Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting For Hope

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/08_03/004VietnamWar_468x382.jpg Vietnam


Every day my email is deluged with “urgent” pronouncements from a broad spectrum of groups and individuals begging me to take a little more of my time, to exercise my “last chance” to show my support for Barack Obama. Local politicians who have in the past and in normal circumstances would, relegate any topic I might deem important into the oblivion of an endless hierarchy of “assistants” for classification and consideration, have suddenly become my dearest friends, addressing me by phone or e-mail on a first name basis and asking for my “help” in THE cause. Conversely, in the antithetical Bizzaro World of John McCain I am certain his supporters, must receive a similar electronic garbage heap of junk mail warning of the apocalyptic advent of “government handouts ”the socialistic” spreading of the wealth, and a general creeping liberalism.

I am a disabled combat veteran. I personally find nothing ennobling patriotic, nor honorable in the interventions and occupations which have defined my country’s history to the present moment. Forty years of reflection has not yet been time enough to construct an acceptable justifications for the images I carry. I still see the disembowelment of a Vietnamese Grandfather at the arm of his pre-teen grandson, the mutilation and dismemberment of two twenty year old (my own age at the time) “VC”( whose body parts were subsequently thrown into a holding compound containing their female relatives), and several human beings transformed before my eyes into living torches as their flesh was consumed by napalm. It has been calculated that for every “Viet Cong” killed, 50,000 rounds were fired. In the urban sequel to Vietnam, the occupation of Iraq, those figures have climbed to 250,000 rounds per “insurgent”. If it takes only one bullet to kill another human being and we generously allow as high as 100 rounds per insurgent (allowing for over achievement), one obvious question is raised, “What has happened to the remaining 249,900 rounds?” This of course, is an unfair and leading question. We know 250,000 represents a proportion of total rounds fired to the number of “legitimate” dead insurgents. (Which, incidentally aren’t officially counted for the very reason that their numbers can be misconstrued in writing such as this.) None the less these rounds are fired and unlike America’s much touted “smart bombs” small caliber ammunition resides at the low end of the munitions evolutionary chain. Lacking a visible target they do not fall harmlessly to the ground but follow a trajectory until they lose momentum or encounter an impenetrable obstacle.

Imagine yourself for a moment, living within a war zone, part and parcel of an occupation by a foreign army. You have learned to live with shortages, not to jump at every loud sound, trying as best you can to carry on with life in some abstract aberration of what you remember as “normal.” Every day you hope that it will all end, that these foreigners will depart, that you will once again have lights and perhaps even running water. You hope that the shops will re-open and hope that your children might one day safely return to school. You think of these things as you prepare the evening meal for your family. Your young son and infant daughter entertain one another safely within your sight on a rug in the kitchen. Your parents, whose own home was destroyed in fighting early on in the war, wait for dinner with visiting relatives in another room of the house. Somewhere outside, you hear the sound of approaching gunfire. As the fighting grows louder you instinctively take your daughter in your arms, place your son at your side and find protective cover behind an inside kitchen wall. Several of the “less-than-smart” 249, 900 rounds which “miss” the insurgents are being fired by a 50 caliber machine gun mounted atop an American Humvee. These rounds have been enhanced to give American soldiers an “edge” in the war on terror by the addition of depleted uranium. They now have the ability to penetrate nearly anything, including armor. They have little trouble cutting through the cinder blocks of your apartment and the wall you believed would protect you. The skull of your infant daughter is instantly atomized to a fine red mist of blood and bone. A second round removes your sons arm just above the elbow leaving a stump of shattered bone and torn strips of flesh. As dust settles and noise abates you find yourself sitting, physically unharmed on the floor of your kitchen, bathed in the blood of your children. Somewhere it will be mentioned that several insurgents were killed in your city by the American coalition forces. Your personal story will be condensed to an acknowledgement that there was some unavoidable collateral damage.

