Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ron Kovic, breaking the silence

Sumo has an amazing post about Ron Kovic. Kovic, born on July 4, 1946, was a gung-ho Marine, who became one of the most vocal anti-war activists during the Viet Nam War. His article, essential reading, begins with this quote: A time comes when silence is betrayal. -- Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967

Kovic's article talks about the process of doubt for a soldier involved in an immoral war begins. The mental conditioning for a soldier is incredible. He writes:

You’ve been taught to follow orders, to obey and not question, to go along with the program and do exactly what you’re told. You learned that in boot camp. You learned that the very first day at Parris Island when the drill instructors started screaming at you. It is “Yes sir” and “No sir,” and nothing in between. There is the physical and verbal abuse, the vicious threats and constant harassment to keep you off balance. It is a powerful conditioning process, a process that began long ago, long before we signed those papers at the recruit stations in our hometowns, a process deeply ingrained in the American culture and psyche, and it has shaped and influenced us from our earliest childhood.

But somewhere, something happens, and the soldier says "No. No more. This is wrong." And here, at home, the people say "No more."

Yet Bush calls us unpatriotic for dissent. He does all he can to destroy our right to assemble; to protest; to speak out. He does all he can to silence conscience. I say no more. Read the article, and speak out.

12 comments:

Sigrid Jardin said...

There is another wonderful article in the current Harper's magazine, by Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame). He makes a similar argument, urging those on the inside of where the government secrets are being brewed to screw up their courage and expose the lies and the evil war plans before they have a chance to cost more lives. Thank you for sharing this inspirational piece about Ron Kovic's latest activities. It can be especially powerful when insiders finally break and tell the truth, despite the cost to their careers.

betmo said...

if the neocons don't have military support, can they really stage a coup? that's the thought of the day...

pekka said...

What I find strange is, that you as a nation tend to elevate your soldiers to the hights that are not reasonable. You want them to be efficient members of the highly trained killing machine and yet retain hearts and minds of pure and innocent choir-boys. Can't have them both, I am afraid!

Tina said...

I had no idea who Ron Kovic was until the film "Born on the Fourth of July" came out. I went to see it with my parents, and it was one of the few times I saw my ex-Marine Vietnam vet dad openly cry. I felt so damned sad for my dad. What horrors had he seen? What horrors had he maybe committed for our govt? He so rarely talks about his time there, I guess we may never know. Good on Kovic for having the bravery to confront this and call a spade a spade, and for fighting the good fight all these years.

DivaJood said...

Hi Sigrid. Watch for the book, coming out on Monday, by Brian Kuo. Kuo was the number two guy on Bush's "Faith-Based Initiatives" Program. His book, "Tempting Faith", is about how Bushco wooed the Religious Right, while his cronies treated them with absolute contempt and disdain.

Betmo, they staged a bloodless coup in 2001 when they stole the election. They don't need the military, they need Diebold.

Pekka, what we want is a military that conducts itself within the rule of law. We want young men and women who have a conscience. Our current military is made up of many marginal people.

Tina, one of my friends who saw combat in Nam said that those who talk about it didn't see combat. Those who don't talk about Nam did see combat, and many, like my friend, suffer horribly from PTSD. Tom was unaware of some programs offered by the VA, and found them only recently, specific to PTSD and Nam.

sumo said...

Thanks for getting the word out more...he had important things to say that I think many people need to know about or be reminded as the election draws near. Still hoping for a change in November...

pekka said...

DivaJood, I hear you loud and clear and I agree with you. However, the reality of the war is that the participants are guaranteed to be brutalized by it and getting to be brutal themselves in it.

When our leaders pound desks and tell us about the nobel warriors that are ours and the animals that are theirs, we should take it with a grain of salt. Horrendous and unlawful acts, unfortunately, are commited in every war, and hiding it today, with the new information technology, is getting harder. The best way to avoid this dark side of a human behaviour is to avoid wars in the first place. Then again, we should have some use for those mountains of the military hardware that even the poorest of countries seem to have. Right?

DivaJood said...

Sumo, thanks for your original post. It starts small, it grows. I think the publishing of Brian Kuo's book on Monday will have a powerful effect in showing how hypocritical and cynical this administration is.

Pekka, today The New York Times has an article about one soldier who went AWOL after he realized he was serving neither God nor Country. "After more than four months on the streets of Baghdad and Mosul interrogating Iraqis rounded up by American troops, Sergeant Clousing said, he began to believe that he was serving neither.

He said he saw American soldiers shoot and kill an unarmed Iraqi teenager, and rode in an Army Humvee that sideswiped Iraqi cars and shot an old man’s sheep for fun — both incidents Sergeant Clousing reported to superiors. He said his work as an interrogator led him to conclude that the occupation was creating a cycle of anti-American resentment and violence. After months of soul-searching on his return to Fort Bragg, Sergeant Clousing, 24, failed to report for duty one day."

Perhaps, Pekka, we're really saying the same thing. The vampire administration that is conducting this war is sucking the humanity out of American soldiers. It has to end.

Comandante Agí said...

i saw ron kovic speak at an anti-war rally/march in downtown LA last year. he is quite the powerful speaker. he's also featured in the documentary "the us vs. john lennon"

DivaJood said...

Jonathan, the US Vs. John Lennon was a wonderful film, saw it last weekend. And yes, Kovic is quite powerful and compelling.

pekka said...

DivaJood, we are saying the same thing! You are my long lost sister.

SB Gypsy said...

NO MORE! How right you are, and we need to plan what we can do if they steal this one too!