grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
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The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Hear Dennis Kyne's address to the Fayette rally

Published with permission
March 24, 2005

Fayetteville Diary

A veteran confronts charges Fort Bragg was the wrong place to protest

By Dennis Kyne (photo of Dennis Kyne © 2005 Charles Jenks)

A veteran confronts charges Fort Bragg was the wrong place to protest
From a distance I heard Drew Plummer say, “Hey, Dennis!” He was standing in
the Porta Potty crowd, in the middle of a line that was on the end of ten
lines that were already twenty people deep. It was eleven in the morning and
it was packed; the rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina hadn’t even
started. In the distance, musician Ralph Baldwin, a Vietnam veteran, kicked
off the rally with a haunting song from his album, Hold Onto The Dream. I
knew right then, and I get goose bumps as I write this, that I was in the
right place, and this was definitely the right time. The South Carolina Stop
the War coalition marched in unannounced as the rally began. Buses from New
York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta and all points west arrived
continuously, unloading people who walked onto the rally area and created a
mass that organizers put at nearly 5,000 – far larger than the “small
gathering” reported by some media outlets the following day. Organizer Lou
Plummer said this was the biggest protest ever in Fayetteville.

The hot topic of the day was the simmering controversy over recent
statements by Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Manhattan-based soldier
advocacy group Operation Truth. Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran and a
favorite of media outlets from CNN to The New York Times, stated that
protesting in Fayetteville represented, “the height of insensitivity by the
anti-war organizations” due to its proximity to Fort Bragg, home to the 82nd
Airborne. On Air America last week, he repeated the charge, getting into a
heated argument with Unfiltered host Rachel Maddow. Aside from the
insinuation that troops are trained with sensitivity, it is an incredible
assumption to think that all troops on active duty are so dense they don’t
know we are there in their interests. One could very easily infer from
Rieckhoff’s rhetoric that we were there to spit and curse at the troops. But
there were no cries of “babykillers” coming from this crowd. In fact, there
was nothing but love for the sons and daughters sent to fight a war sold to
the public on a lie. Riechkhoff seems to forget that the organizations
hosting this event were all family members of service members who have died
in action or are currently serving. In addition, the organizations were made
up of many veterans, people who have served in both peace and wartime.
Rieckhoff, who is not an active duty soldier, is currently a 1st Lieutenant
in the New York State National Guard. Having spent fifteen years in the Army
myself, from 1987 until 2003, including service as a medic on the frontlines
of Operation Desert Storm, I can tell you, the only person insulting anyone
is Rieckhoff.

Drew Plummer had just returned from the Navy the day before, having battled
the machine long enough to know what it is doing to young women and men.
Drew enlisted during his last year in high school, just three months before
9/11. He was released from his military obligations last week after a
prolonged legal battle resulting from his exercise of the freedoms he
supposedly was fighting to protect. Home on leave, he had joined his father,
Lou, at an anti-war vigil. When an Associated Press reporter asked his
opinion on the war, Drew replied, “I just don’t agree with what we’re doing
right now. I don’t think our guys should be dying in Iraq. But I’m not a
pacifist. I’ll do my part.”

He paid the price. The Navy charged Drew with making disloyal statements,
under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. At his hearing,
he was asked if he “sympathizes” with the enemy or was considering “acts of
sabotage” against the U.S. military. He replied, no, and was convicted and
demoted.

Drew told me he had recognized early on that the war was waged under false
pretenses. He said, “One of the ways to end war is resistance from the
inside. We are making them aware with protests. Troops realize war is wrong
sooner or later, and they start the moves to get out.” This is what Drew
did, and he received more than fifty letters from around the country in
support. He’ll always be a hero to me.

So will Jose Couso, the slain journalist from Spain. Jose was hit by a U.S.
tank shell while inside the Palestine Hotel during the fall of Baghdad in
April 2003. Everyone in the world knew the hotel was where the world’s media
was operating out of. His brother, David, traveled from Madrid to
Fayetteville in his honor. With the aid of an interpreter, David told me,
“It is the right thing to do, when it comes to struggle you have to go to
them and invite them because it is open to everyone. This is not an issue of
confrontation, this in issue of invitation, we invite everyone to come.”

