FOREVERWAR: A Veteran Thanks Bernie Sanders for Voting Against the Iraq War

want-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.

How Many People Died In The Vietnam War?

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?

Laos-4

Laos-6

Laos-5

Laos-1

Lao-kids

remember-kissinger-II-without-peaceout

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.

How Many Wars Is the US Really Fighting?

Hint: the answer is way more than you think.

us-special-forces-in-Sudan

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.

shadow-wars-in-Africa

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.

the-neocons-are-still-in-charge-Kissinger

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:

Senator Sanders,

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.

javelin-hi-tech-war
15-YEARS-OF-WAR

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.

college-not-war

Only Bernie.

so-my-baby-goes-to-college-II

foreign-policy-fail

bernie-at-georgetown-II

We’d have to be fools not to seize this opportunity for real change

fascist-killing-machine

no-more-war

Share
up
76 users have voted.

Comments

up
62 users have voted.
Plato2016's picture

Thanks, OPOL, for posting it here so that I could share it.

I refuse to bring more traffic to TOP by sharing and getting more clicks there.

You did a brilliant job of bringing it together. Out of all of the things that we could say about why Hillary is such a bad candidate, the wars that she will no doubt start (and never finish) is at the top of the list.

up
34 users have voted.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when we are afraid of the light.
--Plato

mimi's picture

evaluated and critically discussed for its content. It's a video from 2013, who are the producers of this video, has it been checked for facts being told be sourced and truthful or not ?

up
3 users have voted.

You can read more it at the link provided: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/allwarsarebankerwars.php#axzz4...

Produced by Michael Rivero (WhatReallyHappened.com)

up
2 users have voted.
jwa13's picture

up
3 users have voted.

When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said “How well he spoke”.
When Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said “Let us march”.

daughter to war...most have returned either physically injured, or with ptsd--uncles, parents, brothers, sons...

Thankfully, my son went to college on the GI Bill, studied History and Art...and decided to become an artist...he is a sculptor,
getting his MFA at a University in Texas.

This is too great a cost for any family to bear, much less any nation. The warmongers are out of control. We MUST mobilize the people for PEACE.

Go, Bernie, against all odds, may the people hear and listen, and vote with clear minds and hearts in their best interests.

up
1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

you put this photo essay together brilliantly.

I have a son, who ended up for six month in the second Iraq war, and thus was involved in the invasion as of March 23, 2003. Never had he enlisted in the military thinking he would be deployed to a war he never believed in from the moment it was clear that the Pentagon planned to invade Iraq and kill Saddam. (enlisted in early 2001, finished technical training one month before 9/11 2001, knew he would be deployed to Iraq as of end of summer 2002. Was against that war before it started. Soldiers knew they would be deployed at around eight month before March 23, 2003, but were not allowed to talk about it).

I make this comment for the many soldiers, immigrants, naive and poor, who end up enlisting in the US military for non-patriotic reasons and could not foresee in what kind of wars the US would get themselves into and decided to send their soldiers to.

I often wonder how many soldiers end up in conditions and situations as soldiers by poor bad luck and unpredictable US foreign policy decisions. There are a lot of emotions that can boil over any time due to the feeling of betrayal of soldiers by the politicians.

I have huge inner dislike for the US foreign policies, especially as the involvement of the US military spreads to Africa and Eastern Europe, aside from the whole mess in the ME.

It's the most important reason, why I would never support Hillary Clinton anymore, nor Donald Trump (he is the most dangerous joker so far I have seen among US candidates, Hillary is also dangerous, but no joker. Both are not acceptable, imo).

It's hard enough to believe that even Bernie Sanders, if he became President, can work against the "oligarchic, military industrial, corporate complex". But it's the only candidate we can give the chance to try. So, my support goes to him. It's over in a couple of weeks and we will see what this rigged electoral college with its absolutely disgusting campaign finance options, legally available to candidates (fuck that shit), will serve us this time around.

