What some Veterans think about this War

  1. Many veterans who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War are furious that the Bush administration is hell bent on destroying the hard work of peacemaking in its bullheaded stumbling to war in Iraq. About to take their message to the streets of Washington, read what they are saying.
    By Jan Barry

    As our troops mass on the borders of Iraq, the United States government should listen to Americans who have been to war and learned hard lessons from military campaigns. Hundreds of outraged veterans have sent comments to the web site of Veterans Against Iraq War (www.vaiw.org) that is circulating a statement to Congress and President Bush signed by veterans and military family members. This statement is to be delivered in a march on Washington this coming Sunday, March 23.

    Consider what just a sampling of these veterans have to say:

    "As a World War II veteran that served in the South Pacific area, I believe we can disarm Saddam Hussein without invading Iraq and causing unnecessary suffering of our young brave sons and daughters and the Iraqi people, simply by continuing the inspection process that is working so far. Our young men and women are at this moment, still struggling to complete the clearing of the El Qaeda & Taliban in Afghanistan. Current evidence shows, the Taliban & El Qaeda forces are regrouping along the borders of Afghanistan & Pakistan. I feel we are falling into the trap of Osama Bin laden, who wants to use our sons and daughters to do his dirty work in Iraq, just as he used our own airliners as missiles against us." Thomas L. Vassilaros, US Army 1942-46

    "Our congressional representatives betrayed us. You can sign away your freedom with the stroke of a pen, but it costs blood to buy it back. I hope those responsibility-shirking "representatives" of ours never get a decent night's sleep till the day they die. I'm not angry, I'm enraged." Arthur M. Howard, US Army Air Force 13th Air Force 1944-47

    "I served with the 192nd Assault Helicopter Co. in Viet Nam from January 1968 until September 1968. I cannot recall feeling such hopelessness as I do now, watching this politically motivated war unfold. I believe that the administration's actions are both ill-advised and shameful. It breaks my heart to know that there will be so many innocent casualties. America seems to have lost its sense of morality and justice." James E. Eason, US Army 1966-68

    "I'm a firm believer in the judicious use of military force when the welfare and safety of the United States is in peril. However, President Bush's misguided policy on Iraq is unquestionably a big mistake. His insidious sword rattling and bellicose rhetoric is not gaining the United States any political, economic nor strategic advantage. As a Republican and a Texan, I am appalled by his lack of judgment and vision." Larry G. Hammer, US Air Force 23 years

    "I served with the Army, National Guard and Army Reserve since I enlisted while still a senior in high school 27 years ago. I have trained all of my adult life to defend my country, and will gladly do so if called upon today. However, the actions of our leadership compel me to tender my retirement from uniformed service eight years prior to my mandatory removal date. I choose not to participate in a unilateral war of first strike aggression against an 'enemy' which poses no threat to the people of the United States of America. Some may call me naive, or worse, yet I equate the President's actions with 'blitzkrieg.'" Mitchell E. Green, US Army, Army National Guard, US Army Reserves 1976-2003

    "For the first time in my life, I attended two anti-War protests! I was in Vietnam during the Vietnam war protest. I felt compelled to protest this war because it is something that only George W. Bush and his friends want. When the world tells you you're wrong, you better listen!" Michael Arrington, US Army 20 years

    "I am an 'arch-conservative' and opposed to what the UN has become. Nonetheless the UN was created for no other reason than to avoid war, not to start one. Under no circumstances should the US become an aggressor nation. The military-industrial complex about which Eisenhower warned so long ago is alive and well and out of control." Jack Van Dien, US Army 2 years

    "I am a 23 year veteran of two branches of service, U.S. Army Reserves and U.S. Navy (Active Duty). Each day I served and wore my uniform with great pride. As a retiree I am obligated to stand up for what is morally and ethically right. I must now stand in support of the thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen who must stand by and obey orders while disagreeing with our posture of war no matter the cost. Yet as I do so I must stand in opposition to an unjustified war on a nation that is of little threat to our great nation. Yes, Mr. Saddam Hussein is wrong, but that does not mean that we are right to wage a war on the thousands of innocent people. Nor is it right to subject our own troops and those of our allies to the dangers of war. To use an old adage, "Two wrongs do not make a right." To the Senators, Representatives, and to our President, while you must stand in support of our nation - America, remember to stand in support of peace and a peaceful resolution to this conflict. Do not subject our nation to an unjustified war." James R. McCollum, US Navy and US Army Reserves 23 years

