PALESTINE The Gaza Economic Crunch
A Secret History of Dissent in the All-Volunteer Military
The All-Volunteer Force (AVF) exists for a reason captured in a study by Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., author of the "definitive history of the Marine Corps," published in Armed Forces Journal in 1971. The U.S. military in Vietnam was at that moment at the edge of chaos. As Colonel Heinl put it, it was experiencing "widespread conditions... that have only been exceeded in this century by the French Army’s Nivelle mutinies of 1917 and the collapse of the Tsarist armies [of Russia] in 1916 and 1917." In fact, statistics flowing back to Washington about the American war machine in Vietnam then pointed toward an unimaginable nightmare. Drug use was rampant; desertions stood at 70 per thousand, a modern high; small-scale mutinies or "combat refusals" were at critical, if untabulated, levels; incidents of racial conflict had soared; and strife between "lifers" and draftees was at unprecedented levels. Reported "fraggings" — assassination attempts — against unpopular officers or NCOs had risen from 126 in 1969 to 333 in 1971, despite declining troop strength in Vietnam. According to Colonel Heinl’s figures, as many as 144 antiwar underground newspapers were being published by, or for, soldiers. And most threatening of all, active duty soldiers in relatively small numbers (as well as a swelling number of Vietnam veterans) were beginning to actively organize against the war.
Rebuilding efforts in St. Bernard Parish, a small community just outside New Orleans, have recently gotten a major boost. One nonprofit focused on rebuilding in the area has received the endorsement of CNN, Alice Walker, the touring production of the play The Color Purple, and even President Obama. But an alliance of Gulf Coast and national organizations are now raising questions about the cause these high profile names are supporting.
Eight years ago, 2,600 people lost their lives in Manhattan, and then several million people lost their story. The Al Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers did not defeat New Yorkers. It destroyed the buildings, contaminated the region, killed thousands, and disrupted the global economy, but it most assuredly did not conquer the citizenry. They were only defeated when their resilience was stolen from them by cliches, by the invisibility of what they accomplished that extraordinary morning, and by the very word "terrorism," which suggests that they, or we, were all terrified. The distortion, even obliteration, of what actually happened was a necessary precursor to launching the obscene response that culminated in a war on Iraq, a war we lost (even if some of us don’t know that yet), and the loss of civil liberties and democratic principles that went with it.
Most Racist Article of the Year Award 2009, presented to Correo newsaper, Peru.