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Voiceless Participation

Published: November 3, 2007, Author: MHirch

Who wants to be a dead end hero? Here the following instruction of soldiers who successfully deserted the US army: There is an early way out. Don’t hang your head. Hold your tongue and don’t attract attention. There is enough time for making your voice heard at a later point.
More and more US soldiers of diverse ethnic backgrounds desert the force. And they are telling the world about it, providing advise how to get out. The resistance against the US war in Iraq is growing all over. Members of anti-war organizations currently are touring places in Europe to get the word out. According to their estimates more than 14.000 GIs deserted the US army since the beginning of the war in Iraq.
The deserters state they got taken in by military propaganda believing promises of education, secure jobs, a sense of belonging. When they joined they were not aware of the reality of power and control, and the fact that there are a few people in the world who are desirous to impose their will on the rest of us at all costs. However, with time to kill in the midst of the black beat of the drums of war having felt the power of death over life the strained soldiers might hear a heartening voice in their heads and break into song, whispering: „And then it came to me just what I had done and all for no reason…. I set off running to wake from the dream“….

Sure, deserters are more dangerous than all democrats in congress taken together. The Bush administration is well aware of this. Desertion accordingly is not prosecuted with such a keen interest by the defense department which fears public relations trouble and tries to avoid media investigation on the matter. Everybody knows that a growing number of cases of desertion within a professional army speaks volumes about how the fighters themselves perceive the situation. Therefore, deserters explain, that when they remain silent long enough they often face nothing more than dishonourable discharge.

What the former fighters definitely face are long- term life changes. Some flee to Canada. Others settle down in countries like Germany which to the deserters seems a peaceful haven. Even though the country is a silent participator in the daily killings of the war because of supporting US bases like Ramstein (the hub for transport of arms and troops) and the important US army hospital in Landstuhl. No longer having to fear grenades and mines in the deafening noise of war the former soldiers find peace with themselves and start telling their stories. Thus fighting on the front line to free consciousness. Theirs are very strong voices against the war. As living examples they demonstrate: To get out of the army is possible when you really want it!

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