Friday, March 28, 2008

Navy Mom: Don't you call my son a psychopathic killer!

I am one of the moderators of AriseAction, a listserve that Arise started way back in June of 2000. AriseAction is overtly political and focused toward social justice and against oppression. About three-quarters of our 350 members are from Western Massachusetts and the rest from everywhere else. Views range from liberal to far lest.

Anyone who's ever moderated or been actively involved with a listserve knows it can get pretty contentious out there. We've had our moles and our agent provocateurs and the occasional racist in sheep's clothing, but they don't last long, and for the most part we've had a thoughtful, sincere crew with limited interest in beating each other up.

Still, as moderator I sometimes approve a message with which I strongly disagree. Almost any message that isn't a personal attack or otherwise oppressive gets posted.

Today, a member wanted to commemorate the death of 4,000 military personnel in Iraq by sharing a picture of Bush and Cheney's faces composed of the faces of those who have died. The accompanying text said, "In remembrance of the 4,000 brave men and women who sacrificed everything for us, and the two men who would continue this great tragedy, despite the cost to our soldiers."

When I read it (and approved it), I thought, I didn't ask them to sacrifice for me, maybe that's what they believed, but I believe they were themselves sacrificed by our Government. I thought I might write a response if I had a chance.

But someone else responded first, and his response read: They weren't "brave men and women who sacrifice everything for us." They were psychopathic murderers who participated in perpetrating genocide against the Iraqis.

Well, now I had to respond, and I did, but my sister's post that followed mine was much more eloquent:

As a mother with a son in the military, seeing you call our servicepeople "psychopathic murderers who participated in perpetrating genocide against the Iraqis" caused me to fell several different emotions in the space of seconds.
First I was astonished at the hatred and stupidity in that statement.
Second was pain and sorrow knowing someone hated my son that way.
Third was anger. Anger at you who dare to attack my son.
My son, who still laughs at silly jokes.
My son, who has defended friends, family and complete strangers to his own detriment, and I'm not talking about since he has been in the service.
My son, who at 5 tried to fight off the police as they forced the homeless from "No Homes Inn" in Northampton. Then the rage to defend my son.
Now that I've said that, let me add that my son grew up in an anti-war household with my sister, myself and a father who is an anti-war Vietnam vet.
My son is in the Navy and stationed in Japan, far away from the fighting in Iraq.
And if your statement had that effect on ME, can you imagine the kind of effect it would have on mothers and fathers whose sons and daughters are in Iraq?. Who have died in Iraq?. Who aren't sure how they feel about Iraq? Put yourself in my place and be glad you're not in their place.

No Justice No Peace
"the revolution begins today.."

1 comment:

Shel Horowitz, author, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green said...

As a long-time peace activist, I've known many soldiers--starting with inner-city kids in the NYC of my teenagerhood. The vast majority are honest, good people who saw little or no opportunity, especially if they happened not to be white. While it is certainly possible to make a psychopath out of an ordinary soldier, and create the kinds of abuses we've seen at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, most soldiers want to do what's right.

The real psychopaths are the ones who lied our way into this horrible war, and continued lying as they ran it. Interesting how few of them ever saw combat in their youth.

Shel Horowitz, editor
Peace & Politics magazine