R Conrad

Celebrating the veterans of another kind...

Filed By R Conrad | November 12, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: anti-war, Don't Ask Don't Tell, education policy, school

"We <3 d.a.d.t." eager_wonder_woman.jpg

Oh shoot girl, no you didn't!?

Could it be that young queers in some of the most militarized school districts this country has ever seen are sick and tired of military recruiters lying to them about careers in the U.S. Military?

And we aren't just talking about not being able to join because of a teen's same sex loving ways. It's hard to get a free ride to the university of your choice from the inside of a body bag. Or how about a little bit of PTSD with those fries?

Let the insanity of trying to get more queer and trans folks killed in the US war machine stop!

To the memory of all the hardworking veterans of the anti-war movement this Veteran's Day!


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Woah. Couldn't wait a day, could you? If I weren't on the way to a meeting, you'd have quite the tongue lashing heading your way.

Ooooh, a lashing! With tongue. Oh, wait, uh, never mind...But, nonetheless, I wait with bated breath.

Anyway, love, love, love the image.

And as for waiting for the proper time, here's a really appropriate and incredibly story about a soldier who went AWOL and had this to say about his critics who berated him for daring to speak out about PTSD and being anti-war: "It's funny that those people would say, 'Why do you have to bring this up on Veterans Day?...So when is a good time to bring it up?"

And more:

?"'All I wanted was to be treated. Going AWOL is not what I wanted to do...He said he was more disturbed by seeing the aftermath of a car bomb
outside his base in Balad that wounded many civilians, including a young Iraqi girl. 'Ever since then, I think about her all the time,' he said. 'I have had a lot of bad dreams, just reliving it.'"

The full story is here. So much for the notion that all soldiers get to fight in wars of their choosing and by choice, or that they come out of it unscathed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101112/ap_on_re_us/us_awol_soldier_returns

As someone supportive of ending the policy of DADT, I do agree that the BEST time for Conrad to post this is Veteran's Day. LGBTQ folks are so enslaved by this notion of not being offensive all the time, it holds us back from expressing what we mean and believe out of overly an unnecessary self-conscious need to worry about what the majority thinks of us. The act of 'challenging,' can't wait for the least offensive time. In all cases, when we challenge, we must do so swiftly and with vigor.

Don't wait to post your thoughts for a more politically pleasing time to do so. Think those through so that you're deliberate and affirmative in what you're saying, but once you're firm in your beliefs, shout them from the mountaintop until noone can ignore you.

I honor the gay veterans that fought for what they believed in--in the military and against it. I honor your sacrifices, as well as Conrad's.

I totally agree with R Conrad. Fuck the military. Anything that keeps people from murdering others in the name of patriotism is good in my book. Yeah, DADT unfairly hurts our queer brothers and sisters and stands in the way of greater social acceptance for us all. But seeing as wars tend to kill mostly civilians and slant the press towards jingoism, I'm all for DADT.

While I agree that the US war machine is terrible and that the military should NOT be a foreign policy tool (not to mention all the terrible things that go along with being in the military, like PTSD as you mentioned), I recognize my gay brothers' and sisters' rights to serve in the military if they so choose. Believe it or not, some gay people do want to get married or serve in the military.

And before you bring up any arguments of this nature, yes I agree that the gay movement is becoming conservative and Gay, Inc. is turning into a single-issue force. But that doesn't mean you should side WITH the straight people in denying gay people their rights (even if you don't agree with the exercising of those rights and what it leads to).

It seems to me that hardcore gay liberationists, in their fight against all appearances of assimilation into straight culture, are willing to deny gay people their right to make their own life choices. Discuss?

I'm not siding with the straight people, I could care less about them and their boring sexual practices. I'm siding with the GAY PEOPLE in Iraq/Afghanistan who are victims of the US occupation.

And what does that have to with DADT? Nothing of course. It's a volunteer military. ff you don't want to take the risk, don't sign up. It's as simple as that.

