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A War Reminiscent Of The Past
Posted by Keith on Dec 1, 2003 - 11:25:00 PM

Vietnam War soldiers caught for an epic photo courtesy of
I was a little nervous. I always was before one of these things. All you could do was hope for the best, wonder how far it would go, and try not to get hurt or busted. Finally someone shouts "Let's go!", and the human mass surges forward toward the R.O.T.C. building. Within minutes the structure is "liberated" and occupied, and those administrators and instructors who had refused to vacate when given the chance before the takeover now become hostages to be bargained for with the proper authorities.


A list of demands is sent out, the leaders of the occupation go from floor to floor barking out instructions and encouragement, the scene is surreal and angry, and everyone's smoking. Soon a large group of jocks, beers in hand, assemble, followed by the police and then flanks of National Guard troops in full riot gear. We're surrounded and through bullhorns, are ordered out of the building. The reply is the two-word epithet accompanied by the one-fingered salute...We're not going anywhere! If you want it Pigs, you're gonna have to come and take it! Serious words, but the impending clash turns into a negotiated standoff, we settle in, and as night falls I realize that I'm hungry...


It's Autumn 1969. I'm a 19-year old college sophomore on a large campus, a political activist and an S.D.S. member in good standing. The war in Vietnam is raging, chewing up the unfinished young lives of the men of my generation, and my draft status is I-A (subject to be called at any time. I hadn't requested a student deferment). Protesting that war was not only a moral imperative for me, but included a vested interest. I couldn't see my destiny as being killed in the middle of someone else's civil war half-a-world away, and I'm still bitter about the 58,000 men whose destinies entailed exactly that, for no reason, all as a result of the miscalculations and egos of the civilian fascists who sent them there.

Anger doesn't really capture the feel of the era; We were outraged and eager to enjoin the fight in the streets, if that's what it took. I always wanted to burn down the buildings we stormed, but we never did. Seven months later came Kent State, all Hell broke loose, and we finally started torching stuff. It was a beautiful thing, M----- F-----, and thirty-four years later that war still rages inside of me as Peter Jennings intones...

..."In Iraq today, two more American soldiers were killed when their vehicle was ambushed while patroling the streets of Mosul in the north. This brings to 400 the number of American dead since hostilities began in March...."



Cliffside Malibu




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