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Page 16
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<< 15. Memorial Day in Chicago17. Historical Photos >>

A Military Resister's Words on Memorial Day

By Diedra Cobb

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Never before have I seen such beautiful, tender people turn to such desperate measures to make something of themselves in this "No Child Left Behind" society. But then again I have been in this world but 21 years, and what do I know? I write to you all, addressing you as people who have come together in opposition to a disgustingly inhumane, destructive and pervasive force. Keep your people ignorant, but make them feel important by taking ownership of that ignorance, and you can guide them in the direction of your desires. The United States of America has mastered this: a full-fledged organizational dictatorship of superpower proportions. Our U.S. of A. free, but censored, mass media does not teach us about this, and thus America is able to continue on its path unrecognized and praised as being THE prime example of democracy.

A democratic nation, as defined by the Encarta World English Dictionary, is a country with a government that has been elected freely and equally by all its citizens. I write to you today from the Education Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground and ask, "Was President George W. Bush equally elected by all of this nation's citizens? And how can an ignorant society truly make a free electorate vote?" I ask this because I too am ignorant. Many ask, how could I have entered the military and not known the magnitude of what it meant? And I ponder ... when a bird is sheltered and at last released to fly, how is it to know the meaning behind all that it will encounter? I write to you to say that I joined the Army thinking that I was, quite possibly, upholding some of the mightiest of ideals for the greatest, most powerful country on this earth. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage: these are the seven Army values, values that I wanted to be able to say that I cherished and possessed. But still they ask, how could I have not seen it? Spare the rod and save the child, I would have answered. There had to be some good that would come of the carnage, in the end.

Meg Miner reads Diedra Cobb's
statement on Memorial Day (Chicago, 2003)

But this is where I made my mistake, because in war, there is no end. We are still in Germany, we are still in Korea, we are still in Bosnia, hell, we're still in America. The list goes on and on and the only things that are determined are who will stay and who will go, who will live and who will die, who will rule and who will serve. I did not know that peace cannot come from war because war never ends. And now when bombarded with questions about why I joined, what I thought this would be and "Are you serious?" Yes! I scream yes! And my soul pours out the answers that I wish my brain could formulate in my head, so that my lips could begin to utter this tragedy that is happening before my eyes, but that is so hard to get others, who are blind as I was, to see. In life, awakening to beauty and tragedy is a natural progression.

We, my friends of the United States, do not live in a democracy; we live in a republic. Remember the Pledge of Allegiance? "I pledge allegiance to the flag and the REPUBLIC for which it stands." Republic: a state or other political unit with a form of government in which the supreme power is in the hands of representatives elected by the people. We, the patriotically unknowing of the United States of America elect these people to make decisions in the name of the people. And when the people rise up and shout and thrash about screaming, "No more, not in our name," they laugh and denounce us before those who are blind as traitors.

The world is changing as it always will, and Mother Nature, with all her sweet beauty, will put an end to all this nonsense. She will say, "Hush, child," and we will fall helplessly into her arms. ...

Almost daily I hear the weapons they test at this post explode and feel the foundation of the building that I am standing in rattle its metal innards, and I realize that the wait I must endure through this conscientious objector process is nothing compared to the terror that our weapons will inflict upon the people that they are, and too often, are "accidentally" targeting, and so this is why I must continue.

As an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, I throw down my arms and refuse to plot against the so-called enemy. I have no grand political knowledge of our grand political plan. With access to classified information provided only on a need-to-know basis (even for those, such as myself, with a Top Secret security clearance), information which is constantly shifting here and there, and what you once thought was no longer is two seconds later, a distant illusion. How can the American people claim to know anything? The only knowledge that I have, as I participated in this operation, is of a grand psychological scam. Uncle Sam pays off his military welfare killers and gives them big titles so that they can feel important about themselves, while CNN and other big-business media sources provide justification to the people by showing riveting and shocking pictures with captions that establish America's moral pillars. I declare I will wash my hands of this filthy moral and humanitarian tragedy once and for all. My eyes are awake now, thank you Mr. President. The Army never did a better job of instilling those seven values in a qualified and anxious soldier. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage are the values that have guided me through this process.

I now talk to those who have felt a much larger rattle from weapons ten times the size of the weapons that are tested here on this post; and to those who were demolished before they could ever feel the rattle; and to those who survived the injuries, both physical and mental, from those great big horrid rattles — my objection is in your name, my people of Afghanistan, Vietnam, Vieques, New York, Colombia, Bosnia and ... the list is too long to even begin to touch on all those that are to be included. The world is to be included.

It's as though I've been born again and I'm standing here looking at the world with these great big eyes and so many beautiful faces are staring back at me. And I see so many being infected with so much hate and greed and blind conformity; one following right after another in a daze, in a trance, in such a terribly deep trance; it's overwhelming, my heart bleeds. And I sit here in limbo telling the world MY story, which is our story, so that those who may have even a snippet of curiosity about why so many people are screaming "Not in our name!" may have some inspiration. Or possibly those who have a passion for peace that needs to be revived by realizing that you do make a difference because it is the small parts that make up the whole, and oh what a powerful energy that whole exudes when one chooses peace and love and compassion!

After thousands of years of war,

And we are still too blind to see,

That all we are accomplishing,

Is the death of you and me.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." — Gandhi

Peace is the answer

Diedra Cobb
203D MI BN
4727 Deer Creek Loop
APG, MD 21005

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