Until then, I support Sanders. If he wins the nomination, I continue to support him. If he becomes President, I will start holding his feet to the fire watching over him like there is no tomorrow. We can't let another president let down the American people AND the many people in the world effected by the wars and presence of US military everywhere.

I was a little amazed about one of the little things that make me sometimes aware of the "big things". I am on Medicare now and my primary care doctor is an elderly woman from Ethiopia. She heard a little bit about my personal life. At the end she just said, you know these days we don't even know if we will make it up til tomorrow, so just pray everything that bothered me will turn out better than expected. It took an elderly Ethiopian woman to make me aware how much the whole world is aware of the dangers that lay in front of all of us these days.

Many people are cynical of that simple conclusion thousands of people end up coming to. But for so many it's the only thing they feel they can do, pray. So, I end up making decisions one day at a time and be open to change my mind and decisions anytime according to the best of my moral compass. It's my right to do so. Nobody can take that away from me.

Thanks for your work on TOP and here during the years. You have a talent to express your thoughts in artful images. Keep at it and good luck to you.

up
16 users have voted.

to get Bernie to run on the top of the Green ticket with Jill Stein as his VP. Find the petition and information...

Bernie - Stein Green petition

up
7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

I might consider it, but will make up my mind about it only after the Democratic convention.

up
6 users have voted.

A smaller audience here, but a more sympathetic one. And overall, from what I can see, a more discerning and intellectually honest one.

up
8 users have voted.

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." --Jiddu Krishnamurti

bebimbob's picture

Nice to see you OPOL. Always followed you over at TOP, but I can't stand going there anymore.

up
4 users have voted.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." de Saint-Exupery

movie buff's picture

Each Javelin round costs $80,000, and the idea that it's fired by a guy who doesn't make that in a year at a guy who doesn't make that in a lifetime is somehow so outrageous it almost makes the war seem winnable.

Link

And therein lies the rub. We've become comfortable with Foreverwar (because there's no draft) and with how much money we're spending on it (because most military spending is done off-budget) and we're apparently willing to spend more and more money in exchange for the illusion of safety. The idea that spending less money on the military will make us somehow less safe is so ingrained in the American mind--first by the Cold War, then by the War on Terror--that I don't know it we'll ever be able to extricate it.

Bernie is by far the best candidate on these issues--but he is not perfect. Hillary Clinton is a neocon, full stop. Trump is harder to get a read on. No doubt he'd be the likeliest to drop a nuclear bomb on somebody (no small matter, that) but on issues of military spending he sometimes makes a lot of sense.

up
23 users have voted.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." --Noam Chomsky

Wink's picture

"We've become comfortable with Foreverwar (because there's no draft)." Bingo. This has been one of my memes since G. Dubya II if not before. Why aren't people out in the streets (like the '60s) protesting ForeverWar? Becuz their kid isn't fighting it. And, they don't know anyone's kid that's fighting it. It's not in the newspaper, and not on the teevee, so... doesn't exist. Haven't heard about it, so we must have won it. Exactly what the Elites want so they can war profiteer without whining from Libruls and others that don't get that we need to bomb the $h!t out of Them (before They bomb the $h!t out of us) in order to "protect our way of life."™ And, by "our way of life" They mean Their (elite) "way of life." Without a Draft, with an "All Volunteer Army," They can do any damn thing they want. And are.
So, in my less-than-humble opinion, if we want to stop the ForeverWar horse$h!t we need to bring back the Draft. Simple as that. Becuz, until neighbors care that their neighbor's kid is trudging off to yet another senseless "war" somewhere, ForeverWar will continue unabated, well, forever. There's no reason for the War Profiteers to stop what they're doing becuz 90% of Americans have no clue what they're doing. And don't care. Whatever they're doing their kid isn't involved, so... who cares? Without a Draft there will be ForeverWar.

up
6 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

Gerrit's picture

who vote and act against more war.
war-is-not-healthy1.jpg

Thanks OPOL for this spine-stiffening post. I salute in particular c99s gulfgirl, who has for so many years participated in a weekly peace vigil alongside veterans. Blessing be upon you for the hours you have hallowed there.

up
32 users have voted.

