Walter Reed Vigil Report No. 6
The September 23rd Vigil was filled with people from all over the country. We had people from Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. We had people from Oklahoma! There was a lot pink which certainly demonstrates the strength and commitment of Code Pink. There were union people and independent activists. There were too many people there to count.
Despite the larger size of the vigil, discipline was maintained throughout the two hours of our presence. We are not there to draw attention to ourselves. We are there to draw attention to Walter Reed and what this hospital represents during a time of war. We are there to draw attention to our sisters and brothers inside Walter Reed who were put on the line and paid a price. They should never be forgotten.
We may be disciplined but we certainly are not a dour bunch. Sometimes the vigilers break out in song-uplifting songs, songs that raise our spirits and remind us that in good acts there is strength. In Hebrew, there is a word Mitzvah. It means taking a moment to step outside oneself to do something that needs to be done. To do the right thing. Everyone who stops their normal routine to stand at the vigil is performing a mitzvah. It is a mitzvah for our soldiers and it is a mitzvah for our country. Perhaps that is why, despite the very serious nature of what we are dealing with, those who stand at the vigil leave each night with a sense of joy.
The days of the war in Iraq continue to pile up. The violence is the surest indicator that something is terribly wrong with our government's policy. What is going on in Iraq is not some kind of crime wave. It is a nation resisting occupation. It is a nation now torn apart by civil war. Our young men and women did not sign up to be occupiers. They are our defenders. The time has come to extricate them from this war for a narrow political agenda. Why should young US working people be forced to make enemies of Iraqi working people? Only the fanatics on both sides profit from this terrible situation.
We are saying that The Way to do the best for our troops is to demand that this war end and for them to be brought home. We say that should happen now, not tomorrow or next year.
There are some who equate Support the Troops with "support the mission". We want the troops to stop being troops. We want them back as regular folks again.
What is the mission?
These voices are wrong twice. First, by not paying attention to why our armed forces have been unleashed, they foolishly support without question the most obvious propaganda. Joseph Goebbels called it the Big Lie. He said the bigger the lie the easier believed. Some people are happy enough believing in the John Ford/John Wayne version of reality where the cavalry is just there to do a job (suppressing "Indians").
They are wrong secondly because the occupation of Iraq makes none of us safer, least of all the Iraqis. Demonstrably, the world is not a safer place. Like the army of another era, this one is being wasted. Among all the crimes of the current administration, this may be the worst-the waste of a generation of our youth to protect the profits and ambitions of a small elite.
Are we a bunch of commies?
The Vigil continues its mission.