The majority of the people who arrived were from places other than
Fayetteville. That is not to say Fayetteville wasn’t alive, and Fort Bragg
soldiers and their family members weren’t speaking out just as hard, if not
harder, than the out-of-towners.

On the condition of anonymity, of course, having been told by commanders on
Fort Bragg not to get anywhere near the protest or else risk being punished,
there were members of the 82nd Airborne, both current and former present at
the protests. The 82nd Airborne is on a steady rotation to combat zones, and
Ann Roesler, who was staying in her son Michael’s apartment while he was off
fighting, had something to say about Rieckhoff’s statement as well. “Michael
is on his second rotation to Iraq with the 82nd. It is a crock of s*** what
Rieckhoff says. Many of the troops I have spoken with don’t believe in this
war. What Rieckhoff’s doing is creating a hornets’ nest, making things
worse.”

I concur, so does Ward Reilly, of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who
traveled from Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the event. Ward, a major organizer
of the Jazz Funeral For Democracy held in New Orleans earlier this year,
said, “One thing that separates us from them is credibility. They [Operation
Truth] have no credibility, what Rieckhoff is doing is straight Nixonian.
Talk about telling the truth, the Winter Soldiers’ testimony in 1971 was
telling the truth, which led to the pulling of money for the war. What
Rieckhoff is doing is participating in the division, knowing most likely
that power divides each to conquer both.”

Many simply asked, “What the hell is Rieckhoff doing?” Responses from
Military Families Speak Out, the “Gold Star” mothers and veterans of this
current war and many wars past said that Rieckhoff, a young man who is more
than likely loaded with good intentions, doesn’t have any idea what he is
doing. Rieckhoff wants to blame the White House and everyone else, when the
fact is everyone is accountable to the truth. What truth is his operation
telling? That the White House lied? Most people in Fayetteville knew that
before Rieckhoff ever deployed to Iraq.

Kevin and Joyce Lucey were telling the truth as they spoke to the thousands
of anti-war protesters. Kevin Lucey told of finding his son, Jeffrey, in the
basement of their home strangled with a garden hose. Jeffrey, who was only
23, had left dog tags of two Iraqi soldiers he said he was forced to shoot
unarmed on his bed. After hearing these remarkable parents, I was in tears –
so were many others.

Jeffrey’s fate is similiar to many of the 11,000 Desert Storm veterans I
served with who are now dead. As I climbed the stage, held the microphone,
and told the crowd I wanted to have a cry, I had to remind myself and the
thousands of listeners, “everyone in Fayetteville knows soldiers don’t cry.”
I spoke about depleted uranium and the fact that 18,500 Desert Storm
Veterans are incarcerated for rape or violent crimes in our federal and
state prisons. I mentioned these troops currently are coming home with
something deeper than PTSD, it is Soldier’s Heart (WWI), Shell Shock (WWII),
the 1,000 yard stare (Vietnam)? I asked, “What will they call it this war?”
As the crowd applauded and I left the stage, I was reminded that I was in
the right place and it was the right time. It was the right thing, and no
1st Lieutenant in the United States military, still collecting money in a
time of war, is going to pass himself off as truth-teller to me, or any of
the thousands of anti-war protesters I shared the day with in Fayetteville
on the second anniversary of an illegal invasion. While Rieckhoff, and
others, believe Fayetteville was the wrong place to protest; Drew Plummer,
the Luceys and thousands of others were down south saying, “Bring Them Home
Now, we don’t support an illegal war.” For most troops and their families,
that is the only operational truth worth telling.


Dennis Kyne is a military veteran who served for fifteen years in the U.S.
Army, and was a battlefield medic on the frontlines of Operation Desert
Storm, where he saw first-hand the effects of Depleted Uranium weapons and
PB Tablets. He is the author of the self-published memoir, Support the
Truth, and a musician. For more info, see www.denniskyne.com.

March 12, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks