Judging war and protest by the numbers

By DOUG THOMPSON

Lyndon Johnson told the nation,

“Have no fear of escalation.

I am trying everyone to please.

Though it isn’t really war,

We’re sending fifty thousand more,

To help save Vietnam from Vietnamese.”

Tom Paxton’s lyrics from 40 years ago came back to mind this weekend as thousands upon thousands of protesters gathered on both coasts to protest yet another questionable war.

I jumped off the old troop ship,

And sank in mud up to my hips.

I cussed until the captain called me down.

Never mind how hard it’s raining,

Think of all the ground we’re gaining,

Just don’t take one step outside of town.

Vietnam brought war protests to new heights and George W. Bush’s illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq has stirred American emotions again to levels not seen since that time of national turmoil. Bush’s war brought Jane Fonda out of antiwar retirement and his Presidency has split this nation down the middle into a class war of right vs. left, liberal vs. conservative, partisan vs. patriot.

We go round in helicopters,

Like a bunch of big grasshoppers,

Searching for the Viet Cong in vain.

They left a note that they had gone.

They had to get down to Saigon,

Their government positions to maintain.

As with the protests against the Vietnam War, both sides play a numbers game. The protesters say more than 100,000 streamed into Washington’s National Mall. Police and pro-war types say it was less. But one could say the count that mattered is aleady on the record: Real American anger against Bush’s war that emerged last November when voters tossed out the corrupt and compliant Republican leadership of Congress and demanded an end to the Iraq war.

Johnson saw the voter anger against Vietnam and chose not to run again in 1968, leaving the problems of the war to his successor. Bush makes it clear he has no intention of leaving Iraq before he leaves the White House in 2009 and he will leave his Iraq debacle to whomever moves in on January 20 of that year.

Well here I sit in this rice paddy,

Wondering about Big Daddy,

And I know that Lyndon loves me so.

Yet how sadly I remember,

Way back yonder in November,

When he said I’d never have to go.

Vietnam, like Iraq, was a war based on lies. Johnson had the deceptions of the Gulf of Tonkin, Bush has weapons of mass destruction. Both wars sent thousands of American men and women to their deaths for reasons that did not exist in vain pursuit of an impossible victory.

If you want to know how many protested war in Washington Saturday, take the estimates by organizers or the police and add to either two sets of numbers – the 58,178 names on the Vietnam War Memorial and the 3,000 plus Americans who have died so far in Iraq.

But don’t stop counting. Add to that list the the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who have died or have been wounded plus the 304,000 wounded in Vietnam and the 25,000 and counting wounded in Iraq. God knows how many more of the 2.59 million Americans who served in Vietnam came home with emotional scars or how many of their brothers and sisters in arms will live or die from the emotional scars of Iraq.

When it comes to protesting war, those are the numbers that count.

(Lyrics from “Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation,” by Tom Paxton)

Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Hello Sandy,

    I just bought one and there are 5 more DVD’s. I have never seen this, but I trust Sandy knows…she’s been right ever time. so the rest of you go to e-bay before it’s to late to buy one.

    tonight when I was pulling up this DVD, I’m listening to NBC and the Predator thing….how sad.

    Well, you all might know that I am an American Indian and beielve in Mayan,etc prophecy and I speak state wide about this and I will be on PMR OU on this coming sunday about Shawnee prophecy.

    Well…there is more if you all would like to know what’s coming….Hothooka Caunotka “Sign of Purifications”. Please never disregaurd any possible explantions for why/what is happening to our world. If you do, you just might miss the miracles happening in the western sky, my friends.

    Jennifer/wisdomkeeper

  2. Jennifer

    Thank you Sandy and Sonorous Pest!

    tonight’s news exposes Bush and his lies about Global Warming and what the scientific reports lied about, beneifting major oil companines. DAH!

    The news today, scared me because they are saying that they have documents/reports about Iranins doing things in Iraq. It reminds me of the documents that they had against Sadmun and WMD’s.

  3. wethornet wrote:

    oops. here’s the error.

    you wrote

    i’m sure you wanted to say 1968.

    Thanks for the heads up. The proofreader shall be flogged. I’ll get in touch with you shortly on the other stuff.

  4. wethornet

    WATCH THIS AD! (30 seconds) “join the troops, stop the escalation.” it is, imho, devastating.

    it is from votevets.org. it is playing in 7 states this week. ME, NH, PA, VA, OH, IN, MN. some veterans are touring each state as i write for events and media.

    what each of these states has in common in a gop senator up for reelection in 2008. in the ’08 election there are 21 r’s and 12 d’s up for election.

    it is my belief that only the gop senators and congressman can turn george bush around. w. won’t listen to just the d’s, or the d’s and a few r’s. w. doesn’t realize it but he has lost the country. the sen. john warner resolution is his version of lbj saying if i’ve lost walter cronkite i’ve lost the country.

    (it would also be good if the business roundtable, ie, the fortune 500 gang, would read w. and last throes dick the RIOT ACT. but that’s another letter.)

    i would like for y’all to consider:

    1) sending these folks some money.

    2) spreading the word to your email buddies and other blogs that you’re on.

    disclosure: 1) this is back by votevets. other orgs are dem. but the question isn’t dem. or repub. it is: does this help america get out of this godawful mess? yes or no? yes, i’ll support it. 2) i have no ties with this group. i think it’s a kick a*s ad. i think it beautifully targets those who i want to step up too the plate and do right by america.

    http://www.votevets.org/

  5. wethornet

    doug, let me call your attention to an inadvertent error you made.

    unlike w. we don’t “put out bad poop” and we correct our mistakes.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    a few random thoughts for you and everybody here.

    i thought that was one of the most beautiful essays i’ve read in some time. (and i scour the web all day, every day.) what made it for me was the tom paxton song which — just based on the lyrics — is excellent.

    your combining the vietnam and our iraqi deaths made me think the following: there is an argument about the 3,000+ dead gi’s and we can’t leave because they will have died in vain. to borrow a deadeye dick cheney, last throes dick phrase, “hogwash.”

    from the perspective of this 3rd gen. american, 3rd gen. military officer, this former infantry corporal and ocs, airborne ranger i will tell you who died in vain imho. it was the 58,200+ whose names are on the vietnam memorial wall. *we didn’t learn a damn thing.* spare me president’s from tex-a*s!!!

    doug, i have enjoyed chb for some time. it is a real high light during these trying times. besides military, we have a couple of other connections. geographic. i used to live in arlington and am now just west of alton — your old stomping grounds — across the river in st. louis county. you wrote once about getting on your chopper and getting together at a diner in arlington with some old (veteran) buddies; if it’s the diner on columbia pike i’ve eaten there. the other is political. i’ve worked on presidential and congressional races on down since ’92. i would like to talk with you. re: some major pieces that are going down politically in the next couple of months. actions by groups i am involved in. i want to get them on your radar screen. and get the word out. and amplify what you are trying to do. and together we can take our country back from these miscreants.

    there is going to be a major push by folks going to see their **cough, cough** public servants. today, i and a small group met with a staffer of our gop senator today. 3 of the 4 of us were vets, 3 had lived overseas. across town another group — more vets — was meeting with a dem. congresscritter’s staffer. today (and also on friday) in d.c. many of those who came to the march had appointments to meet with staff, and in some cases, the congresscritters themselves. doug, i know you were fond of reagan. what this country needs to do is apply the reagan axiom in a **bigtime** way to congress: “if you bring the heat, they will see the light.”

    (which reminds me. in our meeting today staffer challenged us when we said something about the “lies” that w. used to start this clusterf*ck. i contained my blood pressure nicely by saying check out col. sam gardiner and lt. col karen kwiatkowski (sp?; she’s archived on lew rockwell.com. go to columnists) had to say and then i whipped out another favorite reagan saying. i told said staffer they needed to “trust but verify.” in other words, check out gardiner and karen k. and it is beyond dispute that w. is a liar. fyi for y’all karen worked in doug feith’s little house of horrors; feith being called by tommy medal of freedom franks the dumbest motherfletcher on the planet, or words to that effect. sam has taught senior mil. folks at various mil.educatational schools; paul simon the musician wrote “50 ways to leave your lover,” sam had a piece out long ago about the 50 lies of w. — aluminum tubes, uavs, etc.)

    doug, hope your on the mend from your recent health bout. workaholicism is a b*tch; it afflicts me too. “self-care” is a bear. i never did get a manual on maintenace for my body from the military. so i had to write my own. [although i stink at implementing it religiously :-)]

    you have me email, pls. shoot me an email and we can set up a time to talk.

    i’ll leave y’all with a favorite quote — and what i see folks here doing — “it is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government.” tom paine.

  6. Ray

    Ed,

    Are you aware of HR. 393? The Universal National Service Act of 2007. It was introduced in the House of Representitives the same day as Bush announced his Surge Plan. It is a neoconservative designed call for conscription. All men and women ages 18 to 42 are to serve two years in the military, Homeland Security or Civilian jobs that support the aforementioned. I suspect that the bill will show its ugly face as soon as the next false flag event occurs and gives Bush the excuse to hit Iran.

    It is just another part of pnac and the one world order group of zionist neocons.

    Ray

  7. SEAL

    Ross:

    If the Middle East blows up in conflict they will not cut off the oil flow to the outside. That is what pays for the war. They will need all the money they can get their hands on. They can’t borrow they way we can. It may be slowed to some extent and probably inconsistant but it won’t stop.

