FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Calling Youth and Young Adults

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

A recent article on Iraq Body Count’s web site detailed the struggles of a soldier who came home from the war with devastating injuries. Blind, brain damaged, and missing both hands from an explosion, he is one of the many casualties of the Bush/Cheney debacle. This soldier is 25-years-old.

I walk the streets of New York City amid a rush of people who span the age spectrum. Many are young adults near the age of this maimed soldier-near the age of so many of our troops who have been killed or disfigured in the neocon nightmare of multiple tours of duty, improvised explosive devices, depleted uranium exposure, the obliteration of a culture, and a humanitarian crisis. And, most likely, they are near the age of many of the Iraqi suicide bombers who are fighting against American occupation.

Sometimes, during my walks, I overhear conversations. Often, the topic is American Idol, Apprentice, or something equally banal. I rarely hear mentioned the crimes and outrages of a president whose policies have resulted in wretchedness at home and in the Middle East.

I remember in the run up to the Iraq war, there was discussion of whether or not Bush would invade the country. My neighbor across the hall was sure Bush was bluffing. I was certain he wasn’t. I recall sitting in a restaurant, having lunch, when three young men (probably not much older than many of our soldiers) in business suits, were seated at the table next to mine. One of them began to praise the toughness of George Bush and gushed about our high-tech arsenal. “Smart bombs,” he repeated. “We have these smart bombs.”

My head began to pound. Finally, finally, I said, “These weapons of war that you believe are so precise aren’t.  Bombs aren’t smart and neither is George Bush. Tough and stupid are a terrible combination.”

This guy let me know that he wasn’t interested in my opinion. My friends tried to distract me. His seemed a little embarrassed. One of friend of mine said she knew I was going to say something. She just knew.  I left, thinking that war to him must be a video game.

Now that this atrocity has moved into its fifth year, I don’t overhear any street-corner, café, or waiting-room debate about what is being done in my name and yours. Of course, the war and endless war are the main topics when I’m with my friends and fellow members of the different peace organizations.

Which leads me to ask: Are many of our young so captivated by entertainment that there is no interest in reality? Or is the drama of television competition their reality?

Surely, if conscription is reinstated for the Project for the New American Century’s endless war, eventually, those in their mid-twenties would be called to serve. If these young Americans aren’t roused from their stupor by the horrors of war, the horrors of Abu Ghraib and legalized torture, the horrors of Walter Reed, the horrors of inadequate body armor, the horrors of the contemptible and delusional George Bush and the contemptible and delusional Dick Cheney, then, only a draft will penetrate their consciousness. Unless it’s even worse than I think and they would march off, lemming like, as directed by the “Decider” or his successor, while discussing who they voted for as soon as the Idol phone lines opened.

I wrote the above words a week before my sister Laura and I spoke as members of Gold Star Families for Peace at Washington Square Park for the March 20 Student Day of Action Against the War. The New York University chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network planned the event at the park to coincide with actions all over the country. About 150 students attended the rally near NYU’s campus. One commented that her generation seems to be apathetic.

At the Harvard University rally, a shouting match erupted between members of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice (HIPJ) and students from the Harvard Republican Club (HRC). According to an article in The Harvard Crimson, the president of the HRC, Jeffrey Kwong, said, “We wanted to make sure that students and Harvard community know that the Republican Club is right behind the troops.” Kwong went on to say that the antiwar protestors are not supportive of fighting terrorism. “We support our troops, and we support the fight against terrorism. We want victory,” he said. Someone needs to remind Kwong that our invasion of Iraq has inspired terrorism, that Iraq had no connection to the terrorist attack on 9/11, and that if the HRC is really “right behind the troops,” he and all those members of his club need to get their ivied asses to the nearest recruitment station and enlist in one of the branches of the armed forces.  I’m sure they, like Dick Cheney during the Viet Nam War, have “other priorities” though.

Three days before these rallies, Laura and I were at the big one-the march on the Pentagon with more than 20,000 people opposed to war. There were plenty of young adults and teens participating in Washington DC. Passionate and vocal, they called for an end to war and the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney.  The counter protestors were loud too and separated from us by barriers and police officers. Some carried signs that said, “Support Our President.” Others called us traitors. One displayed a sign that said, “PEACE SUCKS.”

Perhaps, soon, more and more of our young will awaken, throw off that blanket of apathy, examine the crimes committed by this administration against the people of Iraq and the people of the United States, and emerge as defenders of justice who will not allow the peace baton to ever be dropped again.

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail