Letter of Light,
"Light Family News"
"News in the Now" Multi-Dimensionality, ET,
Cosmic, Comic, Comet & InterPlanetary News
LightNews Index 2003 ,
War and Empathy My Turn Dr
Wayne W. Dyer,
War or Peace?
Not for All, Not pleasant, Not the usual uplifting
channeled article, but very Straight, Graphic and to the Point,
Insight on War,
Something I feel compelled to include as a Viet Nam War Veteran myself:
Keth, No Wars are Won...
Luckily I did not have to participate in as deadly a way as Stan, but I
saw what was around me.
What he says is how it was... least
we forget what we are doing, again...
From a Vietnam Veteran: "Hold On to
An Open Letter to GIs in Iraq
by Stan Goff (US Army Retired,
Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier.)
Dear American Serviceperson in Iraq,
I am a retired veteran of the Army, and my own son is among you, a
like I was. The changes that are happening to every one of you --some more
extreme than others--are changes I know very well. So I'm going to say
things to you straight up in the language to which you are accustomed.
In 1970, I was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, then based in northern
Binh Dinh Province in what was then the Republic of Vietnam. When I went
there, I had my head full of shit: shit from the news media, shit from movies,
shit about what it supposedly mean to be a man, and shit from a lot of my
know-nothing neighbors who would tell you plenty about Vietnam even though
they'd never been there, or to war at all.
The essence of all this shit was that we had to "stay the course in Vietnam,"
and that we were on some mission to save good Vietnamese from bad Vietnamese,
and to keep the bad Vietnamese from hitting beachheads outside of Oakland. We
stayed the course until 58,000 Americans were dead and lots more maimed for
life, and 3,000,000 Southeast Asians were dead. Ex-military people and even
many on active duty played a big part in finally bringing that crime to a
When I started hearing about weapons of mass destruction that threatened the
United States from Iraq, a shattered country that had endured almost a decade
of trench war followed by an invasion and twelve years of sanctions, my first
question was how in the hell can anyone believe that this suffering country
presents a threat to the United States? But then I remembered how many people
had believed Vietnam threatened the United States. Including me.
When that bullshit story about weapons came apart like a two-dollar shirt,
the politicians who cooked up this war told everyone, including you, that you
would be greeted like great liberators. They told us that we were in Vietnam
make sure everyone there could vote.
What they didn't tell me was that before I got there in 1970, the American
armed forces had been burning villages, killing livestock, poisoning farmlands
and forests, killing civilians for sport, bombing whole villages, and
committing rapes and massacres, and the people who were grieving and raging
weren't in a position to figure out the difference between me--just in
country--and the people who had done those things to them.
What they didn't tell you is that over a million and a half Iraqis died
between 1991 and 2003 from malnutrition, medical neglect, and bad sanitation.
half a million of those who died were the weakest: the children, especially
very young children.
My son who is over there now has a baby. We visit with our grandson every
chance we get. He is eleven months old now. Lots of you have children, so you
know how easy it is to really love them, and love them so hard you just know
entire world would collapse if anything happened to them. Iraqis feel that
way about their babies, too. And they are not going to forget that the United
States government was largely responsible for the deaths of half a million
So the lie that you would be welcomed as liberators was just that. A lie. A
lie for people in the United States to get them to open their purse for this
obscenity, and a lie for you to pump you up for a fight.
And when you put this into perspective, you know that if you were an Iraqi,
you probably wouldn't be crazy about American soldiers taking over your towns
and cities either. This is the tough reality I faced in Vietnam. I knew while
was there that if I were Vietnamese, I would have been one of the Vietcong.
But there we were, ordered into someone else's country, playing the role of
occupier when we didn't know the people, their language, or their culture,
with our head full of bullshit our so-called leaders had told us during
and in preparation for deployment, and even when we got there. There we were,
facing people we were ordered to dominate, but any one of whom might be
pumping mortars at us or firing AKs at us later that night. The question we
to ask is who put us in this position?
In our process of fighting to stay alive, and in their process of trying to
expel an invader that violated their dignity, destroyed their property, and
killed their innocents, we were faced off against each other by people who
these decisions in $5,000 suits, who laughed and slapped each other on the
in Washington DC with their fat fucking asses stuffed full of cordon blue and
They chumped us. Anyone can be chumped.
That's you now. Just fewer trees and less water.
We haven't figured out how to stop the pasty-faced, oil-hungry backslappers
in DC yet, and it looks like you all might be stuck there for a little longer.
So I want to tell you the rest of the story.
I changed over there in Vietnam and they were not nice changes either. I
started getting pulled into something--something that craved other people's
Just to make sure I wasn't regarded as a "fucking missionary" or a possible
rat, I learned how to fit myself into that group that was untouchable, people
crazy to fuck with, people who desired the rush of omnipotence that comes
with setting someone's house on fire just for the pure hell of it, or who
kill anyone, man, woman or child, with hardly a second thought. People who
the power of life and death--because they could.
