Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where's the Rage?

. . . asks a blogger named Cliburn in a posting hosted by ProgressiveU.org.

An Iraq veteran currently serving in the US military, Clibrun has had second thoughts about returning to Iraq if his unit is called up again. And he’s considering applying for CO status.

His epiphany came during a recent weekend drill with his unit.

You can read his complete posting by clicking <here>.

Below are excerpts:

Where is the rage?

I had drill this weekend. Drill has been a forever-evolving presence in my life for the past six years. I went from looking forward to drill to hating it to missing it while I was in Iraq and back to looking forward to it when I returned. I used to hate drill, but found myself liking the weekends where I was reunited with those that I spent a year with in Iraq. Over the past few months, that has turned into dread, and I am questioning whether or not I can remain an effective member of the military.

. . .

Someone who had not deployed before asked if we would go again. "In a heartbeat!" one soldier replied. Others assured him that they would have no problem going back. Now, the eyes were on me.

"No, I am not going back to participate in that war."

The look of shock and awe on their faces quickly gave way to a flurry of questions about how I would get out, what I would do, how I could do that to my comrades, why I felt the way I did, what I thought I was proving, and why I thought I could make a difference. The question that got me on a roll, however, was none of the above.

"What are you going to do . . . become a conscientious objector?" one soldier and friend said with a smirk and a chuckle.

"In fact, I just may do that. That's what I am, essentially, isn't it?"

. . .

I thought I could this; I thought I could oppose the war and remain in the military. Change from within, I thought. I realized this weekend that that was a pipe dream, for me at least. I spend half my time in that uniform cringing at exaggerated stories, expressed pleasure in other peoples' pain, and empty, misguided proclamations of honor, integrity, and selfless service.

I am done with the military. I don't know how exactly I will leave the service just yet, but I know that I will. I entered the army in an honorable fashion and I will leave it that way, but leave it I will.

I leave Friday for Washington DC to take part in the September 15th protests in DC with tens of thousands of other concerned Americans, including representatives of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families, and the ANSWER Coalition. I am taking more and more responsibility within IVAW to end this war, take care of our veterans, and provide reparations for the Iraqi people and it feels right.

I accepted the position of Regional Coordinator-Gulf Coast Region this week and look forward to working with other IVAW Regional Coordinators in the future. I am writing for their newsletter (Sit-Rep), which is being published for the first time this week. If anyone has any questions about the organization or wishes to join, please contact me.

In the meantime, I simply ask, "Where is the rage?!"

* * *

YouTube, the video Web site hosted by Google, is filled with amazing stuff. In addition to the skateboarding bulldog and Star Wars parodies, sometimes it’s even enlightening.

Click on this <link> to see an excerpt of Aimee Allison’s presentation to a national counter-recruiting conference held at the University of California at Berkeley, in October last year.

Allison knows whereof she speaks: Having been recruited and having served in the US military, she’s now a CO and active as a counter-recruiter, helping others not to make her mistake.

Adam Simms

No comments: