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This week in New World Notes, #66, June 2 & 5:
I knew the Vietnam War could not last much longer when I saw news photos of members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War hurl their combat medals back onto the Capitol grounds. By then the VVAW's ranks included many soldiers still on active duty. In Vietnam, some American soldiers even sewed the VVAW patch to their uniforms.
"What are they going to do to me?" asked one of them. "Send me to Vietnam?" (NWN # 15).
Our soldiers' rebellion against a b.s. war also took forms that received less publicity than the VVAW: more than a half-million desertions; sabotage, GI-produced underground newspapers, rampant drug use, and much more "fragging" than we were led to believe.
Fragging was the killing by enlisted men of their gung-ho or reckless junior officers (following two or three more subtle notices that a change in attitude was recommended).
As we saw in the run-up to the Afghanistan invasion, the run-up to the Iraq war, and now the run-up to the Iran War, the ruling elite now feels entirely comfortable in ignoring massive protests by civilian citizens against its policies. And ignoring clear mandates from the voting booths (2006 and 2008).
Rebelling soldiers are harder to ignore. And rebelling officers might even get some news coverage!
Meanwhile, back at the kibbutz . . .
IDF Air Force Reserve Maj. Yonatan Shapira and
his Apache "assault and rescue" helicopter
In Israel, conscription is close to universal for citizens of both sexes, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)--the military--is held in very high regard by citizens. Yet even here, many soldiers, sailors, and airmen--including many officers--refuse to participate in the occupation, colonization, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine that has been underway without pause for many decades.
Some have their wish granted. With a wink and a nod from their commander, they are.assigned to serve only within Israel's 1967 borders. And some are thrown in jail. All are called, and call themselves, "Refusers." They are supported by several Israeli organizations including Yesh G'vul ("There Is a Limit"), New Profile, Courage to Refuse, and Combatants for Peace.
Major Yonatan Shapira is a Jew, a patriotic Israeli, the child of a career-military family, and an IDF helicopter pilot (now retired). In this week's installment he tells the fascinating story of his slow transformation into a Refuser.
Although he has no love for Hamas, he slowly came to understand why some members might become terrorists. He began to see that, in Palestine, his beloved IDF was failing to abide by its own professed principles. And he came to see that the Palestinian Resistance and Israel were, together, perpetuating a "circle of revenge" that was destroying both sides.
As he memorably says, "I was going to the Air Force course in order to become a pilot in the Israel Defense Forces . . . not the Israel Revenge Forces." He was pleased to discover that many of his fellow IDF pilots, and some of their commanders, saw things as he did.
This talk shows the transformation of an unthinking warrior into a citizen-soldier ready to defend his country . . . only. It also reveals many interesting details about warfare in the 21st century.
This week's music:
- Chumbawamba, Walking Into Battle With the Lord
Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):
- June 9--Support the Troops! (the government's betrayal of soldiers & vets)
- June 16--George Galloway on War and Occupation
Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):
- Tuesdays, Noon to 12:30 PM, WWUH-FM 91.3 (West Hartford, CT) & http://wwuh.org/
- Fridays, 7:30 to 8:00 AM, WHUS-FM 91.7 (Storrs, CT) & http://www.whus.org/
- Saturdays, 7:00-7:30 PM, KRFP-FM 92.5, Radio Free Moscow (Moscow, ID) & http://www.radiofreemoscow.com/
- Any time: Listen to or download any installment ... or subscribe to a podcast ... at A-Infos Radio Project: http://www.radio4all.net/index.php?op=result&action=series&series=New+World+Notes
- www.refusersolidarity.net [Includes links to the four support organizations cited]
- www.btselem.org/English/index.asp [Focus on civil rights in Occupied Palestine]