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Memorial Day and the Memories of Yesterday and Today

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The Memorial Day week-end is here and I see everyone writing about the brave lads and lasses that gave up their lives for the greater good of humanity. Right. They gave up their lives because they were unfortunate enough to get caught up in a conflict that most of them really didn’t understand. Some wars people claim are necessary. They point to World War II as their “great example”. I’m going to stay out of that argument, too many people served and died in it for me to make a judgment call. Things could have been done better, but who am I to say? I wasn’t there.

I’ve been here since 1950. I saw the Vietnam Conflict. That war was a sordid lesson in pride. The truth is, and trust me I’ve studied the war in detail; it was political gaffe after political gaffe. Ho Chi Minh was an OSI agent. He worked for us all during WWII. He was educated in the U.S. and in truth, didn’t dislike us until we started backing the French after we handed Vietnam back to them after the war. How underhanded was that? He worked for us (and against the Japanese) all through the war, and we turn our back on him and side with his colonial oppressors. It was all downhill after that. So many good men died. I knew so many. I joined the Army when I was 17 and was in it long after the last helicopter pulled out of Saigon. That war was the first step in the “class war” that we are still fighting today. The haves, for the most part, didn’t fight in Vietnam. It was the have-nots in the jungle getting pounded by the North Vietnamese Army while the American Government lied to its people, telling them that we were fighting a communist “insurrection” by the Viet-Cong. The Viet Cong was finished as an effective fighting force after the Tet Offensive. After Tet, we were fighting NVA, supplied by the Chinese and Russians, with the latest weapons fresh off the assembly line.

That war is over. We fought against it by demonstrating and writing, but the people didn’t stop the war. The military did. By 1971, soldiers were refusing to go into the jungle and die because they realized that their government was just using them for bargaining chips in the war of words going on in Paris. I saw top-secret camera footage of soldiers refusing to fight. It’s a little known fact outside of the military, but the truth was that America could no longer field a willing Army. I’ll swear to what I saw to a congressional committee. That was the last hammer blow to the Vietnam War. If Kissinger and Nixon could have had their way, the war would have gone on years longer. The anti-war people helped, but in the end, it was the military itself that put an end to that sordid story.

Now to this war we are fighting in Iraq. Is it the same thing? Are we re-living the Vietnam War all over again? Of course we are. It was based on lies, continued with more lies, and it won’t stop until the troops in Iraq refuse to go out and do patrols. Will they do that? I think so. Once they finally feel that they are dying for nothing but political capital, they will refuse to keep on keeping on. Once this starts happening on a routine basis, the government will start negotiating and pull out. Between the American people’s disgust with the war, and the militaries decision to stop fighting, the war will die with a whimper. It’s happening now.

There are two reasons that it’s happening now. One reason is that this war is a political liability to both political parties. The fear of a third party coalition tipping over the apple cart is real. The other reason is that Bush and Company have just about gotten what they have set out to get since before this war started. That is the seizure of 70% of Iraq’s oil wealth. Now and for years to come, Big Oil will be telling the Iraqi nation where to pump, how much to pump, and taking 70% of the profits. One this petroleum “revenue sharing plan” that our government has dressed up as a plan to divide oil profits to the three major Iraqi groups, we will stop fighting. Of course we will leave enough force in the country to make sure Iraq doesn’t rebel against the “revenue sharing plan”. Between the plan’s implementation, and the Army’s refusal to give more blood and the people’s disgust with this war, Iraq will quietly cease to be the issue it is today. This government that has claimed it is there to “give democracy to the Iraqi people” will walk out of harm’s way, and let the Iraqi people savage each other.

Meanwhile, we will still have problems here at home. The constitution will still be gutted, and the rights of the people will still be sitting in the political toilet. The class war will still be raging. The middle class of America will continue to dwindle while the rich will get richer, and the poor…you know the deal. The rich will never have enough. Voting fraud will continue and this marriage of convenience between the Democrats and the Republicans will go on until we have a true oligarchy. Then we here in the United States will show the world what a civil war is all about.

Will this happen? Who knows? If things don’t change, I don’t see any other outcome. That is, unless the American people start demanding that the government rid itself from corporate control, and rescinds The Patriot Act, The Military Commission Act of 2006, The Insurrection Act and stop with this phony “War on Terror”. The situation of the middle class is getting worse every year. The government continues to restrict the Constitution. The average wage keeps taking a nose dive, while corporate greed is reaching new levels of insanity. The Unions are disappearing and our way of life is too. This Memorial Day, try to remember what life was like twenty years ago, and think of where we are today, also think about our war dead, we have more to think about than we did last year.

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Tim Gatto is Ret. US Army and has been writing against the Duopoly for the last decade. He has two books on Amazon, Kimchee Days or Stoned Colds Warriors and Complicity to Contempt.

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