Thursday, March 11, 1999
Deserving Of Respect
I wanted to comment on Brian Willson's Feb. 25 "Public Forum" concerning the invasion of Monterey. Several of Brian's statements infuriated me, and it was clear from the tone of his piece that he hates and mistrusts the armed forces and the government. His arguments were poorly-veiled indeed, and his political views show through like a searchlight through Kleenex.
His use of quotes is particularly galling. He refers to "terrorists" and "terrorism" as if what is commonly referred to by those terms is yet another example of government deception. The World Trade Center bombing was carried out by terrorists, the Murrah Building explosion in Oklahoma City was carried out by terrorists, and terrorism against U.S. citizens and property is being planned and executed worldwide as we speak. Make no mistake, Brian: these are terrorist acts, and there are likely a lot more to come.
He speaks of our country's actions abroad as nothing more than more terrorism, as if we've done it all and caused it all ourselves. We have done what we felt obligated to do to help out in places like Somalia and Bosnia, and expelled a brutal invader, Iraq, that attacked, absorbed, and raped a sovereign nation, Kuwait. Not everything we do from a military standpoint is bad or unwarranted. We're not perfect, but we take a stand for freedom. We may well contribute to some world problems, and that's no doubt true, but we also try our best to force enemies to the bargaining table and offer our assistance to enforce peace agreements. In today's world there is no case in which the United States has conquered and occupied another country or subjugated its people. Brian Willson's comments notwithstanding, the U.S. is one of the most law-abiding nations in the world community. We do our best in America to help, and most of our people support the nation's efforts in this respect.
Mr. Willson also presents the ludicrous argument that these exercises are intended to "soften up" the people for future domination by the military. What nonsense! Conspiracy theories and nothing more. I believe that most people in our armed forces are decent Americans who are trying to make a living and who will in fact honor the oath they've all sworn. They will, in fact, protect the United States of America. They deserve some amount of respect, and some benefit of the doubt -- they are professionals, and most of the time they will act as professionals.
People like Brian Willson and the demonstrators I've seen along Del Monte Avenue, who say "ban war" and "get rid of the military" are living in a dream world. I suggest we pay attention to people who are more firmly grounded in reality and less grounded in the Berkeley of the '60s. Earth shoes, dreadlocks, environmental sensitivity, and hemp are not likely to make the world a better or safer place anytime soon.
There may be reasons why the military should not come ashore but because some guy who hates the government and the military says so isn't much of a reason. We'll survive this, and our military will get some real training to help them learn to deal with threats that are frighteningly real. I suspect the whales, dolphins, and fish, perhaps even the salmon Mr. Willson is so concerned about, will survive as well. I will do my best to make the Marines welcome here, and let them know that some of us, at least, appreciate them.
Civilizations and economies rise and fall, but humankind has learned from past experience. Brilliant minds got together and formulated a self-governance doctrine. It is the fairest of the fair, the shining star of civilization: the Constitution and Bill of Rights. These vital documents need to be re-read by the dishonorable politicians who would use honorable marines in this fashion. This is constitutionally questionable, against the Posse Cometatus Act, and places unwilling citizens in the role of the enemy. This criticism is directed at misguided politicians, not the honorable and necessary military.
Slice by slice, all Americans are losing freedoms and privacies. While we were out shopping, our beloved constitutional government was quietly converted into some sort of cyber-socialist, authoritarian pain in the ass. The authors of the Constitution understood, among other things, that when a tyrant or group of tyrants wished to take over a country, the first thing they needed to do, after taking control of the media, is to get all firearms away from people. This is why the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights was included; Tyrant insurance. At present, despite a falling crime rate, every possible end-run around the Second Amendment is being made to strip the people of their legal guns. People will choose prosperity over freedom every time. Since bio-terrorism is the new boogie man, note the C.I.A. has conducted more bio-experiments on unwilling Americans than any terrorist group, and now tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans who were used as battle field guinea pigs by their own government are sick from exposure to experimental weapons and vaccines. So which source of poison and terror am I supposed to fear?