If anyone claims that they are concerned about the physical and mental well being of soldiers, they'd want to get rid of DADT.

the only soldiers worth supporting are the ones fragging their officers or who go run off.
Otherwise, fuck the troops, gay or otherwise.

The U.S military is a volunteer military in name only and joining is not a choice for thousands, some of whom include students I've taught or worked with, who were usually anti-war to begin with. In fact, it has become a tool of economic coercion, in neighbourhoods like the one I live in Chicago, where the militarisation of Senn High School was presented as the only viable option for youth of colour who supposedly needed more "discipline." Rather than, you know, jobs creation in the neighbourhood or even improving the quality of school resources. The military is increasingly presented as the only economic option for millions; it stopped being a "choice" or a strictly volunteer force a long time ago.

Kenyon Farrow breaks this down when he writes that "just because the US Armed Forces is by the default the largest jobs program for the country, does not mean we should accept that as an ethically defensible truth, despite the many people who, given the current structure of our economy, might not have other stable employment choices (although the rate of homelessness among returning veterans ought to tell you that that job stability may last only so long as you’re employed by the military.)"

http://kenyonfarrow.com/2010/10/23/unpacking-lt-dan-chois-tricky-race-class-tal-on-democracy-now/

Which goes back to the notion of choice (itself a neoliberal mantra). It's not a choice if it's one of two or three lousy choices.

If you want me to take you seriously don't use fighting words like "neo-liberal" which aren't used for what they actually mean. In fact, the original definition of it is pretty much exactly the opposite of what radical left-wingers think it means.

I don't think anyone here is disputing that war is wrong or how terrible it is that poor kids often join the military because it's the only job option they have.

The issue here is what is supposed to be a right for all U.S. citizens is denied to a certain segment of the population based on who its members are. That's called "discrimination."

The "We not GLBT causes. Instead, the "radical queers" are hitching themselves on to GLBT rights movements to advance causes that are, at best, tenuously related to the GLBT community and, at worst, opposed to it.

In this respect, they're sort of a left-wing photographic negative of GOProud, which openly supports anti-gay political candidates based on the belief that right-wing political causes "benefit all Americans, especially gay and lesbian Americans" while doing virtually nothing to advance GLBT rights. Likewise, we now have radical queers openly speaking in support of discrimination against GLBT people because they think it's in line with their far-left worldview, which they apparently think all GLBT people should share.

Yes. This is so true. I went to a poor school and, guess what, not only did they set up tables during lunchtime, a year after graduation, you get called by pretty much every single branch of the military. Military recruiters also lie constantly. Not only do they lie about benefits, pay, etc., they make up extra propaganda in order to fearmonger people. I had one try to tell me that the Gulf War was about fighting Al Queda. The saddest part is that this boy was only a few years older than me and probably actually didn't know any better. I gave him a history lecture and the web address of an antiwar group before hanging up.

The pro-war crap that always surrounds 'Veterans Day' and discussions of DADT makes me sick. I do not want anyone to join the military, anyone at all. Honestly, it doesn't bother me to see one less kid going off to be injured and killed and to injure and kill others. It doesn't bother me that one less person will come home with PTSD, or with the violent patriarchal attitudes the military so loves to instill. It is awfully hard to stomach conservatives and rich white kids talking this bullshit when you have seen the other side. One of the saddest cases of a person joining the military that I have seen was a young man who had a baby who got cancer. He hated the military, but he joined, because he said that his options were to be willing to kill other people's kids or watch his own die. Choice and fairness? There is no choice and fairness here. The way I see it, being upset that less queer people join the military is like being upset that less women are serial killers.

This is not a difficult particularly question. Nobody should enlist in wars to murder civilians for oil or to enrich the military industrial complex. That's especially true for GLBT folks who should, but often don't, see the connections between our subjugation to bigots and the subjugation of colonial peoples to racists like Obama, Congress and the Pentagon. In addition military institutions mirror US society as a whole and GLBT folks face harassment, discrimination and violence.

