Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day With Bill Hedrick


Yesterday when I woke up and opened my e-mails I found one from Bill Hedrick urging that Americans using Memorial Day as "a time of reflection on the sacrifices made by members of the military in wars and conflicts at home and around the globe." He noted with regret that "some will merely note it as a day without work or school. Perhaps they will think of it as the beginning of summer.  However, Memorial Day should call our attention with laser-like focus and clarity-- not only on the sacrifices of the past, but on those of the present as well."

Bill is running for Congress in California's Inland Empire (CA-44) against an incumbent so profoundly corrupt that even Fox News, in their special, Porked-- Earmarks For Profit, has been forced to focus on how he has managed to transfer tax payer dollars into his own accounts. He's been endorsed by Blue America and we asked him to share his own ideas about the meaning of Memorial Day. Here's Bill's guest post:

This week marked the 1000th American casualty in the war in the Afghan theatre. It is a somber benchmark for Americans, and follows on the heels of 4,400 US deaths in Iraq. Tens of thousands of service members have suffered severe injuries-- some visible, others invisible, but nevertheless life-changing.
Our family members have been asked to make enormous sacrifices at the direction of our political leaders in Washington. For whom are those sacrifices being made? A corrupt Afghan central government whose leader threatens to “join the Taliban?” To protect oil fields or natural gas pipelines for US and European corporations? To maintain contracts for war profiteers who have grown rich from military procurements to support endless occupations?
Right now my children are serving in the military, two currently stationed just south of Baghdad on their third deployments. And while my kids put their lives on the line to ‘defend the Constitution’-- the tacit bargain when one enlists-- I am not willing to have their lives in jeopardy to defend profits for Mobil/Exxon or ‘opportunities’ in Iraq for British Petroleum. 
Further, it is tremendously offensive for our leaders to verbally wrap themselves in the flag and congratulate themselves for their courageous vote to fund an expansion of an ill-founded war when all they risk is losing the next election. My children, indeed all our sons and daughters, are asked to display genuine courage-- risking an arm, a leg, a life.
This week, Washington politicians like Ken Calvert committed billions of dollars more to an on-going war policy that does little to make us safer at home, will certainly result in more deaths and grievous injuries to more military personnel, and drives us as a nation further into debt. After seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan, it is long past time to bring our men and women safely home.

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