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Friday, February 23, 2007

Anti-War Constituents visit Congressman Duncan Hunter's Office


Activists gathering outside of the office of Warhawk Republican Congressman, Duncan Hunter.


On Thursday, February 22nd, Members of MoveOn.org, Veteran's for Peace, and other concerned citizens joined forces at Congressman Duncan Hunter's district office in El Cajon, Calif. The anti-war visit was one of 250 "Congress is The Decider" visits to congressional offices across the country.

Those who took part in yesterday's action against the war in Iraq had all viewed the thought provoking, unforgettable film, The Ground Truth, at screenings in living rooms all over America (see recent post entitled "The Ground Truth - A Must See"). Thousands of letters were written after the screenings urging an end to the illegal war of aggression waged against Iraq by the Bush Administration. Stacks of letters were delivered to each of the 250 offices. A total of45,000 letters were written by constituents and delivered!

The attendees numbered between 35 and 40 which is a very encouraging number for this area which suffers a population heavy with conservatives and the politically indifferent. It was a gathering of some real terrific informed citizens. Duncan presidential wannabe Hunter was not in.

***************************************************************

I am a veteran and the mother of a disabled veteran so I volunteered to speak at the above event. I was inspired by my fellow scholar at the American Patriot Institute, Spadoman, who does something daily to end this war and then does one thing more. He's out there every week in Wisconsin, standing on a corner, working for peace.


My husband took this photo while I was speechifyin' to part of the gathering. Below are some excerts.


Two years ago, I wrote a blog after reading about recent research on brain development. The findings concluded that the adolescent brain does not fully mature ujntil the age of twentyfive. Eighteen year-olds and twentytwo year-olds are stilll kids whose brains have not yet reached adult capacity. We are training children to become killers and sending them into the chaos and the ultimate trauma of war.

At Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, I witnessed the results of exposure to the daily stress of combat. I have seen the physical injuries - severe burns and the loss of limbs but I want to describe to you a form of injury that is not physically apparent.

First kill photos were common throphies prouldly shown off by some of the troops upon return form Nam. I've seen several sets. I see them still.

The Swift Boat Veterans dispute the stories of jars of teeth or ears. They are wrong. I have seen a quart jar filled with human teeth and a jar the same size packed with dried, severed VC ears.

In a military medical classroom slide show, we were privy to images of a Viet Cong prisoner
hung by his feet from a tree with his intestines hanging down over his face. He was flanked by two smiling American GIs one of which with his bayonet plunged into the gut of the terrified detainee.

What I have described to you were the outward expressions of psychologically traumatized soldiers. Their mothers did not bring them up to behave that way. The United States military did.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD rewires the brain. When an individual is exposed repeatedly to traumatic stressors over a long period of time, PTSD becomes chronic.

Imagine the effects of PTSD on a brain that is still developing. I know what happens. Twelve years of emotional and sexual abuse during childhood left me with chronic PTSD. I live with it every day. My military experiences simply added another layer. Chronic PTSD is forever.

The war against Vietnam that my generation was forced to fight broke my heart. That the neoconservatives, who occupy our nation's capitol, have lied yet another generation of kids into unnecessary combat is criminal!

They are returning to the states with the worst levels of PTSD that have been seen to date. These kids have been forced to serve multiple combat tours in rapid succession. My heart continues to break.

America was shocked by the recent news of the inhuman, disgraceful, and indifferent treatment of our mentally and physically wounded soldiers at Walter Reed's outpatient facilities. I was not surprised. We were told, while I was in the military, that personnel are expendable.

I have spoken about the effects of the trauma of war on our kids, our troops, but what of the Iraqis? A full one third to one half of those who survive Bush's war will suffer chronic PTSD. Almost ALL of the children are severely impacted. What plans exist for the treatment of Iraqi war victims?


There was no plan for the Iraqi people beyond "Shock and Awe" and the delivery of "flowers and sweets". There was no plan to exit Iraq. There was no plan to cover the treatment of thousands of American war wounded who are permanently disabled. However, there is a plan to pay for this little war, the children and grandchildren of American workers will work off the bills over their lifelimes.

Americans need to take responsibility to stop the misuse of American troops and to put a stop to this administration's use of war or the threat of war as a replacement for engaging in diplomacy.

"The nicest veterans in Schenectady, I thought, the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated the war the most, were the ones who'd really fought".
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

...............PEACE..............
Resident Scholar, API
Kitchen Window Woman

15 Comments:

Blogger The Fat Lady Sings said...

Brilliant, my dear. You are quite eloquent - and that eloquence vibrates with simple yet profound truths. War – especially wars like Vietnam and Iraq - destroy entire generations. They breed atrocities – it is the nature of that particular kind of beast. Those things you describe – those horrors - they were and are real. There are soldiers in Iraq right now whose lives have been destroyed by that kind of attrition. You know that. I know that. We have both seen up close and personal what that kind of war can do to a person. It’s a dehumanization process. Life – any life – comes to mean squat. We have to get those children out of there before more harm is done. Bravo to you for doing something about it.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Carol Gee said...

I am moved by your post and by what you have done and continue to do for our country. I say, "Thank you for your service," what officials often say to those they encounter who are in uniform. I know you are not an activist for the thanks, but to try to make something terrible change for the better.
It sounds like this action was well planned and executed. I am grateful for the growing number of activists around the country.
You are a great wordsmith, a handy attribute, when combined with deeds.

