Memorial Day

Memorial Day. Went down at 10:00 this morning to hear pdx42 speak and introduce other speakers at the WWII memorial at Memorial Coliseum (if you're from Portland, did you know there was a WWII memorial there? I've lived here over a decade and I didn't know.) pdx42 gave a very moving speech about those whose names are not on the wall but are casualties of war nonetheless. He spoke of man who have committed suicide or died from health problems associated with wars. I suppose we like to pretend they don't exist. It makes life easier that way.

The "headliner", if you will, was arti57, a.k.a. Michael Hoffman. He's an Iraq War veteran and help found Iraqi Veterans against the way. He spoke of families whose sons have died in Iraq. A Vietnam veteran spoke of recently meeting one of the North Vietnamese soldiers who took part in the battle leading to the injuries confining the American vet to a wheel chair. There was not animosity, though. The Vietnamese soldier was protecting his country. The American soldier was forced to fight by his country.

Many of our (US) soldiers were brave men and women fighting for what was right. Many were effectively enslaved to fight wars of dubious legitimacy. Some wars were worthwhile. Some were abominations. For those who have a knee-jerk reaction and automatically claim that every war we've been in has been justified, I defy you to name all of our major armed conflicts since 1950, much less discuss the rational for all of them. You'll probably get Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the two Iraqi wars. Will you remember Somalia or Haiti? Is their a difference between Bosnia and Kosovo? What about when we bombed Libya? Oh, yeah, there was Grenada, too ... and we also invaded Panama ... and ...
Does supporting the Contras count? Or the El Salvadorian Death Squads? I guess those weren't so much wars as business as usual. sigh
Hey! Why do you hate America? We supported the Contras because they were trying to overthrow the Sandanistas who in turn overthrew a brutal US-supported dictator (<neo>Whoa. Dejá vu</neo>). Never mind the fact that the Sandanistas voluntarily held, and won, what international observers said was a free and fair election. After all, the Sandanistas had socialist leanings, you traitorous pig.

And those dead El Salvadoran nuns clearly served a useful purpose in showing how effect the School of the Americas training is. They were just some terrorist college pranks gone awry.