    "Some of my friends think that we are not supporting the men and women in uniform if we protest the war. I tell them we are supporting them in the only way that shows we value their lives more than we want to stroke the ego of one spoiled rich kid." N. Dale Thompson, US Navy 1957-79

    "I served as a Capt. in the USMC during Desert Storm with the 1st Mar. Div. I can't believe that our foreign policy has returned us to the point where we are massing our armed forces to invade Iraq. I'm a voting man -- and will vote. I'm also a praying man -- and will pray. Semper Fi." David W. Brown, US Marine Corps

    "I am not only a combat vet, but also lived in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The attack on Saddam Hussain doesn't address the problems of terrorism at all, but rather plays into the objectives of organizations like Al Quaeda. With the investment of a couple dozen martyrs and a couple hundred dollars worth of material, Al Queda has gotten:
    1. The USA to take down one of its worst enemies,
    2. Saudi Arabia to announce it wants US troops out after the war,
    3. Many Moslems to believe the USA is anti Islamic
    4. The US economy in a tail spin.

    "I wish our guys were that smart and that economical. Nobody is asking the right questions: What are Organizations like Al Queda trying to achieve? Why do they have so much popular support from people who do not share their objectives? What does any of this have to do with the USA?" Gene Fitzpatrick, US Army 4th Division, 1/22 Infantry, 1 year in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos

    "Containment brought down the USSR, a vast empire of a super-power. It took time, and real leadership in both political parties, and wisdom, and patience, but it is a fact: containment brought down the USSR. Containment can bring down a tin-horn dictator in Iraq." Tim Lally, US Army 101st Airborne Division 1962-65

    "America needs to return to our founding fathers' vision of a nation at peace with the world. Look to George Washington's farewell address. Ours is a limited-government democracy. Reject President Bush's imperialist ambitions and foreign adventurism. Instead, concentrate on the domestic economy and the well-being of the heartland." A.E. Molina, US Army 1969-71

    In a Statement on the Veterans Against Iraq War website signed by over 2,000 military veterans, this is the message they will take to Congress and President Bush, summarizing years of military experience:

    "Although we detest the dictatorial policies of Saddam Hussein and sympathize with the tragic plight of the Iraqi people, we oppose unilateral and pre-emptive U.S. military intervention on the grounds that it would establish a dangerous precedent in the conduct of international affairs, that it could easily lead to an increase of violent regional instability and the spread of a much wider conflict, that it would place needless and unacceptable financial burdens on the American people, that it would further divert us from addressing critical domestic priorities, and that it would distract us from our stated goal of destroying international terrorists and their lairs.

    "Furthermore, Veterans Against The Iraq War does not believe the American military can or should be used as the police-force of the world by any Administration, Republican or Democrat. Consequently, we believe that the lives and well-being of our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines should not be squandered or sacrificed for causes other than the direct defense of our people and our nation."

    The message of military veterans, those Americans who have hunkered in foxholes and bleed on battlefields, is that war is the last option and we have not reached this last option with Iraq. Whether conservative or liberal, their experience says slow down, take a step back, and find another way, one that makes use of the best that America has to offer, and avoids the calamities of war.


    Veterans and Family Members: Go to VAIW's Homepage, there is a Homepage button at the top of this page on the right. When on the Homepage, scroll down past the Operation Dire Distress announcemnts to the Statement of Purpose. Read the Statement, if you agree with its content, then Endorse VAIW by filling out the form just below the Statement. There is one form for Veterans and one for Family Members.

    Note: Jan Barry, author of A Citizen's Guide to Grassroots Campaigns, served 10 months in Vietnam with the US Army and the rest of what he hopes is a long life working for peaceful solutions to international disputes.

