Your dad is going to die of cancer

Iraqi girl whose father has just been killed at a checkpointIt’s just been reported that the children of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to suffer child abuse. Is this finding not terrible enough for their parents to take heed and refuse to to be ordered there?
All soldiers going to Iraq and Afghanistan doom themselves to exposure to Depleted Uranium. Does it give anyone pause that they are dooming themselves and their families to certain ill-health? They’re not making a selfless sacrifice, they’re sacrificing their kids.

By the VA’s own report, over 11,600 Gulf War vets have died since 1991. A third of the soldiers involved in that 100 hour engagement are now on disability. The health problems have been called Gulf War Syndrome because the military won’t admit responsibility, like it long denied the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. But doctors are now certain the many common symptoms are due to DU. Already we are seeing birth defects from Iraq War veterans.

Of course the media is not addressing the problem, but why aren’t soldiers figuring out the cause and effect for themselves? Do they still think the Department of Defense is looking out for them? After the Walter Reed scandals? After the failures to deal with PTSD?

Remember an unusual report early in the Iraq occupation when Dutch troops were to replace a US Marines encampment? The Dutch commanders instantly forbade their soldiers to inhabit the American barracks due to DU contamination. They deemed it better to bivouac outside the camp, exposed to attack outside the fortifications, than to suffer the certain DU exposure about which the American soldiers had been told nothing.

I have an idea of how to bring this message home to our soldiers. It involves the soldiers’ families because they are already impacted negatively, and stand to bear the brunt of losing their father or mother, of having to cope with a bitter, violent veteran, or having to care for the eventually terminally ill invalid. Here’s my plan:

I live in a neighborhood that houses the families of officers posted to Fort Carson. Usually they’re newcomers, usually just the families, the fathers being away in Iraq. Kids know these families from talking amongst each other at school.

The next time this or that house is pointed out to me, I’m going to tell the kids to be nice to those children because their father is dying of cancer. Never mind succumbing to IEDs, or to mental illness, the veteran will more likely than not, die a slow death of cancer or leukemia or whatever mysterious debilitating fate, owing to the DU he inhaled over there. Imagine the talk at the school reaching the soldier’s children. They’d bring their fears home. It’s a heartless rumor to spread to kids, but maybe their alarm could prompt an awakening and ultimately save their dad’s life.

This subversive message can be directed toward soldiers at other opportunities. Be it a panhandler with PTSD, or a proud veteran in a parade, treat them both with a sincere gentleness because of their pending struggle with cancer. Thank them for their service, apologize that their sacrifice will turn out to be so tragic.

Bring the message home.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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5 Responses to Your dad is going to die of cancer

  1. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    War is dangerous and this should certainly be pointed out to those that think that they have no price to pay and all to gain by being in the military. No doubt many will sluff this advice off though.

    However, the tone you take, Eric, is not helpful at all. If you were actually to do what you say should be done and tell these children that their dad or mom is dying of cancer, I wouldn’t blame a relative if they came over and punched you right in your snout. You would deserve just that. You show a heartless self-righteousness about yourself in this piece of writing that is telling.

  2. Eric Eric says:

    Gosh, I’ll take a punch in the snout if it might mean that the soldier will re-evaluate going overseas to continue to kill and orphan thousands upon thousands of Muslim children.

    The threat of cancer hasn’t stopped anyone, it doesn’t stop smokers, but maybe one’s own hysterical children will give pause. My hypothetical suggestion is too ruthless for me to contemplate in all honesty, but look at what’s at stake. These SAME children will ALREADY suffer worse at the hands of their veteran father returned “wrong-headed.”

    Poor Joe Camel in his hospital bed

  3. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Your supposedly righteous indignation and actions of telling the kids of soldiers that their parent is dying of cancer would not help out Muslim children at all, but would only serve to alienate you from reaching out to the people you say you want to convince that their participation in the military is wrong; the US soldiers What utter presumption on your part to try to use the children against their parents in this way.

    Use some judgement, please, otherwise your actions work against your stated goals.

  4. Avatar jonah says:

    My dad DID die of cancer, and since most of the people who served at three bases with him, who I knew at least, died of cancer in the same time period, from 5 years before he died to about 5 years after.

    I don’t know if Pikes Peak Peace and Justice was in on this action, but 5 years ago, I believe (?) there was an environmental protest against Fort Carson because of their firing range, because of the lead and mercury fulminate (measured DOWNSTREAM from Fort C, but not nearly as high Upstream)…

    and the activists were told that it was none of their business (!!) and that the Army didn’t have to provide any information anyway because they were hiding behind the Patriot Act.

    The Army also made a slightly more conciliatory statement that the “Soldiers fighting Terror would need to use the (very important) Same Type Of Ammunition They Would Use In The War For Practice>>>

    Meaning, they have also been firing DU shells right HERE. Also at McGregor Range / Ft Bliss, Texas, also Fort Sill Oklahoma, Fort Riley Kansas, Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, Fort Hood Texas,

    Just to name a few.
    Fort Sill is on the watershed for the Red River, also the Sabine River.

    Fort Riley and Fort Leonard Wood both drain into the Platte, thus the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

    Here and Fort Bliss drain into both those watersheds and also into the Rio Grande.

    The Hell it ain’t our business.

  5. Avatar tony logan says:

    Sure military toxicity is ‘our business’, Jonah. Nobody ever said it wasn’t. But you approach the adult soldiers about this, and not their kids.

    What ever gave Eric the idea that telling children that their soldier dad or soldier mom is dying of cancer was the way to go about broaching this subject I can’t even begin to imagine??? It is this type of excessive hyperbole by some that feeds into urban myths about antiwar activists supposedly having spit on returning troops. I want no part in any nonsense or verbal shenanigans that feeds into helping others believe what Right Wingers want to have others thing that being against militarism is all about…. about having abusive attitudes towards soldiers and their families.

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