The anger helps. It's easy to hate everyone you can't trust because of your
circumstances, and to rage about what you've seen, what has happened to you,
and what you have done and can't take back.
It was all an act for me, a cover-up for deeper fears I couldn't name, and
the reason I know that is that we had to dehumanize our victims before we did
the things we did. We knew deep down that what we were doing was wrong. So
became dinks or gooks, just like Iraqis are now being transformed into
ragheads or hajjis. People had to be reduced to "niggers" here before they
lynched. No difference. We convinced ourselves we had to kill them to survive,
even when that wasn't true, but something inside us told us that so long as
they were human beings, with the same intrinsic value we had as human beings,
we were not allowed to burn their homes and barns, kill their animals, and
sometimes even kill them. So we used these words, these new names, to reduce
to strip them of their essential humanity, and then we could do things like
adjust artillery fire onto the cries of a baby.
Until that baby was silenced, though, and here's the important thing to
understand, that baby never surrendered her humanity. I did. We did. That's
thing you might not get until it's too late. When you take away the humanity
another, you kill your own humanity. You attack your own soul because it is
standing in the way.
So we finish our tour, and go back to our families, who can see that even
though we function, we are empty and incapable of truly connecting to people
more, and maybe we can go for months or even years before we fill that void
where we surrendered our humanity, with chemical anesthetics--drugs, alcohol,
until we realize that the void can never be filled and we shoot ourselves, or
head off into the street where we can disappear with the flotsam of
society, or we hurt others, especially those who try to love us, and end up
another incarceration statistic or a mental patient.
You can ever escape that you became a racist because you made the excuse that
you needed that to survive, that you took things away from people that you
can never give back, or that you killed a piece of yourself that you may never
Some of us do. We get lucky and someone gives a damn enough to emotionally
resuscitate us and bring us back to life. Many do not.
I live with the rage every day of my life, even when no one else sees it. You
might hear it in my words. I hate being chumped.
So here is my message to you. You will do what you have to do to survive,
however you define survival, while we do what we have to do to stop this
But don't surrender your humanity. Not to fit in. Not to prove yourself. Not
for an adrenaline rush. Not to lash out when you are angry and frustrated. Not
for some ticket-punching fucking military careerist to make his bones on.
Especially not for the Bush-Cheney Gas & Oil Consortium.
The big bosses are trying to gain control of the world's energy supplies to
twist the arms of future economic competitors. That's what's going on, and you
need to understand it, then do what you need to do to hold on to your
humanity. The system does that; tells you you are some kind of hero action
but uses you as gunmen. They chump you.
Your so-called civilian leadership sees you as an expendable commodity. They
don't care about your nightmares, about the DU that you are breathing, about
the loneliness, the doubts, the pain, or about how you humanity is stripped
a piece at a time. They will cut your benefits, deny your illnesses, and hide
your wounded and dead from the public. They already are.
They don't care. So you have to. And to preserve your own humanity, you must
recognize the humanity of the people whose nation you now occupy and know that
both you and they are victims of the filthy rich bastards who are calling the
They are your enemies--The Suits--and they are the enemies of peace, and the
enemies of your families, especially if they are Black families, or immigrant
families, or poor families. They are thieves and bullies who take and never
give, and they say they will "never run" in Iraq, but you and I know that they
will never have to run, because they fucking aren't there. You are
They'll skin and grin while they are getting what they want from you, and
throw you away like a used condom when they are done. Ask the vets who are
their benefits slashed out from under them now. Bush Rfeld and their
are parasites, and they are the sole beneficiaries of the chaos you are
to live in. They get the money. You get the prosthetic devices, the
nightmares, and the mysterious illnesses.
So if your rage needs a target, there they are, responsible for your being
there, and responsible for keeping you there. I can't tell you to disobey.
would probably run me afoul of the law. That will be a decision you will have
to take when and if the circumstances and your own conscience dictate. But it
perfectly legal for you to refuse illegal orders, and orders to abuse or
attack civilians are illegal. Ordering you to keep silent about these crimes
I can tell you, without fear of legal consequence, that you are never under
any obligation to hate Iraqis, you are never under any obligation to give
yourself over to racism and nihilism and the thirst to kill for the sake of
killing, and you are never under any obligation to let them drive out the last
vestiges of your capacity to see and tell the truth to yourself and to the
You do not owe them your souls.
Come home safe, and come home sane. The people who love you and who have
loved you all your lives are waiting here, and we want you to come back and be
able to look us in the face. Don't leave your souls in the dust there like
Hold on to your humanity.
US Army (Ret.)
Stan Goff is the author of " Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US
Invasion of Haiti " (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book " Full
Spectrum Disorder : The Military in the New American Century " (Soft Skull
2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a
retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty
Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is
Goff can be reached at: