FOREVERWAR: A Veteran Thanks Bernie Sanders for Voting Against the Iraq War
I came of age in the Vietnam era. Many of my friends and contemporaries were sent away to die for corporate profits. It was shocking to realize that society was mostly cool with that. I may have forgotten some of those who never came back, but I remember many. Something over 58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam or from wounds sustained there. Many who survived still suffer daily from PTSD or other damage done to them there. Many other Nam vets have committed suicide or live in the streets. Upwards of three to four million Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian people were slaughtered for the CIA's 'splendid little war' and the profits of Halliburton, DuPont and others.
Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger illegally bombed Laos and Cambodia on a scale that boggles the mind. We dropped more bombs on Laos, a non-combatant, during the Vietnam war than we did on Germany and Japan combined during WWII. Think about that.
It is not easy to come up with exact war casualty figures particularly in a long guerrilla war like Vietnam. Since the end of the war in 1975, there are a number of estimates of its casualties drawn up, but they often vary and sometimes even contradict each other. In the entire war, estimates of the total death toll range widely from 1.3 million, according to Guenter Lewy1, to 3.9 million, according to R. J. Rummel2.
Four decades later, unexploded US munitions still kill a hundred or so people every year in Laos alone. Disfigured amputees are as commonplace as bicycles. How lovely is the fruit of our labor?
For a time after the end of the Vietnam War, it looked like we'd learned some important lessons. The American people were not eager for further military interventionism. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there was even talk of a 'peace dividend.' That went up in smoke in a hurry. One can imagine the flurry of activity in the halls of the Pentagon, 'Hurry up and find a new enemy!'
Then came the neocons. Then came 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq. Then came drones. Then came Syria, Libya, Iraq II, and all the rest, Yemen, Africa and so on.
Hint: the answer is way more than you think.
US Special Forces training soldiers in Sudan
This year, US Special Operations forces have already deployed to 135 nations, according to Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That’s roughly 70 percent of the countries on the planet. Every day, in fact, America’s most elite troops are carrying out missions in 80 to 90 nations, practicing night raids or sometimes conducting them for real, engaging in sniper training or sometimes actually gunning down enemies from afar. As part of a global engagement strategy of endless hush-hush operations conducted on every continent but Antarctica, they have now eclipsed the number and range of special ops missions undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
US shadow wars in Africa
And the powers-that-be care as little about our young soldiers as they do about the poor people their hideous war machine is aimed at in any given circumstance.
Kissinger on Bombing Vietnam: “It’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs … I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month … each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.”
Some of us are clueless, some are in denial, and some are all in for foreverwar. Some people don't mind that we drop bombs on other people in far away places, and don't give a shit about orphans, widows or murdered innocents – just as long as gas prices are low and the cheap shit at Walmart remains cheap.
Most people however, I am convinced, want peace and would be willing to sacrifice for it. At least they would be if they weren't scared shitless all the time. To anyone sufficiently afraid, striking out can seem reasonable. That's why they're always trying to scare us. So they can drop bombs, kill people and make money.
Which brings us to the letter:
I want to thank you. I want to thank you for exercising sound judgment even when everyone around you was beating the war drums.
See I fought in the streets of Fallujah, Iraq. I saw more blood and death than any 19 year old ever should. The amount of friends I’ve lost to war will likely be surpassed by the amount of friends I’ve since lost to suicide.
I know first hand the moral cost of war. One of the most painful truths that I must go through life with is that I fought in an unjust and unfounded war. While my intentions were good and I fought hard for the men to my left and to my right, and while I thought what I was doing what was right for the people of Iraq- I was wrong.
You knew this. You knew this before we went to war and you fought, and you spoke truth to your peers and though your words largely fell on deaf ears, I am truly heartened to know that I now have a chance to vote for a man who exercised sound and moral judgment when the war drums were beating the loudest. I have a son. He is only one and a half years old but someday he will be 18 and I fear that if we continue to elect the same establishment politicians, he too will face the same decision that I did, and he too will go off to fight in an endless quagmire and that he too will come home, broken, and never fully returned or worse- never come home at all.
So thank you, Senator Sanders, for being of sound mind and judgment. Thank you for being the only voice in this race that does not want to continue this legacy of warfare. Thank you for being the only voice that is and has been standing up for those of us that fought in these misguided wars. Thank you for giving me hope for a peaceful future.
Sincerely, A U.S. Marine – 0311 Operation Iraqi Freedom
Bernie Sanders shows leadership, wisdom and sound judgment — exactly what we need in the oval office.
Modern warfare is an insanely great way to raid the US Treasury for the benefit of the .01%, who don’t mind at all that their profits come drenched in the blood of patriots and innocents.
The trillions we waste on wars for the hideously rich could make our country a virtual utopia with healthcare, education and gainful employment for all. Only Bernie sees that.