Veterans for Peace Must Confront Veterans for War Honestly, Educationally on Veterans Day

Turn Veterans Day into ‘Veterans Mourn Those They Killed Day!’ This should be the correct attitude of peace activists on Veterans Day.

It has been more than six decades since America fought a defensive war. Peace organizations going along with honoring veterans of previous wars in poor countries after WW II appear NOT to be against war in principle, rather only against the current wars we are losing. Calling for peace while permitting our now permanent war military establishment to turn all national holidays into celebrations hailing all U.S. wars, past and present, is contradictory.

What does it take? Peace activists are weary of quoting Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Eugene Debs, General Smedley Butler, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Zinn, and the voices of today’s dissenters who are wise to the homicide for lies and money that has be going down for the last sixty-five years.

Tired of calling attention to Mohammed Ali having led the country in an inspiring way by refusing to eventually become a veteran of mass murder.

Tired of gritting our teeth watching militarized Network News promoting war to our children and gullible citizens.

Tired of the hypocrisy of religious leaders backing present wars. Evangelists on TV carefully avoiding the theme of Jesus’ nonviolence teachings because they conflict with the mainstream ‘patriotic’ mindset of permanent self-righteous counter-terror on terror. In the United States there is a separation of Jesus and state; of Moses’ Fifth Commandment and state; separation of Buddhist meditation and war; separation of the teachings in the Qur’an and what is going on in America.

How can any knowledgeable veteran march in parades that in reality are like an ‘Honor Warriors of Immoral and Illegal Wars Day’, ‘Honor the Pentagon Day’, ‘Honor the CIA Led Assassins Day’, ‘Honor Lying Presidents Day,’ ‘Honor War Mongering Media Day’ ’Honor Clergy Who Blessed War Day?’

How can antiwar groups allow themselves to be intimidated by traditions that are now long used to support foreign policies of war on the Third World.

Cannot every citizen of antiwar persuasion have the courage to honor Americans who fled to Canada, rather than those who dishonored themselves and became veterans of crimes against humanity?

How can a veteran like this writer be a traitor to our deceived dead buddies, disgracing them by honoring on Veterans Day their having been suckered into dying while killing innocent foreign brothers and sisters in their very own homes.

Enough! Away with our hypocrisy and shaming ourselves in embarrassment, unable to confront ignorance, fear and manipulation by media for the amoral and homicidal bankers who own the government.

Citizens against war! Don’t show indiscriminate respect for all veterans. We veterans know that many of us even followed criminal orders on top of participating in unjust wars in places like Vietnam.

Veteran! Denounce your veteranship if you know you ‘served’ killing innocent people in a dishonorable, illegal, undeclared war. Be determined to know, to learn, how you were duped, tricked, hyped into ‘service’ in dishonorable wars costing the lives of millions of innocent human beings.

And if you think there was anything moral in the particular war you fought in after World War Two, study encyclopedia Britannica articles and read CIA files released under the Freedom of Information Act. Read Pentagon published material. Read only what is documented to order to unlearn what the TV networks, radio and tabloid newspapers sold you on.

On Veterans Day, remember the informed and strong willed who cried “Hell no, I won’t go!”  Be conscious of our own ‘Damn, I shouldn’t have gone!’ regret.

Speaking out against the glorifying of war intention of Pentagon-fed corporate media programming on Veterans Day should come easy for veterans who have had the courage to brave death in the confusion of unjustified imperialist wars.

Am I, as a veteran, going to march unwanted in another egotistical display of honor for ourselves while phony wars go on? Wars of killing anyone designated a suspected insurgent against our occupation of his country – labeling him or her a terrorist just like we used to label a targeted person communist?

We did our ‘service’ in helping put the equivalent of thousands of 9/11s on the heads of people in poor countries that never attacked the U.S. None of these poor countries ever got back at us until 2001. If the Vietnamese and all the other small nations we invaded since World War Two can forgo justice and getting revenge, why can’t our big deal exceptionally great America?

