John Kerry’s famous question — “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” — has been in the news a lot again lately. Apparently, we have not learned the lessons from our ignominious and far-too-late retreat from Vietnam. Iraq is aflame, and our soldiers keep dying in a country that doesn’t want them there. And now, as President Bush contemplates a “surge” (few are honest enough to call it what it is: an “escalation”) sending perhaps 20,000 more troops into the Mesopotamian sinkhole, people are pushing back.
On Saturday, you can meet some of them. Lance Corporal Halsey Bernard, USMC, was deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Now, he’s a vocal opponent of the war. Staff Sergeant Joe Bangert, USMC, was a door gunner on a helicopter in Vietnam and, like his friend John Kerry, later became a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
At the First Annual Peace on Earth Event in Jamaica Plain, Bernard and Bangert will be on hand to talk about the similarities and differences in their war experiences, and how they both came to oppose the wars they fought in.
Their discussion will follow a screening of David Zeiger’s Sir, No Sir, which traces the development and evolution of the 1960s antiwar movement — the one that took place not on college campuses “but in barracks and on aircraft carriers . . . in Army stockades, Navy brigs and in the dingy towns that surround military bases.”
Sponsored by Military Families Speak Out and People United for Peace (the $2 admission will help benefit those groups), the evening promises to be a thought-provoking colloquium on a different type of war resister, and a sharp discussion on how — hopefully — we can avoid at least some of the mistakes that were made in the overlong and ultimately futile Vietnam war. George W. Bush is invited, but he probably won’t come.
First Annual Peace on Earth Event | Saturday, December 30 at 6 pm | 85 Seaverns Street, Jamaica Plain | 617.983. 0710 | firstname.lastname@example.org