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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/26/19

Tribute to Peace Activist Allen Nelson, U.S. Marine

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I gave this talk on March 25, 2019 in Japan at the Commemoration service for the tenth year passing of U.S. Marine and peace activists Allen Nelson

Allen Nelson
Allen Nelson
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It is my great honor to have been asked to speak at this tribute to the great peace activist Allen Nelson on the tenth anniversary of his passing. And it is a great honor to be here at the Kousenbou Temple, Kaga City, Ishikawa, where Allen felt so much at home and where some of his earthly remains are located. We are honored that four members of Allen's family, including Linda, his wife of 25 years, and his sister Marchelle were able to come to Japan for this ceremony.

I am sad that I never met Allen in person but I feel like I knew him because of all the comments that people throughout Japan made about him as I traveled through the country on speaking tours after he became ill and had ended his trips to Japan. Over almost two decades, Allen spoke to over 800 high schools and civic groups about the horrors of war and the effects of the victims of war -- those who were wounded and the families of those killed both of those against whom the wars are waged and those who wage them.

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At each stop we made as I spoke about my journey from U.S. military and U.S. diplomat to peace activist, persons from the audience would come up to me and ask, "Do you know the wonderful Marine who has told us about his experience in Vietnam 40 years ago and how it deeply affected his life and how that now he speaks to schools and groups in Japan and the United States about stopping wars and having a peaceful life?"

I was in the U.S. military for 29 years, 13 on active duty and 16 in the U.S. Army Reserves. While I joined the U.S. military during the war on Vietnam, I was never assigned to Vietnam, for which I am eternally grateful. I was in Grenada, Panama, the Netherlands and many bases in the U.S. I was never in heavy combat like Allen, again for which I am eternally grateful.

I was also a U.S. diplomat and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. I witnessed violence in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

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I resigned from the U.S. government 16 years ago in March 2003, in opposition to another one of the U.S. wars of choice, the U.S. war on Iraq.

Since my resignation, I have been speaking all over the world about U.S. imperialism, in a similar vein as Allen did.

I admire Allen Nelson's acts of conscience which began a few years after his return from Vietnam. The first years were very difficult. He told audiences that his mother said that he did not come home as the same son that had gone to Vietnam. And Allen acknowledged that he was not the same. Finally, he got treatment for Post Traumatic stress and began speaking about the horrors of war.

I found very moving his description of helping a young Vietnamese girl deliver her baby, an experience that he described as "saving his soul." He finally began seeing the Vietnamese people not as "gooks" or "communists" as most other U.S. soldiers did but as humans, real people, with families just like his own back home.

Allen eventually sought help to adjust to life as a civilian living without war. Many of those who were in the U.S. military in Vietnam have PTSD. In the 1980s government studies initially found that for "Vietnam theater veterans" 15% of men had PTSD at the time of the study and 30% of men had PTSD at some point in their life.

The following statistics on PTSD, TBI and suicides of veterans come from the Veterans Administration:

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A 2003 re-analysis found that "contrary to the initial analysis of the data, a large majority of Vietnam Veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five, 80 percent reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam."

We now have as many veterans who were in the Afghanistan-Iraq wars as were in Vietnam. As of September 2014, there were about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, compared to 2.6 million American veterans who fought in Vietnam. There are 8.2 million "Vietnam Era Veterans," military personnel like myself who served in the United States, in Europe, or in other parts of Asia during the Vietnam War from 1965-1975. The PSTD, TBI and suicides from the 21st century veterans will probably surpass those from the Vietnam war 50 years past.

According to reports, at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression, but military counselors that the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher and the number climbs higher when combined with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

A comprehensive analysis, published in 2014, found that for PTSD: "Among male and female soldiers aged 18 years or older returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, rates range from 9% shortly after returning from deployment to 31% a year after deployment. A review of 29 studies that evaluated rates of PTSD in those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan found prevalence rates of adult men and women previously deployed ranging from 5% to 20% for those who do not seek treatment, and around 50% for those who do seek treatment.

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Ann Wright Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
 
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shad williams

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Peace is the answer for a lot of questions. The ruling elites have no use for peace. They are too greedy to see the profit in peace because they do not know how to greedily control it or are unwilling to learn since they already control the game of war.

Before the world can have peace, we must sweep aside the ugly souls that love war, those that, engage in war, use semantics to deflect their war actions while claiming to protect the security of the planet...at their convenience of course.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 at 11:44:09 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

"Before the world can have peace, we must sweep aside the ugly souls that love war ..."

Most certainly. Other than a purge which puts all of these people on a leaky boat to Tierra del Fuego, how do you propose sweeping aside these ugly souls? Appealing to their better side doesn't work, since they don't have a better side.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 9:40:30 AM

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Chuck Nafziger

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We have to do what climate change will force us to do anyway. The difference in timing will make a tremendous difference in our remaining quality of life.

Quit feeding the monsters. Don't buy anything from Gates, Bezos, the Sackler Family, the Koch Brothers, the Walmart Family, et al. Simplify life. Get rid of your cell phone!!!!! and TV!! Become part of your family and neighborhood instead of a Hilbot or MAGA monster. Big change? Of course, but it is heading your way anyway. When you choose to do this determines who has the marbles when the game of life winds down.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 5:10:37 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to Chuck Nafziger:   New Content

Thanks, Chuck. Don't own a cell phone. Don't own a TV. Don't own a car (ride a bicycle). I hear you. It's very difficult here in Japan to function without Amazon. I try. But for example, two weeks ago I needed some special electronic components (yes, I do own two computers or you wouldn't be seeing this) from the U.S. What were my options? Fly to the U.S. to buy them across the counter. Which illustrates that the organization of the entire consumer infrastructure plays into the hands of the big corporations, and against the survival of the human race. Time for a coup d'etat? I think THAT'S the only option and have said that ad nauseum here. Clean sweep of those in power, starting with the U.S. Congress. Begin deep systemic change by rewriting the laws that underpin the whole mess we're in. Until that happens, I'll still ride my bike and hope I see a sunset this evening instead of a mushroom cloud.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 11:27:50 PM

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shad williams

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I believe that we can stop cooperating in many ways, including locally where cooperation is rampant. Unfortunately organization of groups of people take time. If organization takes time perhaps we need unorganization with the philosophical foundation built on noncooperation where people operate as individuals. Regretfully, I do not think this is a solution. Maybe the ugliness it too baked in to be undone?

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2019 at 3:23:10 PM

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When the time is ripe, hopefully it will spread as a general strike without organized leadership. Check out what is happening with the yellow vests. This Redacted Tonight has a good segment with some real info on that encouraging show of resistance.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 30, 2019 at 2:50:15 AM

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Michael Dewey

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There are a lot of modern day prophets who got dragged down here in Daniel 8:9-14. who are out to build a brotherhood of mankind learning to share this melting pot we are flying back home on. Hope someday you join us so the world can live as one.


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Submitted on Sunday, Mar 31, 2019 at 6:19:20 PM

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