The American Renaissance

Baja Canada del Sur: Comedy and Comment in the Age of Occupation

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Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

found done in needlepoint on Mel's Front Porch: I Pledge Alligence to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it guarantees, One Nation, Undeniable, with Liberty, Truth, and Justice for All.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In for a penny, in for a pound

In the event you haven't noticed yet, I am, and have always been, profoundly opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. So I had to do something today, take what I consider a small risk, to support an Officer of the U.S. Army, who at risk of his own liberty, and the scorn and contempt of many other service members past and present, stepped up and proved he is a patriot.

If you are interested, there is a website in support of US Army Lt. Ehren Watada, on which I signed a petition of support. The following is my statement I included:

Thank you, Lt. Watada, for taking the oath to serve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America with the gravity it deserves. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude and support for your difficult decision. It takes a brave man to volunteer to defend his country. It takes an even more courageous man to make a stand in these peculiar and troubling times. My warmest regards.

I understand, as Lt. Watada himself does, the consequences of his actions, to himself personally, as well as the chagrin felt by many of veterans in response to his refusal to deploy. But he did not attempt to physically remove himself from the country, had no influential friends or relatives keep him out of harm's way, and stands prepared to accept whatever punishment the authorities deem fit.

I feel, even in these times when many of us wonder just how deep the insidious surveillence of private citizens goes, that it was important to me to stand in support. Would that the individuals who have currently usurped our highest civilian offices have shown the honesty, courage, and leadership of this lieutentant, as well as several other enlisted personnel who have calmly faced sanctions for their actions, our country assuredly would not find itself in its current position.

If you are interested in this continuing story, please see . The website in support of Lt. Watada is .


Blogger spadoman said...

I my opinion, ANYONE who stands up for their moral convictions is a courageous hero.

In this case, the soldier took a stand against this Iraq War. He decided that for him, it was not the right thing to do. I applaud him for making a decision and then following through to conviction.

It just so happens that I am also against this Iraq war. I am glad he decided to stand up for what he believes to be right.

To show this kind of courage no matter what the situation is profound. Be it war or another subject, politcal or apolitical. It is a courageous and brave person to make such a stand.

Thanks for the post and getting the story out.

4:21 AM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Some of the biggest changes come from on man or a small group standing up for what they believe.

I have hated this war since before it began. I listened to the weapons inspectors and they said there was nothing there. But the administration ignored the facts and decided to have a war on the backs and lives of others. The soldiers were sent to die based on a lie. It's time they spoke up and expressed themselves. Who would know better than they what it's like over there?

2:35 PM  
Blogger eProf2 said...

Facing a military prison is not a prospect I wish on anyone and to do so out of conviction earns my deepest respect. Inasmuch as he hasn't been ordered to Iraq yet, I hope his message will resonate with both civilian and military citizens. Good for you for taking a personal stand, too, and helping to spread the word on both the evil of this war and the plight of Lt. Watada.

8:10 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

Hi eprof, pop, and everyone else!
Some of you I know read my Memorial Day Quandry and this really strikes home.
I understand the commitment to principles. That is my guiding light.I also have a commitment to America and a commitment to my sons. All conflicting primarily because of Bush.
I understand the Lt. and back him 100% as long as principle is his guide. There is no way in hell I back anything at all that Bush has done period especially when it comes to the abuse and misuse of our military, which I might add is getting worse regularly.
With that said, I must say that every male member of my family has volunteered to serve the Nation since WW1.the Indian part of my family will be interesting to some day delv into.
Right now I have 2 son's in this and respect them for their service while at the same time respecting those whose principles for whatever reason will not allow them to serve.
You can understand my quandry. One is EOD and who knows where he is. For some strange reason he backs Bush to a fault. I don't know how but I say nothing.
Another son finishes flight school in 3 weeks. His unit is Deployed right now so who knows about him either. He though disagrees with Bush to a T but he is serving us and the Nation and that too is okay with me.
Quite a mixture of emotions and very confusing. The whole thing makes me think of brother against brother during the civil war.
Before I close I just want to say I agree with you 100%. I will leave it there as this is a pet peeve of mine, I have talked about it extensively, and I tend to get rather lengthy.

12:20 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

Thanks, folks. My being scared the NSA is gonna get after me for signing a petition might be paranoid; but I can't help myself. I just got off the phone wilth an old lady friend of mine in Arkansas, who still doesn't agree with me on everything, but understands we are still in America.