    Posted Sunday, March 16, 2003

    http://www.vaiw.org/vet/modules.php?...=article&sid=9

    Current number of Endorsers: 2,662

    VAIW: Veterans Against The Iraq War


    Copyright © 2002 - 2003 VIAW.ORG
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 27, '03
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   Mkue
    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/local/3...r_support.html

    SUPPORTING AMERICAN SERVICEMEN: War veterans organize rally

    "Those soldiers are now fighting for the people's right to protest," he said.
    "We support President Bush, we support the troops and we support the work they are doing," said Meunier, 65, who served two tours in Vietnam during his 24 years in the Army from 1960 to 1984.
    He, like many who participated in the rally, said they want to counter the images the soldiers are seeing that everyone is protesting.
    "Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs," he said. "If we didn't have that, we would be just like Iraq."
    But, Meunier added, Americans who support the soldiers also need to be heard.
    "We need to make them feel like what they went over there for was worthwhile," he said.
    The support was evident yesterday as cars drove by honking and people waved and gave thumbs up to the rally.
    At one point, an unidentified man drove into the convenience store parking lot across the street, walked over to the corner, played "America" on his trumpet and then quietly drove away.

    ________________________________________________

    And some Veterans do support President Bush. I guess it's an individual choice of the veteran, they have differing opinions as we all do.
  4. by   SusyZeke
    Brownms46 - great post. Here is another one....


    My Turn: Anti-war, not Anti-soldier

    By Diane Carlson Evans, RN

    On a bleak night in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969, just a few miles from the Cambodian border, I sent another young soldier from the 4th Infantry Division, back to the United States.

    This handsome young infantryman would not greet his waiting, anxious family with his timid smile and war weary eyes. After hanging yet another pint of blood, I touched his ashen face and looked into his sunken dark eyes filled with visions of war, memories of home, and fear of death. As I stroked his soft, cold face he whispered his last words, "I just wish I could see my Mom again."

    In that heartbreaking moment, I wanted to be his mother. He needed her grace and comfort and she deserved to be the one with him. He was still such a boy. As the color drained from his skin and life left this precious son, I instinctively knew that I could never let him go; he would be the guardian of my memories and rage at a government that betrayed us by not giving us a clear mission in Vietnam or reason to stay. Lyndon Johnson's words, "We shall win this war at all cost" stung deeply as I softly whispered another goodbye to the cost-- a good soldier.

    We all feared dying alone over there. We also feared going home to hostility, anti-war protests, to a contingent of Americans who didn't appreciate our service, our sacrifice. This was a strange time in America when great numbers of people did not separate the war from the warrior. Surely and mercifully, the anti-war protests in America helped to put an end to the war.

    Unfortunately, because of some callous people, many soldiers became the scapegoat, the target of their malice for war. No, I did not have rotten eggs thrown at me, nor was I spit upon like many returning soldiers. I received the cold hard words: "You're no better than the G.I. baby killers; you're over there oiling the war machine--saving those guys so they can kill more babies." A fist fight at the Minneapolis airport broke out as two uniformed soldiers assisted me with my duffle bags while several protestors chanted more epithets at us, one saying, "let her carry her own damn bags, she's in a man's army." Thoughts went back to my chief nurse who warned us to take our uniforms off before arriving stateside because it could cause trouble. Defiant, I wore it proudly, and while pulling the sergeant off one of the protestors he had quickly knocked to the floor, I yelled back at them, "Don't take it out on us! We're over there dying for god's sake." There was no apology.

    What had happened to our America, the land of freedom and goodwill? Why had people turned against us? What had we done to deserve this? There are always more questions than answers when it comes to war. But one thing is certain: when our soldiers are deployed under executive order of the Commander-in-Chief, we know they did not start the fire. They are obeying orders and must serve our nation. Our soldiers today are serving for the same reasons thousands before them have served: they believe it is honorable and the right thing to do.

    We, the American people, must do the right thing, too. Let us not be silenced or held hostage to the notion that speaking against war is unpatriotic or anti-soldier. We must be part of the decision whether to wage or not wage war. We decide to follow our President and Congress because we believe their policies are right, or we stand up in protest and say "no, we do not agree, listen to us, because we believe you are wrong."

    Today, I have become an anti-war protestor. That is: anti-war, not anti-soldier. There is a big difference. Wrong-headed individuals who would scorn our military personnel must be separated from those growing thousands of us who protest war in Iraq in a movement that its very intent is to keep our soldiers, sailors, marines, air men and women, coast guard men and women out of harm's way.

