How Will Iraq Vets React to Our Mass Economic Disparities?

Glad to see all the troops coming home, now that the war in Iraq is officially over.. However in a world with No Jobs, Increased Foreclosures & lawmakers pushing to make even more cuts while telling those who’ve fallen on economic hard times to ‘blame themselves‘, do these returning men and women who did 4 & 5 tours of duty, become police officers, FBI and ICE agents who enforce the status quo and crush those who challenge it, or do they follow the steps of those who see the inequalities in our society and fight for change?

One needs to bear in mind, that a sizeable number of people who joined our military did so because of what we call the economic draft.. Poverty and the inability to find jobs was impacting many in our communities long before an Occupy Movement or the notion of a 1% vs 99% emerged. The military heavily recruited desperate folks from our neighborhoods promising folks a new lease on life and the opportunity to establish some sort of economic foothold. Commercials greeted us daily with the slogan, Be All That You Can Be.. Many never dreamt they would see the horrors of war and be required to return to the battlefield over and over again..

The psychological impact of all that combat alone should be of grave concern..All of us should be asking about what sort of measures are being put in place for returning vets to detox? How will returning vets deal with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress)?

We already have huge population of vets who are out on the streets homeless, unable to re-adjust to society.. How are we handling them?

We also have not acknowledged that the suicide rate of vets has damn near outpaced those killed in combat.. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a whooping 18 suicides per day among soldiers.

As I asked earlier, how will these returning soldiers react when they come home to see that we spent trillions to liberate Iraq while grandma, auntie and mother are living in communities where the poverty rate is at record highs and homes they once owned have been foreclosed on with no jobs in sight?

Will these returning vets see themselves as part of a struggling community and seek to align themselves with those pushing for change or will they spiral into the ruthlessness we seen demonstrated in places like Egypt where we have folks fighting for freedom and democracy while a standing army that we pay for with American tax dollars are pulling out all the stops to brutally suppress them?

Will we see more soldiers who are of the caliber demonstrated by the Iraq Veterans Against the War or will we see soldiers who are of the caliber demonstrated by those who embraced and carried out the horrific torture techniques we seen demonstrated at places like Abu Ghraib? Even more troubling will find returning vets desperate for work and eager for some sort of stability being recruited by rich and powerful corporate executes to serve as a literal private army of sorts?

A couple of years ago I penned an article predicting that as the economy spirals out of control the new middle class (meaning those with jobs) will be cops and soldiers hired & paid handsomely to be a buffer between those who are poor and those we now identify as the 1%.

If one thinks this is far-fetched, I urge folks to talk to victims of Katrina who experienced first hand what it was like when they encountered private armies like Blackwater patrolling the streets of New Orleans, rebuffing those seeking refuge from dry and resource filled hotels and other facilities.

History shows that once upon a time African-American soldiers returning from World Wars 1 & 2, realized that the situation at home was dire especially along racial lines. The freedoms they fought for overseas in Europe were not afforded to many of us here at home who suffered under harsh Jim Crow laws. Many became disenchanted and pressed the issue. They demanded equality.

One of those returning soldiers was Civil Rights icon Harry Belafonte who recently spoke at First Congregation Church in Berkeley who spoke about what it was like for those returning from war after they tasted freedom. He noted that as many started to ask alot of questions about equal rights, the oppression toward them and us was substantially increased..

Belafonte talked about how lynchings and racial terror increased all over the country as society made attempts to put returning Black soldiers back in their place. Many did not take to the suppression lightly and at various points there were armed resistence and struggle. This inequality and subsequent repression also gave rise to the Civil Rights Movements and Black Freedom struggles..of the 60s and 70s.

My question is how will our returning brethren behave in 2011 when they return to this massive economic inequality?

written by Davey D




by Tina Bell Wright
ProfTinaWright-225In April 2007 I was asked to write a commentary for PLAYAHATA.COM..I had to choose a modern day villian or playahater…I chose the corporate interest fueling the Iraq war. Many understood this war was unnecessary, but few were paying the physical, emotional, and mental price…only the Iraqis and our youngest men and women that join the military to serve this country or access better opportunities really understood the cost. Today (Nov 5th 2009) Texas (Fort Hood Massacre) and anyone by their TV got a little glimpse.

It is ironic that veteran’s day is around the corner. The irony has never been lost on me that we say we honor and respect our troops but we allow them to make unlivable wages (where some families must depend on AFDC). They fight on battlefields beside private entities that are often compensated 5 times what our soldiers make (Blackwater). Corporations and capitalists defend a system where banks that rip off consumers can then rob the treasury for bailouts in order to keep their 600 to 1 percent salary rate when compared to an enlisted Marine who puts his/her life and mental health on the line daily. Our GIs can’t get decent health care (Walter Reed) but the Walton family (Walmart) can go anywhere in the world for the best health care their money can buy (Walmart being richer than 160+ countries) with the money they make from outsourcing American jobs to China and paying Chinese workers a couple dollars a day. The irony of it all…we accept this as inevitable. We believe what we are told to be true…we buy the true lies…

But the only inevitable thing is this system is unsustainable…and cracks in the dam (the numerous anecdotal stories that do not get reported of soldiers suffering from PTSD and crimes they commit) will give way to the dam breaking soon enough (today’s massacre).

I went back to the commentary I wrote over two years ago…that day I had a first hand encounter with one of the many anecdotal situations that play out everyday in the lives of our returning soldiers…The writing has been on the wall…and here it is:

my playahater choice is a little more personal because of one person that

crossed my path two weeks ago. I was on a Southwest flight to

Sacramento.Sitting beside me was a young brotha (24). He was a Marine and had

already done 3 tours of duty in Iraq. He was supposed to finishing his time in

June and was getting out, but he was not feeling too secure in that

since the military can now call back discharged soldiers to tour, despite the

fact that they have completed their contracts and done their time.

Slavery is alive and well in 2007.

Back to the plane and the young brotha. He was from a military family;

His father had served as well as his aunt and uncle. He had always wanted

to be a marine. He has two young children. His hope now is that the

military service legacy that defined his family will end with him. He does not

want his children to follow in his footsteps. Why? War is hell and he has

lived it. This brother was real jittery and obviously had seen more

than any human being should. When asked what his job was in the marines, he

answered: “you don’t wanna know what I do” (saying this repeatedly).

Then coming with:”I’m a killer.” He then wanted to share with me the

4000 pictures and 100s of videos he had taken in Iraq. He watched the

slideshow of bodies mangled, children decapitated and blood and guts lining the

streets without any reaction. He wanted to talk about it and said it

helped, so I just listened, trying not to get nauseous from the gore.

And for all that they must bear: being away from their families, killing

men, women and children, living with that nightmare and coming home to

subpar medical facilities and families that can’t afford to live without

food stamps, they get abandoned and random strangers sitting beside them on

a plane must serve as psychiatrist. This war is my Playahater, and the

ITT Corporation embodies what’s wrong with the poor fighting the war for

the rich’s interests. We all deserve better than this, but especially

brothers like this, and the Iraqis with which they now share the dance

of death.

Original Link:

Many believe the TRUE LIES that corporate interests fuel through corporate media…even when our TRUE LIVES…reality…is all we need to know.

TRUE LIES by Taalam Acey


“We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”
“Take no one’s word for anything, including mine – but trust your experience” – James Baldwin, The Fire next Time

one final note…

i went to see “This is it” again…and i think MJ really did say it best:

“The time has come. This is It. People are always saying.. ‘Oh they, they’ll take care of it.’ ‘The government will do it. They’ll’ …THEY WHO? It starts with US’s US. Or else it’ll never be done.”
– Michael Jackson

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