Tag Archives: EWO

Another local political rally shot down in flames

Cripple Creek memorial ride 2006According to the Omygodzette, The City Fathers of Cripple Creek starting putting so many restrictions on the Annual Veterans Memorial Bike Rally, the usual organizers for the event said freak it, and are moving the Rally to Winter Park.

Everybody who they interviewed said they (the people of Cripple Creek and Victor) loved the bikes, the bikers, and noted that these guys spent buttloads of money there, and there wasn’t any of the crap you usually see associated with say, Sturgis. So what was the problem? The city manager said there was no prejudice on their part against the bikers (yeah, right!) but the outgoing Decider for who gets a permit had messed up the deal, because the rally was “too biker, not enough veterans” like that really makes one huge difference. There isn’t a law that says how much a Veterans Memorial ANYTHING should reflect the Government Ideal for a Veterans Memorial.

Here I have to insert, the Omygodzette reporter was obviously digging for somebody who would speak against the bike rally. It’s just how they “fair and balanced” report the news. And I would also like to add, I wouldn’t buy their paper by the ton lot to be used as a firewood alternative. Although I might steal it from their recycling dumpsters for that purpose….

But you know the Wall, right? Yeah, that Wall. In Washing Tundy Sea. There was a controversy about the design. Seems our favorite Bill Owens Crony, H Ross Perot, had sponsored a contest judged by veterans for the design. The Wall was overwhelmingly approved, by 3 to one over the runner up, that statue of the soldiers at the monument. Then it was discovered, at the award ceremony photo-op set up by Ross and McCain and other heavy hitting right wing Veterans Affairs Deciders, that the young lady who designed it was ethnically Asian, third generation Chinese American. How to defuse this bomb how do we proceed …

Messieurs McCain and Perot et alia tried to push off the idea that there were some irregularities, tried to replace the Wall with the statue, but they couldn’t come up with enough courage to state their Very Obvious objection, that the Wall was designed by somebody who they consider a “gook”. One reason they couldn’t was Perot was running for President, like he had a chance in Hell of making it.

So they made the command decision to keep their promise, and break it at the same time, by putting in the statue of the GIs.

It’s really tragic that the Government spends OUR money for their Thank a Vet campaign, but we can only show our support or at least lack of animosity in a way that Reflects the Official Policy.

In case anybody has forgotten, the Commander in Chimp has repeatedly tried to cut the VA budget. For such basics as Health Care. Cut it further, I might add, his Poppy and Poppy’s ex-boss Ronnie Ray-gun had already gutted veteran’s benefits. To help finance His War. Which is going to produce even more disabled Vets and disabled Civilians on the Other Side.

Now there’s a Thank A Vet memorial worthy of note.

And ladies and gentlemen, I for sure am going to note it repeatedly.

Our city’s rejection of the EWO memorial, clarified

May I address City Staff Liaison Bob Stovall’s assertion in the Gazette that, contrary to what was reported, the City of Colorado Springs was willing to host the Eyes Wide Open 2,757 boot memorial? I represented the Justice and Peace Commission in asking the city for the use of Memorial Park. The Park and Recreation Department declined our request, telling us Memorial Park was unavailable because of previously scheduled football leagues. Since it was the PPJPC’s opinion that the first and only visit of the EWO traveling Iraq War memorial might merit relocating a couple days of regular football games, we approached the City Council to prevail upon the park supervisors on our behalf. This the City Council would not do.

In subsequent pronouncements Mayor Lionel Rivera tried to clarify that the city was not opposed to the memorial, only that its organizers needed to go through the proper channels like everyone else. This was bureaucratic doublespeak, like pretending to be accommodating while your subordinates keep the doors locked shut until it is too late. I found it also insulting that a national effort to highlight the sacrifices of America’s men and women in Iraq would be stonewalled and accorded no greater consideration than that given weekly football games.

EWO at Colorado CollegeNow of course it is safe for the city to claim the parks department had penciled us in. In fact we were told no and we had to proceed with our backup choice, Colorado College. Memorial Park was where I saw the traveling Vietnam Memorial and where I felt the Iraq memorial would have been most accessible and most appreciated. All along, Memorial Park was where we hoped the city would accommodate the memory of our soldiers.

Eyes Wide Open for friends only

Attire for a memorial to the cost of war?An Air Force soldier participated in our candlelight vigil tonight. A vigil held at the Colorado Springs Eyes Wide Open Exhibit, for the lives lost in the Iraq War. He spoke about losing a close friend, and about his friends who are deployed in Iraq for whom he fears. He read a poem he’d written about looking at the names of the casualties everyday and hoping, praying it would be no one he knows.
 
Did he miss the point of the 2,700 boots?

