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From the Mother of a Marine

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Message Missy Beattie
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Elaine Brower is a "big-mouth woman" and she has a lot to say, especially, to the Bush Administration but also to military families and, well, everyone who has a stake in the survival of this country.

Elaine is a military parent, a member of World Can't Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime, and Military Families Speak Out. She can't wait for Bush to be impeached and she is definitely speaking out. Her son James is a Marine who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan and deployed to Iraq in March 2006. Elaine drove him to Twentynine Palms, California where she held a peace vigil outside the military base as he left.

For this mother and so many military parents, every minute of the day is a nightmare. Elaine writes:


I'd like to describe the life of a military mom in 2 words: IT SUCKS! My beautiful son is in the Marine Corps now stationed in Fallujah, eating dirt and sleeping with rats. I vehemently protested the war from the beginning. Not only the war, but I really do hate the man who smirks a lot sitting in the White House, and all those cronies alongside him. How dare he send my son and other young American soldiers who signed on the dotted line to protect our country, not to fight an illegal, immoral, and illegitimate war, for the personal gains of the rich and elite.

But I digress. Every single day, sometimes twice a day, I receive these ghastly emails from the Military Volunteer Network, made up of Stepford Wives and Mothers. There's lots of rah-rah stuff and how we should support "Our Boys". They include pictures of them in full-battle gear running through the streets, or sleeping in the dust with their M-16s. The captions read anywhere from "Our Marines hard at work" to "Here are our Marines, giving out candy to Iraqi children." How disgusting. We have bombed that country back to the Stone Age, committed genocide, torn apart families and a culture that goes back thousands of years, and we give the kids candy! Are they nuts or is it me?

Here's an email on the network from one of the mothers:

'Hello Families of our Deployed Marines,

Just wanted to forward the attached update from (I omitted the name). please enjoy!
If you have any questions, or if there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know.
Hope to see all of you at Family Day on Saturday, May 20th!!!
Take care.'

'May 1, 2006

I figured it out. Oh yea, see I have a new religion it is sort of like Tom Cruise's, not scientology though, it is Americantology. That is right. See I was looking at my new flag pole/light pole and listening to the usual Muslim prayer song when I thought about freedom of religion and how we all have different religions and can accept them all and by DOD policy and everybody's policy we have to respect them all and can not discriminate against religion. So that means they have to respect my religion, heck they even have the Wiccas now I've read. So here is what I see. As I need to express my religion, just like I listen to their prayers five times a day here, I plan to play my religious music once a day off the roof of my building in downtown Fallujah. I figure my religion will spread like wildfire through the boys if I could play the National Anthem, Marines Hymn, Lee Greenwood God Bless America, and some of the many patriotic songs written by people like Toby Keith courtesy of the red, white, and blue. They all fall under my religion. Brass can't make me take down my religion. I will run an extension cord with a converter up to power it. If it works as well as I think it will, maybe I will play it 5 times a day like my neighbors. They say everyone in a foxhole finds religion, I guess that must be true.'

Certainly, it's this kind of nationalism that will put James and our soldiers in even more danger.

My son agrees that this war is bad, but he was trained by our "New" military. They learned from Viet Nam that you must train in groups so there is now this buddy system. He fights to keep his buddies alive, and himself alive. What a dilemma this is for me! I want him to be alive, I want to hear about his life in Iraq, but am absolutely appalled that there is a sub-culture of loving death and destruction belonging to this "Military Family" which I want no part of, but find myself stuck in.

Pictures, emails, letters, parties, and stupid smiley faces are the way they group together, these people who have absolutely no clue as to what is really happening over there. Or maybe they do. One mother I spoke with said she has to believe her son is helping the Iraqi people, or she would go mad. I think she is already there. The devil inside me wants to send these flag-wavers every single horrible thing I find to scare them into seeing the stark reality of war. But then I stop myself, because maybe I envy their ignorance. My existence is one of raging daily against not only this war, but everything this Republican Administration is doing. They are crooks, pedophiles, megalomaniacs, and warmongers, only to name a few. I would love to wake up in the morning and have nothing better to do than think that my son is someplace nice, helping people. I wouldn't have grey hair, lines on my face, and a knot in my stomach and would stop screaming at everyone all day long.

So what to do? Be consumed by the Stepford existence of our rah-rah Military Family organizations packaging up candy, or fight the fight? I know which course I am taking, do you?

As peace organizations plan the Mother's Day Rally in DC, think about Elaine's challenge. There will be hundreds of thousands of "big-mouth" women in our Nation's Capital, calling for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to future wars. Let's help Elaine bring James and all our soldiers home. NOW!
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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