The solution for all questions regarding DADT is to ramp up efforts to demand the total, immediate and permanent withdrawal of all us military, 'security' and mercenary forces to US home bases followed by total demobilization with a guarantee of full employment with union benefits and wages, good housing, education and socialized medicine for them and all working people, students, retirees and people unable to work.

To supplement demobilization we need to convene an international peace conference, pass a constitutional amendment renouncing colonialism and the use of military means to settle economic questions and convene and fully cooperate with an International War Crimes tribunal.

Democrats and Republicans can't and won't do that.

Socialists can and will do that as the current depression and wars deepen the radicalization by creating a worker's party and forming a workers government.

For now we should oppose enlistment, oppose the violence against GLBT soldiers 3mqnating from the bigoted christer officer corps and oppose Obama's four (and counting) colonialist wars against Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If you're not in don't enlist, don't fight and don't translate. If you are in join and build the GI antiwar movement.

What the hell, time for new new glasses at the 99cent store. "Not particularly difficult..."

It’s what I love about this country. We can have those who are openly vocally hostile to the government and the military voice themselves openly.

For those who are anti-military, it’s ok to be FOR DADT. I expect them to be even more vocal if a draft is ever instated again.

I do endorse the fact that very many GLBT youth are disadvantaged and the sad truth is, many are homeless with little or no resources to draw from. The military is a way out of impoverishment for many. The military recruiters promising GLBT’s the ability to serve is simply them trying to make numbers on the backs of those who they feed false hope too. It’s not right for them to do that.

It’s also not right that with an all volunteer military only those who are poor and disadvantaged serve in the enlisted ranks. The officer ranks are stratified where those that are tapped for advancement past O-4 are typically from well to do families and have attended the very best collages.

But, for the GLBT community, it is best for DADT to fall. With DADT’s demise, and married troopers in the military DOMA would have to domino to allow their families equal access to benefits. To allow their families full access to all benefits, ENDA or a version of it would have to come along sooner than later.

I love this country, I love my community, and I love my friends. That’s just some of the reasons why I stayed in the military for 20 years. That and to look over the young ones who came in…

"I do endorse the fact that very many GLBT youth are disadvantaged and the sad truth is, many are homeless with little or no resources to draw from."

*As a former homeless queer youth: fuck you.
*As a friend to many other homeless queer and trans people struggling to make it: fuck you
*As a poor person: fuck you.
*As one queer person to another: fuck you
*As a member of this country: fuck you.

I support ~my~ troops, namely any queer or trans person in resistance to this fucked up world. Mostly they were black and pink masks. Mostly people like you condemn them while praising the military.
For that reason: Fuck you.

You know what else is a way out for us? Spending the tens of millions of dollars wasted on lobbying for marriage and repeal of DADT to improve youth shelters, making gendered city shelters more accessible to trans people, & making rape centers crisis more welcoming to queer domestic abuse survivors.

We shouldn't have to enslave ourselves to the military for a "way out". A way out of poverty is a much more legitimate "civil right" than the right to fight in wars.

Comments like this are why DADT will never be repealed why give something to a group of for the most part won’t serve even if they had the chance. For those who do they should be allowed to do so openly despite the fact most in this community would not lift a finger to even serve.

Caty

'Serve' only has one meaning - murdering civilians to make oil companies and arms suppliers richer.

Butchering children is not 'serving'. Baghdad is Arabic for My Lai. My Lai was the site of a mass murder operation by the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 tht murdered hundreds of unarmed citizens in Vietnam, "all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children, babies and elderly people".

"WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

USMC Commandant and Major General S. M. Butler.

Bradley Manning figured that out and he's a GLBT/ antiwar hero. Those who support the war or the US military are on the wrong side of both movements.

Murder and genocide is NOT a civil right.
Supporting a heterosexist government is NOT conclusive to gay rights.

I love DADT.

