Sunday, February 08, 2004


John Moore at Useful Fools reprints "Thoughts of a Vietnam POW," a missive that expresses, better than I ever could, why you will never-- ever-- find me in an anti-war demonstration. Put aside the question of a war's rightness or wrongness and just dwell for a moment on the question of loyalty to the fellow citizens who strap on the gear, hit the LZ, and do the fighting. Think about the shit a soldier has to go through, put yourself in his or her position, and then read the following:

The rigors and hardships of being a POW aside, I remember the so-called, "Peace Movement," and "Peace Marches and Rallies" that were taking place back home in the USA Our captors were more than willing, within their means, to provide us with any and all anti-US and anti-Vietnam War propaganda. Without a choice in the matter, we listened to the "Voice of Vietnam" broadcasts by, "Hanoi Hannah" and were shown newspaper and magazine photos and articles about those opposing the war back in the States. One of the peace marchers' standard slogans was to, "Bring our boys home now and, alive." The warped thinking of such people was that by demonstrating against US involvement in Vietnam, they'd be shortening the war and reducing the number of American casualties. These demonstrators would also try to make one believe that their efforts would bring POWs like me home sooner. They were utterly wrong on both counts not to mention the detrimental effect their actions had on the morale of our troops and our POWs.

Full disclosure: I'm taking this excerpt slightly out of context; the post's focus is on John Kerry, a vet who led his share of antiwar demonstrations. But the specific issue of Kerry doesn't interest me here. What interests me is the question of how I can look a combat vet in the eye and say, "I was in that demonstration."

One further note: I respect the fact that many demonstrators are sincere. I also support the idea of demonstrations as a valid form of free expression. But that doesn't stop me from passing a very negative judgement on people who are, in the case of antiwar demonstrations, doing something very misguided. In my opinion, anyway.


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