Journal of the San Juan Islands


Ali’s famed reply still rings true | Letters

March 16, 2013 · Updated 1:17 PM

In The Journal, 3/6, Rick Steinhardt discusses the life values needed for a stable community (“Ties that bind are a matter of trust”, pg. 6).

I agree with his letter, with exception to his reference to the government and the armed forces.

Wars start at the top. It’s the people who fight and the people who pay. The top provides those unspeakable situations for our pristine boys to kill, kill, kill.

Upon survival they return home mentally damaged. Of those veterans returning from Vietnam, 9,000 chose suicide. Are those at the top criminals?

Historian H.G. Wells concluded after study of the rise and fall of empire: “We must get rid of the militarist, not only because he hurts and kills, but because he is an intolerable, thick-voiced blockhead who stands hectoring and blustering in our way to achievement.” The Mennonite preacher: “You can’t prepare for peace while preparing for war.”

Truman dropped “The” bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — 200,000. Curtiss Lemay fire-stormed Tokyo one night. No oxygen, 100,000.

WWII, the “Good” war, over 50,000,000. The continuing Iraqi, Afghan wars — with those drone bombings — who knows what carnage?

The Pentagon uses over 50 percent of each neighborhood’s tax dollars. The government and the armed forces are helping neighborhoods neither domestically nor abroad.

During the entire decade of the ‘60s, one famous statement became popular. If each of us and all those soldiers who were killed or maimed would have had the sensibilities to respond as Muhammad Ali did, that great wall in D.C., with those tens of thousands of names, would not be there today.

“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

Bob Weaver, Friday Harbor


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