[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Sheehan on Afghanistan anti-war
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Sep 15 18:36:53 BST 2007
ZNet | Afghanistan
The Other War: Afghanistan
by Cindy Sheehan; CommonDreams.org ; August 05, 2007
I was sitting behind the stage at Union Square the other day when a young
woman with a cameraman in tow approached me and asked me if she could ask me
a "question." Seldom when I am approached to answer "a" question does it
turn out to be just one question and this person looked like she was about
14 years old.
"Sure," I answered her. With eyes brimming with tears, this was her
question, prefaced by a comment: "I am a soldier and I served in
Afghanistan, what do you have to say to the troops who are over there?"
I don't know what told me this soldier was not "pro-war," she had on jeans
and a non-descript striped shirt with a collar. Neither she, nor her
cameraman had any anti-war paraphernalia. I think it was her watery eyes
that gave her away as being anti-war. I couldn't be sure though because it
has become certain groups and individuals' life's missions to harass me.
My heart is always with our troops no matter what these "pro-murder,
pro-destruction, pro-Bush" people think. My own son was a soldier and,
although he didn't have any kind of killer instinct and a fear of having to
kill someone when he went to Iraq, he was a good soldier and he loved his
Army family and proved that love by dying to save some of them. I think most
of our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan to support their "buddies" as a
young soldier wrote to me:
"I did not know your son, but we lived on the same little FOB, and I
recognize his name, and face. I was infantry, and he must have been in 182
since I don't recognize him from the other INF companies.
I hear many people ask why are we dying for nothing. NOTHING, could be
further from the truth. We do not fight, and die for a man. We do not fight,
and die for a cause, or corporation. We fight, and die for each other,
nothing more. I will not have it said in my presence that your son died for
nothing. He died for me, he died for his brothers, and sisters in arms. That
is why we all fight. That is why we all die."
I understand that kind of camaraderie and love. There are many people whom I
would die for and I would have traded places with Casey in a heartbeat if
given the choice. What I don't understand is a cowardly commander-in-chief
and his vice-war lord sending our brave troops to die for each other. Even
the troops know there is no "noble cause" other than the bond that glues
them together. I have met hundreds of vets from the Iraq/Afghanistan
mistakes on down to the Korean War mistake and they all tell me that they
would have taken Casey's place, too.
When the young vet confronted me with the camera in Union Square the other
day, I could only speak from my heart. I answered her:
"Oh, honey. It must seem like the peace movement in the US has forgotten
about our troops in Afghanistan and the Afghani people. I know that I don't
talk about that conflict enough, although I think that it is morally wrong,
too. I know that our soldiers are dying and being harmed there, too. As much
as the media doesn't cover what's happening in Iraq, it pays even less
attention to Afghanistan. However, the peace movement is not united on
Afghanistan, because many people think that it is a 'good war.' I believe no
such thing and I promise you that I will be more vigilant about exposing
that war crime, too."
Then I hugged her and whispered in her ear: "Your buddies deserve honor and
attention, too and I am so sorry for what you have had to go through!"
She replied to me: "I am going to send this to my friends in Afghanistan and
I just want to let you know that we are all behind you." That quick exchange
had an enormous impact on me and I will fulfill my promise to that young
Why did our country and a criminal international coalition invade
Afghanistan? Is it for a strategic placement of oil pipelines? Was it to
install a former oil executive as a US controlled puppet president? Was it
because Osama bin Laden may have been in the country (and as many accuse,
allowed to escape at Tora Bora?) We know for a fact that Osama was armed,
trained and supported by the US when he was part of the mujahadin that
fought against the USSR, that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union along
with its rampant militarism. We know that bin Forgotten is still at large
and that, in the initial invasion of Afghanistan, more innocent civilians
were killed than on 9-11.
We also know for a fact that poppy production is at historically profitable
levels and the Taliban is extorting bribe money from the growers to finance
its insurgency against the US. When the Taliban controlled the country opium
production was illegal and the penalties were harsh. Women are still
oppressed and besides a Coca-Cola bottling plant and war-profiteering not
much has been accomplished.
According to www.icasualties.org, 421 US troops have been killed and 6,213
have been wounded in Afghanistan. One of the fatalities was John Torres who
was apparently murdered by a fellow soldier because John was exposing the
active drug trade on his base. The true circumstances of Pat Tillman's
murder were covered up in the highest echelons of BushCo and we may never
know the truth or the profound implications of that crime. Both these
incidents demonstrate that not everybody fighting wars are watching out for
their buddies, and besides, may be of the paid mercenary persuasion.
Most of our troops are courageous and only trying to survive under
unconscionable conditions and I want to publicly honor our young people who
have had their lives stolen by the war machine in Afghanistan and send my
heartfelt condolences to their families. Not even the evil empire of BushCo
can corrupt or diminish our children's forced sacrifices.
Our troops stationed in Afghanistan need to know that the US peace movement
supports them by working to get them home, too.
For people who have been asking, my formal announcement as a candidate
against Nancy Pelosi has been pushed back to August 9th due to logistical
concerns. www.CindyForCongress.org should be going live soon with more
details and a way to donate to my campaign.
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