Thursday, September 28, 2006

Iraq Vet Walks Across Utah for Peace

Daily Kos: Iraq Vet Walks Across Utah for Peace

I love this story for any number of different reasons. Let's get a bit of context first, then I'll go into the reasons for my love of this story.
"AMY GOODMAN: Were you able to print anything you wanted in the Anaconda Times?

SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: No, we were not able to print everything we wanted. We tried. We saw our mission as supporting the troops, so we were always trying to give them the good information of what was really going on, because they know what's going on. They're not being fooled by anybody. And so we wanted to be credible with them and print everything that happened. Of course, there is a level of censorship when you're working for the U.S. Army. It’s just the way it goes.

AMY GOODMAN: Like what? Give an example.

SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: There were a few times I wanted to do some stories about how, for instance, Turkey was sending special forces over the border to attack Kurdish groups, you know, without permission, violating Iraq's sovereign borders. I was kind of outraged, and I wanted to print that story, but that was one that got squashed.


SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: By my commanders. They're all very well-intentioned, but nobody wants to get in trouble. And that was a story that looked like trouble, and so it did not make it.

AMY GOODMAN: Turkey, a U.S. ally, attacking the country that the U.S. is occupying.

SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: Exactly. Plus it was kind of -- they were using the same rationale that we used to go into Iraq, saying, well, they've got a terrorist problem. If they can't handle it, then we’ll go in and help them with it. And so we have no moral high ground there. We couldn't tell them not to do it. And they continue to do it to this day. "
One: It's no surprise, nor a fact worthy of condemnation, that the military press censors stories. It's something they have a right to do, and it's hard to argue against that right from a rational perspective. When one signs on to military service in the U.S., one becomes the property of the federal government. It is certainly that government's right to control, to a high degree, what outside information gets disseminated in such a context.

Two: The terrorist state of Iraq. The terrorist attacks by the Kurds really get no coverage in the U.S. [1] [2]. One, rather obvious, reason for this is that is doesn't mesh with the "Kurdish Success Story" being touted by our slowly awakening media. Another, blindingly obvious, reason for this lack of coverage is that it would cast Iran in a victim, rather than agressor, role for terrorist actions. Also, Iran's recent shelling of Kurdish lands is, according to 21st Century American thinking, "fighting the war on terror". This would so confuse an American electorate being primed for an Iran attack that heads might spontaneously explode.

Three: I'm planning of biking/walking across the country to help convince people to help me kick Bush (and the Neocon Cabal) out of office. So I love seeing someone else participating in a similar, if tangential, activity.

Four: I was raised in the Mormon church, and the vast majority of my [very large] family is quite active in said church. I've since become rational enough to realize that starting wars for material gain is not something Jesus Christ would even contemplate, much less endorse. Utah, as mentioned in the article, is the reddest state in the Union. It is an unwritten, but well understood, platform of the Mormon Church that voting for Democrats is like voting for Satan (but worse, as Democrats actually exist). My hope is that the actions of Sgt. Marshall Thompson will help a good people find their way, as they have become lost in their quest for salvation.

Five: This quote brings the whole point home.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you come to the conclusion that it's unjust?

SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: Well, it happened before the war started. I was on the fence. And when Colin Powell addressed the UN, I believed him, like most people did, I think. But then there was something in me that kept bothering me, and it was that the decision to go to war with Iraq was based on fear, fear of something that hadn't happened yet. And those are never good decisions. We can't make fear-based decisions. So I decided that even if they had weapons of mass destruction, that I was going to be opposed to the war.

Then, years later when I went to Iraq, spent a year there, saw what happened, it was only reinforced. And I knew that I was going to have to come home and do something to make it right for my participation in it and just because I feel more responsible for what goes on over there, having been there for one year.
[this is the full article, I got it off kos, so that diarist gets first linkage]


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