A Better Way to "Support the Troops" Than Ribbons

Commentary by Michael Bonanno.

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A Better Way to "Support the Troops" Than Ribbons

Post by Michael » January 23rd, 2005, 7:59 pm

First I want to say that I support our troops. This is why I want them brought home from Iraq as soon as possible. Wanting their lives saved has got to mean more than sticking a ribbon on your SUV.

The Guardsmen and Reservists can stay active, forming a daisy chain around the US and guarding our borders, as well as important landmarks and infrastructure.

There are so many people who write letters to the editor of my local newspaper, The Contra Costa Times, which support our action in Iraq. I really hate saying support “the president’s actions in Iraq” because he hasn’t seen any action in Iraq. Just as he didn’t see any action in Vietnam, he’s never seen any action in Iraq.

Many of the people who write these letters talk about Bush’s bravery, how he is “taking it to the terrorists”. They talk about how “he doesn’t back down” and how “he’s not afraid”.

They’re right about one thing. He’s not afraid to get other people’s children killed. He’s all for that.

He isn’t afraid to kill people who probably found out about September 11, 2001 the way we did, through whatever news outlet they have. The people who die when we carpet bomb Iraq had nothing to do with September 11, 2001 and I’m convinced that their leader at the time, Saddam Hussein, and his government knew nothing about it as well.

I keep bringing up what Richard Clark said in his book, “Against All Enemies”. He said that our attacking Iraq in response to the events of September 11, 2001 would be like FDR attacking Mexico in response to Pear Harbor.

But these “patriots” keep writing letters supporting the war in Iraq. They say if it wasn’t for our invasion and occupation, Iraq wouldn’t be having elections on the thirtieth of January.

They forget, I guess. We went into Iraq, we asked for another UN Resolution “blessing” our preemptive attack, because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be launched in 45 minutes and could reach the US. I don’t remember Bush saying anything about an Iraqi election as a reason for attacking that sovereign nation, a nation that never threatened us.

They want to support the troops, as I mentioned, and they do this by sticking ribbons on their SUVs. The best way that those who support our military action in Iraq could show their support for the troops would be to volunteer to join them.

As Bush doesn’t seem concerned about constitutional or international law, he would overlook any age limit for accepting volunteers.

He’s in desperate need of bodies to promote his imperialistic goals, goals veiled by his disingenuous phrase “spreading democracy”. I’m certain he’ll be glad to accept the bodies of the people who support him with their letters.

An excuse of “I’ve already done my time” wouldn’t fit the mold of patriotism that many of them strongly support.

Their “style” of patriotism should trump giving up their jobs and comfortable life styles.

Finally, a Bush fan who wants to do away with Social Security should know how to keep the family supported without government aid while fighting in a Bush war.
Last edited by Michael on January 24th, 2005, 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Lightning Rod » January 24th, 2005, 9:02 am

Michael, I always enjoy reading your pieces
great food for thought
keep up the good work

"These words don't make me a poet, these Eyes make me a poet."

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Post by whimsicaldeb » January 24th, 2005, 7:47 pm

He’s in desperate need of bodies to promote his imperialistic goals, goals veiled by his disingenuous phrase “spreading democracy”. I’m certain he’ll be glad to accept the bodies of the people who support him with their letters.
Hi Michael,

I live in Contra Costa County also, (Martinez).

Did you happen to see this article from the Friday paper? Shades of MM's "Fahrenheit 9/11" - CCC version. My son will be going to CPHS next year, and he’s seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" a bunch of times now. When I showed my husband and my son this article, they were both shocked. And I kept hearing/thinking this must be a twisted – “New Age” rendition of Frank Zappa’s …. “It can’t happen here”

I've noticed an equal amount of con as well pro letters written about Bush in the “To the editor” section. People will have their say, and that's okay. It's when it's forced upon others that it becomes a problem.

The people I've talked with personally, who did vote for Bush, truly believe he's "keeping us safe" - i.e: they're scared out of their ever-loving their minds. Literally. And I personally don’t have a clue as to how help them get over their fears, other than showing that I’m not joining them in their way of thinking, voting, or way of viewing the situation(s) - but I'd love an opportunity for them to be willing to see mine ... as best I can, anyway. Some days are easier than others.

Still, nice to meet another CCC’er online. - Deb


http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cct ... 698686.htm

Posted on Fri, Jan. 21, 2005
U.S. Army recruiters cause uproar at College Park High
By Jackie Burrell


PLEASANT HILL - U.S. Army recruiters turned College Park High School's quad into a lunchtime shooting range Wednesday, much to the consternation of teachers and students.

Recruiters arrived on the College Park campus in a glossy big rig, bearing realistic-looking handguns with air compressors to provide the recoil kick. And they gave the student shooters prizes.

Military recruiters are no strangers on high school campuses, but they usually restrict themselves to flier distribution, strolling about the quad or putting in an occasional appearance in the college and career center.

"It's not a soldier issue," said teacher Jen Kennedy. "In this post-Columbine era, target practice with high school students leaves me speechless."