If I try to be charitable, I’d say the soldier added a human aspect to the ceremony, not just his grief, and his fear, but the self-centeredness of a soldier’s world view. It certainly made me irritated. The rest of us were here, apparently, to give him company in his fear.

I was not.

He introduced himself, Sam, an Air Force enlistee, and a student at the Colorado College. He’s gone to basic training but has yet to be deployed to the war. I’d seen him recite at a poetry gathering the year before. He goes around campus in his fatigues, often fresh from training. My guess is he’s among many college recruits who serve the military by living among students to project an air of normalcy about the military.

Tonight Sam wore a leather jacket with a skull insignia on the back, with the slogan “where do special forces go when they die? They go to hell to regroup.” (or so)

Enlistee Sam fish-out-of-water spoke tonight of dreading when he’d be sent to war, I was listening but didn’t hear that his disposition toward warfare had changed by developments since the last time I saw him. At the poetry reading he spoke of planning to bringing back his war experiences through the eyes of a poet. Most of the other student poets looked aside as he read. Too polite to roll their eyes. The eyes at the vigil were wiser than mine.

There are some attendees who are turned off by the religiosity of gatherings such as the vigil, I could not bear the banality of this foolish enlistee, worrying for himself and his friends, thinking not at all to question the work he was doing or the profound repercussions upon the lives of so many countless thousand innocents.

Eyes Wide Open Minus 279

Why don’t we reflect on the 279 US soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, too? I think it simply because the AFSC/ Quakers almost universally vote Democratic Party. They don’t want the public to ‘reflect on the true costs of the Afghan war’ while most liberal Democratic Party voters continue to support such. And because of that, the Eyes Wide Open has its eyes sewed wide shut regarding Afghanistan. The AFSC, it seems, will have us only reflect on US troops who died in Iraq.

I have not been much of a backer of this top down AFSC bringing of Eyes Wide Open to Denver and Colorado Springs anyway. How top down? I would say that the main impetus for bringing this exibition to Colorado came from outside the state, and not from within. Discussion was very limited and completely shut off once the honchos had their thing going.

PLUS,this fetishist AFSC focus on the boots of US GIs is a reflection of the constant US nationalist fetishism that focuses on ‘supporting our troops’. They are not OUR troops and we should not be just focusing on the dead GIs’ boots and tags while relegating to the minimalist side the consideration of the deaths of the victims of these US troops. These troops were paid for by our taxes stolen and misused by the government, but they are not my troops. Nor yours, for that matter. So why do we memorialize them as if they were something so very much more special than their victims? Why, AFSC?

And this controlling top down organizing by the Quakers has me peeved. Who do they think they are to try to limit other points of view other than their own pacifist ones at these Fall antiwar events? If the Afghans and Iraqis try to kick the US out of their countries using armed force, then so be it. One gets a little tired of the constant US pacifist Christian messaging, pontificating to other people to non-violently resist their own US government’s violence. These sanctimonious people would have had the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto turning the other cheek to the Nazis even! Defintiely, nobody should feel obligated to not bring their own materials and posters to Eyes Wide Open just because the AFSC tells them not to. They have some damn nerve trying to censor off views other than those parallel with their own. Yes they do.

As an atheist, I will help set up this nominally antiwar exhibit. At least, it will be seen by the press as such. But we sure need a more secular antiwar movement in the future, with the ability to reach out to more than just the liberal church goers. The thing about liberal Christian pacifists, is that they demand that others not just reject the US warmaking but that they do it only for the same reasons that liberal pacifists do. They keep the antiwar movement small, by excluding the majority of people that actually might want to oppose US militarism for reasons other than religiosity.

Anyway, I remember the 279 US troops who have lost their lives in Afghanista. And what’s more, I remember the country of Afghanistan we have torn to shreds. Reflect on that, AFSC.

Denver not Colorado Springs

Neath the capitol stepsThe Eyes Wide Open exhibit is in Denver. The 2,700 boots span the green between City Hall and the State Capitol Building. The news reports that the memorial was not as welcomed in Colorado Springs.
 
A friend of mine reacted to the Colorado Springs City Council deciding to have nothing to do with the EWO Iraq War Memorial exhibit. She called it a “damn shame.” I related her words to the council today.
 
“It’s a damn shame, she said, that the city is unwilling to support our troops in a reverential fashion, it’s a shame the boys see only the city’s seedy tributes.”

“The city offers pawn shops to the troops, conveniently located across from the base on B-street, to prey on the financial plight of those young men. Check cashing services and furniture rental joints offer similar rip-offs. The city is happy to collect the sales tax from those activities.

“Likewise the city pays tribute with strip bars and sex shops along B-Street to prey on the soldier’s other vices. The city is pleased to collect those sales taxes.

