Iowa's Carnival Of Militarism

Steve Hanken

Steve Hanken – Photo Credit: PEACE Iowa

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Steve Hanken wrote this letter to the editor in anticipation of the Great Jones County Fair where along with swine, poultry and cattle shows, a tractor pull, harness racing, 4-H presentations, a demolition derby and grandstand performances by Miranda Lambert and Kid Rock, there is scheduled to be a mass swearing in ceremony for military volunteers. Steve took exception to the latter).

I am hesitant to speak up about the way people do things back in the place I grew up, but on this occasion, I think it is necessary.

I did two tours in Vietnam, so I am well aware of what the military is capable of doing to young men and women, especially during a needless war. When the career path of last resort becomes the only career path available, this is not volunteer enlistment, this is forced conscription. I read the Great Jones County Fair was going to do a mass swearing-in ceremony for hundreds of young men and women as some sort of stage show, I was appalled.

We have been at war for over ten years and there is no end in sight, does it make good sense to continue on this path of destruction and wholesale slaughter? Worse, must we condone the needless sacrifice with a Nuremberg-style side show to help a government continue murdering and maiming not only our kids, but hundreds of thousands of other men, women and children around the world?

It is obvious, and the facts are there to prove it, we went to war in Iraq needlessly. As it stands, we are at war with “terror.” “Terror” is not a nation state, it has no borders, it has no limits. Consequently, our government is at war with its very own people. We are tossing out the very rights this country was built on for a state that is becoming more and more reckless.

This is not about Democrat or Republican, this is about those who manipulate and literally own the government. They own the way we make decisions by manipulating the media. The least we could do is not go out of our way to be complicit, feeding the mighty military machine our sons and daughters.

Those who chose to enlist, it is their decision, but let’s not make a carnival out of it.

~ Steve Hanken is a member of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 161.

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