'Stars and Stripes" covers Bring Troops Home Now protest

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Mon Aug 18 01:31:59 MDT 2003

Zak McGregor wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 16:36:58 +1000
> "Tom O'Lincoln" <suarsos at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
>>>>Why on earth do we want to support the troops?
>>Fred isn't saying he supports the troops, he's quoting a story about army
>>families. For them to get this far is a huge step forward, even though
>>their consciousness is still contradictory.
> Yes, I realise that Fred wasn't saying that - however it has been part of the
> debate around BTTHN from the beginning.
>>>>Guys, this is by and large a volunteer army. They volunteered to do the
>>bidding of their masters. They
>>volunteered to put aside all independent thought and blindly follow
>>Not really. A lot of them probably just wanted a job. And under capitalism,
>>the boss gives the orders - military or civilian.
> You cannot equate civilian orders to military ones, sorry. Yes there are
> superficial similarities, but that's about it.
> Just wanting a job I can understand, but really can we still want to try to
> garner support from such an institution? Why not see them as the instruments of
> imperialism that they are? Perhaps if there was enough hate for the armed forces
> and those serving in them it might be a more difficult career choice.
Most people who join teh army haven#t reached th level of consciousness
about capitalism and imperialism taht you seem to have. They come from
poor working class backgrounds and are faced by permanent povery and
unemployment. It's in these circumstances that the Army's promises of
training and education offer a way out.

The ads for the Army don't talk about killing - its the parody ads that
say things like "Visit foreign places, meet interesting people and kill
them", not the real ones.

Economic conscription is the way volunteer armies get most of their
"volunteers". I don't know about teh US but in Britain young
working-class men of military age who get into trouble with the police
are offered the alternative of going to prison or joining the armed
forces. This doesn't sound very voluntary to me.

>>>>They volunteered to massacre women and children.<<
>>Not at all. Very few people initially realise the US military does that;
>>when they find themselves confronted with it, the seeds of rebellion are
>>sown. We need to welcome the seeds.
> Except more often than not they seem to enjoy it; to relish it. It's part of
> their training to, is it not?
Yes, it is part of the training, But by the time people are confronted
with this they have already signed up and it's difficult to back out.

As for "enjoyment" - read some of the memoirs of the GIs in vietnam -
they also committed atrocities and seemed to enjoy it, but their
memoirrs often tell a different story.

Also look at the article "Have We Forgoten Anger in the Eyes" posted by
Fred Feldman a short time before your post.

>>>>They volunteered to kill, destroy, rape and pillage. Fuck them.<<
>>Firstly, it's not just them, it's their families too. Secondly, very few of
>>them are the monsters you describe. But thirdly, whatever we think of them,
>>we need to drive a wedge between the enemy forces wherever we can. These
>>developments are starting to do that. We have to think strategically, not
>>just say "fuck them".
> Their families need to see their children's decision to go and serve in the army
> as the tragic event (in their terms) that it is. Why allow this option even the
> thinnest veneer of respectability? Drive a wedge in the appropriate place I say,
> even if it is possibly a tougher task.
One of teh most important aspects of teh success of the movement against
the Vietnam war was the destabilisation and decomposition of the armed
forces. Vietnam Veterans Against the War also played an important role
(and some of them were actually volunteers!) - some of them still do.
Saying "fuck them" means rejecting this section of the movement. It
seems to me to be a ssectarian purist attitude, which is more of a
hindrance than a help in building a mass movement against Bush#s
permanent war policy.

Einde O'Callaghan

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