I think many of us are in wonder at how we have come to find ourselves in this present situation with Americans dying for yet another unjust war. This is how it has happened for me.
To start with, I have worked a white color job the last 17 years, but the first ten years of my working life I worked in the oil fields. Hard manual labor, working around dangerous equipment and unpleasant weather. You trust your co-workers with your life, just as they trust theirs to you. Many people on the internet have never been around this kind of thing. When you live and work like that, it becomes more than just a job. It is your life. Some people like the danger, some like the challange, some have no choice. I did it because of the drive to prove I could do it. I had something to prove. I was a big man who hid behind a twist of fate, while thousands were dying in the rice fields of VietNam.
I did get a letter in the mail that first summer and a bus ticket to Little Rock. After trying to make them understand that I had just been in a car wreck, they still insisted I bring all my doctors reports and come anyway. It was the rule. I rode that bus and spent the night in a flea bag hotel waiting for them to make a decision after I had to wait all day while everyone else took their physical. The next day they said I was still elligible and would be put back into the system.
I worked out until I was stronger than I had ever been before. I walked, I ran, I played baskeball and football until I was as tough as I could physically be. I would be ready when the next letter came, but it never did. I took the first job I could find instead of honoring the full scholorship I had to the local college. I felt guilty because there were still people dying over there just like those bus loads of young guys in Little Rock that day. I didn't have to worry after the fall of Saigon, I had survived the madness. The killing had begun to stop but I still worried and it did bother me for a long time.
Having said that, what I went thru in those years, fighting my demons, was in reality fighting authority, what we called the establishment, in those days. I won my battle with the physical world, realising all the goals I had set. It took ten years. It's called growing up. The physical world that is involved in the kind of work I did was dangerous, yet exhilarating. The bonds you make with the people you work with are not easily expressed in words. I ended my work in the oilfield because of one man. I had seen several people get hurt in my day, that just goes with the job and the reality of life. This incident was a wake up call.
We had been working on a rig all day and were all completely worn out. My friend reached up to grab a rail on the side of the rig to lean on and instead grabbed a two inch pull down chain that pulled his hand into a spider gear. The driller and I both realised immediately what had happened and he reversed the pull down and his hand come back out. It happened right before our eyes in what seemed like a spit second. My friend took off running out thru the woods and I took off after him. It took me about a hundred yards before I caught him. I took him to the ground and grabbed him around his chest, hollering and screaming his name to make him calm down. He finally calmed down but before I knew what he was doing, he pulled the work glove off his hand. His fingers were still in the glove. He passed out in my arms. I laid him on the ground and ripped my t-shirt off and wrapped part of it around his hand. I attempted to make a tourniquet with the rest, trying to slow the bleeding. His panic had caused several minutes of his heart pounding and his hand bleeding profusly, he had lost a lot of blood. We got him back to the rig and put him in the drillers pickup. The driller had to go because it was his responsibility while I stayed and shut down the rig, waiting for someone to help me get the pipe out of the hole so we all could go to the hospital.
I stood there in the woods, alone with my friends blood all over me, trying to convince myself that I had done everything in my power that I could do to help him. Those were terriblly agonizing memories. He lost all four fingers on his right hand. He hardly ever came around after that and we eventually went our seperate ways as many did in the late seventies.
The story of Terry Rodgers
, triggered all this, even tho we all have seen such things coming from Iraq over the last two years. By the late seventies there were thousands of VietNam Vets who were in the same situation. They had fought an ujust war and many had come home and joined the peace movement to try to end it. They were deemed traitors then just as anyone who says anything against Bush is now. That same attitude existed for those people like me who were opposed to that war just as there are now attacks on people who oppose the War in Iraq. History has come full circle.
The things in my life pale compared to what these people are going thru in Iraq and what they went through in VietNam. It can only be glimpsed long distance for those here that have never seen such violence and destruction of human bodies. When that soldier told the doctor that he did not want to see bush, I fought back the anger and frustration, feeling the bitterness that my friend had for his situation and what the unique suffering of not just life, but of voluntary violence of war has brought to America once again. In my friends case there was no one to blame. In the case of this soldier and the thousands like him, there is. The cause is the NeoCon agenda and George W. Bush.
There is no excuse for what Bush has done. There is no explaining it away with rethoric. He capitalized on a moment of partriotism and unity to advamce an agenda of the minority. A minority driving the masses to support yet again an unjustified and uncalled for war. There is no excuse for their effort at dominance by deception and lies that have driven this country again into ruin and shame in the eyes of the world. The demons that he has created will last a lifetime for those like this soldier and the mothers like Cindy Sheehan who have nothing left but a flag and a broken heart.
You may think of me as insensitive to those who promote or enable this travesty against humanity. I can not help that nor can I find it in my heart to forget my life experiences or those who died in my and your place in VietNam or Iraq.
I can also fight with every ounce of my being to make sure that George W. Bush does not get a pass on what he has done, just as the lies and deception that spelled the end of an age of unjust war and abusinve power for Richard Nixon. If I live to see the 24th of September, I will pass my hand over the memorial to those who died in VietNam and I will share my anger and bitterness with those who stand with me to protest this war in Iraq.
George W. Bush, the man, the name and the underlying agenda of endless wars they represent, will live in the hearts of the people he has touched and the lives he has destroyed, forever. There will be few kind words for him, when history has told it's story. It is just another redundant cycle of human struggle to justify the violient domination by the few for their power hungry ambitions. This has never changed in the war torn history of the human race. Eventually we must take that next step.
Until then, we must each and everyone of us take the responsibility upon ourselves to make sure the turmoil that the NeoCons have made is brought under control. Our presense in Iraq is unsustainable. It is no top secret file hidden in a beaureaucratic war machine. It is camped out in a ditch in Crawford Texas right now. It is the same thing that eventually led to the end of the War in VietNam. The peace movement. We owe Cindy Sheehan
a great deal for taking the weight of this burden on her own shoulders.
This time it is different than it was in the sixties. She is backed up to the teeth with the most powerful tool that has ever been created in the history of civilization. Information. The awareness that the internet brings to bear is a tool that the NeoCons can't control. They are there, but they cannot overpower it like they could conventional main stream media in the past.
We have seen the spin and the lies for five years. Within the last six months we have had the DowningStreetMemo's and one scandal after another, all cascading from the top of our 21st Century Main $tream Media. As it was in the seventies, it is the fine details of abuse of power that will bring down this present administration. Hate for those who dare oppose them has once again created a conspiracy that rivals and surpasses the two-bit burglary that was WaterGate. This time it is documented with intent to mislead and falsify the rational for war and will be expedited by another two-bit vendetta to silence a critic that ended up to ousting a CIA Agent. A small detail that slipped through the cracks in the overall grand scheme of NeoCon control of the Middle East. George Bush has lost his rabbits foot. When a con man has lost his ability to convince his dupes that he is telling the truth, he has lost. Just as many of us in the seventies could see the truth, America is finally awakening from the spectre that was 9-11. We all must make sure that the truth takes top billing and change for the better will naturally follow. We must continue the effort to make sure more eyes are opened.
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