Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in action on April 4, 2004 in Iraq, became one of the best known activists against the “Bush wars.” She’s continued her activism, though along with protests against what we can now accurately call the “Obama wars,” this “issue” generally doesn’t make the news. Neither Electeds nor the Public, at least in general (and if you don’t have a family member or friend deployed), seem all that interested. One reason for this lack of attention is summarized by Sheehan:
… when one becomes an activist who is outside established acceptable parameters and challenges the entire system, not just one tiny portion of it, the base of support narrows as the real problem of Empire (not just Republicans) is expanded. Trust me, it was far easier to be an activist when Bush was prez … .
What do you want to bet it would be easier – at least in terms of support from the broad Left – to be an Occupier if there was a Republican in the WH? Or, maybe it wouldn’t make that much difference, because first of all, it’s “old news.” And because what’s being challenged, as Sheehan phrases it, is “the entire system … the real problem of Empire.” And war, of course, plays a major role in the Empire.
On May 4 there will be another war related anniversary. It was on that date in 1970 that the Kent State shootings occurred. I know, even older news. But some continue to work to bring to light what happened that day. For example, read 13 Days for Kent State Peace.
Kent State Peace is a VIRTUAL PETITION running for 30 Days from April 4th thru May 4th, 2012.
WE ARE DEMANDING President Obama, Attorney General Holder and the Obama Admin OPEN an Immediate, Impartial Investigation into the New Evidence in the Kent State Massacre by May 4th. …
Around noon on May 4, 1970, Allison Krause, Jeff Miller, Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder were shot dead with armor-piercing bullets as they protested the Vietnam war, President Nixon’s Cambodian Invasion, the war’s draft and the military occupation of their Kent State University campus.
This particular petition is new, but the efforts have continued since 1970, with every president receiving a letter, asking for an impartial investigation. No WH occupant has yet replied.
Not as easy to forget or miss or whatever is what’s happening now, though the nation’s appetite for war seems greater than it’s appetite to pay attention to war. Or perhaps more accurately, don’t do the latter and you don’t have to deal with the former. Not that support for the war is high. A recent Pew Research Poll, via Think Progress:
Public support for keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan has fallen to a new low. A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds among the all important swing voters, over half, 59 percent, favor withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Swing voters make up 23 percent of registered voters.
Some people, of course, don’t have the option to lose sight of the “war on terror,” and likely don’t link it to “swing voters” as much as to living with the daily realities of being deployed or worrying about someone who is. For example, from David Wood via OpEdNews:
Beyond The Battlefield: From A Decade Of War, An Endless Struggle For The Severely Wounded
‘Beyond the Battlefield’ is a 10-part series exploring the challenges that severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan face after they return home, as well as what those struggles mean for those close to them.
From a March 2012 CBS News report: Study: Suicide rates among army soldiers up 80 percent.
From Defense.gov, this summary, as of today, April 24, is only related to U.S. killed and wounded, as provided by the Defense Department:
Operation Iraqi Freedom U. S. Military & DoD Casualties: Totals: Total Deaths – 4,422; KIA – 3,488; Non-Hostile – 934; WIA – 31,924
Operation New Dawn U. S. Military Casualties: Total Death – 66; KIA – 38; Non-Hostile – 28; WIA – 301
Operation Enduring Freedom U.S. Military & DoD Casualties: Total Deaths – 1,940; KIA – 1,527; Non-Hostile – 413; WIA – 15,713
TOTALS: Deaths – 6,428; KIA – 5,053; Non-Hostile – 1,375; WIA – 47,938
The enormous casualties and costs of war continue mounting, whether or not they make the news, and whatever else is going on.