Resilience: practical action to improve things we can control.
3D+: developing language for postmodern spirituality.

riverlover's picture

and here at home, now from yet further forays---when will we ever learn? More specifically, when will we get leaders who understand that?

up
22 users have voted.

Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

earthling1's picture

And thank you for your service.

up
25 users have voted.

up
19 users have voted.
jamess's picture

of the Machine that shouldn’t exist.

But somehow still DOES.

This Madness must Stop.

up
20 users have voted.

Every time we make a significant commitment of resources towards violent actions in other countries, it should require approval by a majority of all Americans. A free and open internet will make that very easy to implement. The soldiers and all of us are the ones making the sacrifice. We should be the ones deciding whether its worth it.

up
13 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

movie buff's picture

That's the change I would want. The usual 90 days or whatever, but after that, every dollar spent on foreign military action has to actually be raised. The biggest war hawks in Washington would suddenly find themselves without a constituency--it would be like daddy taking the credit card away.

up
11 users have voted.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." --Noam Chomsky

I can't see how not having a military is a good thing, we do need to be able to defend ourselves from powerful tyrants, but it needs to be a People's military, answerable to the People.

up
4 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Wink's picture

No Draft no "peoples military."

up
0 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

powerful tyrants, right here in the u.s.a.

up
0 users have voted.
Damnit Janet's picture

Thank you OPOL.

up
15 users have voted.

"Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

Cassiodorus's picture

up
17 users have voted.

"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

Bisbonian's picture

Trump.

up
7 users have voted.

"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Cassiodorus's picture

but Trump is for fewer wars than Clinton.

up
7 users have voted.

"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

We got a peace dividend for one, two years? It is hard to accept how awful we are as a country. If I were prez of this cash register, I'd declare martial law and get out my magic wand.

up
8 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Then he got hit by the Ides of March.

up
8 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Big Al's picture

I've made it clear what I think of Sanders' imperialist views. He may have voted for the Iraq war but he's an imperialist just the same as well as a supporter of the MIC. He's supported Obama's wars, his drone war, his wars in Libya and Syria, the war in Yemen, the fake war against ISIS and the overall War OF Terror. His suggestion that Saudi Arabia needed to get its hands more "dirty" was disgusting. He voted for Clinton's illegal Kosovo war and voted to support Israel's inhumane war against the people in Gaza.
He's better than Clinton, but he's no Peace or antiwar candidate at all.

up
5 users have voted.

that Bernie is listening and responding to the people. And he is raising up a movement to succeed him, a movement for peace and social justice and equality.

up
1 user has voted.

It's still a no contest win for Bernie as to who would be the most answerable Commander in Chief.

up
11 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Lookout's picture

Great work. Keep the faith, we are moving.

change.jpg

up
8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

e

up
3 users have voted.

Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . .

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

healthcare.jpg

up
10 users have voted.

Peace Sells

Americans just cry like babies when they go somewhere, and SEE what we have wrought. The missing body parts on Laotians and Cambodians, my insufferable Republican travel mates that were so shocked, so hurt...CRIED LIKE BABIES in Siem Riep at the skulls, the bones...Pol Pot didn't fucking happen in a VACUUM.
Did they not have anyfuckingbody in their family that fought in WWI, WWII, or Korea???? And then compare that to Viet Nam?
We need a draft that does not exempt rich fucks.
Or women.
THEN, let's see how this country deals with war.
OPOL, I am getting ready to go to Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia/Poland in 2 weeks.
I am getting into the anti-war frame of mind ahead of time.

up
7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

I think there should be a mandatory military and/or social service (for conscientious objectors for all deployment that would force them to kill) for all US citizens (and may be permanent legal immigrant's, who grew up in the US and lived and worked in the US for longer than 10 to 15 years) on a recurring basis. One or two years when you are out of school and then short term "refresher" training for a couple of weeks every one or two years.