    I join those thousands of Americans who do not want to see them, or innocent civilians, suffer or die during a war that could have been prevented. I join those thousands who implore President Bush to let the inspections work; work with the United Nations, the Security Council, and the international community. We risk global anti-American sentiment of astronomical proportions if we engage in war with Iraq without the support of allies.

    Finally, I have become a war protester because I honor the young man I sent home in l969. I believe every soldier's life is precious, and I do not wish to once again see innocents, our soldiers and civilians, be slaughtered or maimed by a war that could have been prevented. I don't have the answers, but let's go slow before putting our troops in peril.

    In tribute to our Montana troops, I salute and applaud Adjutant General John Prendergast, his faithful lieutenants and non-commissioned officers for their service, their leadership, dedication and unwavering concern for our Montana men and women serving in uniform. We must support them too as well as their families and do our part to make certain that anti -war sentiments do not turn into anti-soldier epithets. Heaven help this country if it once again turns on its own troops, or on each other. Let's get it right this time.

    Today I am no longer a soldier in the military, but I will always be a soldier at heart and am fighting again, this time for peace to bring home all of our soldiers safely.

    Note: Diane Carlson Evans, RN (Former Captain, Army Nurse Corps 1966-72, Vietnam 1968-69)
  5. by   SusyZeke
    May God bless them all.

    Uneasy G.I.s Speak Their Peace

    By Richard Sisk
    NY Daily News Staff Writer
    Sunday, March 16th, 2002

    AL JABER AIR BASE, Kuwait - Many of the U.S. troops poised for battle here would give peace a chance if they had the choice.

    Doubts about going to war can be heard openly in conversations among the troops gathered in tents at night and in their random talks about their duties with a reporter.

    Several military chaplains at this fast-growing launch pad for air strikes also said airmen, sailors, Marines and soldiers assigned here have shared the same misgivings in private sessions.

    Surveys are impossible and, to be sure, the kick-butt attitude appears to be dominant.

    But even those most eager for combat tend to allow that their disagreeing buddies have valid points to make about what they sarcastically call a "do-over war," meaning that they would be finishing a job left undone by then-President George Bush in 1991.

    Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Barber, a Catholic chaplain, said "it's a problem of conscience" for many of the 7,000 Marines and sailors in his field ministry.

    'The bigger picture'

    Barber told of a fighter pilot who sought counsel "not just about his personal fears, but about the prospect of killing innocent civilians. And then there's that Iraqi conscript who bears us no ill will. His crime would be that he was born Iraqi.

    "For all the troops, "The answer has to come from within themselves," Barber said. "We have to look at the bigger picture of why we're here. Perhaps a greater evil will come about from inaction."

    Barber said the political anti-war message from the French and others and the moral anti-war stance of Pope John Paul have resonated with many.

    "I've been surprised at how much sympathy there is with the position of the Pope and the archbishop [Edward O'Brien, head of all Catholic chaplains]," Barber said.

    "Even some of the officers are wondering - if it was up to them, they wouldn't have this war," Barber said. "That's why war is such a bad thing."

    Senior noncommissioned officers also said months of training and waiting for the go order in the desert have left some of the troops on edge.

    "The attitude is that if we're gonna go do this thing, let's go do it and get it the hell over with," said one noncommissioned officer. "I tell you, guys are getting ready to blow at each other over petty crap."

    But, historically, the troops get antsiest and the chaplains get busiest just before action, said Capt. Rick Reaves, a National Baptist Air Force chaplain.

    "Numerically, all our worship services have probably more than doubled" in recent weeks, Reaves said.

    "That speaks to the sense of reflection" among the troops, he said. "They want to reflect inwardly prior to moving north."

    'They know what to do'

    Reaves said he also sensed "a higher anxiety level from one day to the next, an ebb and flow," depending on the snippets of political and diplomatic scuttlebutt that drift down to the ranks.

    But Reaves said the troops are all volunteers who understand that "now they're here and they know what to do and how to respond. When the time comes, they'll perform what they've been taught and trained to do."

