I was then 20-year-old, naive, uneducated, with zero knowledge of politics. Arriving in Korea we hiked up steep mountains as replacements. Departing soldiers made puns while we remained silent not knowing what lay ahead—it was nighttime. At daybreak, a devastated landscape blown to shred by tons of shells and bombs welcomed us. We saw pale, dead soldiers in no-mans land, with crows feeding from their eye sockets. Next to my trench, a leg from a half buried Chinese soldier stuck out of the ground like a wounded flag.
My job was that of an infantry first scout. My weapon was the M1 rifle, made famous by Bill Mauldin in his drawings of World War II GIs. For a half year I lived in barren trenches. All front line positions were manned by low-ranking soldiers. With a buddy, we would alternate two-hour night shifts.
The Department of Defense reports that worldwide, 54,246 Americans service men and women lost their lives during the Korean War. My infantry regiment suffered 1607 casualties. Most of the young men that I fought with and knew in my platoon were killed. I now protest wars in their names, because they can’t.
Having survived war, I educated myself to find out why anyone would want to wage war. I found a very simple answer. When politicians say “Nobody wants war.” it’s such a big lie, we don’t question it. Yet, even a child understands, that if no one really wants a toy, no game is played with that toy. All wars are promoted and orchestrated by war-profiteers. Wars are their deadly toys and truth is their first casualty.
Today, warmongers have no problem with a U.N. estimate that a new, racist and bigoted war against Iraq, a country with oil, will cause 500,000 deaths. Some say that President Bush is now using a powerful propaganda apparatus and a compliant mainstream media to trick us into war, as his father did 11 years ago. Let’s look at the evidence for such a serious charge.
Just prior to Desert Storm, Kuwait funded a massive American pro-war campaign. A NYC public relations agency, coached witnesses, pro-war politicians and the media were all used to launch false, demonizing stories about the killing of 312 incubator babies by Saddam in Kuwait. The pro-war crowd embraced the lies and gave them extensive media coverage. Amnesty International (who had been fooled) produced an 84-page report damning Saddam, and these lies were then distributed to all college campuses by daddy Bush.
Every day we get new unverified, pro-war rumors from the White House that are happily propagated by a media that mimics news presentation in totalitarian countries. When Bush says that finding nothing in Iraq is proof that Saddam has tons of WMDs, no newsperson dares to questions that infantile absurdity.
A recurrent lie from war advocates, is that war in Iraq is to free oppressed people and to give them democracy. Let’s be honest. For many years, through various administrations the U.S. government has supported many dictatorships and repressive governments, including Iraq. Freedom and democracy are bogus reasons.
America spends over 40% of the world’s total military budget, while being the cheapest (per capita) of all industrial countries with humanitarian aid. That‘s one ugly picture. Please say no to war.