  8. Sonorous Pest

    Jennifer, try to get a copy of the “Naked Capitalist”, it will enlighten you about a lot of thinks that are happening at the present moment. We are all a bunch of fools, and need to concentrate on those who are running for office. Eliminate the incumbents and concentrate on the challengers. Then do it again every two and four years until we get those who will heed the will of the people. I am still a dreamer.

  9. Ross

    While I completely agree that, if the outside world were to leave the region alone, while it sorted itself out (afterall these conflicts arise far more from British/French imperialism than from Sunni-Shiia conflicts or even anti-Americanism; their nations and borders mean little or nothing to them), it might indeed lead to some stability in the region.

    The problem with this, and the reason that, short of numerous miracles, global war is imminent, is that there is absolutely 0 percent chance that the rest of the world is going to sit idly by while the region that has the worlds OIL tears itself apart, possibly for decades. Even countries that invest heavilly in alternative energy could not sustain such a scenario. The dynamics of power are changing, and the US, Europe, China, Russia, India, OPEC (which by the way is not confined to the Middle East: ie Venezuela), and Brazil are jockeying for position in the new order. Of these, only Brazil would be largely unaffected by a regional war: they import no oil. All of the rest would, by necessity and national survival, get involved in such a conflict.

    Like Iraq itself there is no easy answer: the only way this catastrophe will be avoided is if the people of the world move beyond their petty political arguments and realize that our lives are at stake. If we deny that the powers that be are actively preparing for war with each other (not weak Middle Eastern countries), we will be completely ill prepared for the outcomes. The question is not IF; the question is ARE YOU READY FOR IT?

  10. Ed

    I realize that this may sound like a conspiracy theory, but I suspect that George Bush wants to expand the Army and Marines by 92,000 and also create a quasi-military organization that would be composed of cilivians, but that would exist to support military missions. It is reasonable to ask what evidence exists to support this claim, and why it hasn’t appeared in the mainstream media. How reliable is the source for this evidence? Here’s a quote from the 2007 State of the Union Address:

    Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

    The link is:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070123-2.html

    Judge for yourself.

  11. Jennifer

    Sandy, I totally agree with you. Hawks will always be, hell their winning. Where can I get “Fear of Nightmares”?

    Ross..training ground? who’s fault is that? because of Bush’s lies of WMD, etc…over and over…is it no wonder that the Iraqi people hate us and ALL of the rest of the sane of this world. We need to remember we were/are spoon-fed lies through the media, but I swear to God, the rest of this planet, we all call home HATE US… WITH GOOD REASON… thanks to this adminstration….always, seeking to take/steal other nations resources.

    Do we as American give other nations payments for what halliburton, et. all steal from them? wonder why they hate us.

    Kerry was skull & bones…gore is Citgo Oil………..all of you please wake up from the fog, we have been lied too, raped so to speak and now we have a dictaor, could it be any worse? Oh, yes, halliburton has built (Bush & Clinton) concentrations built them for you, me and everyone who bithces on this & other web-sites about what is truly wrong with this administration.

    Think, our mail, our phone, our e-mail, our bank record, THEY FUCKING KNOW ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ABOUT US ALL!!!

    Pray, that’s all we have now. Remember the Mayan prophecy…2012. We, peacemakers, win in the end, but inbetween it will be pure Hell. Prepare, like South Point Man gave that web-site.

    Again pray for peace within, evil men will cease to exist very, very soon.

    Jennifer

  12. Gerald Sutliff

    Dear Doug et el,

    One’s views on leaving vs. staying in Iraq have lots to do with one’s view on whether America would do better by maintaining it’s empire with force of arms or rely an “free market forces”. The latter would take readjustment in every person’s consumption expectations and of the role of government in our economic lives. Are we ready for that? We may not have a choice.

  13. SEAL

    Ross, you make a very good point but I don’t agree with your assertion that our leaving would “unquestionably” lead to global war. The blood bath that would ensue in Iraq would stay in Iraq with the high probability that other sunni dominated countries would send troops in which would cause Iran to get involved. But the greatest probability is that the “war” would be confined to Iraq soil. It is possible the whole arab/muslim region would explode in war amongst themselves.

    That, of course would leave Isreal in great danger. However, we and other Eugopen natons would serve notice that Isreal must be left alone and lets not forget what the Muslim nations are keenely aware of – Isreal has atomic weapons. A full scale attack upon them would be suicide. No one doubts for an instant they would use them.

    One school of thought is that our pulling out and letting the chips fall where they may would finally solve all the problems in the Middle East. Most “real” experts agree that the fighting would stay in the region and would be strictly among the arabs/muslims. What they and I know is that they do not want any outsiders involved. As long as everyone else stayed out of it it would stay put, not spilling over into any other part of the world. Some things are certain. Iran would lose. No borders would change. Some new leaders would emerge. Religion would dominate the governments. Beyond that is anyones guess.

    Another school says we should pull our troops back and seal the borders of Iraq to let them settle their government and rule with no interference. I would support that.