Re: vets/antiwar

Fri, 12 Sep 1997 18:28:35 -0400 (EDT)

I respect enormously Marc Adin's courage and commitment as he recounts
his antiwar efforts and what he went through in Vietnam. I can
especially relate, since my brother was among those antiwar protestors
who lost 2-s deferments (in his case, briefly enough, thanks to ACLU,
that he did not get sent to Vietnam). I am sure Marc and many, US
soldiers in Vietnam tried to protect lives and were decent and
courageous indeed.

Nor do I question that, most the time, antiwar protests here did not
lead to death.

But it is WRONG to say the antiwar protestors therefore lacked
equivalent courage. This is so obvious I'm not sure it even needs
saying. During years of antiwar protest in the SF Bay Area, I saw
many, many elderly women and men, students, highschool students,
you-name-it, stand up, unarmed, unflinching, to: National Guard
carrying sub/machine guns (I'm not expert what those things were, but
they were big); riot-helmeted police wielding nightsticks, mace,
teargas;police on horseback (in one demo. in SF); weapons trucks with
drivers who wouldn't slow down; "hecklers" with, and in a few cases
shooting, shotguns (cf. Port Chicago and the Clyde townfolks 1966);
and so on. Most of us NEVER knew at a demonstration what level of
violence the police would react with. Arrest and jail is not getting
one's head blown off, no, but how do you measure courage? (For a
person of the age of some older demonstrators--the age some of us now
are/approcach--a stay in jail was pretty harsh healthwise, N.B. )

Well, and so on. Not to mention giving up ambitions, wrenching
changes of identity, trying to live each day in a new way according to
ideals that placed some pretty heavy demands on self, etc.

We respect your courage, Marc. Understand ours.

Paula Friedman