If Congress and the President should decide they want to send their soldiers into a war overseas, they should just draw the soldiers, they want to deploy, like in a lottery from the pool of all citizens, who have gone through the first year military training and service. That's the only solution I can see would be totally fair. No exemptions for women or socio-economic status.

I think that is similar to the Swiss model. But I didn't check.

up
4 users have voted.
reflectionsv37's picture

for a month last year. We started in Hanoi in the north and slowly worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon). The remnants of the Vietnam war are everywhere. We visited every war museum we could visit. We wanted to bear witness to what the US did to this country. We were stunned, shocked and sickened by the actions of the US Government.

When you look around at the people in the country, the bombing may have stopped, but the people are still being killed everyday by the leftovers from the war. Studies estimate that more than 100,000 people have died or been injured by landmines since the war "officially" came to an end. We were told that 1000 people per year are still injured by landmines and that there are millions more yet to be found and removed. They say it will be another 100 years before they are mostly removed as they cover 1/3 of the country.

There is nowhere in Vietnam where you can go and not see amputees. They are literally everywhere. Some a single leg missing. Others, both arms and both legs. I really can't related in words how difficult it is to witness this and look these people in the eyes, knowing my country did this to them. I was brought to tears on a number of occasions.

The landmines, insidious as they are, are certainly one of the most horrific remnants of the war, but there is another equally or even greater in it's devastation. Agent Orange was sprayed on over 25% of the entire country of Vietnam during the war. It is estimated that more than 500,000 children have been born with serious birth defects. Sadly, you see these children everywhere. We saw some things there that, if we could, we wish we could remove from our memory. The birth defects are hideous deformities, unlike any I ever seen before. We saw a young mother holding her child, probably 2 or 3 years of age, begging for money on the street. The child's head was at least 3 times the size of a normal head. In all honesty, it looked alien. I hung my head in shame to hide my tears.

There is no removing Agent Orange. It will remain there for many more decades before the toxic chemicals finally degrade. We were told the birth defects will continue for at least another 3 or 4 generations. Americans who suffered the effects of Agent Orange have been allowed to sue Monsanto and Dupont for the damage done, the Vietnamese people, who have suffered the most, have not been allowed the same courtesy.

Amazingly, through all of this, the people of Vietnam treated us very well. We were stunned by their graciousness. Even knowing we were Americans, they held no long term resentment against us, at least openly. They said the war was over a long time ago, Vietnam is finally at peace and they were looking forward to the future.

On the brighter side, we loved Vietnam and found the people of Vietnam to be friendly, generous, wonderful people. As we've sailed around we are always looking for a place we might one day call home. We both agreed that Vietnam is one of the places near the top of the list. It is a beautiful country. We look forward to returning there again.

And thanks OPOL for posting this here. We cannot forget!! And we must do more to make sure we stop it from happening again!

up
10 users have voted.

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
George W. Bush

lotlizard's picture

in a prominent spot, in Washington D.C.: the Victims of Our Wars Museum, as seen from the other, the receiving end . . .

But of course, no such thing will happen.

Because even if there is that Santayana quote on the National Archives building, as far as the people who currently make up our political class are concerned, it might as well not be there.

up
4 users have voted.

great summation Opol. thanks

up
3 users have voted.

bygorry

Miss your posts as I no longer drive by the sewer of Kos the Magnificent. Please keep the Fire burning. Maybe I'll see you in Philly, when it all come tumbling down, around the feet of the corrupt DNC. Peace Brother.

up
3 users have voted.

up
1 user has voted.

did 9 months in California prison, because Neoliberal Democrats and GOP maggots work together to profit off the drug war