Remember this you stupid little ignorant fucks when you get your rights it will be because LGBT Americans served in the US military.Don't believe me take a good long hard look at how America finally warmed up to giving African Americans their rights.Your freedoms are tied directly to DADT being repealed.Let me spell it out for you it becomes awful hard to deny rights to those who've served this country.So quit your fucking whining get off your sorry fucking asses and go pay your fucking dues.Oh and by the way I'm a Vet so your welcome for telling me to fuck myself.Oh and Yasmin you are one seriously fucked up ugly bitch.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 13, 2010 4:17 AM

I would not call Yasmine ugly....

I would agree there are definitely people who would benefit from knowing gay vets rather than dismissing them and their service out of hand. I have had the honor of knowing many and living with a 13 year vet for 34 years.

Particularly there are young people who would benefit from discipline other than of the "tongue lashing" variety. Plenty of inner city and other youth are clueless. Sadly, stupid people are also always with us.

Sad too about "throw away kids" (regardless of their sexuality) but there have always been crummy parents. Perhaps we should work harder at being more altruistic people rather than ego driven folks who turn every posting or comment into their own imbalanced rant.

We should greatly reduce our military obligations and bases around the world concentrating resources on domestic job creation and revitalizing our manufacturing and exporting base. At present we pay for the defense of Germany, Korea and Japan (in addition to stupid wars) and we do not export as much as any of these countries and it is impoverishing our future. Every military commitment older than 15 years needs to be scrapped unless the threatened government pays for our military service to them. I believe quite quickly Chancellor Merkle would be happy to see us out of Germany. The Koreans would pick up the costs for us to stay and protect them or take their own defense seriously and the Japanese have wanted us gone for some time (with the exception of when N. Korea tests a new bomb, or other instrument of war).

We have been used long enough and our "superpower" hangover has only begun. It was the invention of the American Congress in 1898 (reluctantly supported by President McKinley) aided by the Hearst newspapers. It gave us control of a lot of formerly Spanish territory and from there Teddy Roosevelt took over to seize the Panama canal zone. That was the real birth of our military industrial complex.

Today all you have to add to the equation is Fox News and lobby interests.

Robert as always you have posted a well thought out dignified response. Unfortunately at 2am when I posted this I was pissed. I don't necessarily agree with all you said but I can admit I'm not a fan of the industrial military complex but I am a fan of service to ones country.If I hadn't joined the military when I did I probably would have become a queer homeless youth and possibly could have earned a criminal record.I would never have had the opportunity to go to Germany an experience I treasure.Also just so you know the German Government paid for the Barracks and the food we ate.I would be willing to bet we have that type of arrangement at more places than you would think.As harsh as this may sound I associate a certain amount of the actions of LGBT indiduals as equal to the Westboro Baptist Church.All you pro DADT anti military fuck those who are lgbt Vets, queers yes you(not you Robert).Take a good long hard look in the mirror and say I'm part of the problem not the solution.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 14, 2010 6:57 PM

OK, the food and the barracks. Shall we talk about weapon systems, base maintenance, hospitals and airplanes? Twenty years after the Berlin wall fell our duty to our 1946 commitments there are much more than met. Germany is the second largest exporter in the world (BMW, Daimler, Volkswagon, Porsche, medicines, engineered products of all kinds) after China and they can afford to pay for their own defense.

They are small in population, but a potent exporter per capita. American soldiers should not be there for all the talk about using Germany as a "staging point" for any Mideast incursion.

This in no way diminishes my respect for your and all other veterans service naturally. I want us to pay attention to the civil war in Mexico and protection of our southern border. I would love it if half of our aircraft carriers were placed in dry dock rather than operational at a billion dollars per year each. We have eleven such ships, but we cannot keep people from arriving in Florida on rafts because they are everywhere but where they are needed.

I live in Thailand and twice a year the whole damn 7th fleet does "war games" with the Thai Navy which is still floating ships built in 1948. I have seen Thai Navy ships and they are puny and usually provide a water barrier to wherever the king is in residence. Do you think for a moment there is any value to these manuvers? There is no threat in the Gulf of Thailand to warrant this, "but since we are here anyway, let the boys have some R&R in Bangkok."

