Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bambi mumbles some words meant to be 'hope'ful

Starting with war resistance.  "(Recruiters) use the lack of benefits of Latinos and immigrants to lure people in.  The biggest problem is that they don't give all the information, they only give the pretty information, which is not the true picture," explains IVAW chair and war resister Camilo Mejia to Cindy Von Quednow (Daily Sundial). Von Quednow goes on to explain that "Latinos made up 13 percent of the enlister personnel in 2006, compared to 18 percent of the civilian population and there is an effort to increase those numbers to 22 percent" by targeting Latinos with advertising buys on Spanish-language television and radio which Rosa Furumoto (Chicano/A studies at CSUN) explains, "If you look at docments released by the Pentagon and the federal government, they have a deliberate attempt to recruit and socialize young Chicanos and Latinos for the military."  That is one of two articles Cindy Von Quendnow authors for Daily Sundial.  In her second one, she checks in on Camilo Mejia's life today in North Miami, "After completing what he thought was the end of his contract, Mejia found he had actually enlisted for eight years, not three.  He decided to finish his duty with the Florida National Guard while going to school. . . . From the beginning, Mejia used his immigrant status to avoid going to Iraq (legal residents who haven't applied for citizenship can only serve a total of eight years in the military) and was finally allowed a two-week leave of absence to fix legal matters back at home.  He never returned to Iraq."   Mejia, whose  Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia was published last May, is currently writing a second book "about his jail experience and wants to delve into the genre of fiction writing."  In addition to that and traveling around the country to speak out against the illegal war, Mejia is also sharing the responsibilities of raising his seven-year-old daughter and "appealing his bad conduct dismissal and continues waiting on his conscientious objector status, hoping it will help others in similar situations."  When Mejia made his decision that he could not continue to participate in the illegal war, he became the first Iraq War veteran to resist publicly. 
Robin Long is another war resister.  In March of 2005, he was informed he would be shipping out to the illegal war and he self-checked out and went to Canada.  Thunder Bay's Source reports that he spoke in Thunder Bay yesterday as part of the ongoing efforts in Canada to raise awareness of legislative protection for war resisters: "Long says it wasn't an easy decision to abandon the army and move to Canada but his cosncience wouldn't allow him to join a war he didn't support.  Long is currently fighting a deportation order, and splits his time between Nelson, B.C., and Marthaton, where he has an 18-month old son."
You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada.  Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."  As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.
Among the things IVAW advocates for (ending the illegal war, reperations for Iraq) is the need for real health care to be provided to veterans.  Dana Priest (Washington Post) continues the work she and Anne Hull having been doing for the Post today by looking at the extremely high rate of suicide among returning veterans and notes "121 soldiers took their own lives" in 2007 which was "nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.  At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began.  Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan."  This as the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence trumpets an internal study that asserts British "Forces mental health statistics for the second quarter of 2007, published today, 31 January 2008, have continued to show that the number of personnel assessed and diagnosed with a mental disorder remained low."  If true -- remember it's a study they conducted, not an independent one -- that would be surprising considering the abysmal treatment conditions many British veterans have faced. 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

No comments: