No Longer Silent Majority

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by CSM, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    It is about time:

    Washington Post
    September 21, 2005
    Pg. B1

    Battle Lines Behind The Battle Lines

    Protest to Make D.C. A Flash Point for Rift Among Military Families

    By Petula Dvorak, Washington Post Staff Writer

    FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- In military communities across the United States, a debate over the Iraq war is being waged by reluctant, neophyte activists. Their microphones chirp and squeak, or don't pick up their quiet voices at all. Their signs are too small. They forget the banners.

    "This is my community. I don't want to offend people here. But my husband is a soldier; he can't say anything. So it's my duty as a citizen to speak up," Kara Hollingsworth, a D.C. native and Army wife at Fort Bragg whose husband served two tours in Iraq, said as she took a seat on a panel of antiwar activists last week.

    A few hours earlier, another Army spouse stood in the red-brick village square near the base and held up a handmade sign supporting the war. She threw it together after she heard that an antiwar caravan was coming to town.

    "I've never done this before. I'm usually a quiet military wife. But I can't take this anymore," said Marlene Lowrey, whose husband also served in Iraq. "This isn't right, coming into a town like this with that antiwar stuff. Those people don't realize this brings down morale."

    Military families, stoic and tight-lipped during most of the nation's wars, have become a powerful voice on both sides of the bitter argument over U.S. involvement in Iraq. And their growing prominence will add a poignant note to Saturday's antiwar march and rally near the White House.

    Organizers of the protest, who anticipate a crowd of about 100,000, estimate that thousands of military families and veterans will join in the demonstration. Three busloads of military families have been touring the country since Aug. 31 and will converge on Washington today to promote Saturday's rally.

    In recent weeks, war supporters have been countering those bus stops, rallies and vigils with demonstrations of their own. They've got their own bus touring the country and are planning three days of counter-protests in Washington this weekend.

    Both sides embrace the slogan "Support our troops." They just disagree on how to do it. They also were inspired by the same person: Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in combat and kept a vigil near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Tex., through most of August.

    Because of Sheehan, "military families across the country are stepping forward to speak out" in support of U.S. policy, said Iowa state Sen. Charles W. Larson Jr., who recently served a year in Iraq with the Army. "You don't normally see people like this do that. They are angry and frustrated, and that is why they have become engaged in the debate."

    Sheehan also galvanized Phil and Linda Waste, who were riding one of the "Bring Them Home Now" buses through the hills of North Carolina last week. Their three sons, grandson and granddaughter are all in the military and have served a total of 58 months in Iraq, and the Wastes have white-knuckled their way through each of those tours of duty.

    They sat in their Hinesville, Ga., living room for months, cursing at the television reports from Iraq.

    "Then we saw Cindy in Texas," said Linda Waste, holding tight to the table's edge on the bumping bus. Her husband picked up her thought: "And then we heard people call her unpatriotic. And that was it."

    The Wastes finish each other's sentences and kiss each time they say "bring them home now" in unison. The people on the bus have started to call them Philinda.

    "It's something I've got to do. Otherwise, I can't live with the guilt of what I did to my sons," Phil Waste said. He served in the Navy and has the blurry, sagging tattoos to prove it. He never fought in a war and used the mechanical skills he learned in the military to earn a decent living repairing elevators. "I told them the military was a good place to start out, a good place to learn a skill." He shakes his head and begins to cry.

    The three buses have stopped in small towns and state capitals, the riders helping one another step onto makeshift stages to tell their stories and assure other folks that being antiwar doesn't mean being anti-soldier.

    "You wouldn't believe how many people in the military are relieved to hear us speak. It's like they have permission to be angry now," said Julie Cuniglio of Dallas, who comes from a large military family. She joined the bus tour in Crawford, mourning the death of her nephew, Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White, who was killed in May 2003 in Iraq.

    The antiwar tours have hit 51 cities in 28 states, covering the South, Midwest and North.

    Sheehan has met up with each tour at various times, flying from one city to the next, making quick speaking appearances and signing a few autographs.

    Some families have joined the tour for a few days. Others, such as Philinda, are in it for the long haul -- from Crawford to Washington in 24 days.

    Last week, the riders on the southern tour had been wearing the same clothes for days and were begging their chain-smoking, ex-Navy driver, who goes only by "Chito," to stop for a bite to eat. In some cities, like-minded families served them fried chicken and potato salad dinners and sometimes put them up for the night. Other nights, they slept on the bus or occasionally splurged for a cheap hotel.

    Sometimes, the mere threat of the tour barreling through town spurred people on the other side into action. In downtown Raleigh, N.C., a group of veterans quickly assembled a small rally to counter Sheehan's message. The antiwar tour never showed up at that spot, but Matthew Delk did.