U.S. Army Sgt. Delbert Miller said he and the Fort Knox marksmanship team visited College Park as just one stop on an annual tour of hundreds of schools and colleges.

"We presented it as an event for the kids," Miller said. "(We used) plastic pistols hooked up to an air compressor."

Miller, whose crew handed out water bottles, T-shirts and dog tags, said he was unaware that all weapons -- including plastic guns, water pistols and Halloween props that resemble weapons -- are banned in California schools.

If students brought to school anything like the pistols the recruiters shared with College Park students Wednesday, they'd be expelled, said junior Isaac Miller. These were "an exact replica of guns with blowback," he said. "It just seems weird."

"When you shot, it recoiled like a real gun," said senior Tom Morgenstern. "Having guns at school? It's the Army, they have a legal right to be here, but when they start bringing these games to school and try to make shooting fun?"

Morgenstern and fellow senior Jayme Farrell-Ranker had set up the school's tsunami relief fund-raising effort on the quad early Wednesday and soon found themselves sharing plaza space with the recruiters and shooting range.

"We're trying to do something nice and they come with their games and guns," said Farrell-Ranker.

The marksmanship unit is one of several splashy military recruiting efforts, including big rigs that turn into science classrooms, portable rock walls, "adventure vans" with interactive exhibits on educational aspects of military life, and humvees that visit elementary through high schools. The marksmanship unit dates back to 1912.

This particular demonstration took College Park officials by surprise. Principal Dennis Berger thought the event he had quickly approved Wednesday morning at the request of a former student was a ceremonial drill in which soldiers twirl rifles in a carefully choreographed routine.

He was not on campus Wednesday morning and was under the impression that the demonstration involved electronic media.

"It was a last-minute event," Berger said. "This one happened to be on marksmanship, so they had video games. ... In hindsight, I wish we had known in more detail what they were going to do. We got something we didn't quite expect."

Sgt. Miller described the pistols as carnival game-style, but students said they shot a beam of light.

Before they were allowed to handle the pistols, students had to supply their names, phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers. And many complied.

"I was shocked and dismayed," said teacher Joan Lopate. "These kids are young and impressionable. I had one student come over to say, 'This recruiter was so aggressive. I'm only 15.'"

When that student, Dustin Lovejoy, told the recruiter he was too young to join the military soon, he was told to sign up anyway. The recruiter said he'd call him "when it was time," Lovejoy said.

"They're just showing you what they do in the Army," said junior Sierra Pierce, who has visited the nearby recruiting center on several occasions and plans to enlist. "Those kids are in for it now. (The military) won't stop till they're recruited."

Jackie Burrell covers K-12 education. Reach her at 925-977-8568 or jburrell@cctimes.com.

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Post by Michael » February 1st, 2005, 3:35 pm

Actually, Deb, I saw the headlines, but never read the article. I’m glad that you posted it.

It does, indeed, remind one of F911 and the efforts that those recruiters put into their “jobs”.

I think that they should be so much more honest, however. They should start out by introducing themselves. It should go something like this:

“Hi, there. I’m Sergeant Smith and this is my partner Sergeant Jones.

You kids know that we’re still in Iraq, fighting the people who live there, right?

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but we’re down about 1400 people. You know, there’s a lot of “early retirement” in times of fighting.

Well, our good and beneficent President Bush is determined not to reinstate a draft and some of the soldiers that he’s keeping there a little longer than they were originally told they’d be there, well, there gettin’ a little antsy, you know? But, don’t forget, our good and great president doesn’t want to reinstate the draft, so he’s got to fill the slots of the “early retirees” some how.

That’s where you guys come in.

First, we train you how to shoot guns, launch bombs and break down doors in residential areas.

Then if you guys have the appropriate people skills, there’s also a crash course in interfacing with people who may or may not know things that we, we being the good guys of course, need to know. It’s just the basics – how electricity affects bodily comfort, bobbing for - - - well, just bobbing for a while, intimacy and male bonding, stuff like that.

We do have an advanced course, but that’s something you can get into later if you want.

So, yeah, lots and lots of educational opportunity and, get this, to learn this stuff, we pay you! Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?

In lieu of paying you money you and your family don’t really need, money being the root of all evil as our president, may Jesus bless his soul, always likes to say, we let you have free room and board. Now isn’t that better than having all that income get in the way of a real relationship with your family?

We let you travel. In fact, we insist that you travel to some, well one, of the most exotic places on earth. It’s where the magic carpets used to fly. The Magic Kingdom’s got nothing on this place.

And like I said, if you’re lucky enough to go to the magic carpet place, you could join in our early retirement plan as well, just like those other 1400 have done.

So, whaddya say kids, ready to bring some democracy to the world, whether they want it or not?”

I really think that they should emphasize that “early retirement” plan, though. It’s what all hard working Americans look forward to, isn’t it?
Last edited by Michael on February 1st, 2005, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Lightning Rod » February 1st, 2005, 4:03 pm

great piece, michael

everything that satire should be
"These words don't make me a poet, these Eyes make me a poet."

The Poet's Eye

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