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Very good post. It's certainly true that human life is expendable to the neocon mindset. Like you said, beyond "Shock and Awe" they had no plans for how to care for the thousands of American soldiers who would be wounded. Once our soldiers are wounded or disabled and are off the battlefield, they become irrelevant; they're just something to be thrown away like a broken tool.

Rightwing pundits and bloggers never mention anything about disabled veterans, the inhuman conditions at VA hospitals or the lack of equipment given to soldiers in Iraq. The only people who care about the wellbeing of soldiers and veterans are those pinko leftists who "hate America" and "don't support the troops."

5:25 PM  
Anonymous scroff said...

Another great post, and a great effort, by KWW. I'm proud to know you even if only for a short time online...

When I was in the suck, about 1977 or 78, I knew a Staff Sergeant who had on his office wall, in little frames, his 'first kill' photos... to know him, and then to see him in those photos, was eerie. He wouldn't talk about them, but he wouldn't take them down...

11:06 AM  
Blogger Gordon said...

More on Dunkin' Hunter.

No offense, Fat Lady Sings, but Vietnam and Iraq barely made a dent in their respective generations. WWI had an occasion where 60,000 men were killed in one day. That war did in fact kill off an entire generation of young European men.

WWII warn't no slouch either. Estimates are that 50,000,000 people died in that one.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Spadoman said...

Hey, you at the kitchen sink. Thanks for the great speech. PTSD is such that those that suffer are powerless against so much that many fall in between the cracks and never get help. Thanks for this post, for your service, for your dedication and for working for peace.

gordon... you are correct when talking mere numbers of dead, but Vietnam and Iraq had terrific impact on generations for far more reasons than just the number of people killed.

WWI and WWII were terrible, as is all war, but the thread between Americans remained taught. Vietnam and Iraq have divided citizens and set people in motion to hate their own. The ramifications that kill more than just bodies.

May Peace prevail on the Sacred Earth Mother.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Gordon said...

Spadoman, you're exactly right. Tearing our society apart, really for no good reason, may even be far worse than killing many, many Americans for a just cause.

1:36 PM  
Blogger moderate said...

there is no shared sacrifice...the majority of America feels no pain... the veterans and their problems are an "uncomfortable" reality...best ignored... life is good...

5:23 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

I must apologize to everyone for being out of touch for several days. It has been a hectic week - family duties have claimed my atttention. I have for the most part not been near the computer. I will respond to each of you in the next day or so.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Fat Lady Sings...
We keep wasting generation after generation by using war to problem solve. We need a new approach. The United States should pioneer peaceful problem solving methods and lead by example. Of course as long as there is so much money to be made by the Military Industrial Security complex,death and destruction will be the chosen method of diplomacy.

Carol Gee...
I am an activist because I cannot bear the idea of more of our children (or theirs) suffering the horrors of war. I am also an activist because those in office in our nation's capitol are very sick individuals who are making massive profits by throwing our lives and our money away. We the People must stop this madness!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Tom Harper...
Well said Tom. The neoconservatives are chillingly cold and calculating in their total lack of empathy or concern for any of us who work hard, raise families, and pay for their goddamn wars! We don't really exist in their imperial world other than as peons who are to do all of the unpleasant dirty stuff.

They are quite sure that they are superior and not meant to work or fight. They are meant only to dream up schemes like the "Shock and Awe" invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act, or the one to end Habeas Corpus because it got in their way.

Scroff...
I'm glad to know you, too.

First kill photos seem to be, for some, a type of rite of passage. Some of the Abu Ghraib photos were of that type and some were taken as evidence.

Back then, I had the kind of face that made people seek me out to tell me things or show me things. That's why I saw so many of the kinds of war throphies that I spoke about. I also did a lot of listening.

Gordon...
Thanx for the Dunkin Hunter stuff. He'll never be the prez. Anybody that holds up a menu to justify torture should not be let anywhere near the White House let alone the Congress. I see that he has been spending most of his time recently, wooing the bible beaters and mill workers in South Carolina.

The loss of lives in Vietnam and Iraq doesn't measure compared to WW1 and WW2 but the smaller wars hung over the heads of their respective generations and marked many of them by damaging their lives and the lives of their families.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Spadoman...
Like I said, I was inspired by you and your fellow peace activists who are out there standing on a corner, in the cold, hoping to make a difference.

I'll be writing more about PTSD later on. I follow the different treatments and what the VA is doing (or not doing) to treat PTSD. I am going in for EMDR treatment which is helping to free me from some of it. I'm having nightmares less often, for instance.

Moderate...
I agree that the majority of America feels no pain. Most aren't even aware of the war, could care less about the lies, or the destruction of the Constitution. The average American is uninformed or underinformed and too lazy to take responsible corrective actions. Freedom cannot exist without a vigilant, critical, and responsible citizenry. Our poor vets have been duped and dumped.

3:01 PM  
Blogger deuddersun said...

You make us proud, KWW. Excellent, excellent post.

d.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Hillbilly Artist said...

Good speech Cousin....keep up the fight!

1:41 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

duddersun.... Thanks

Hillbilly Artist...Thanks. I plan to keep fighting. We don't need or want an American Empire.

12:21 PM  

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