A Salute to Veterans

"... I have been accused of obstructing the war. Gentlemen, I admit it. I abhor war. I would oppose war if I stood alone...I have sympathy with the suffering, struggling people everywhere. It does not make any difference under what flag they were born, or where they live". — Statement to the jury by Eugene Debs.

It is Veterans Day again. Some will celebrate. Some will march in parades. Some will rally around the flag. Some will go shopping. Some will mourn.

Some mourn for the 500,000 Iraqi children, killed by US policy. When Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes asked Madeleine Albright about the 500,000 deaths, Albright made her famous statement: "... we think the price was worth it." Really — worth it to whom? To the voters, to the people, to you....


Some mourn mostly for those we have killed — and some mourn for those we haven't killed yet, but will in the days ahead. Some mourn for all of the mothers and fathers who put their children to bed at night and wonder if this will be the night that they are killed by a drone attack.

As a nation, none can compare with the United States when it comes to the ability to slaughter innocent civilians. Now we can do it from the comfort of our own neighborhoods at no risk to our own safety. Is the use of drones a war crime? No matter how one feels about drones, it is certain that drone warfare has raised the killing of civilians to a new level. The slaughter of little girls walking to school is a crime against humanity. It is a crime that shocks the conscience.


Some mourn for all the students in US schools who are never taught an accurate history of the United States. They are never taught about the treatment of Native Americans. They are never taught about No Gun Ri, or Mi Lai, or the many other war crimes. They celebrate Columbus Day and continue to wave the flag. What is the purpose of education, if not to give an accurate view of world history?

How many students are taught about the conviction of the United States in the International Court of Justice? In 1986 the United States was found guilty of mining the harbors of Nicaragua, among other violations. Check your child's text book. Chances are that information is not included. Subtle censorship is censorship of the most serious kind. It is under the radar. Unless parents and students are paying close attention, it is overlooked. There is an easy fix to this problem — just use Howard Zinn's History books. That would save taxpayer dollars and also show respect for the spirit of the First Amendment.

Do the drone operators who sit at a computer thousands of miles away from any danger deserve our respect? Their safety is not at risk. Should they be 'thanked for their service'? Is killing-by-computer really an example of heroism? Does wearing a uniform make anyone a hero? Does wearing a uniform give the moral or legal right to kill unarmed civilians? Really, how can 'heroism' be defined. Heroism is the willingness to stand alone in opposition to evil and injustice. Citizens, teachers and board members who step forward and advocate truth and accuracy in history classes are heroes. But even more than that, they honor veterans by exposing the truth about war.

— Rosemarie Jackowski Bennington