    Maj. Gary Breig, a Catholic Air Force chaplain, said the difficulty some of the troops have in grasping the justification for war may come from the nature of the looming conflict.

    "It's different than Desert Storm," he said. In 1991, "We were taking power away from a country that was exerting it over another. Now, we're taking power away from that invading country itself."

    The ultimate question for many of the troops here, and for military personnel through the ages, is the same question that Air Force Capt. Joshua Narrowe, a Jewish chaplain, constantly asks of himself: "How can I support, as a rabbi, an organization whose primary function is to kill people?"

    The answer Narrowe is still struggling to find comes along these lines: "We don't fight like our enemy. We don't kill civilians and we don't kill to kill."

    "Sometimes war is necessary, but it's also sad," Narrowe said. "Probably, that Iraqi conscript is not a bad guy. We need, in our prayers, to pray for him as well."
  6. by   SharonH, RN
    Thank you Brownms46. I work with soldiers all day and many of them have professed their anger at this war and their despair at those who use the troops as an excuse to further their agenda and silence dissent. It's good to hear the voices of actual soldiers, (Dad and hubby included) who will not be used.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    I heard by radio an RN named Elizabeth at the DC demonstration last Saturday say, " In 1969 I was in Viet Nam hanging blood, cleaning wounds, treating infections and pain, and closing the eyes of young soldiers who died in my arms.
    Don't tell me that I know nothing about supporting troops!
    Who is the patriot?"
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Originally posted by spacenurse
    I heard by radio an RN named Elizabeth at the DC demonstration last Saturday say, " In 1969 I was in Viet Nam hanging blood, cleaning wounds, treating infections and pain, and closing the eyes of young soldiers who died in my arms.
    Don't tell me that I know nothing about supporting troops!
    Who is the patriot?"

  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    As José Martí once said: "I have lived in the belly of the monster, and I know its entrails, and my sling is that of David." The monster is big, the biggest empire
    yet to acknowledge its own imperialism, but so was the Roman Empire, and empires come and go. Back in the Sixties we used to hear people scream at us
    "Our country, right or wrong!" They probably didn't know that the whole saying (by Carl Schurz) is: "Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right;
    when wrong, to be put right." That is where I believe we are all coming from. From our rude awakening in 'Nam, to Winter Soldier, to Dewey Canyon III, up
    to the present day.
    Stephen Sinsley at Veterans Against the War event
  10. by   Tilleycs
    The title of your topic is correct. That is how SOME veterans feel about the war. I'm sure there are some veterans out there who still doubt that we ever REALLY landed on the moon, too.
  11. by   Brownms46
    NO one can ever pretend to speak for everyone. And since the link above is 5 pages of the thoughts of honorable veterans, and veteran families, I feel your post is offensive!
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 28, '03
  12. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by mkue
    [B]http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/local/3...r_support.html

    But, Meunier added, Americans who support the soldiers also need to be heard.
    "We need to make them feel like what they went over there for was worthwhile," he said.
    The support was evident yesterday as cars drove by honking and people waved and gave thumbs up to the rally.
    At one point, an unidentified man drove into the convenience store parking lot across the street, walked over to the corner, played "America" on his trumpet and then quietly drove away.

    ________________________________________________

    And some Veterans do support President Bush. I guess it's an individual choice of the veteran, they have differing opinions as we all do.
    To many veterans and veteran families, supporting Bush, and this war, and supporting the troops are two different things. I have no doubt the soldier who is fighting in Iraq, has any doubt that his mother supports him and his fellow soldiers
  13. by   DebsZoo
    And the 90,000+ that are right there, this very moment, stationed in Iraq, are silent, as to their feelings about this.
    Those are the ones I care to hear from, at this time
  14. by   Brownms46
    Several military chaplains at this fast-growing launch pad for air strikes also said airmen, sailors, Marines and soldiers assigned here have shared the same misgivings in private sessions.


    But even those most eager for combat tend to allow that their disagreeing buddies have valid points to make about what they sarcastically call a "do-over war," meaning that they would be finishing a job left undone by then-President George Bush in 1991.
    Even they are questioning this war! And I';m very sure that every veteran who signed the pages on the link above..care about those soldiers also! Becaue they know something of what our soldiers are dealing with!

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