The U.S. Marine Corps and Navy argue their need to continue to "invade" and "eliminate" simulated "terrorist" targets within civilian urban areas. Monterey and Oakland will soon be the fifth and sixth U.S. cities for this intrusive kind of exercise.
The U.S. Marines transported by the Navy have been the primary intervention forces throughout our national history. Since 1798, when they landed in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to the present, the Marines have been practicing and refining their landings and "elimination" techniques in over 100 countries around the world. Their targets have virtually always been the struggling poor. Assuring U.S. hegemony over world resources, markets and labor pools has been indispensable for building the "American empire." Addressing injustices and upholding international law has rarely been our mission.
The current exercises are unique because of their venue--conducted in civilian/urban communities rather than on long-established military training bases. The targets, however, remain the same, whether here or abroad. People who have been abused, discriminated against, or denied basic human rights, and who sooner or later organize against their oppressors. This is always unacceptable to the powers-that-be. These exercises represent the same-old story of supporting the Haves against the Have-Nots (now called "terrorists" rather than the out-of-date "communists"), practicing the latest in military gadgetry. This is tragic because it continues U.S. arrogance, assuring ever more anger and instability in the world.
S. BRIAN WILLSON
No Tyranny Allowed
In her Feb. 25 "Public Forum," Donna Kalloch states that in her experience, "the only mission of the military has been to protect the nation." My dear Mrs. Kalloch, back before you were born, there was this thing called the Vietnam war. Nowadays you won't find too many supporters of that fiasco, but back then lots of loyal citizens like yourself adhered to the same mindless "my country right or wrong" philosophy, certain that we were being "protected" from something.
Others, especially the educated, saw it for what it was--a way to increase military spending while getting rid of a lot of pesky troublemakers, the 18- to 25-year-old males. Some students in Ohio, while voicing similar opinions, were shot to death by soldiers who felt it was their duty to kill young American citizens. Were those soldiers protecting the nation? From what? Were they protecting the students from a lack of patriotism? I don't think so. A true patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government. The nation is people.
I agree with Brian Willson (Feb. 25, "Public Forum") that our government's policy of global aggression has made us a target; but this transparent cover story is pure B.S. Could it be that our leaders are aware that their policies have led to the creation of a large group of people in this country who have been virtually dispossessed and have nothing to lose?
Some day soon these people are going to rise up. When that happens, the local police are going to need help, hence the need to train the Marines for urban combat. The enemies are going to be American citizens, tired of being sold out and ignored, and fed up with too much of nothing.
Protecting the country sounds like a lofty mission indeed, but protecting the country from its own citizens has a name: Tyranny. In 1969, I entered the U.S. Navy as a volunteer. I love my country, and in my country there ain't no tyranny allowed, damn it. Maybe we need a flag with a picture of a sea otter baring its teeth and saying, "Don't Tread On Me."
Seaside's New Face
I applaud the newly elected Mayor for his determined interest to ensure the citizens of Seaside will have a meaningful dialogue before the fact, and not after, particularly as it deals with important projects. The citizen's voice must be heard, and respected. The impression I receive is the Mayor wants to put the cards on the table for all citizens to view, to ensure there isn't a hidden agenda.
The council will soon make a decision as to whether a Hilton or Marriott hotel will be the choice for Seaside residents. I am one in support of the Marriott for two reasons. One being the architectural design, as it is more conducive to the Monterey Peninsula scenery, and more family oriented.
I've listened to numerous comments made, and will do my best to bring forth the negative issues which were of concern to some, that I believe is irrelevant, and should not prejudice the importance of decision making. In regards to union versus non-union, I find no favorable factors attributing to this argument. This is a matter of preference.
The hotel built will represent the "new face" of Seaside and is a permanent structure. It is incumbent on all concerned citizens to voice their opinion regarding their matter of choice at the forthcoming council meeting. This is your city, and you have a right to be heard.
E. P. EVANKO