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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Those who can't remember...

"Gotta get down to it/Soldiers are cutting us down/Should have been done long ago..."

I admit I got very upset the other night with the young people over in Iran, marching in the streets, and getting themselves killed, some of them.  I get upset when people get killed.  That's the way I am.

I grew up in the '60s.  And I do mean grew up in the '60s; I was 12 in 1970.  I grew up watching all the Big Kids marching in the streets, waving signs and very angry, apparently.  And I grew up watching TV reports from Vietnam, wounded guys being hauled away, the press on both sides arguing back and forth.  Adults are supposed to know the answers.  Nobody seemed to.  And young people kept getting killed, and more young people kept getting sent over to get killed.

In 1970, students as Kent State University protested the Vietnam war.
  The Ohio National Guard was there to "keep the peace."  And they started shooting.

And guess who got elected President with the promise to end the Vietnam war?

Richard Nixon.

Paris peace talks.  They talked, and they talked.  And more young people got sent to Vietnam, and more died.

And then everybody came home.

In 1978, I went to USAF Basic Training at Lackland AFB in Texas.  On the plane with me were a couple of guys in these funny looking foreign uniforms.  I was told they were Iranian, coming to Lackland for training.

And in 1978 and 1979 -- not so long after -- the Iranian people rose up against a tyrant.  Kids marched in the streets, and people died.

And I didn't go anywhere.

And now, I see kids marching in the streets.  And I see troops shooting again.  And I'm that 12-year-old kid again.

"Khamenei, Khamenei, how many kids did you kill today?"

This shouldn't be happening.  But it is, and it all looks so familiar.  I wish it didn't.  But what can you do?  As Henry Kissinger is supposed to have said, "Those who can remember the past are condemned to watch those who can't remember the past, repeat it."


"What if you knew her/And found her dead on the ground/How can you run when you know?"

I gather her name was Neda.  Now you know.  And now I'm very sad.

-- Lyrics, by the way, from "Ohio" by Neil Young.  Perhaps you knew that.





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