved son, Casey.  Just as Nazi-Ann Coulter viciously and dishonestly questioned the motives of 9/11 widows, so the neo-fascists (I won’t honor them anymore by calling them neocons) would have you believe that the 9/11 attack was NOT upon the liberal blue state North East.  Because if we Blue Staters were the victims of 9/11 (and we were) then their attacks on Ned Lamont and EVERY anti-Iraq warrior as “pro-terrorist” would look even more absurd.

Ms. Sheehan and Cong. Murtha are not the first Right-wingers I’ve seen who’ve had their eyes opened to the viciousness and the lies of the neo-fascists under Mad King George.  They have loyally followed the President until two things happened: 1) Logic and common sense said that he was inept, immoral and completely lying about EVERYTHING—his only goal was enriching a few buddies. 2) That our US Constitution is precious and is being attacked from every direction by Mad King George and his neo-fascist minions.

I’ve seen others, but these are two of the most prominent.  It’s possible for people to be liberal or conservative, to disagree on policy and for both to still be loyal patriotic Americans who truly, in their hearts, want what’s best for America, want their Constitution preserved and honored, and truly believe in freedom.  But the neo-fascists under MKG do not believe in any of that.  They want a Christian fundamentalist empire that allows for a privileged few and minions of zombie-like clones.  The neo-fascists pretend to hate Iran and North Korea, but they are working to set up the US to be just like them.

Let’s take back the House and Senate and impeach the bastards!

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By TruthPlease, August 14, 2006 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frankly, I wish we did still have a modern version of hippies - they brought to the forefront the lies and hypocrisy of that era’s bad guys Where are the protesters now?I live in an extremely rural area where there are still some real hippies left, but modern folks just don’t want to make any sacrifices or take any chances for principles - it’s sad to see how much the modern generations have been mesmerized by constant advertizing blitzes from corporations and politicians - and with the annual cutting festivals on Education the last few years, kids aren’t taught how to think - only how to take tests and fill out forms.  How are we to ever get out of this mess if no one knows how to think outside of the little boxes?  It’s weird to watch how complacent Americans have become since the 60’s and 70’s - willing to be lied to and deceived,as long as the boat doesn’t get rocked and screw principles if it hurts the bottomline…..where is it all leading?  Doesn’t bode well, methinks - that’s why I (and the local hippies) live in such rural areas, I guess.

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