18 January 2006


Ron Kovic. Born on the 4th of July. Remember? He was paralyzed during the Vietnam War, and he became one of the most outspoken critics of the war. Who can forget this man in his wheelchair, saying that he had been paralyzed from the chest down for no good reason, screaming and shouting to try to save the rest of his (our) generation from his fate?

Ron Kovic has written an article, which you can read here, at TruthOut. He has never recovered, neither physicaly nor emotionally. He knows that many of the soldiers who are being wounded now, in this stupid, senseless, Bush-ego-driven, corporate-profit-driven fiasco in Iraq, will never recover either. Further, he knows that this administration is hiding the truth from the American public, from us, the people who are forced to pay for this horror, whether that payment is in our tax money or in the blood of our citizens:

I, like most other Americans, have occasionally seen them on TV or at the local veterans hospital, but for the most part they remain hidden, like the flag-draped caskets of our dead, returned to Dover Air Force Base in the darkness of night as this administration continues to pursue a policy of censorship, tightly controlling the images coming out of that war and rarely ever allowing the human cost of its policy to be seen.

My mother, who served as a Marine during World War II, has told me about the soldiers she saw in the Brooklyn Navy Yard hospital -- their wounds, the horror of their surroundings, the hopelessness of their plight. We all have seen the wounded of Vietnam. So many of them have been maimed for life. So many drug addicts, so many amputees. And now, medical advances being what they are, many of the soldiers who would have died are living. Listen to Ron Kovic:

Is this what is awaiting all of them? Is this the nightmare no one ever told them about, the part no one now wants to talk about or has the time to deal with? The car accidents, and drinking and drug overdoses, the depression, anger and rage, spousal abuse, bedsores and breakdowns, prison, homelessness, sleeping under the piers and bridges. The ones who never leave the hospital, the ones who can't hold a job, can't keep a relationship together, can't love or feel any emotions anymore, the brutal insomnia that leaves you exhausted and practically unable to function, the frightening anxiety attacks that come upon you when you least expect them, and always the dread that each day may be your last.

We must all wake up. I don't know what we can do. I feel helpless, but I know that we must all be aware, and we must all be vigilant, watching for any opportunity to STOP this abomination, this war.


chittavrtti said...

This makes me think of all the Holocaust survivors and how when they are no longer amongst us how easy it will be to forget (how many remember Cambodia?). War is like that. Easy to put aside for the day to day--unless someone insistently voices the truth. Books like Jonny Got His Gun should be on all English class reading lists***CV

KSD said...


It's Me, Maven... said...

What a profound writer Mr. Kovic is. And like he said, so many folks who are over there now weren't even born before the day he became paralyzed. Myself? I was only in my mother's uterus for roughly a month or so by the time he was paralyzed.

The sick twisted thing here though is, that there is a limit to what we can do. One vote during election time, and a little activism. Not too much, given that McCarthyism is at a fevered pitch these days, you'll no doubt get black balled or on some list as a subversive.