Friday, January 12, 2007

Trouble from the Folksy Columnist

Bush/Imperialists: When columns like this are in the Milwaukee Jenital "feel good page" you are in deep do-do.

Except for the very last sentence, a perfect column.

Peace does not start with a 'surge'
Posted: Jan. 12, 2007

Jim Stingl

It's not naïve to push for peace, says a man who's been in war.

"Using war to end conflict is insane," Mark Foreman told me Thursday.

I called the disabled Vietnam veteran turned peace activist to ask about President Bush's plan to add some 21,000 American troops into the mess he made in Iraq. Foreman thinks the "surge" is a terrible idea from an arrogant leader.

"We never should have been there in the first place. I always have to start with that," said Foreman, 59, a retired Milwaukee Public Schools art teacher who lives on the city's northwest side.

He doesn't buy this business that it's about bringing democracy and freedom to that part of the world, the justification for the war that the president finally settled on.

Hundreds line E. Wisconsin Ave. at N. Water St. Thursday to protest President Bush's plan to increase the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The event was organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

"I've got a 34-year-old son," he said. "All my life I've always let him know that there's no way he's going to go put himself in a position of getting killed or kill other people for oil. From my understanding of American foreign policy, that's what this is primarily about - control of the oil, control of the world."

Unsure about his future, Foreman enlisted in the Navy after high school. Foreman grew up believing that you serve God and country.

He wound up in Vietnam in 1968 as a corpsman attached to the Marines. He was there just five weeks when he was shot during a fierce battle that saw American soldiers outnumbered 10 to 1.

"They couldn't get anybody in to take us out. I had to lay there for five days and four nights with my hip blown off," he said.

He spent eight months in a body cast, many more months in physical therapy, and years receiving psychological help.

"When I got back from Vietnam, I felt like a pawn in the big chess game of the military-industrial complex. I was used, and there were people making a lot of money off the sacrifices of war," he said.

He remembers that the generals were telling Congress that they could win in Vietnam if they could only have more troops and more money. They received plenty of both and lost anyway.

That's what will happen in Iraq, too, Foreman believes.

"It's going to build up even more resolve with the people of that region to get us out of there," he said.

Bloodshed and sectarian killing will continue indefinitely, and Americans will increasingly question if it's worth it, and even what it's for. Wasn't that the message of the November election? The president seems to think we were asking for more war in this country we invaded without provocation.

Is it about terrorists? "If you lived in that region of the world, what would you be doing? What would any of us be doing," Foreman said, against a powerful occupying force. Fighting back is his answer.

More than 3,000 American soldiers are dead so far, and from what I know Iraqis want to fight among themselves and kill us more than they want democracy and stability. All 21,000 more soldiers means is 21,000 more targets.

Foreman favors immediate withdrawal of our troops and an end to the insane level of spending on the war - our tax money that could be used for so many needs at home. Veterans for Peace, a group to which he belongs, will demonstrate for these goals at Milwaukee's City Hall at 5 p.m. on Jan. 26.

Want to help support our veterans and our soldiers? Show up downtown and help them send a message to our leaders in Washington.

"Peace begins," Foreman said, "with recognizing we have to clean up the mess, not to keep making more of a mess."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This rational thinking is just so crazy! -A

anton said...

"When I got back from Vietnam, I felt like a pawn in the big chess game of the military-industrial complex. I was used, and there were people making a lot of money off the sacrifices of war," he said.

He remembers that the generals were telling Congress that they could win in Vietnam if they could only have more troops and more money. They received plenty of both and lost anyway."

I keep wanting to say this is my favorite bit but then...