I told her if the Republicans still hold both houses of Congress after November, she should make a point herself of keeping up with me! I'm not sure I was joking...

Spadoman; don't wear your t-shirt to the bike round-up. My mother reminds me of throwing one's pearls before the swine...meaning don't swat people in the face that aren't going to listen anyway. I bet any bike romp you go to this summer, you will find like minded. At that point, yank ya T-shirt out of your saddlebag!

I did get in an arguement with my old friend from Arkansas, as I let her know I have an American flag hung upside down in my window. She was very upset thinking I was disrespecting the flag. She is still pretty upset with me.

I check and respect that flag every day. I'm flying it upside down because I feel I am a DISTRESSED AMERICAN. I love my country, and I feel those running it have no respect for America, the Constitution, or the real people here, any of us, without serious wealth. I screamed and hollered George W shouldn't be Gov of Texas; I screamed and hollered George W. shouldn't be President; I screamed long and hard that Osama and Saddam hated each other, and I screamed and cried with the rest of the KNOWN WORLD don't let my country invade Iraq.

Lot of fucking good it did.

I got no choice left but to support a guy who's done the right thing.

And that doesn't mean I don't support all the grunts, officer or enlisted, male or female, who have gone or will. I'm just saying it takes a courageous man to stand up. That he is a looey, takes even more guts.

And you guys thought Hawiaiians were just hula skirts, flowers, and luaa shows! Every place I've come across that seems mild, has fierce warriors. Principled as well. It's easy to throw a punch in anger. It takes a Human to know when not to (even when your friends laugh).

I think the beer is starting to talk...but what better time for that than Sunday Morning?

Thanks again folks for chiming in.

7:13 AM  
Blogger dada said...


Great post, great comment. I've been trying for a couple of days to locate my Howard Zinn book, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train"; to find the quote therein that so pertains to your 'standing before the tanks' on the square with the 1st American officer to decline to serve in Iraq. I didn't find the book, leaving me to ponder if it was one I had checked out of the library, or perhaps loaned to a friend.

Even with the vast resource of the internet I didn't find the exact quote I was seeking. But it's the one wherein Zinn assures us all the role of real patriot is to stand up to, and question, authority--always.

Yes, I've bastardized it here, and poorly, but I know this courageous officer is right, just as you are in supporting him. Saw him earlier this week on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.

Also, I related to your upside American flag, for we have one on our front door to serve as symbol for the distress we're living under. It's right next to a window with a sign that warns, "Danger: Free Speech Zone".

If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to drop by and we'll pop the lids of a couple of those great Northwest craft beers!

5:16 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

Good to hear from you, Dada...and good to know somebody knows what a deep message Distressed is. My Daddy got drafted back in the 50's, just missed the South Asian Adventure, and forbade any of his kids enlisting.

I was the rebellious oldest, but one that one topic, me and the old man did agree.

It's a bit funny, but my best friend swears he wouldn't sign a petition for shit. I don't screw with him (he's a law major, there's a someday lawyer I want on my side), but for me, the least I can do is go on the record.

There is a time, once in a while, where force is justified. I'm just a civillian, but I've in my time lived in some neighborhoods where I can honestly say I have heard a shot fired in anger.

This redneck girl still says we should never put boots on the ground WITHOUT dire cause. That's the least support we owe our military.

I went and put my flag up about a month and a half after the 2004 election. I do feel incredibly distressed. I don't think George Bush was honestly elected in 2000; I seriously think after the same nonsense in 2004, we have a man in the White House, proud to take wartime powers on a war he defines and doesn't even bother to give a possible end to...

The man who occupies the White House, and says he has unlimited war powers, has NEVER legitimately been the President.

There. I said it.

Hell. They can't shoot me dead but once.

6:52 PM  
Blogger spadoman said...

Right On Mel!!!

I will post and send a picture of the front of my shop soon.

I fly the American Flag, The POW MIA Flag and The Peace Sign Flag together.

People ask me what's up and I'll tell them. I know war, I want peace!

By the way, my biker friends in Texas are more liberal than they let on. They have the "look" of the redneck right, but think more along the lines of regular people who are sick of being lied to.