This is unfair to the American people to pay for this waste of resource. We need to maintain a ready defense, but we do not need to "parade float" around the Gulf of Thailand while pirates are having free rein off Somalia.

As to my old friend Bill I think he truly believes that if there was no military there would miraculously follow that there are no threats to us in the world. Well, Poland tried that approach in 1939 and it did not go well. Part of what I was saying before was how any subject is turned into whatever prepackaged agenda someone wishes to push. I am in favor of lucidity myself.

Again, thank you for your service and I am glad the military was a good home for you!


The US military and the politicians who order them to trade blood for oil are not defending us. On the contrary, the US military and government are the main enemies of the people of the people, including the people of the US and the main threat to world peace.

Defending us? Don't be absurd, AMYN440. Their genocidal invasions and occupations have created and hardened anti-American feelings throughout the world.

Keep this in mind. During the 1930's most Europeans and Americans pitied the Germans because of the Nazi dictatorship. After the blitz, the mass murders of civilians, particularly of Soviets and Jews, opinions hardened.

Later when the Red Army took it's revenge on German civilians and when waves of B-24 Liberators and RAF Lancasters lit firestorms that burned hundreds of thousands of civilians to death in Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin no one lifted an eyebrow.

German civilians didn't deserve that, but neither did English and Soviet civilians or holocaust victims. We don't deserve more 9-11s simply because this is banana republic and we have no control over the war plans of the Democrats and Republicans and the oil companies they pimp for. I hope we can change and avert vengeance for the million plus dead in Iran and Palestine and the victims of US terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The way to prevent all that is to bring all the troops home for good, demobilize them and convene an International Peace Conference and an International War Crimes Tribunal.
--------------
Few people disagree more with Nair's sectarianism and abstentionism more than I do but calling her childish names instead of engaging in a political struggle with her is not particularly bright. It always backfires on those who do it. Ask her.

First the Yasmin thing I don't believe she is worth engaging in political or LGBT debate I see her as a great example of what's wrong with LGBT mouthpieces.
As for your calling the Soviets wrong for their conduct against the Germans thats hardly fair to them and the horrors they faced.2 million were lost just in the battle for Stalingrad.The Soviets also suffered very heavy losses taking Berlin.There are witness accounts of Soviet soldiers taking German children to safety.I personally have been to the mass graves where the Soviet soldiers who died taking Berlin are buried.That experience humbled me greatly and I paid them respect they earned it.American history has been very unfair to the Soviets and their role in helping to win world war 2.The Soviets and now Russia have done many wrongs laying false blame on them for what they've done right won't help get them to stop what they're doing wrong.

I'm a big fan of the Red Army and I know all about their losses, which are conservatively estimated at 22 million. The Red Army didn't help defeat the Nazis, they bore the main brunt of the fighting from June, 1941 until the end. England the US helped out.

The point is that I hope we don't suffer the same fate as German and Japanese civilians during WW II because we have no control over what the watchdogs of the rich - Democrats and Republicans, will do. In 2006 Democrats won the Congress on an antiwar program. Today they still occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, provide the arms used by zionist colonists for their ehtnic cleansing crimes against Palestinians and kill huge numbers of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Democrats and Republicans and most of their apologists lied about Obamas four wars just like they lie about GLBT rights and equality. They will not, because they cannot, end the war or the reign of bigots in their parties.

How about becoming a fan of the US military and instead of calling for its dismantling call for it to be better balanced in its missions.There is a huge need in this world for humanitarian aid and the US military could,should and is sometimes being used to deliver a big chunk of it.
Or instead of being pissed at the US military or wars in general becoming pissed instead at the real silent but deadly mass murderers. Aids has now killed more people than all the worlds major wars in the last century combined over 60 million.Over 50% of those killed have been women and children.
Then there are all the other infectious diseases that are wreaking havoc on civilization.You can also through in poverty and poor sanitation.Yes soldiers with bullets and bombs take life but it is in a far more humane way then these heinous killers.

