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imperialism & war

In Eugene, OR, Vietnam Vets speak out against war, 10/05/02

Two Vietnam veterans took the podium at an anti-war rally in Eugene, OR, on October 5, 2002, to speak out against the threatened war on Iraq.
VIETNAM VETERANS SPEAK OUT IN EUGENE, OREGON On Saturday, 10/05/02, at a 2000-strong anti-war rally in Eugene, Oregon, two Vietnam veterans spoke out against war on Iraq.

Irwin Noparstak, M.D., psychiatrist, warned of the senseless costs in lives and health that would NOT promote national security or peace. Ed Reiman, combat veteran, spoke of the illegitimacy of a war for illegitimate reasons by illegitimate leaders.


The purpose of the US military is to promote national security and peace. I served in Vietnam in 1968-69. What the US military did there was stupid, destructive, senseless ... a horror perpetrated on the Vietnamese and on US military personnel. It did not help US security, and it destroyed peace. As a psychiatrist here in Eugene, I saw many Vietnam veterans -- helping them with their disability, or helping them get their lives together -- sometimes helping them to just maintain their lives.

The aftermath of the American War in Vietnam was horrific for the Vietnamese and for Americans, and this aftermath still goes on. We supposedly learned lessons from Vietnam. Do not engage in a war unless

(a) there is a clear-cut goal that can be accomplished;
(b) the mission is accomplished in a limited period of time with a clear exit strategy;
(c) there is support from the US populace;
(d) there is support from the world community;
(e) once the goal is accomplished, the result is sustainable by the other country.
None of these lessons can be applied to a war in Iraq. This is not a way to insure national security or promote peace. What is more, Desert Storm and Desert Shield proved to be disasters for US personnel in many ways. Here are two examples why:
(1) In the Gulf War, US tanks, helicopters, and planes used solid depleted uranium bullets -- ranging from 25 to 120 mm -- to attack enemy tanks and armored personnel carriers. There are more than 300 tons of radioactive dust and shrapnel from the 1991 Gulf War still there, with more to come with a new invasion. US personnel are not trained to cope with this.
(2) According to the VA, of the nearly 700,000 veterans who served in the two Desert actions, more than 300,000 have sought VA healthcare. More than 200,000 have filed disability claims!! And in August 2002, President Bush slashed $275 million from the healthcare budget of the Dept of Veterans Affairs.
One other thing: In the Gulf War we slaughtered Iraqis needlessly. Our embargo has led to the deaths of 100,000s of Iraqi children. That war was carried out in the desert, but if we go in now, the Iraqi military will be placed in cities so that US military personnel will have to be in the cities, killing even more civilians than before, and being considerably more open to being slaughtered themselves.

War in Iraq ... makes no sense. Current US military policies are a disgrace to US security, and world peace and protection. This is no way to bring about peace. I certainly don't feel protected or secure. As a citizen and veteran, I will continue to speak out and struggle to resist any adventure that so gravely risks the suffering and death of American military personnel and citizenry of other countries ... and that clearly promotes neither security nor peace. I invite you to speak out as well.


I am not here today to tell you that there is never a time for war, because from time to time maniacs do come to power - Hitler and Idi Amin come to mind. I am not here today to tell you that our military men and women are a bunch of mindless savages, though they are sometimes asked to do savage and mindless things (and sometimes they say no). I AM here to tell you that on a list of 1000 things to do in human relations, war ought to be the thousandth. And war MUST be for a cause worth dying for.

Ladies and gentlemen, OIL isn't worth killing for or dying for, and OIL is the core of our dysfunctional relationship with the mid-east. There are two great addictive things that are at the root of most of our foreign relations problems - oil and drugs. In all of Latin America, and most South and Southeast Asia, dope is at the root of our foreign policy - it's that basic. And all of our foreign policy malfunctions in the Arab world are directly tied to oil and our addiction it - it's THAT basic, too. Any politician -- from either party -- who says otherwise is lying or stupid. Period. No matter what the lie du jour is for going to war with Iraq, the actual reason is OIL-OIL-OIL-OIL. Make oil a mantra... so automatic that you can sort through the crap without hesitation.

We could change our domestic policies and solve 99% of the problems that drugs cause. It just takes the political and social will to make the changes necessary. I pray that day will come sooner than later. And it will take that same sort of change in political and social will to pull the oil needles out of our collective arms. But the Republican party, and this administration particularly, is owned by the petrochemical industry, and it is perfectly willing to send our sons and daughters... our sisters, brothers, husbands and wives to die for their oil profits. It's that simple.

It is not "unpatriotic" to see the truth, and it is not unpatriotic to shout about it. What is unpatriotic is buying into the big lies that the ultra-right is marketing. This coming war is just one of their lies. A week or so ago that over-hair-sprayed draft-dodger Trent Lott said that the Congressional delegation in Iraq, led by three congressmen who just happen to be Vietnam Combat Vets should "...should not question the veracity of the President" and "...should come home and shut up". ......He suggests that criticizing the Cheney/Rumsfeld/CondiRice/Wolfowitz policy is unpatriotic. I'm deliberately excluding "W" from this discussion -- the Shrub has nothing to do with any of this; he just reads the cue cards.

Good ol' Trentboy -- fresh out of law school (does the word "deferment" ring any bells?) and a couple years in a private law practice -- got a job for a Mississippi Congressman in 1968 while about 500,000 Americans -- including me -- were getting our asses shot off in Vietnam. How convenient for Trent. He got himself elected to Congress in 1972 while my brothers and sisters fought on in Vietnam until 1974. Well, Trentboy -- and the rest of you war-mongering dip-wads who never wore a uniform -- come to Eugene, Oregon and question MY Patriotism when I say screw you, your war, and YOUR dim-witted, so-called President. Come here, look me in the eye, and tell me that oil IS worth dying for. Tell ME that there is no other course for MY country to take but to keep right on consuming all the oil we can get. Tell ME that you, and the rest of the oil-bought whores in Congress, think it is okay to send young soldiers to die for oil. Tell ME you would send YOUR son or daughter to die for Iraqi oil. If you are NOT willing to come to Eugene and tell me these things, then Trent, you starched-haired, two-bit, draft-dodging pretty-boy, YOU sit down and YOU SHUT UP.

Oil is what our mid-east policies are about, and until we wean ourselves from mid-east oil, our relations with that region will be directed by oil sultans who have sell-outs like Trent and the Shrub by their scrawny little necks. It's that simple. They are not worth dying for, and their oil is not worth dying for. I KNOW it's not, because I have personal experience with what is and is not worth dying for.

Those in this administration who did not serve in the military in times of war - and that's most of them (in spite of all their mealy-mouthed excuses) don't have a clue - and that's why we're going to war for oil. It is that simple and it is that pathetic.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Trent Lott and the rest of the ultra-right politicians, along with their talking heads on radio and TV, are the traitors to this country. We who question are the PATRIOTS. Never forget that, and never give up!!!

Thanks to Vietnam Vets Noparstak and Reiman 09.Oct.2002 13:36

Sunny Dan 74

Excellent post, Bevin Gilmore.
Ed Reiman is 99.9% correct. I would say 100%, but he's probably made a small mistake somewhere--I just don't see it. Sen. Lott is dangerous, if for no other reason than that he wants no debate over any issues of substance.
Thanks to Dr. Noparstak for reminding us that the American establishment doesn' care much about its veterans and, by implication, those men and women who presently are in uniform and serving their country. That explains why Pres. Bush is so cavalier in his plan to send them to Iraq.