    "I'm really not into going to protests. That's not me," said Delk, a beefy Iraq war veteran who spent weeks recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from burns on his hands and chest. A National Guardsman, he is the manager for Halifax County in North Carolina, and he was sweating in a charcoal suit far different from his desert fatigues. "As a soldier, I'm not supposed to get involved in this stuff. But I believe that our mission is a noble mission. And I feel like I had to come here and say my piece."

    Carolyn Culbreth, whose father is a retired Special Forces soldier, came to downtown Fayetteville on her lunch hour to meet the antiwar bus. "What they're doing is unpatriotic," Culbreth said, spangled head to toe in red, white and blue. "And in a place like this, it's just like a slap in the face."

    When Chito parked the Bring Them Home Now bus in the center of Fayetteville the next day, cars whizzing by it honked and drivers barked at the slogans all over the windows and sides.

    A woman in a silver Mercedes leaned out and shouted, "Go home!" A man in a red muscle car gave members of the group an obscene gesture. A soldier in a beat-up Olds Cutlass gave them a peace sign.
     
  2. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    Aren't the anti-war wackos proud to be tearing the country apart?
     
  3. theim
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    theim Senior Member

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    Waste. What a...fitting...last name. If Cindy Jews-Control-America-And-We-Are-Illegally-Occupying-New-Orleans Sheehan is patriotic, the word has lost all practical meaning.

    Well ain't that the cutest thing.

    :cry: :cry: :cry:

    Imagine that. Joining the military isn't all about job training and career opportunities after all.

    I will say this. Anybody who joins the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or what have you; just for the college money and never expects to, you know, do that "war" thing that soldiers sometimes do, is frankly not a very intelligent individual.
     
  4. theim
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    theim Senior Member

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    Very proud. That's why you have lefties like Gabbie who, if you remember, bragged about her parents helped to make America lose a war.

    I don't particularly know why. Maybe it's because America is the leading democracy in the world and they want revenge for the destruction of their favorite nation, the Soviet Union. Maybe it's because we're better than everyone else (they hate success. Remember John "Appallingly free of failure" Roberts?). Maybe it's because we're Christian. Maybe it's because we're mostly white. Maybe it's because we're rich and won't throw money at left-wing dictators to help fund their death-camp fueled utopias. I don't know and I don't care. All that matters is that they never gain power again. They may be funny now, what with talking about Bush they way crazier Muslims talk about Jews, but once they are in power they are downright dangerous.
     
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  5. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Ok, I'm just getting sick of hearing this. There are all these people out there protesting on behalf of the troops, trying to get them sent home. Now, there's a bunch of people protesting them, mostly the families of soldiers. Ok, I'm seeing lots of soldiers supporting the latter side and strongly opposing the former.

    I have a question for the protestors. I see a few family members of soldiers on their side, but how many actual combat soldiers are on their side? I have yet to see anybody who has actually been in combat give them anything other than a one fingered salute. Do they really think they represent the troops?

    Oh, and I also resent Sheehan's little broohaha being called a 'vigil.' 'Vigil' brings to mind a bunch of people lighting candles and praying. What Sheehan was running was a rant.
     
  6. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Some points.

    1. Many lefty anti-war folks aren't really against war, violence or bloodshed at all. They just hate America. So they use the opportunity to bash the red white and blue.

    2. And yet. The war is wrong. It is a Jewish war, and we should have no part in it. For white gentiles to die in it is a FUCKING SIN AGAINST GOD ALMIGHTY and everything right in the world.

    All of which leaves me in a tough position: a hard-righter against the war, but not because I hate America. Because I love America.
     
  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Trying to tear the country apart. They may yet suceed, but so far they are NOT!

    I know that is not what is getting to our service people, the headlines are. But I'm hoping the military is savvy enough to post the poll results. They tell the tale, that the media is trying to hide behind headlines...
     
  8. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    And a foul-mouth rant at that.

    :puke3: :blah2:
     
  9. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    Its gotten to the point of silliness that even the "hate bush" crowd in the military is sick of these protests. I mean, all they're doing is destroying the morale of the american people, which in turn infects our war effort with defeatism and doubt. How long before a soldier won't be able to walk down the street in uniform anywhere without being castigated by some know it all liberal or self-professed war expert?
     
  10. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    I can tell you that if I ever see any soldier being castigated while walking down the streeet in uniform, I will go ballistic! Of course, once I get arrested for beating the snot out of said castigator, I will claim PTSD...thought the bloody wretch was Viet Cong attacking a fellow soldier....
     

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