1:06 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

spado, I bet I'd recognize some of your Texas bike buddies; I had a knodding acquaintance with several of 'em because I'd see a lot of them at Travis Co. Democratic Conventions, as well as the state conventions in San Antone and Ft. Worth. Damn good people...if you run into anyone who was at the Texas State Dem Con in 2000, ask them if they remember the busted-down bike chick at the gas station; I tried to jine up with them out on the lake; but that pitiful sled I was on didn't even get me back to Austin! Had to be rescued in freakin' Hillsboro (my best friend was MAJOR pissed he had to come get me in the middle of the night...and still brought me a six-pack. I define that as love). Least the guys on the way to the lake bothered to stop and try to help; but when you're on a 10-year-old Suzuki 450 with rapidly multiplying electrical shorts, it's basically a two-wheeled junkyard. Road stories; what can you say? And avoid Hillsboro; not only is it a famous speed trap, it seems to be where everybody breaks down at. Not that I'm superstitious or anything.

spad, PoP, prof, Dada, Patroit; thanks to all, and I appreciate your well-thought-out comments. Especially this week; when Coulter comes out calling ANYBODY a harpie, sane noise is APPRECIATED.

I'm watching the end chase scene from the Blues Brothers as I write this. Folks, in the words of one Nazi in a Pinto station wagon to another, "I've always loved you."

(hut....hut hut...hut)

11:45 PM  
Blogger spadoman said...

Shit Mel.....The Blues Brothers is one of my favorites. I and all my children, can recite the whole damn dialogue!

"Mr. Man, Mr. Man, Are you the police?"

"No Maam, we're musicians."

Still got a scooter? Let's meet in New Mexico and ride to Texas. I'm going late in August for a few weeks.

4:12 AM  
Blogger meldonna said...

My friend, my wings are clipped. I've been without a sled since 2000; my ex, she bought her one about three years ago, and left it to me when she passed of cancer. I'm in Seattle, and that little red 'Zuki 650 sits in a garage in Austin. It's one of those uno cylinders, and I'm not even sure the girls have turned it over lately...I've never even seen it.

My bike these days is a Huffy 10-speed. Nothing wrong with relearning humble, but I do miss a crotch-rocket. I'm working on getting the bike up here (of course, it is a long story); if the goddess wants me to have that bike, it will happen...

It's been six years since I could just cut loose and run for a ride; and I sure would like to explore up here! That little 650 ain't fit for road, but would make a nice get-around to explore close to home. If it ain't just gone to seed. We'll see.

6:01 AM  
Blogger dada said...

Mel and spadoman: I'm enjoying your calling up old memories and sharing 'em. Reminds me of a few years ago, it was a very warm Taos day. Sitting outside on the little street front patio of the Taos Inn, I was sipping a cool beer when I espied a couple of biker women sitting a table or two away. They had just sat down and, as they were adorned in leather and looking rather hot (double entendre, I know, sorry), I couldn't resist chiding 'em just a bit by saying something like, "Look at these legs. These shorts I'm wearing feel really cool."

Well, a little verbal joust ensued, all in good fun, concluding with one of the biker girls saying to the other, "Yeh, you know, maybe we should just take his shorts and wear 'em to cool off." (Of course, I'd seen Brando's "The Wild One" and was familiar with those biker genre flicks so I became a bit nervous and embarrassed at that point, but I loved the titillation and tried to get my wife to appreciate it as well. But truthfully, I think it was all kinda lost on her.)

But on a more serious note, I'm having serious problems coping with this "support the troops" dilemma. I just finished reading about Sara Rich of Eugene, OR who deserted her unit when ordered back to Iraq for a second tour. I support this troop, as I support Lt. Watada. But I cannot in clear conscience support what our troops are doing in Iraq.

I used to cringe at those against this war years ago when they would preface their sentiments with the seemingly obligatory, "We know what a bastard Sadam is, but..."

Well, I'm tired saying how immoral this war is by appending some obligatory, "but I support the troops..." phrase.

And, yes, I did my three years in the army and, yes, I know how the military preys on that admirable quality of loyalty to one's fellow soldiers so characteristic of our youthful idealistic men and women.

One only need look at some kid in a military hospital missing his leg and feeling guilty for 'deserting' his comrades in Iraq, just itching to get back.

But this war is immoral. And the military is serving as the arm of Bush's bullshit. And when speaking out against it to others, I no longer feel the obligatory need to preface my doing so with, "but I support the troops," because I don't.

That said, however, I DO still support the troops. Troops like Watada, Rich, army Chaplain James Yee, etc. with the conscience and courage to refuse to violate their principles.

Okay, I hope this hasn't earned me "persona non grata" status. Thanks for letting me vent, Mel.

5:36 AM  

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