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Slaves Of Warfare

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Young American Soldiers Held Prisoners Of An Unending War

 

By James Donahue

 

A friend related a recent experience he had with a band of young soldiers coming home from the Iraq War while riding a Greyhound bus through the Midwest. He said he was shocked at the bravado expressed by these young men . . . that they made it clear they expected to be treated as heroes because they had been fighting in defense of their country.

 

Had this been an event occurring in 1945, at the conclusion of World War II, or perhaps after Korea or the Vietnam conflict, these kinds of sentiments might have seemed more appropriate. Not that the Korean or Vietnam wars had anything to do with protecting the homeland. But Americans were more gullible in those years and believed that Communism was a threat to the world. We believed the propaganda that it was our duty to stop the spread of that political philosophy at all costs, before it threatened the capitalist system we thought was somehow linked to our democratic system.

 

We all needed a thorough education in world political systems then, and obviously a lot of young folks in the U.S. need it even more today. The young men on that bus blindly accepted the story that they were fighting against a terrorist threat against the United States. In truth, by following our military into Iraq and attacking that country without provocation, they aided in an act of terrorism by our country against Iraq. Their work in Iraq has so angered the Moslem world that America now lies in even more peril of terrorist attack than it was before Osama bin Laden and his gang pulled off the attacks of 9-11.

 

The blind obedience of some of our illiterate youth has, in a strange way, set these young men and women up for a form of captivity that has never been seen in America, even in the pre-Civil War slavery era.

 

A report this week in Alternet, an Internet news and information website well worth a daily read, notes that an estimated 60,000 American soldiers are being held captive by our military, in the Iraq conflict past their scheduled time for discharge, purely by presidential order.

 

It appears that there is something called “stop-loss” in the books. This is a device by which the president can, in the event of war, choose to extend an enlistee’s “contract” until six months after the war ends.

 

The story notes that Bush’s declared “War on Terror” has become his excuse for invoking that clause, thus keeping his already worn-out and used-up army on the ground and in harms way as long as he deems it necessary.

 

The story by Penny Coleman suggests that “because that war will, by definition, continue as long as we insist that there is a difference between the terror inflicted on our innocents and the terror inflicted on theirs, American soldiers are effectively signing away their freedom indefinitely when they join the military.

 

“They are prisoners of an ill-defined and undeclared war on a tactic – terrorism – that dates back to Biblical times and will be with us indefinitely,” Coleman wrote.

 

As economic times get worse in America, largely because of the drain the war has had on the nation’s financial system, more and more youth are going to find it difficult to join the job market. They will be tempted to join the military as a way to get some form of job skill and personal security. As long as George Bush continues his War on Terror, however, a decision like that will be a trap.

 

As long as the insanity continues, the only way many of these fine young men are going to leave the war will be feet first and in body bags.