Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Coming Back to Crawford

Cindy Sheehan is Coming Back to Crawford So few are speaking out for those who have died fighting in a questionable war. I am very happy that Cindy is returning. I am convinced she is speaking for many families and for many of the fallen. How do we know what they thought about the war? We can't in most cases, but my gut tells me even those brave soldiers who seem supportive may just be "soldiering on."

I had the pleasure of sitting next to a member of the Air Force when I flew into Tucson a couple of weeks ago. As we exchanged the polite greetings that strangers sharing such tight quarters for a three hour flight do, he told me he was in the Air Force and was returning to DMAFB in Tucson. In this ritual exchange I then told him that I coordinated a local peace group. This produced an apparently involuntary reaction where he moved his head back in surprise.

I told him that I respected what he was doing, and that individuals willing to fight for our liberty and way of life were some of the most honorable individuals I could imagine. Then I said that because of that willingness to sacrifice themselves, that any violation or explotation of that trust was the worst form of abuse and that those who think like I do feel our troops are being abused in just that fashion. He seemed to relax, and then, rather than denying that that was happening, he just said that he couldn't really say anything detrimental of those from who he had to take orders. I then spoke of understanding the need for absolute observance of strict chain of command or the requisite military discipline and ability to act together as one would disintegrate instantly. He seemed relieved that I understood a bit about the world he lives in. We conversed about many things and he, a man being sent back to Iraq for a second tour in November to actually fight and perhaps die, seemed far more accepting of me than most of the war supporters I meet. I can't help but believe he felt better about all peace activists after having met one who respected him, understood the sacrifices he lives with, and was fighting for him and for increasing the respect and decreasing the abuse of people just like him.

A second tour without choice. Even in Vietnam soldiers had to reup for a second tour. They say this is an all volunteer army. If that were true, a second tour would be the choice of the individual -- it is not.

I'm glad Cindy is returning. Soldiers right now, need the changes she is working for.

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