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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/20/18

The Viet Nam War, Protests and Observations of the US Today

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I remember the Viet Nam War and my neighbor who was killed in it. I remember the televised return of soldiers in coffins, the fact that we weren't 'winning', and that those coffins helped spur the large anti-war protests in the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived at the time. The government now has figured out that showing coffins is not a good idea..

The Korean War lasted about 3 years, the Gulf war about 1, and the Vietnam War about 20, (the US not that long, tho). Today we just over 15 years in the ME..and not 'winning'.

Today, we're spared much of much of the graphic horror of the war in the ME. Our potential outrage today isn't sparked enough by intensive graphic coverage. At the onset, we were told to "go shopping".

Congress continues support war and my belief is that it's because wars are profitable while apparently our troops are not, which is a sad take on our value system. Many young men and women joined our armed forces because, at least, it is was at a paying job, patriotism notwithstanding. Most believed we were attacked by Saudis in airplanes hitting the Towers which suddenly fell free fall from office fires...and fifteen years after the start of the Iraq war, the US is at war in at least 7 countries in the ME.

On a return trip to North Carolina from California, I decided to take the Greyhound bus. What an adventure and an eye-opener for me. My sister-in-law had generously packed for me, 3 artichokes (yum, in my opinion), some sandwiches and bananas. I ended up sharing this with an older man who never got off the bus when we stopped at bus stations for passengers and snack breaks. He had no money. Another was an older man with a youngish child on his lap. She got the bananas. The man thanked me. Who knows their stories are...

At one bus station, the ladies room had a number toilets out of order as well as 3 sinks with no running water. Passengers were told it would be best to stay in the station and not go out on the sidewalks. I did, of course, and survived 'the neighborhood' to tell about it. From my upbringing, this was a new and different world for me.

The homeless hung out the Greyhound Bus station in Georgia, hitting the riders up for a some money to buy a sandwich or to bum a cigarette when they got off the bus for a stretch.

In Texas, border guards boarded the bus, and removed a rider suspected of possibly haven crossed the border illegally. They actually stopped us on the freeway to do this.

At another stop, a young man boarded, with enough army looking garb on, that I, sitting in the front seat by the door, asked "are you coming back from the war?"

"Yeah", he replied. "I was here to visit my kids....and I killed children in Iraq". That was what was going on in his head. His eyes filled with tears and he took a seat one row behind me on the other side of the aisle.

He could have simply answered yes, but aired his heartache instead... realizing that the children killed in the war had parents that loved them as well.

it wasn't long before I got up and just went to sit beside him. He didn't say anything, but took my hand and held on to it hard...for a long time. He continued to cry. He simply said "thank you" when he left the bus.

War is a horrible thing and I don't think a lot of our politicians have a first hand clue.

I don't have answers, only the realization that the full impact of sending our troops overseas to invade and fight is a grave decision as Congress is asking our young men to possibly lay down their lives for the country's pursuit of hegemony, aka power and greed. In my lifetime, we've never been simply attacked on our soil, although we've tacitly, possibly even complicitly, allowed it.

In a March 23, 2003 article in the NY Times,"A Nation At War: Children of Lawmakers; Senators' Sons in War: An Army of One". I read, "As one of 99 Senators who voted to commend GW for his leadership on Iraq, Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, wanted the troops to know that "we are proud of our military, proud of their capability and confident that they will win this war."

"Mr. Johnson's pride, though, is tinged with a father's fear. He is the lone member of the Senate--and possibly the only member of Congress--whose child is helping in the fighting in Iraq." That was, like I said, 2003..but it's the only info on that subject that I've found.

And on April 8, 2016 and updated on April 19, 2016 from the San Antonio Express-News, "Grim toll of military suicides reaches a new milestone."

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RN, math teacher, progressive, anti-war, political junkie, have lived in Germany and China, believe we're all equal members of one human family, disgusted with the US government
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