SOME PARENTS OF VETERANS COMING HOME FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE HAVING TO GIVE UP RETIREMENT TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR BRAVE OFFSPRING
By Kevin Stoda
As a lifelong progressive for peace (with great leanings towards non-violent action rather than war to solve conflict issues), I have been concerned for decades as to how one-sided or biased both the American family and its educational communities-not to mention the media-have been in brazenly glorifying America's military power platforms for pressurizing less blessed nations around the globe.
My concern has turned to dismay at times, especially, as I received a copy of the AARP's article entitled: "When Wounded Vets Come Home". http://www.aarpmagazine.org/family/when_wounded_vets_come_home.html?NLC-WBLTR-CTRL=F1-52308
DESIRE FOR ALTERNATIVE REARING OF AMERICANS
I have shared elsewhere how in the months leading to the Coalition Gulf War with Iraq in 1991, I was astounded that my own high school students were being recruited in the hallways and cafeteria of that Kansas high school (where I taught 1990-1991) to join ROTC as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.
Meanwhile, other students' parents, who had been serving in the Kansas National Guard (which was headquartered across the street from that same high school), had already been mobilized themselves and sent to Saudi Arabia by October 1990.
I had been raised America during the Vietnam era, and I knew how heavy the toll that that particular war had on culture, community, economy, and family's. Meanwhile other youth I grew up were still suffering with parents untreated from war-related trauma from the military police action in the Koreas in the early 1950s.
Admittedly, in the days just after President Jimmy Carter and his administration activated mandatory selective service enrollment for males, I personally spent my own high school senior year (1980) considering whether I could or should join the military and still be able to carry out (or live out) my democratic ideals and make sure that no My Lai massacres ever occurred again in my lifetime.
Note: Carter's call to have selective service started up in the USA in January 1980 came only weeks after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979.
I decided to enroll in the selective service only under pressure from my family in January of 1981. However, I continued to ponder and rue my decision to enroll under family pressure for at least 2 months.
Finally, in March 1981, I wrote the Selective Service and asked that my name be taken off the selective service registration list.
By writing that letter, I knew that my desire to one day work in the U.S. state department or as an ambassador for peace working with my own government had become very limited by my having written such a letter. (In short, I have always wanted to serve my country and make it more of the Beacon on the Hill that history has at times has called it to be.)
The Selective Service agency did not answer my letter in the affirmative, but the staffer did write that they recognized receipt of the document. (They discouraged me from having others make a similar request.)
In short, although I have studied pacifism and non-violent action, including Gandhi's Satyagraha techniques, I had myself separated myself from potential employment of these skills in a job with the U.S. military or with the U.S. state department because I felt any young person had to do what he could in 1981 to keep things like those that followed from happening: