12-1: Veterans to Stand with Sioux against Pipeline

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece derives from two sources: The Daily Kos (Walter Einenkel) and Facebook (Veterans Stand for Standing Rock).]

Veterans’ Place in Society

Veterans are not monolithic. Yet 99% of Americans—i.e., those who never have nor ever will serve in the military—seem to treat us that way. Different. They laud us on Veterans Day and Memorial Day with honorifics such as “brave” and “best”; but, really, after that it’s pretty much “out of sight, out of mind.” For me, that’s pretty muck okay.

War veterans share a lack of say in the validity, morality, or righteousness of the war(s) in which they were engaged. Whether enlisted or drafted, the combat soldier goes where told, acts as ordered, and ultimately lives or dies in service of country. Politicians wield the power to send “us” to war, but they never send themselves and rarely offer this unique chance for glory to members of their own families.

Different Rules for the Military

Members of the military conduct themselves according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a code which severely alters the way they live. A soldier cannot just leave a duty station and go home without permission, for example, anytime he pleases; if he did, he would be declared AWOL (away without leave) and subject to punishment under the code. So, then, soldiers learn to comport themselves within the confines of that code. Moreover, the soldier confronts at all times the chain of command, from his immediate superior all the way up to the commander-in-chief.

Having served within the confines of the UCMJ for a predetermined period of time, the soldier separates from the military with an Honorable Discharge, honor being the operative word. And this is how veterans should be perceived, as men and women of proven honor. The story below depicts how people of proven honor can and do continue to serve the America—and Americans—they love: no chain of command, no “official” code of conduct required.

December 4-7, 2016

2,000 Veterans plan to be a “human shield” for the North Dakota Pipeline activists

As more and more signs point towards the government trying to strong-arm Dakota Access Pipeline protectors and activists in the coming days, a movement called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock  plan on lending their help and their bodies.

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said….

The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they would begin blocking supplies, including food, from entering the main protest camp after an evacuation order from the governor, according to Reuters. But protesters have vowed to stay put.

It is Native American land!

The veterans’ efforts also coincide with the Army Corps of Engineers plans to close off access to the movement’s campsite by creating the Orwellian-named “free speech zone.”

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Michael A. Wood Jr., and founder of the veterans’ event, said in an interview.

Veterans Overwhelming Response to Call for Justice

Wood Jr. … was bowled over when, in asking for 500 veterans sign up, he found himself having to cap the event at 2,000. The veterans participating want the U.S. government to reveal what it is really about. Are they going to continue totalitarian and violently oppressive tactics or are they going to recognize that the citizens did not and still do not agree with this pipeline plan?

For me this is a stand worth taking, a battle worth fighting. How pathetic it is that American and Native American men and women of honor must face down uniformed agents of our own government on American soil.

From Facebook:

Veterans Stand for Standing Rock

Event capacity based on accommodations, travel logistics and supplies … has been set at 2,000 rostered participants…. If you’d like to contribute to this mission please consider donating/sharing to our GoFundMe https://www.gofundme.com/veterans-for-standing-rock-nodapl. All funding is dedicated to transportation, supplies, gear, onsite infrastructure and legal fees. Our team is made up exclusively of volunteer Veteran and Civilian self organizers dedicated to our mission of service. Zero salaries, Zero marketing….

IMPORTANT REMINDER: This event (and this event page) will not tolerate hate, violence or divisive behavior of any kind. We’re doing this to support our country so lets do it with honor….

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

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