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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 22, June 1, 2024

An Anti-War Statement by Soldiers that is Inspiring for Peace Activists | Bharat Dogra

Saturday 1 June 2024, by Bharat Dogra


Members of Veterans for Peace have recently released a Memorial Day statement which will be remembered for a long time as a strong indictment of war by those who have realized the truth about war the hard way through real-life experiences. Each word they speak has many difficult to heal, hard to forget experiences behind it, and so should be regarded very carefully by all those who are concerned about this most important issue of war and peace.

In very moving words this statement says about what wars leave behind for soldiers and their near and dear ones—“We remember the war dead and the far greater number of wounded with missing limbs and the even greater number living with invisible, lifelong devils and injuries in their heads.
“We remember the lost contributions they could have made to society that they literally bottled up or destroyed in the epidemic of suicide rampant among veterans.

“We remember the domestic violence caused by their devils. We remember their children whose lives were more painful and less joyful than they could have been because of those devils. We remember the way the pain echoes through generations, refreshed by each new war. We remember how our communities and our nation are so much less than they should be because of this underserved burden.”

However this statement is concerned not just about the soldiers on ‘our side’; it is equally concerned about the tragic impact on the other side. The statement say, “We remember all those that our sociopathic, delusional leaders told us were “the enemy.” We remember the multitudes of women, children, the old and the sick they obscenely wrote off as “collateral damage.”

In fact this statement goes a step further in expressing its concern about the highly adverse impact of war on other forms of life, something that is all too often forgotten in other descriptions and even indictments of war. This statement says, “ We remember our innumerable brothers and sisters of Mother Earth who were killed and wounded: the birds, the four-legged, our family in the seas, the trees and life-giving plants destroyed without thought, the crops and animals that sustain human life.”

Another important aspect of war relates to what is lost by blowing up billions of dollars on wars and war preparations and the unending arms race, while basic needs of so many people remain unmet. This statement says, “We remember the billions of people who go without clean water, education and health care because war has stolen the money.”

As for the increasingly strong interests involved in promoting war this statement says, “This year we also remember the few winners in what Marine Corps General Smedley Butler called the racket of war, the elite who delight in telling their puppets in government to order up another one. And we remember the winners’ mantra, “Even losing wars make money.”

This statement by veterans says that they never glorify warriors or war because “there is no glory in war. On Memorial Day we remember all the folly and all the costs of war.”

This statement by Veterans of Peace has been prepared in such a way that in just a few words various aspects of the entire tragedy of war is captured in a very moving way by those who really know what they are speaking about. On the one hand this statement is very appealing at the emotional level, on the other hand it is also well-known that each of these statements can be supported with a lot of facts and figures, some of these very shocking facts and figures. Hence one hopes that the peace movement and peace activists will use this statement widely in their work, not just in the USA but in many other countries too.

(Author: Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now)

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