December 17, 2010

Afghanistan: What the freak are our troops doing out in the middle of NOWHERE!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:08 pm

I just finally got around to renting “Restrepo,” Sebastian Junger’s excellent DVD documentary describing one U.S. Army platoon’s deadly year-long experience in the high mountain wilds of Afghanistan. This movie won the grand jury prize at Sundance. Here’s a link to its trailer:

And at one point early on in the movie, our brave Army platoon members pop into their various helicopters, tanks and Hummers and move off into the Korengal Valley — out in the middle of freaking NOWHERE. And I’m looking at this movie and I’m asking myself, “What in the freaking hell are our troops doing HERE!”

Then there’s that one first scene in the movie where an American tank is negotiating a narrow rocky mountain pass that had been obviously built originally for camels. Rock walls run straight up on your left side and absolutely nothing runs straight down on your right. This place makes Death Valley look civilized. You might as well be on the frigging surface of the MOON.

And I’m sitting here, in Berkeley, in front of my computer, watching Netflix, and I’m asking myself, “How the freak does having our troops over in THAT god-forsaken place make America any safer?” Like those primitive tribesmen over there are gonna jump onto their camels, lock and load their RPGs, swim the Atlantic ocean, take the I-80 across middle America, arrive in Berkeley unnoticed and endanger ME? Yeah right.

But what is really endangering me and my family right now? And your families too? Everyone here knows. It’s Wall Street and the banks, raids on Social Security. The military-industrial-academic complex, war profiteers, corrupt lobbyists and corrupt congressmen in Washington. A president who has sold out his base. Unemployment. Media that is owned by oligarchs. Lack of decent, free college education for our children. Subsidized agribusiness. And bleeding out in an over-crowded ER.


June 30, 2010

Screw Iraq, Afghanistan & Gaza: Let’s invade Detroit!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:36 pm

Returning from the 2010 Social Forum in Detroit, I saw several soldiers at the DTW airport, waiting for their flights. And once again I was struck by the thought that every American soldier seems to be a whole autonomous unit unto himself or herself. Every American soldier truly IS an “Army of One”. Highly trained, efficient, skilled, confident and respectful — these men and women in uniform are just the kind of people that Detroit really needs to get itself out of its slump. And every other city in America needs this caliber of person too.

So please tell me why, exactly, are these walking human resources being wasted way over on the other side of the world when their dedication and skill sets and — let’s face it — salaries and healthcare benefits are so desperately needed here at home?

No, we don’t need our soldiers’ weapons skills in places like the Gulf Coast states or the Rust Belt. But we do need their dedication and heart.

We need the Marine Corps’ skill sets. “The few, the proud.” We really do. And we need that kind of bravery and willingness to get the job done here rather than there.

Second Marine Regiment in Al Anbar. Tarawa. “Keep Moving.” I was there. I saw for myself what our Marines can do to help re-build a country.

We need our soldiers’ ingenuity, dignity and courage here at home, helping to put America back on track — not over in Afghanistan, not over in Iraq and not even over in Gaza — where the corporatists who run America pay the cream of Israeli youth to do their dirty work for them, wasting their young lives being thugs to the brutal Occupation instead of being honorable men who refuse to shoot babies at point-blank range.

When I see a soldier at an airport, I just want to go up and hug him. Or her. You think that our boys aren’t doing a good job? Then go see Sebastian Junger’s new documentary movie “Restrepo” ( That’s the kind of ability and dedication I saw demonstrated again and again and again when I was in Iraq.

These guys are good.

But we need these men and women’s dedication and skills here at home, not over on the other side of the world.

And we need to be paying these men and women to be using their skill sets here, in America, in civilian life — in a job corps as well as a Marine Corps.

Screw bailouts for bankers, oil executives, Wall Street schemers and global corporations with no ties or loyalties to our country. They have done nothing with the money that Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama gave them except to use it to rip us off even more.

Let’s take back all that money — and give it to our returning soldiers instead. Let’s fill up ALL of our airports with returning soldiers. We truly need this lost generation’s abilities here at home. Now.

PS: While I was at the Social Forum representing the Free Palestine Movement, my booth was next to a booth manned by Peggy Logue and her husband. Logue is another dedicated Marine Mom. And she was selling her new book, “Skin in the Game,” all about her Marine son’s experiences in Haditha and her conflict between wanting to support her son’s efforts and her moral obligation to try to stop the needless bloodshed caused by global corporate wars. “Intense, raw, and profoundly honest, ‘Skin in the Game’ illustrates the human side of war and the daily struggle for peace.”

At the Social Forum, I also talked with Kyle Kajihiro, a representative of the American Friends Service Committee ( in Hawaii, and he told me how the entire Pacific Rim area has become just another highly-militarized “American Lake” — to the benefit of global corporatists, not us.

Screw that.

We need skilled men and women here at home, not hunkering off somewhere in faraway places like Guam or Okinawa, defending rich people’s interests — not ours — because that’s the only job that our young men and women can get.

PPS: The Detroit airport is the only airport I have ever seen besides, of course, the Norita airport near Tokyo, where all signs are printed in both English and Japanese.

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