Respecting the summer of love AND the vets

Kevin Cole (
Sun, 31 Aug 1997 22:03:38 -0400

Miles wrote:
<Secondly, I've read my post over and over and I can't find anything
that "disses" anyone. This was a political statement and although some
of the thoughts
expressed seem to be unpopular, it is beyond me how any of it was seen

This is wordplay, Miles. Consider:
>>Certainly, nothing can be said in defense of those GI's who enlisted.
> > For the most part they were real, born-again believers in Amerika
and they
> > went off willingly to kill the "slope-head commie-gooks".
How can this be construed as other than personal?

Miles wrote:
<I believe that my thesis was not "simplistic" it was "simple." Anyone
who survived the 60's and still around today to try and remember it
that very little in life, political or not, is uncomplicated. >

A thesis that means something in this case would either mirror the
complexity of the situation or it would in the depths of its profundity
clarify the issues beyond debate. Your thesis -- that the GIs were
commie-gook-killers, is neither.

Miles wrote:
<The complexities, complications and nuances of life which went into
each soldier's decision to enlist, or become inducted, as important as
it was
to that specific individual, is not relevant in viewing the personal
itself and it's consequences and responsibilities.>

I'm sorry, this doesn't make any sense. To understand those
complexities is to honor them, and to honor them is to avoid dismissing
them in service to an oversimplifying position.

Miles wrote:
< As far as I know, there is no killer in me.>
The proclamation of a sophomore. None of us is off the hook on this
one, Miles. Smacks of Ethan Brande. Even the Buddha cultivated

Miles wrote:
<Wasn't there a difference between the killing that the NVA and VC
engaged in, while defending their country from US invaders, and the
killing that was done by the

This is a straw man. It wasn't that simple and it never is. You too
would fight to protect your buddies and put everything else out of mind,

given the right circumstances, and all these nice clean historical
abstractions wouldn't mean shit.

Miles wrote:
<Yes, indeed some people warrant compassion and others don't. Some just

warrant pity and some deserve only disdain. Do you have compassion for
vets who engaged in activities like Lt. William Calley?>
You're damned right I do. Compassion doesn't defend, however.

Miles wrote:
<I am innocent of blame and I dare say so are you!>

Wrong! Miles you are not off the hook. The complicity was and is
corporate, in the national sense. Complicity touches you in ways you
can't even imagine, our economy and political system are that complex.
It is very similar to your complicity (if you are white) in the
still-bleeding wounds of the Blacks because of their getting fucked out
of forty acres and a mule during reconstruction. Whites continue to
this day to materially benefit from that. The machine confuses your
vision, makes it hard for you to see it. But we benefit none-the-less.
Same with the war.

Miles wrote:
< I don't bear an ounce of guilt about American slavery. My people
didn't get here from Eastern Europe until about 60 years
after the Civil War.>
Unclear thinking. See the note above. To step foot on these
shores and to make a living as a white person is to be stained with that

blood. My grandparents all arrived circa 1910 also.

As survivors of the era, we owe it to ourselves and our children to
fight against clouding the details. You seem well-aware of the way
monied political machines manipulate language -- the very medium of
thought -- in service to their agendas. They count on people becoming
anaesthetized by their own cliches. That's a large part of what makes
it possible for it all to keep happening over and over. Remember that
the hippies became the yuppies, who elected Reagan, who invaded Grenada,

and Bush, who invaded Panama and Iraq. These latter-day situations were

even more futile wastes of blood than was Vietnam, if that's possible.
It keeps happening so long as we let them forget. Get closer to that
killer in you. See how easy he is to reach. That's how you can
contribute to stepping up the vigilance. Never again.


Kevin C Cole