“The soldiers are offered dealership lots filled with cars they cannot afford, but do purchase, on bad credit terms, with high insurance rates, to drive around the few months they are here between assignments.

“So it’s a damn shame the city can live off the soldiers, can tout the patriotic benefit even from their sacrifices overseas, but cannot see itself rising to the occasion of honoring the soldiers killed in the line of duty.”

I’ll admit it’s too bad that only the antiwar activists are coming forward with memorials to the fallen soldiers. I don’t see why it should be our responsibility at all. If we had our choice there would be no young men and women being sent to fight these dirty mercenary wars.

If you don’t like our memorial, do your own. But don’t sit back and pay lip service to the men and women dying in Iraq, meanwhile running a city off their government paychecks, disability checks and survivor benefits.

Eyes Wide Open exhibit coming October 12-13

Coming to Colorado College Armstrong QuadWe’ve asked the Colorado Springs City Council for the use of Memorial Park for this memorial. We’ve also asked for a formal city proclamation, that October 12 and 13 be officially declared “days of reflection on the human cost of war.” Regardless of their answer, it’s coming.

At the ceremony, we’ll read the names of the 2,700 Americans who have been killed in Iraq, among them 170 from Fort Carson. CSAction put together a list: 1st Lt. Michael R. Adams, Spc. Ronald D. Allen, Pfc. Elden D. Arcand, Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Bader, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino, Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield, Spc. Joshua T. Brazee, Staff Sgt. Scottie L. Bright, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Staff Sgt. Jeremy a. Brown, Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Brock L. Bucklin, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Cpl. Lyle J. Cambridge, Cpl. Richard P. Carl, Sgt. Tyrone L. Chisolm, Cpl. Gary B. Coleman, Spc. Ernest W. Dallas, Pfc. Grant A. Dampier, 1st Lt. Joseph D. deMoors, Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo, Sgt. Micheal E. Dooley, Sgt. 1st Class Donald W. Eacho, Spc. Phillip C. Edmundson, Capt. Brian Faunce, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Master Sgt. Richard L. Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Marion J. Flint, Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Staff Sgt. Brian L. Freeman, Sgt. Denis J. Gallardo, Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Spc. Christopher A. Golby, Spc. David J. Goldberg, Capt. Sean Grimes, Chief Warrant Officer Hans N. Gukeisen, Chief Warrant Officer Dennis P. Hay, Master Sgt. Kelly L. Hornbeck, Spc. Christopher L. Hoskins, Staff Sgt. Curtis T. Howard, Spc. Walter B. Howard, Spc. Nicholas R. Idalski, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, CWO Philip A. Johnson, Kendall, Cpl. Dustin L. Johnson, Spc. Anthony D. Kinslow, Pvt. Joseph L. Knott, Spc. Jared W. Kubasak, Sgt. Larry R. Kuhns, Maj Douglas A. La Bouff, CWO Matthew C. Laskowski, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Pfc. Nicholas A. Madaras, CWO Ian D. Manuel, Spc. Joseph L. Martinez, Capt. Michael R. Martinez, Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan, Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller, Sgt. Gordon F. Misner, Sgt. Keman L. Mitchell, Staff Sgt. Jason W. Montefering, Sgt. Milton M. Monzon, Spc. Jose L. Mora, Staff Sgt. Brian L. Morris, Sgt. James P. Muldoon, Pfc. Robert W. Murray, Sgt. Dimitri Muscat, Sgt. Julio E. Negron, Spc. Louis E. Niedermeier, Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda, Staff Sgt. Dale A. Panchot, Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher W. Phelps, Spc. Eric J. Poelman, Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Spc. Justin W. Pollard, Spc. Robert C. Pope, Sgt. 1st Class Neil A. Prince, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Spc. Tamarra Ramos, Pfc. Mario A. Reyes, Spc. Lizbeth Robles, Spc. Ricky W. Rockholt, 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado, Staff Sgt. Alberto V. Sanchez, Spc. Luis D. Santos, Sgt. Stephen P. Saxton, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Sgt. Jacob M. Simpson, 1st. Lt. Justin S. Smith, Spc. Michael J. Smith, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Sgt. Timothy J. Sutton, Pfc. Robert A. Swaney, Spc. Wade Michael Twyman, Pfc. Brian S. Ulbrich, Sgt. Melissa Valles, Chief Warrant Officer Brian K. Van Dusen, Staff Sgt. Justin L. Vasquez, Spc. Brian A. Vaughn, Pfc. Ramon A. Villatoro, Sgt. Antwan L. Walker, CWO Stephen M. Wells, Sgt. Charles T. Wilkerson, Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams, Spc. Ronnie D. Williams, Sgt. Taft V. Williams, Spc. Thomas J. Wilwerth, Spc. James R. Wolf, Pfc. Eric P. Woods, and Sgt. James R. Worster