Porterville Recorder--Guest Commentary

April 5, 2008
Uncle Bill Warner,
President, South Valley Peace Center, Visalia

Saturday, while talking part in a vigil to mourn the 4,000th U.S. soldier to die in Iraq, a young woman of about 40 showed up with a picture of her Marine son  serving in Iraq, and insisted that we were endangering him by witnessing for peace and advocating  the withdrawal of our occupying forces.

His photo in his dress blues looked very like one I had taken at Camp LeJeune a few weeks after the start of the Korean War.  My heart went out to her and her son.  We spoke for a while, before she stalked off, saying that "… she was not interested in hearing anything we had to say."  No statistics, no facts, no logic.  We both love America, and both love her son, but unfortunately she has bought the deception on which the invasion and occupation are based.   She doubtless thinks that Iraq had something to do with 9-11, had  WMDs, was making an  atom bomb, and was led by a demon.  Somehow the military and the media have a way of ignoring real reasons. When I volunteered to go to Korea , I didn’t even know where Korea was, let alone what a "communist" was.  And no one ever told me.

From my personal experience with the Marines ( 4 yrs.) , I’ll bet my last dollar that her son does not speak Arabic, Aramaic, or Kurdish.  I’ll bet he has learned that the Iraqi people are inferior to us, even the "good" ones.   A good Marine knows he is superior to "the enemy", to civilians,  women, and even other branches of the military!   I’ll bet he can recite the official line verbatim just as it has been fed to him.  I doubt that he scans the Internet for news from alternative sources like "Truthout" to get some balance.   When my daughter-in-law (Navy) was in the Persian Gulf, the E-mails  I sent were totally censored to make sure nothing might educate her.  My Army son, (two tours in Korea),  came back totally ignorant of the real reasons why it was necessary to be there. 

I doubt that this lady’s son has read in the Marine Corps Gazette that there are now 4 million people displaced from their homes and tens of thousands of Iraqis  dead, wounded and maimed thanks to our "giving them freedom."  I doubt that he has read about how our "reconstruction" efforts have not even brought the infrastructure back to Saddam-era levels!    He is there to serve his country.  He is there to stop terrorism.  I can identify.  I was his age once.

His  C.O. is not going to fall out the company and tell them how the war has bankrupted America.  He is not going to mention that we have invaded a country on false information, or even that not a single Iraqi was involved in 9-11.   "Corporate profits" or "oil" will never be mentioned.  A fighting man, or his mother, does not want to hear that our troops might be pawns in a game involving control of the oil reserves of Iraq and Iran.  Are we Americans here at home even aware of the truth?

For sure he will not hear the words of the most-decorated Marine of all time,  Major Gen. Smedley Butler, who referred to war as " … a racket in the service of Wall Street."   He was not against the Marines, nor am I, just the way they are used. 

I pray for her son.  I pray that he will not have to kill anyone to pay for his college education.  To truly support our troops:  bring them home.

Uncle Bill Warner, President, South Valley Peace Center, Visalia, former S/Sgt, 3rd Marine Division, USMC 1950-1954 and retired history teacher.

Visit us at ProgressiveWritersBloc.com.

Contact Information
Website designed by DavidChandler