As We Begin Another School Year...and War Continues ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As We Begin Another School Year...and War Continues

(Rightwingers seem to like students protesting for freedom and peace when it's done in Communist countries, but not when they do it here at home....)

Almost four months ago, before we had even considered $4 per gallon gasoline, CP reacted to the suspension of students at Annapolis High School who briefly interrupted the school day by sitting in a hallway to protest the war in Iraq. A number of conservative, or I should say hyper-conservative, far-right bloggers got angry and launched into another one of their orchestrated tirades and personal attacks against me because they don't like what I have to say. I thought that with school about to start, we might consider that piece again (and perhaps make the far-right war mongers angrier)so it is republished for you below.

"Students Protest War, Briefly Disrupt School, Get Ten Days Suspension"

I suppose the odds are not too high that as soon as you graduate high school, you might get sent to Iraq where you can supposedly defend freedom. That's because we don't have a draft, which if we did, we might not have a war, or we might see it differently. Furthering that argument, if we were forced to pay for it NOW, we might not be having it either. But closer to home at Annapolis HS, we learn that three students who briefly sat down in a hallway to protest the war, got cuffed by police and sentenced to ten days of suspension.

Okay, let's put this into perspective. More US soldiers have died in Iraq than there are students that go to Annapolis HS. We have been fighting in Iraq for longer than it takes someone to graduate high school. We let students go to high school, then we ship them off to Iraq to kill and be killed. Our schools suffer from lack of funding, our economy is teetering, the dollar is weakening, people are losing their homes, our international prestige is sliding away, gas prices are soaring, many AHS students live in housing projects where they hear gunshots--and get shot and even murdered.....and we have to lock up a few students for sitting in a school hallway.

Contrast this to the Vietnam era when we had a draft and for most purposes, had to pay for the war. The young people went nuts, and their protests eventually brought about an end to the war. And our country seems to have collective amnesia about every lesson we should have learned from that folly.

So, after all these years in Iraq, trillions squandered and many thousands dead,we seem to forget all the lies foisted upon us by Bush and Cheney Incorporated. Instead, we take a few students who sat down peacefully and suspend them for ten days. Perhaps, yes perhaps, if cooler heads prevail, we'll get a massive student protest going and maybe we'll shut the whole school down for ten days. That might make a point. As the parent of an Annapolis HS student, I'm all for it. It might make the lessons my son is learning about US government and history all the more meaningful. And if he gets suspended for ten days, we'll go visit all the war memorials in Washington, stroll among the gardens of stones at Arlington, visit our Senators and Congressman to protest. He might learn more than he does in school.

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Anonymous said...

If I may take issue with one seemingly innocuous sentence in your blog...that protests ended the Vietnam War. I'm sure that the Baby Boomers would like to believe that marching and shouting tired slogans brought a war machine to its knees. However, in reality it was the longevity of the war coupled with the ineffectiveness of the South Vietnamese government to effectively contribute to the war effort that eventually caused even the Secretary of Defense to declare the war unwinnable. So I think that we can accurately compare the war in Iraq to the Vietnam conflict, but it's ridiculous to say that the protests ended the war.


Paul Foer said...

Tim: I am sure that historians must argue about this one, but the effects of the "war at home" should not be underestimated. Domestic protests had an impact and our country was being torn apart. It may not have been as severe here in 1968 as it was in Paris but millions of young people and of course many others, who were opposed to the war and who asserted themselves made a difference. It had a major impact on policy. If our people had gone blindly along with the policies of the Democratic and Republican presidents and lawmakers who brought us the war, I think it is safe to say that it might have been fought very differently and it may have gone on and on...or it may have even ended with an overwhelming US victory--if we had been docile and tolerated the wholesale slaughter there and the bodybags here. Perhaps it was a stretch to say that protests ended the war, but the point is that citizen protest made a difference and we can still make a difference today. War, violence, civil and human rights abuses abroad have a way of bringing those same injustices to home. During Vietnam, our government was waging war against many citizens at home. I wonder how today compares?
Some will say that we have thankfully put Vietnam behind us and that attitude allowed us to invade Iraq. I say the opposite. We never learned the lessons from Vietnam.

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