Politically awakened veterans must teach our pro-war fellow veterans some history, not to mention morality, ethics, humanity and true patriotism. Not the patriotism of scheming bankers and their Military Industrial Complex, their media and their secret CIA, but defense of the nation from war profiteers’ patriotism.

No! No Veterans Day for me. Instead, a day for veterans to mourn participation in killing, maiming and damage done invading the lands and lives of others.

Let knowledgeable, compassion-motivated veterans turn the tables on the war industry and recreate Veterans Day into VETERANS MOURN KILLING DAY.

If anyone cannot see at least the logic in the all the above, we seven would like to know. The seven being Jay Janson and his six bunk-mates buried in North Korea, who would be pissed if someone tried to ‘honor’ their being tricked into dying trying to kill Koreans in Korea.

Before they died, they knew they had been suckered. All six did not want to kill Koreans, even go to Korea, which they knew nothing about. Nothing about our dictatorship in the South’s massacre of tens of thousands of men, women and even their children during the years BEFORE the Koreans of their northern government swept the South, welcomed by many, the southern government conscripts deserting or refusing to fight.

My six buddies would understand why today there is a unrelentingly severe military dictatorship in the northern part of Korea, knowing what we did in both northern Korea and southern Korea, flattening almost every city, town and village from the air, threatening to drop the Atomic bomb on Koreans still fighting us, more than a million of them dying north of the line dividing the Korea nation, and all this happening AFTER Korea had already been unified in six quick weeks.

Would that my six bunk-mates could know of Communist (capitalist) China today and the nearly peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union. Know it was not necessary for them and two-and-a-half million Koreans to die for a political Cold War confrontation with a USSR that would cease to exist anyway.

For them and others to have died fighting millions of so called communists in small countries that were former Japanese or French colonies is sad. That my buddies and many millions of good people could be alive today but for successful lies spread in media. Were they alive, I would tell them of how Korea was divided by the U.S. and how, after the First World War, President Wilson officially recognized the Japanese claim that Korea was Japanese territory by the right of conquest.

We seven were veterans of what exactly? Veterans of blind service to those who invest in and promote wars for profit? Of an undeclared war on a poor country?

Forget it! Better VETERANS MOURN KILLING DAY! And I have some friends who are veterans of the only legal war, World War II, that would be glad to join in because they know Rockefeller, Ford, du Pont, and just about every big U.S. industrialist invested heavily into building up Nazi Germany (while my dad sold apples on a street corner in depressed and jobless America.)

Come on, Americans, especially fellow veterans! It’s normal to mourn any death, isn’t it? We can have a day to mourn violent death instead of praising those who brought it overseas in our name.

Jay Janson, spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, including with Dan Tai-son, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh,and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, our ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, "killed by the Americans" they would mention simply, with Buddhist un-accusing acceptance. Jay can be reached at: Read other articles by Jay.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rosemarie jackowski said on November 11th, 2010 at 11:55am #

    I am a member of VFP and those in my Chapter agree with you and go even farther. One member has suggested that the troops be arrested for war crimes as they return home.
    Not everything the USA did in WW2 was legal under international law. Remember the bombing of civilians.

  2. hayate said on November 11th, 2010 at 10:33pm #

    November 11 used to be Armistice Day in the usa, a holiday about ending war. Not promoting it, as the current american veterans day holiday does. That was the intention of changing the holiday all along. Cant have a peace holiday in a fascist country being geared up for perpetual war.

  3. Angie Tibbs said on November 12th, 2010 at 6:01pm #

    A truly passionate and brutally honest article, Mr. Janson, which had me in tears. Thank you.

    I have refrained from going out to watch the Remembrance Day parade for the past several years because I find myself thinking of those killed by “us” in their own countries and their own homes. And I wonder who, if anyone, is marching for them on 11 November.

    Your reference to your six bunk mates brought to mind Eric Bogle’s “The Fine Young Men”, wherein he sings (in part):

    They told all the fine young men
    “When this war is over
    There will be peace, and the peace will last forever”.
    In Flanders Fields, of Lone Pine and Bersheeba
    For King and Country, for honour and duty
    The young men fought and cursed and wept and died

    Check out the lyrics at: