Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

My Memories of Fort Hood

When I read of the tragedy at Fort Hood in my home state of Texas, where a soldier killed 13 of his fellow troops and wounded 30, I couldn’t help thinking of my brief experience at the base.

It was the summer of 2006. I was in Crawford, Texas, home to Bush’s ranch and Camp Casey, the activist camp out organized by Cindy Sheehan who lost her son in Iraq. It was the second year for Camp Casey. But this time, Bush had chosen to spend his holidays elsewhere, which left us with more free time.

Fort Hood, the largest army base in the U.S., where most soldiers heading off to war pass through, is an hour and a half from Crawford. We decided to go there to give information to members of the military. With us were veterans of the war in Iraq and we had leaflets from the GI Rights Hotline, an association that provides counseling to soldiers, including information on how to get out of the military.

We set up about a hundred meters from the entrance during evening rush hour as soldiers left the base. I expected to find myself in a hostile environment, but that’s not the way it turned out.

We had signs with a very simple message, “You don’t have to go.” It was enough to cause many soldiers to stop for more information, even in uniform, violating the military code and in sight of the guards at the entrance to the base. Some drove by in their cars and flashed us the peace sign. Others stopped just long enough to jot down the toll free number for the GI Rights Hotline written in large letters on the side of our van. Spouses, mothers and fathers of soldiers stopped to get material to take home.

Fort Hood has the highest suicide rate of all U.S. bases. Nidal M. Hasan, the soldier who killed his fellow troops, had spent six years, from 2003 to 2009, as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed military hospital in Washington treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress syndrome. He was soon set to deploy to Iraq.

Over three years have passed since I was at Fort Hood. At the time, the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the White House. Now the Democrats have the majority. But I feel certain that if I were to go stand in front of the base with the same sign, the scene of three years ago would repeat itself.

STEPHANIE WESTBROOK is a U.S. citizen who has been living in Rome, Italy since 1991. She is active in the peace and social justice movements in Italy. She can be reached at steph@webfabbrica.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail