Tag Archives: IVAW

Ron Kovic, Private Nation and the mystique of the Token Cripple

Because I get the same kind of crap in lower doses than Kovic and Max Cleland did and still do. When you become disabled at work you’re supposed to be grateful for any crust of bread thrown your way, and condemned as a whiner if you point out the guilt of the parties who brought you to that state. With war veterans it’s worse.
Ron Kovic and Max Cleland were “just fine” in the eyes of the Pentagon, until they started opposing the war, then they were and still are demonized. The Pentagoons, while Cleland was fighting to survive, leaving 3 of his limbs on the cutting room floor, (mixed metaphor there, cutting room is about films) his commanders were filling out paperwork exonerating themselves from any blame for what they had done to him. Like Kovic, and Private Nation, and John Kerry, and Flight Lt Joseph “Country” MacDonald, he was treated with the military equivalent of Honor as long as he consented to be the Token. The Warrior returning and still supporting a lost war. Touching, Heartwarming, (heartburn) but once they chose to speak out, save for Private Nation, they were the darlings of every parade, supporting sending even MORE young people off to kill other people in other lands, other mother’s sons… except for Private Nation. Who was Private Nation, you ask?

He was one of my ancestors. He, too, fought for the losing side, a hundred years earlier. Late in the war, the Civil one… hence, he wasn’t fighting to kill and die in Foreign Lands… he took a Minie ball upside his temple, tore off a chunk of his skull. Surgeon told him, “Private, that’s going to kill you eventually” and sure enough, 80 years later, it did. But he was a Confederate. He was fighting for the “states’ rights” cause. You know the one, the States’ Right to deny Liberty or even the definition of Humanity to HUMAN BEINGS based solely on the shade of their skins, and to deny them that Liberty before they were even born. And to use State Funds and State Police Powers to ensure that they remained in Slavery. In short, he was fighting not for States’ Rights, but for States’ WRONGS.

In VietNam, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, the Slave Owners live off premises, but it’s still the same concept. Still sending in the Private Nation and the Ron Kovic of the modern age. And if you get pieces of you blown off, you’re supposed to accept it, be rolled around in the parades like a Good Little Cripple, patted on the head and sternly warned not to say anything at all against the regime.

If Gunnery Sgt Nick Popavitch, proudly supporting the military that cost his eye and, really, their honor and his… If he ever stands up and says it’s wrong he won’t be their Tame Token Cripple anymore, and can expect His Comrades will turn on him like a pack of starving wolves on a pork chop. That’s the “freedom” they’re fighting. For. Against.

Private Nation never repented of his service to the cause of Slavery. Many people in the South feel that his “sacrifice” should be honored, but, you’ll notice, only those American Southerners whose ancestors were the Slave Owners, not those who have the slaves for ancestors.

Does the magnitude of the loss of limb or capacity or eye make the Cause of Slavery RIGHT? Turn it around and look at it from the perspective of the arbitrarily chosen “enemy”.

Does a Taliban soldier with pieces blown off of him, make the cause of the Taliban right, or wrong? What about an Afghan or Iraqi Civilian with pieces blown off him/her?

Is the measure of the human suffering of the human being, from whichever side, the True Measure of righteousness? For the ones who exploit the Token Cripple mystique, even using the wounds and disabilities of the wounded as Recruitment.. (that’s the nature of Military Parades, by the way, not to honor the dead and wounded, but to get more kids sucked into “serving”) According to the assmunches with that philosophy, yeah.

But, gentle reader, you decide. Private Nation was paraded every Confederate Memorial Day. Yeah, they actually did that. There wasn’t an Official Confederate Army into which they were trying to recruit the younguns. But there was always the Klan.

I can’t be ashamed of that heritage. Because I didn’t do the crimes nor do I support them. God-Damn if I’ll be proud of it either.

One final thought. Hopefully to tie it together. You know how some Veterans who are still in Denial (Pvt Nation until he died) say that only those who went to the wars can criticize? Kind of like “Only Mafia Hitmen can sit on a jury in a murder trial” but… what of those who DID go to the wars and criticize? Why the sudden dumping of them into the trash bin of history? Especially when their former Masters told them and still tell us that they fought for “freedom” especially of speech. “Them Soldiers fought for YOUR freedom of speech, how DARE you use that freedom?”

What about George Bush, no, the OLDER one, GHW… who was simultaneously tearing down the names and reputations of Ellsberg, Kovic, Cleland, Kerry, Country Joe (and the Fish) MacDonald, every man-jack of the VVAW, while using his influence to keep his own Junior out of the war from which both were profiteering?