For each conservative who votes for the get tough policies of John McCain, the blood of every victim of every war, present and future, soldier and civilian, in which America participates lies directly upon your hands. If you are of the “old school,” old testament , eye for and eye system of beliefs, keep in mind this law applies reciprocally to you as well. Your soldiers and your armies have illegally invaded the homeland of another sovereign nation and you are deserving of whatever vengeance is brought upon you. You have created and perpetuated your own “terrorism.” If you are a liberal and have at any time claimed the moral high ground of being anti-war, all that will be visited upon your conservative brothers and sisters will become yours as well, perhaps doubly so as you have transformed your beliefs into hypocrisy. Only two candidates have been given visibility in the coming elections although others are running. Both of these have stated publicly their determination to stay the course in Iraq. McCain has expressed his desire to amplify the killing by invading Iran as well. Both will escalate the number of American troops illegally occupying Afghanistan to “bring the war” to the Saudi Arabian, Bin Laden. Obama has ramped up the mythical “War on Terror” threatening to invade Pakistan if necessary, while at the same time promising to continue the drone bombings of rural mountain villages.

When you vote, you transfer your power as a citizen to those who would claim to represent you. In war the imaginary scenario painted above is very real and plays out in the lives of innocents daily. To vote for a candidate who supports war is to vote in support of war. All non-combatants murdered while your candidates, liberal or conservative exercise your power become in turn, your victims. You have funded the weapons, trained the soldiers, provided the transport and approved the mission which for all soldiers in all wars has historically been same: Kill the “enemy” before they kill you.” In guerrilla war this necessarily includes the murder of ten times as many non-combatant innocents as those we would define as “enemy. Remember, as you vote for Hope, you more deservedly “earn” the World’s contempt.

T.E. Origer is a Vietnam-era Veteran Activist living in Santa Fe NM. He can be contacted at: tjara@cybermesa.com. Read other articles by T.E..

This article was posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Source: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/11/voting-for-hope/

No Change

From: Ryantineocons


  1. The comments about .50 calibre machine gun rounds being enhanced with depleted uranium are FALSE - there is no such thing as a .50 cal DU round and there is no such thing as any round being enhanced with depleted uranium. I expect that the rest is clever fantasy too, the writer clearly is a propagandist, but it is hard to believe that he is an American Vet since he would fit right in with the jihadists.

  2. What there is are kinetic energy penetrator rounds, they are depleted uranium alloyed with titanium. They are strictly used to destroy tanks and the smallest size is the 20mm that used to be fired by the Navy's Phalanx close-in defense system. They mainly are 30mm fired by the A-10 Warthog tank killer and 120mm fired by the M1A1 tank. They probably have not been fired anywhere in the world since the run into Baghdad in the spring of 2003. There have been no tank targets since then.

    To learn about DU, go to www.depletedcranium.com or go read what the Swiss have to say at


    Links to a number of other scientific reports about uranium and radiation are at



  3. You should email your thoughts on this to the author directly and see what he says.
    The address is at the end of the article.

  4. Backwards response: 1.) I am a disabled USMC combat Veteran of the 1968 TeT Offensive in Vietnam.
    2.) Regarding the existence of small caliber D.U. munitions:
    8. Several American snipers had reported they used depleted uranium rounds during the Gulf War. During a September 28, 1998 meeting of the U.S. Presidential Special Oversight Board, Jeff Prather from the Office of the Special Assistant on Gulf War Illnesses confirmed the use of 7.62mm depleted uranium rounds during the war, but stated he had seen no information confirming the use of .50 caliber depleted uranium rounds. In July, 1998, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed: "[U.S.] Army Special Forces also use small caliber DU ammunition on a limited basis;" Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses; "Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium in the Gulf;" July 31, 1998; p. 63.

  5. Thanks for your response tjara.

    For whatever reason, rhotel1 has a need to try and debunk the potential long term dangers of DU.