"How about becoming a fan of the US military and instead of calling for its dismantling call for it to be better balanced in its missions."

Not a chance. The only goal the US military brass and their civilian bosses (or is it the other way around) pursue is the mass murder of innocent civilians to make the owners of US oil companies and merchants of death richer. They waste the lives of thousands of GI's in the process. Six thousand or so dead, well over 15,000 with gruesome, life altering wounds, tens of thousands afflicted with the horrors of PTSD and thousands more dead of suicide. And you want to keep that? That's appalling.

We should demand the immediate withdrawal of all US military forces to home bases followed by rapid demobilization and destruction of WMDs.

All of the humanitarian goals you outline and others could be very quickly accomplished if the money spent by the Pentagon on murdering children - burning, slashing, ripping, tearing their bodies with bullets and shrapnel and just starving them - by the hundreds of thousand was diverted to humanitarian purposes.

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Hey, I have a great idea. Lets leave the military to be entirely run by white, straight, christian, conservative men and hope they never come after us. XD I'm sure that'll work.

Or not.

Infiltration is not assimilation.

Do radical queers really believe the military would be brought to it's knees if gays didn't serve? I doubt it. This is just more gay on gay hate. Oh, I'm sorry, queer on gay hate.

You'll have just as much luck 'infiltrating' the roman catholic cult and begging them to loosen up. Enlisting is supporting the mass murder of civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the most direct way. Why would anyone do that?

Look and learn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25EWUUBjPMo&feature=related

Bradley Manning is a GLBT and antiwar hero who learned from the error of enlisting and fought back.

Don't enlist, don't fight, and don't translate. Don't kill civilians or help kill civilians.

The Roman Catholic Church is a church. Obviously. The military is a state institution and war isn't the only thing they do.

I'm sure there are many reasons people want to join the military. It's not terribly difficult for me to separate the war and discrimination from the state. You can discourage people from enlisting without supporting discrimination.

Gays who support DADT, just support controlling what other gay people do. And to that I say, "fuck you." I do not have enough fucking middle fingers for so-called radical queers who just want to control how other gay people live. There's nothing radical about it. It's just another group under the LGBT that doesn't want to be part of the LGBT and so, instead of just going away and doing their own thing, they need to throw rocks at people and chew their own arm off.

I'm antiwar, liberal, leftist socialist...but not radical. Radical has nothing to do with being leftist or antiwar. A radical could just as well be a homosexual that joins the US military and actually going where gays aren't wanted.

You can discourage people from enlisting without supporting discrimination. Agreed, but it remains true that enlistment for any reason leads to and supports the mass murder of innocent civilians to make the rich in this country richer. There are no good reasons for enlistment and we have to be adamant about that.

DADT leads to more than discrimination. DADT also encourages harassment, rape and murder.

We should discourage enlistment and encourage people to join the GI or civilian antiwar movement and the veterans antiwar movement. The key to the whole thing is the demand for the withdrawal and rapid demobilization of all US armed forces, 'security' and mercenary forces.

DADT is not going to end the damn war. It's absurd to suggest it could. Supporting DADT is not a means to end war. Supporting DADT is not antiwar, it's antigay. If people want to risk their lives, that is there damn choice. Discouraging people from doing it is fine, but allowing the state to ban them from doing it is not.

Egalitarianism and opposing legislating morality is why I am left-wing liberal. DADT goes directly against those values.

There is nothing leftist or liberal about supporting the state's discriminatory policies.

There's nothing antiwar about supporting the state's discriminatory policies.

There's nothing proletariat about supporting the state's discriminatory policies.

Supporting DADT, celebrating DADT is celebrating the power of the military industrial complex to discriminate against gay people. All hail the freaking state to keep the homos out of their institutions. That's what radical queers do. They celebrate and encourage the oppression of the state by discouraging equal access to it.

They celebrate and encourage the oppression of the state by discouraging equal access to it.

We don't want 'equal access' to the institution whose only role is to murder civilians and make oil companies richer.

