Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Calling Youth and Young Adults

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.

 

 

More articles by:

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

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail