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Going to Crawford? Consider this first.


by BOHICA at Daily Kos
Mon Aug 22nd, 2005 at 06:46:03 PDT

Do you need to go or do you just want to go? Big difference. Our Veterans for Peace chapter Vice President just returned from Camp Casey. He needed to go, to record and bear witness, its part of his make up. He was a medic in Viet Nam 1970-71. Saw some horrendous shit. Part of his PTSD recovery is, as he states, "To keep them from coming home in body bags." He is one of our most powerful speakers at schools and rallies. He is a photojournalist with some of the most powerful images you will ever see. This is his mission in life. He had to go. He needed to go.

Do you need to go?

Already there are the Rovian talking points of Camp Casey being filled with fringe leftist groups. "...we call it the Cirque du Soleil tent" Mike Allen writes. Does it need to turn into another Woodstock? I hope not. What started out as one mother and a few Veterans for Peace conventioneers, has grown into a bustling tent city, with an ad hoc organization trying to keep it supplied and under control. Will more people help or hinder? I don't know but I ask you to think about it. What would be your role if you went? Do you have a specialty that will be invaluable to the cause or do you just want to be there to share the moment. If you go will you be a burden and an asset?

I would love to go because I know Cindy and some of the other Gold Star mothers who are there. I can't because of medical issues and I don't know exactly what I would do once I got there. My only talent I could bring would be that I remember all the words to the old protest songs and can sing on key. There are enough entertainers there or headed there that I would be redundant. So I will not be going. Instead I will be organizing locally in support of Cindy and the other Gold Star Mothers.

It cost our Vice President about $1,500 to go there. Can you afford it or could your money be spent more wisely by donating to the cause. The Crawford Peace House was able to pay off their mortgage with donations they have received since this started. People are sending food and materials. Donations are needed and you are responding. This is admirable and shows how one mother's stand can touch people. So I ask again, do you need to go? Is there another way to support the movement that doesn't involve you being there?

I am not asking you not to go. If you feel a pilgrimage to Camp Casey is what you need to do, go for it! Bring everything you need and check with them for what they need that you can bring. Don't strain their resources. Stay on message, don't bring your own separate issues. If you can't go or have reconsidered going, there are other ways to help.

The other organizations supporting Camp Casey are not getting the coverage that they deserve. Veterans for Peace started this by holding their convention in Dallas. They invited Cindy to speak. From there it took on a life of its own. If she was not there would she have gone to Crawford? Who knows. Iraqi Veterans Against the War are standing with Cindy. Both organizations are in need of your support. You can donate to them. Code Pink is there as well. Help them out. Have you stood on a street corner with an "America Stands With Cindy" sign? Have you stood with your local supporters at a vigil or organized one? Have you written that letter to the editor? To your elected representative? Have you persuaded a fence sitter to change their position?

My own feelings about Camp Casey is that it should stay with a manageable number of people staying on message with support pouring in from across the country and local Camp Caseys springing up in towns and cities throughout the land. Remember, there is only an acre of land for the camp. With the Pro-war supporters coming to town, do we want this to become a pissing contest on who can have the most people on site? The more people the more likelihood of conflict. So consider how best you can do your part. If you have to go, go. If you can energize your own community, do it. If you can donate, do it.

I'll be at the Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 daily vigil for the 14th straight day "Standing With Cindy" and Veterans for Peace Chapter 72.

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