Hang Up on War


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“Darrell Anderson, a young Iraq War veteran, called someone at a local Portland, Oregon college to check out a program advertised to help veterans. Darrell was wounded by an insurgent bomb, has a Purple Heart, and refused a direct order to shoot at a vehicle approaching his checkpoint—a car with an unarmed mother and her three little children, as it turns out. Darrell was so disgusted and dismayed by his government’s war on Iraq that, after one tour, he refused another direct order—to return…..”

Author: Tom H Hastings, a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon, and co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association
Published in: Oregon Herald
Date: December 8, 2007

Read the full article:
Hang Up on War
(522 words)
by Tom H Hastings
Darrell Anderson, a young Iraq War veteran, called someone at a local Portland, Oregon college to check out a program advertised to help veterans. Darrell was wounded by an insurgent bomb, has a Purple Heart, and refused a direct order to shoot at a vehicle approaching his checkpoint—a car with an unarmed mother and her three little children, as it turns out. Darrell was so disgusted and dismayed by his government’s war on Iraq that, after one tour, he refused another direct order—to return.
Darrell went to Canada for more than a year instead, ultimately coming back to face the music, but the pipes were silent. The Army decided to go low profile and give him a quiet out, no prosecution, no court case. Recruitment numbers are hard enough to attain—they didn’t want the publicity that comes with a soldier’s condemnation of a military occupation.
We continue to hear that we need to stay the course, finish the job, and generally continue to feed the elite war profiteers who have gulped our national treasure to the tune of $10 billion each month for years, all so Iraq can be amongst the poorest, most corrupt, and least law-abiding nations on Earth. One more season will finish the fifth year of U.S. occupation and we find that only Somalia and Myanmar—a collapsed state and a pariah military dictatorship—have worse indices than our prize project, Iraq, according to Transparency International, a global economic corruption monitoring group.
Does this give pause to our lawmakers who continue to vote additional scores of billions of your tax dollars to this failed effort? The Democrats vote for more and more war funding right alongside the Republicans. At each fresh round of lies, another excuse for the occupation pops up, exactly as they used to when I was a young man during the U.S. occupation of Vietnam.
The exceptionalism in the language of this administration—”We will not hesitate to act alone…” (National Security Strategy), “our security will require…preemptive action when necessary” (Bush at West Point), and many more examples—means that the United States has arrogated unto itself the role of Ruler of the World.
Congress votes for this, against the wishes of the American people, and we must ask ourselves how we can return these people to power? After they betrayed us following our 2006 mandate for change, can we vote them back into office? If we can, we convince the world of our contempt for the rule of law and our disregard for the lives of the children of the world. We give dictators comfort as we sully the very concept of democracy, and we feed the war system, a system only good for a tiny class of war profiteers enriching themselves while the rest of us pay with our labor and our blood.
When Darrell Anderson called the local college-housed program for vets, the woman who answered told Darrell his best bet was to go back into the military. Darrell reacted with revulsion, told her so, and hung up. When will the rest of this country hang up on this war?

Tom H Hastings, is a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon, and co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.