What of Junior, and the Other ChickenHawks? If we call the ChickenHawks by their proper title of ChickenHawk, highly paid Billionaire Professional Liars like Rush Limbaugh accuse us of Hate Speech. Just applying the same logic but with a better twist is all.
If only those who fought can criticize, then only those who fought can START wars, or support them for that matter.

Better yet, none of them should start or support the wars either.
Sherman said “War is Hell” but he was wrong. War is Murder. Pure and simple, and making war is a crime against everybody.
Protesting against it isn’t even Officially a crime, but they sure as Hell punish people for it. Even if the people they’re punishing actually fought in those wars. “Double Standard” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

ARD, Tent State surrogate for DNC cops

IVAW ARD march
DENVER- Accounts of the Wednesday march from the Colosseum to the DNC are only getting half the story. Can I recount my small part? We were at the Pepsi Center entrance, laying the groundwork for the arrival of the IVAW parade and became concerned when workers positioned large dump trucks to block the way, to corral the marchers into the fenced gauntlet traversing the Auraria campus.

When I caught up with the already diverted march, I found out the coordinators had been on the lookout for me. Legal observers informed me that marchers were being forewarned of a man with a green banner who would be trying to instigate trouble. The message was being spread as if coordinators had intercepted this information from police scanners. In reality this was deliberate disinformation being given them by their police liaisons. The common goal being to keep out of trouble.

Well it wasn’t disinformation, because I most definitely wanted to disrupt this surprising and disastrous turn. I sought to prevent the march from being led like sheep into a dead end. But the ARD collective had clearly promised an uneventful march, and they were bent on delivering it. At every turn, at every temptation, they policed the march so the police didn’t have to. Stay on the sidewalk, stay off the grass, go this way unless you want to be arrested, etc. Like overly cautious boy scouts.

Navigating the Auraria enclosures, the coordinator monkeys would circulate alongside their restless marchers admonishing them “Hey guys, let’s keep the focus: on the vets and off the fence.”
So let me be less harsh in my criticism of the IVAW. A number of them are bright, well-motivated guys, but they are governed by committee decisions made by the predominant lessers, some about as daft as soldiers can get. On the Wednesday march too often the bullhorn was in the wrong hands. I have no sense yet of what their dressed-to-the-nines Marine official spokesman was thinking. But the other corrosive element in the event was mentioned in a comment to my previous post on this subject. Tent State/ARD.

Tent State idealists helped coordinate the Rage concert and the march. The parade monkeys who kept everyone in line were Tent State/ARD workers bent on civil disobedience minus any trace of disaffected incivility. Who do they think they are, telling angry constituents that they must accept their lot in the police state?

If Tent State has any role in the planned RNC protests, we must forewarn the activists in Minneapolis. They’re collaborator scum, every bit as fraudulent as the Democratic Party of good cop to the GOP bad cop. If we can salvage anything from our Debacle in Denver, it’s to ferret out these Quislings. Tent State, ARD, UFPJ, Code Pink and the Greens. Derelict saboteurs.

I love the spirit and wit of Code Pink, they show determination and stamina, but ultimately no savvy. Their I MISS AMERICA gag is dead on, but it’s a lament, isn’t it? She’s gone, their America. Where the occasion calls for drums, Code Pink would march us into battle to the beat of Kum ba yah.

IVAW betrays their youthful marchers and capitulates to the Democratic Party

IVAW march
DENVER- I have friends in Iraq Veterans Against the War, but their much anticipated action today was totally FUBAR. Given latitude by the other protest organizers to be the feature action on the last day of the DNC, the IVAW march aimed no higher than to ask that their rep be allowed to meet with a party representative. The IVAW had Rage Against the Machine do a free concert, asked the audience to follow them across town to lend moral support, and when the appointment with a DNC delegate was given them, the IVAW cheered, thanked their fellow marchers, and asked everyone to go home.

Denver Riot Police

This in the face of hundreds of cops in riot gear, heavy machinery, and a large audience of bystanders, delegates and press. The confrontation needed to put the spotlight of media attention on the issue of military imperialism and corporate fascism, passed like it some kind of Pirates of the Caribbean amusement ride, everyone smiling and posing for pictures under the noses of heavily armored riot police menacing the crowd with batons and riot control guns.

police state song and dance
Instead of chants like THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE, or megaphone entreaties to ask why do nonviolent common citizens face such intimidation by police, the crowd watched Code Pink and other theatrical performances sing cutesy songs to recast the oppressive tone into a humorous light. They should have been signing “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Comedic relief is often laudable, but should we be laughing, instead of facing the militarization of our policeman stone cold sober?

No, instead of calling the Democratic Party and the City of Denver on their repressive ways to curb dissent, the situation was kept in check by the vets’ self-policing. The police never had to issue an order. Instead the IVAW coordinators were constantly detailing city ordinances and forewarning everyone about possible arrest. Every time, more and more people retreated from the action.

For example, the IVAW march was un-permitted, and yet they directed it into the allowed free speech area, instead of veering toward better visibility and “certain arrest.” Oh, you don’t have a “permit” for your march, but there are places that are off limits, meaning, for which you don’t have “permission?” Which is it then? The crowd of Rage fans wanted to have their voices heard. They didn’t want to be led in somber veteran respect mode until all their spirit was worn out of them. The IVAW march coordinators kept everyone in line, followed prearranged parade direction signs, and even allowed themselves to be led by the damn police golf cart whose backward facing sign flashed FOLLOW ME.

IVAW drama stop
So the crowd followed the IVAW into the Free Speech dead end, and they and a multitude of press waited for something to happen. I heard an IVAW coordinator phoning Barack Obama’s office from which they were expecting a phone call. When no Obama appearance materialized, the vets led everyone back out again and into the “forbidden area” with it’s oft-reminded possibility of arrest.

I was asked to stay back with the rest of the followers, and not crowd the IVAW formation. I told the coordinator that he had led us into the Auroria free speech maze and back, and I was not about to obey a single further idiotic command, no matter how much “respect” the veterans were needing.

Seriously. All “out of respect for the veterans.” Even reporters were barked orders as if they were subordinate to the vets. I took umbrage at being told constantly to stop every few minutes to listen to the vets give their witness of Iraq and wait as their spokesman gave further statements to the press. Staying behind, keeping a distance, or keeping the way clear was supposed to be honored “out of respect for the veterans.”

These were the same veterans who went to war when we asked them not to. I’m very thankful that each of them has changed their tune now, but where was their respect for us before more than a million Afghans and Iraqis were killed at their hands? No, the veteran worship was severely misplaced. They earn no points from me for “their sacrifices in the service.” The bastards killed innocent people, they should be begging forgiveness, not assuming to command our respect.

That said, I think the antiwar movement is misplacing its hopes thinking the IVAW can carry any sort of ball promoting an end to war. The vets are after a return of their comrades, and better veterans benefits. That’s a far cry from pacifism, or even a repudiation of US predatory militarism. And this DNC stunt proved it. Here’s how the self-aggrandized crunts blew the last opportunity to show dissent at the DNC.

They held a concert which pulled the youth element away from where they might have been participating in street actions. Of course this is no different than Tom Hayden and Ralph Nader drawing their audiences from likely people who had to choose whether to protest or go see them. Not such a big deal, but it got much worse.

This afternoon the IVAW shepherded a reported 5,000 supporters not to the Pepsi Center delegate entrance, but deep into the Free Speech Cage, away from sight of convention delegates. After a long delay they moved everyone into the promising area, but kept thinning the crowd with warnings of potential arrest. They also kept the marchers well out of proximity of the police lines. The IVAW limited what anyone could say, out of respect for the vets, led them in a last chanted instruction to Go Home, then reminded stragglers that it was the expressed wish of the veterans that everyone leave the area lest an ensuing disturbance mar the IVAW event. After everyone was gone, the veterans even gave a round of applause for a nearby contingent of cops. More in the morning when I’m feeling less enraged.

Garrett Reppenhagen Winter Soldier

COLORADO COLLEGE- Iraq Veterans Against the War held a mini- Wintersoldier hearing this evening at the Max Kade Theatre in Armstrong Hall. They screened the original 1970 documentary, originally unseen in this country and unavailable until just recently on DVD. Afterwards four soldiers told of their experiences in Iraq. IVAW chairman Garrett Reppenhagen told an interesting story:

Have you ever seen pictures of fighter planes which bore tiny icons beneath the cockpit indicating how many planes they’d downed? Well some US soldiers in Iraq were putting little “car” stickers on their windshield to show how many cars they’d bumped off the road or totaled. Military vehicles are instructed to stop for nothing, so cars moving too slowly or stopped by traffic are simply hit and pushed out of the way. Commanders eventually had to forbid the stickers when the drivers’ views were being impaired by too many stickers. You could earn half stickers for dogs, or bikes or people.

Garrett was at the 50mm gun in a convoy when the humvee ahead swerved to hit an Iraqi child. The vehicle did not come close enough so the driver swung open his door to extend his reach. Garrett explained that armored doors are so heavy that they require two soldiers to lift them on or off their hinges. He’s certain the Iraqi boy was killed on impact.

When they returned to their FOP, Garrett was relieved to see an officer approach the guilty driver and scold him loudly for his actions. Later the very disgruntled soldier revealed that he was not reprimanded for striking the boy, but rather for having opened his door, exposing his fellow soldiers to the risk of gunfire.