Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Soldiers

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As of today,
the War Department lists 2544 as the number of murdered troops in
Iraq. Dozens of innocent Iraqis are being killed due to this war
crime every day. More than 80 Iraqis were killed in Baghdad alone
on July 9th: dozens of people just in one city on one
day who would be alive if not for BushCo.

I don’t know
what number Casey was. I have seen people say 614, I have seen people
say 714. It doesn’t matter, because Casey and the other 2543 were
not numbers. They were living, breathing, loving, worthwhile, and
contributing members of society. They could pass drug tests (unlike
their “commander-in-chief” at their ages) and they honorably volunteered
to serve their country to defend America and our freedoms. What
George Bush and the rest of the war profiteers have committed in
Iraq is abuse and misuse and had nothing to do with defending America
or protecting our freedoms. The lies are well documented. The lies
are written on my heart forever.

Between WWI
and WWII, Marine Major General Smedley Butler wrote a short dissertation
called War
Is a Racket
. I wish to God I had read this before
Casey enlisted because I believe that he would be alive today if
only I had. The first two paragraphs succinctly define the entire
booklet and the reason not to allow your child to fall into the
hands of the military-industrial-war complex:

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

In his treatise
Butler goes on to define the “damned” war profiteers of his day:
the DuPont family, the steel companies, the leather companies, the
t-shirt manufacturers, etc. The profits for these companies increased
at a minimum ten-fold in the WWI years and in retrospect even seem
like healthy profits in 2006 dollars. He also complains about the
6000 buckboards for the colonels, thousands of saddles for the cavalry,
and hundreds of airplane engines that were never used in the war.
The waste of money and the waste of life in war are horrendous and
inherently immoral — always!

The criminal
tradition of the enormous profiteering that went on in WWI and all
the other wars is going on today in the war crime of Iraq. The Halliburtons,
Bechtels, Blackwater Secutities, KBR’s, are raking in the billions
at a clip that would make Barbary Coast pirate's head spin. The
no-bid profiteers are cronies and/or former companies of the vice
president and most of the Bush regime. I don’t know how can the
blood-monied devils can look at their own children or grandchildren
and not be ashamed and appalled that their insatiable greed killed
someone else’s flesh and blood.

Napoleon once

All men are
enamored of decorations…they are positively enamored of them.

Casey was in
the paramilitary Boy Scouts founded by Lord Baden Powell, who was
a militarist. I am not knocking the Boy Scouts because Casey was
an Eagle Scout, and he gained a lot of positive skills in the Scouts.
But he was also taught how to be a good soldier: To pledge to do
his duty to God and Country. Does that include marching reluctantly
off to a war which one knows is wrong? Does that include putting
“the mission” first, above even ones own family and life no matter
how disordered and corrupt the mission is? Boy Scouts earn decorations
for their paramilitary uniforms and I know I sewed dozens on Casey’s
sash (I always complained that sewing should be their first mandatory
badge so the Scout could do it himself). Then Casey “graduated”
to soldier and started earning his “Man Scout” badges. I was handed
his Bronze Star and Purple Heart at his funeral like I should be
a proud mom being pinned with his Eagle Scout badge. The Man Scout
Badges, Gen. Butler explains, were instituted so the military wouldn’t
have to pay the soldiers more money. How many Man Scout badges can
make up for the needless, senseless, and avoidable murder of your
oldest child?

war correspondent Christopher Hedges book: War
the Force That Gives Us Meaning
, he writes:

The disillusionment
comes later. Each generation again responds to war as innocents.
Each generation discovers its own disillusionment – often at a terrible

The terrible
price is that, once again, we forget that the war machine loves
to greedily consume our children for the terrible profits that they
so willingly and cheerfully reap. Hence the phrase: “Laughing all
the way to the bank.” How does it feel that the vultures are laughing
at how gullible we are to so navely cough up our young? Previous
generations of mothers have watched presidents and other cheerleaders
for war and mayhem drag us into war after war and we mothers are
unwilling and unknowing accomplices in our children’s murders. War
will finally have to stop when we mothers and fathers stop allowing
our leaders to march our children off to wars to feed the ravenous
war monster: This hideous war monster counts on families forgetting
that the last war for revenue was fought against phantom enemies
that can’t be confined within borders. Whether the wars are covert
or overt, they are always being waged with our babies' blood.

I don’t know anyone, war supporter or not, who raised their children
to be war criminals. There are no people in our country who have
hoped that one day that their son would grow up to rape Iraqi girls
and kill innocent Iraqis in cold blood. The Mahmoudiya
and Haditha
incidents are horrible atrocities, but unfortunately, are not isolated
incidents in the Iraq war crime. War breeds atrocities, and so does
occupation and counterinsurgency. I wish to God that Mahmoudiya
and Haditha were isolated incidents, but we know that they are not.
When the neocons despicably spit out the blather that we need to
“Stay the course,” I wonder what that means? Rape and murder?

To be honest
with ourselves and our children, instead of the flags and Man Scout
badges that our soldiers decorate their uniforms with, they should
have their suits covered with corporate logos like NASCAR drivers.
A Halliburton patch here and an Exxon patch there. I also believe,
like Gen. Butler said: during times of war, CEO’s of war profiteers
should only be allowed to earn as much as a common soldier.

Sounds fair
to me and I believe war will end if the war profiteers, politicians
and generals were required to send their own children to fight for
their ill-gotten gains before they sent ours.

Our nation
forgot the lessons of Vietnam where not one person over the rank
of lieutenant was even tried for war crimes. It is incumbent upon
this generation of war victims to make sure that this unspeakable
episode does not repeat itself. The people responsible for sending
our children to this war crime should not get off scot-free. BushCo
should be the ones sent to federal prison for crimes against humanity
and crimes against peace.

Holding our
leaders accountable for unnecessary war and killing innocent people?
It’s a new concept, but I think one that just might work. Let’s
try it this time.

But more important:
don’t let your babies grow up to be soldiers.

13, 2006

Sheehan is the mother of Spc.
Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04
She is co-founder of Gold
Star Families for Peace
. She is the author of Not
One More Mother’s Child
and Dear
President Bush

Sheehan Archives

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