Rather than spending the 4th of July holiday at a picnic, I chose to participate in a truly American action, a demonstration exercising my freedom of speech. I, along with other members of Nevada Workers Against the War, stood in the 115 degree heat at noon to ask our leaders in the House and Senate to show some solidarity with the troops they have sent into a war zone in Iraq and keep those troops in the searing 125 degree Iraqi heat. We ask our representatives who refuse to end the war to at least try to understand some of the discomfort they have put our troops in by turning off the air conditioning in Congress until they decide to bring our troops home. It was hot here in Las Vegas but I wasn’t in full combat gear and Vegas was 10 degrees cooler than Baghdad. The anti war action went well. We had a turn out of about 30-35 people and received mostly favorable support from the passers-by. There were a couple of exceptions who stated the usual right wing rhetoric about the troops fighting in Iraq against the “terrorists” and protecting American freedoms, although they didn’t seem to want this American to exercise his freedom to protest an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.
Over a hundred cars with horns honking in support of ending the war passed by during the hour long demonstration. Four cars carried misguided right wingers who made such intelligent remarks as calling us traitors and morons for wanting to end a war based on lies which has cost the lives of over 3800 American service members and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
I did notice that three car loads of the right wing war supporters were of military age. I informed them that I served in the military for 22 years and asked why they are not serving in this war of aggression which they so strongly support. They had no answer, so I assume they are willing to let others die in Iraq but aren’t willing to take that risk themselves.
This attitude is similar to that of Bush and Cheney who are pro war but made sure they did not have to serve in the combat zone during the war in Vietnam. This same attitude permeates through our leaders in Congress, most of whom have a hard time recognizing a U.S. military uniform since most have not served but are willing to send my son to war just as they were willing to send me to Southeast Asia in another time.
It was hot on the street in Las Vegas and it is hotter in the Iraqi desert. Our leaders, who are willing to let our children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers die in the heat to serve the interests of U.S. oil companies and Halliburton’s profit margin, should be made to understand a little of the suffering our troops face.
Turn off your damn air conditioning until you end this illegal war of aggression!