The US military cannot be reformed or changed.

The fight against the bigotry of Bill Clintons DADT and those who support it will only be won by withdrawing, demobilizing and dismantling the US armed forces.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell doesn't mean gay people don't join the military. It means they stay in the closet in the military. It's government-sanctioned discrimination. Is that what you're for?

There are fucked up parts of the military. Fight it. However, you queer cowards would rather throw eggs at struggling pro-gay legislation. Do you want people on your side? Fight the military. Fight marriage privileges. Fight for youth centers and other organizations you think deserve the big bucks. Don't fight LGBT people that want options. Leave the nasty, juvenile rhetoric at home.

LGBT folks who join the military are exercising the 'option' of murdering, or abetting the murder of civilians to steal their land and resources.

If they join the national guard they're exercising the 'option' of being used to break strikes and show up at antiwar rallies and do what the Ohio national guard did at Kent State and what cops did at Jackson State.

No excuses. Those options are clearly as wrongheaded and shameful as exercising the 'option' of becoming a screw in the slammer or a cop for the high pay and good benefits.

The US military is the single most reactionary institution on the planet, and the greatest enemy of and danger to people on the planet. There are no justifications for joining the military and we should urge everyone, not just GLBT folks to say out and urge those in the military to conform to the guidelines of the Nuremburg International War Crimes Tribunal. Invading and occupying nations and killing and torturing civilians for the benefit of BP and Haliburton is illegal.

I celebrate Veterans Day each year by displaying my UNDESIRABLE DISCHARGE. It was a DD258n.

This reminds me of how Thich Nhat Hahn referred to himself as a "Vietnam War veteran."

Anti-war activists should be celebrated too. Fat chance we'll see anyone in the White House talk good about them, though, no matter how much they owe their job to them.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 14, 2010 8:00 AM

Conrad, you look great in the cape!

Stop spouting patriotic nonsense, and get some historical perspective.

The military didn't "warm up" to the idea of Black folks serving because of some good-spirited attempt at equality. They did so because of the waning numbers of enlistees prior to Vietnam.

And, don't falsely paint early Black enlistees as the glowing symbols of patriotism and US colonialism. Most of those folks joined out of economic desparation due to racism, not a profound love of America.

Which would explain while statistically, Black GIs constituted a higher percentage of army resisters and AWOLers than any other racial/ethnic group during Vietnam; with groups/leaders ranging from the Black Panther Party to the NAACP from Malcolm X to Dr. King, criticizing military service.

It wasn't until COINTELPRO came along that this movement began to die down.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 19, 2010 7:42 AM

Sir, the military was integrated when there was still a draft. They did not need to worry about "enlistees."

Next, we deserve to look at the disproportionate percentage of African Americans who served on the front lines in Vietnam as a percentage of the whole population. That was the disgrace, along with the "rich boy out" college deferment.

While in college myself on scholarship I knew returning Vietnam vets who were older, more mature, reflective and grateful to be out. The attitude was: "I gave them four years so that they would give me four years here." No crybabies!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 19, 2010 7:43 AM

Sir, the military was integrated when there was still a draft. They did not need to worry about "enlistees."

Next, we deserve to look at the disproportionate percentage of African Americans who served on the front lines in Vietnam as a percentage of the whole population. That was the disgrace, along with the "rich boy out" college deferment.

While in college myself on scholarship I knew returning Vietnam vets who were older, more mature, reflective and grateful to be out. The attitude was: "I gave them four years so that they would give me four years here." No crybabies!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 19, 2010 7:48 AM

Sir, the military was integrated when there was still a draft. They did not need to worry about "enlistees."

Next, we deserve to look at the disproportionate percentage of African Americans who served on the front lines in Vietnam as a percentage of the whole population. That was the disgrace, along with the "rich boy out" college deferment.

While in college myself on scholarship I knew returning Vietnam vets who were older, more mature, reflective and grateful to be out. The attitude was: "I gave them four years so that they would give me four years here." No crybabies!