12-7: Army Stands Down at Standing Rock

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

[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 which is based on reporting at the Huffington Post.]

The News:

Army Halts Construction Of Dakota Access Pipeline

OCETI SAKOWIN CAMPGROUND, N.D. ― Federal authorities have halted construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline amid growing protests that were expected to draw some 2,000 U.S. military veterans.

The Department of the Army has denied the final easement required for the $3.8 billion project to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota … Instead, it will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement to examine the impacts and explore alternative routes …

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement: “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternative routes for the pipeline crossing.” …

The tribe and demonstrators have raised concerns about the threat the pipeline poses to water and sacred Native American sites….

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country “will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision,” Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II (said). He noted his hope that the incoming Trump administration would respect the decision….

Why did this happen?

I would like to believe:

  • It was the right thing to do.
  • The American government truly cares about the rights of all its citizens and the diversity of cultures that make us who we are.
  • The brutality already spewed against peaceful protestors (e.g., the use of water canon in the bitter Dakota cold) overstepped legal authority and common decency.
  • Native Americans are American citizens.
  • Native American culture must be preserved.
  • Peaceful assembly and protest are legitimate actions protected by the First Amendment.

And how about those Veterans?

I would also like to believe that the presence of Veterans who pledged to form a human shield between armed, uniformed agents of the Government and their indigenous brethren and fellow protestors had something to do with the Standing Rock decision. I don’t know if this decision is irrevocable or not—and I have already heard speculation that the incoming administration could, in fact, reverse it if it chose. For now, I want to believe that we who are governed have a say in how we are governed.

Pure courage was on display at Standing Rock. And the willingness of Veterans to stand so readily for this cause makes me proud.


The illustration at the blog’s top corner 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.e is an author and past Chaplain



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