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I joined seven Vermont bus loads of concerned United States citizens in converging on the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. on Saturday, September 24, 2005. We endured twenty-two hours on a bus which afforded little opportunity for sleep and twelve hours on our feet in solidarity with the multitude protesting George W. Bush’s illegal war on Iraq.
It was a tiring day, made so in large part by standing in place for two-and-a-half hours at the corner of Constitution Avenue and K Streets as the feeder marches converged on the rally site nearby. Wave after wave of people streamed by as we awaited our turn to step off into the march.
We were standing at corner where Camp Casey was established and the Veterans For Peace were gathering. More than one-quarter-million people had come to Mordor to say, "Stop the war! We’ve had enough".
I joined hundreds and hundreds of Veterans For Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Gold Star Mothers for Peace in being the lead contingent of the march. We marched three-and-a-half miles through the streets of D.C. passing the institutions and their immense buildings that make war profitable. We passed in front of the White House where we expressed the people’s growing displeasure with this regime.
In no uncertain terms we let the occupant of the People’s House know that impeachment is in the wind. One of my veteran brothers from Vermont, a Vietnam combat veteran burdened with PTSD and unable to stay in one place for very long headed off to pay his respects at the Vietnam War Memorial. Upon arriving at the Vietnam Memorial he held his VFP flag with both hands and gazed at the black granite wall. Tears filled his eyes as he looked at the myriad of names while holding the dove-on-helmet VFP flag in his hands. No sooner had the tears flowed then he was ordered to put the flag down. Not being easily intimidated this former G.I. questioned the D.C. authority on the rationale for having to remove his flag. He was then told he had to leave or be arrested. This Vietnam combat veteran who was sent to kill others in Vietnam under the pretense of protecting the American way of life was now being threatened with incarceration for practicing it!
The U.S. system inculcates obedience to the State. It indoctrinates children from a very early age in the schools to parrot the Pledge of Allegiance. The words of the National Anthem sung at sporting events state that we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." However, the free are not those confined to paying their respects to fallen comrades within the narrow parameters as defined by the State. Telling my Vietnam combat veteran friend how he can mourn is not living in the land of the free. His resistance, however, is testament to our still being in the home of brave.
The Noble Cause of the People
George W. Bush says that one’s service to one’s country is a "noble cause", with the sacrifice of one’s life being the highest offering. But why is one’s service to one’s country not noble enough to merit being able to pay homage to the war dead in one’s own chosen way?
Why is dying in Bush’s war, the so-called noble cause, not worthy of visibility as the dead return home under secrecy and the cover of darkness?
Why are Bush’s the dead of Bush’s "noble cause" hidden from view the way that the executioner’s face is always well hidden?
Bush’s "noble cause" perversely requires that the United States and Iraqi dead and maimed be hidden from public view. Why do the United States people allow this administration to callously use the dead for their own political purposes?
How many names will there be on the yet-to-be-built Iraq war memorial? How many names on the Afghanistan war memorial?
The future Iran war memorial?
The future Syria war memorial? T
he next and ad-infinitum war memorial?
Can the United States of America exist without waging some war, some place in the world, all of the time?
Has perpetual war become a defining parameter of the United States?
Is war a necessary component for neo-liberalism’s survival?
Someday, the peoples of the world will put up a memorial to the fallen victims of United States imperialism. How many acres and acres of marble walls would that take? How many tens-of-millions of names would there be on this wall? How many native American names? How many African American names? How many Southeast Asian names? How many Central and South American names? How many names from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, My Lai, Fallujah, etc.?
Wrong Person Arrested
Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star Mother for Peace, along with her sister and 370 others were arrested at the White House on Monday, September 26, 2005. After being refused a meeting with George W. Bush, Cindy Sheehan and others sat in front of the White refusing to move until George W. Bush came out to met with them. George wasn’t coming out. They were arrested. Cindy wrote of her arrest on her website, www.afterdowningstreet.org,
We all know by now why George won’t meet with parents of the soldiers he has killed who disagree with him. First of all, he hates it when people disagree with him. I am not so sure he hates it as much as he is in denial that it even happens….he is a coward who arrogantly refuses to meet with the people who pay his salary… [The] reason why he won’t talk to us is that he knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer.
Cindy Sheehan gets arrested for as she puts it, the "tragic and needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America) who would be alive if it weren’t for the criminals who reside in and work in the White House". A Vietnam War veteran gets threatened with arrest for crying at the Vietnam Wall with a Veterans For Peace flag in his hands. Shame on you George. You have brought the United States of America to a new low. Your noble cause is not the noble cause of the people, which is to end the war and have you removed from office.
An Ohio man as he was being arrested at the White House said it was "an honor to be arrested with this group of people." The crowd chanted, "Arrest Bush". Yes, indeed, do arrest Bush. The tears of my Vietnam combat veteran friend and comrade, the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, and the collective exhaustion of the 300,000 plus gathered in Washington D.C. on September 24, 2005 will not be for naught. The time is approaching when their noble cause will be realized as the thugs and criminals in the White House are removed. The world’s second super-power, the People, are in the process of making certain this happens shortly. Impeach George W. Bush.
JOZEF HAND-BONIAKOWSKI is the co-editor and publisher of the on-line e-Zine, "Metaphoria" He is a member of the national Veterans For Peace and co-founder of Southern Vermont Veterans For Peace. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH
We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").
Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.
As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.
We are pleased to clarify the position.
August 17, 2005