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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Reflections On The Winter Soldier Resistance -The White House, December 16, 2010- Down With Imperialist War!
21 Dec 2010
Obama-Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops From Afghanistan And Iraq! Not One Penny, Not One Person For These Imperial Wars!
White-haired men, mainly, standing stoically in the snow in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, brushing off the flakes as they accumulate on their weathered shoulders. Many are Rip Van Winkle-bearded, Gabby Hayes-bearded for those who remember that name out of black and white television child cowboy and Indian dreams and this crowd, this motley group of veterans of past and present wars of the American imperium know that name, or know those who know that name. Mostly the beards, like the hair, are white as well, some a bit raggedy like times were a little tough and keeping up with appearances had lost some of its glimmer. Some are pot-bellied, showing signs of rough battles after youth’s invincibility proved false for another generation. Some are rail thin, reflecting the inhuman struggle to keep old age’s weight down. Some are, proudly, wearing their old time medal-bedecked, rank-inscribed, and name-stitched service uniforms, those awful greens, those awful olive greens to make a man or woman hate the sight of green. Some, who dearly purchased their right to use that uniform as anti-war symbol, “finger” that uniform today, also proudly.

All, I say all, show the scars of war, some in the stoop of their shoulders, some in that deep, inner place where the horrors of war are kept at bay for another day. All show those scars in their gait as they wait, wait for another signal, a signal to march, but this time to a different drummer, to a different drum beat, more Buddhist bong that military tattoo. They harken back, I can see it clearly in their faces as I could have in my own if I had chanced to see a mirror just then, to young manhood, to young manhood’s fears and follies. To their first taste of battle, bullets whirling, cannons booming, bombs sizzling from the death skies. Life was measured, if it was measured at all, in that minute, that soldier’s minute between life and death, no, less than a minute. The “order” is given to move out, move out slowly, single-file, keep some distance between you and the next kindred spirit, white-doved flags fluttering in the snow wind leading the way. These men know the drill, know the pace, and know the mission. Unlike those youthful terrors this is not a day for fear. This is the day when the ante gets raised. And these are the men to meet that clarion call to resistance. No, no need for fear today. These are winter soldiers. The resistance has begun, and let those other white-haired men, mainly, those powerful white-haired men with their hands on the throttle of power tremble at the thought.

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