No, we are not all responsible for the wars or occupations.

I did not send them to war. I did not vote for war. I did not advocate for war. I spoke and wrote and voted and worked against it. Those who did the opposite are responsible.

Also, as terrible as it is for people who enlisted in the military and are being killed (murdered actually) and maimed and driven further insane, not one of them can say he or she hadn't heard the words of Jesus Christ who said plainly and clearly to turn the other cheek.

Jesus is not responsible for the wars. War makers are.

Yes, those young people have been subjected to a barrage of false propaganda, but at their same age, I resisted.

Does that mean I can't forgive? No, it doesn't mean that. It doesn't mean I don't want to heal the veterans either. I do want them to heal.

What I don't want though is to excuse the stupid move they made in enlisting in the Military. There is no excuse. There is only repentance, forgiveness, and atonement.

To hell with the military. There will never be an end to the utter stupidity that is war until the young just say, "No."

That's not cursing souls, judging them, condemning them, or punishing them. It's damning war. There's nothing wrong with that. It's part of the healing.

by Monica Benderman | June 1, 2008 - 12:34am

Earlier this week I was put in contact with the mother of a young Iraq veteran. Michael is twenty years old, with experiences no young person should have to face.

Michael chose to serve in the National Guard. Michael returned from Iraq with more than one medal for his service. But after a year long tour at Abu Ghraib, Michael returned with more than just medals – he brought a storehouse of experiences no person of good conscience could ever erase and this young man was not equipped with the tools he needed to quiet his mind and forget the reality of those memories.

Michael was not lost in the system. He received, and continues to receive counseling from the VA for his combat stress. He has the support of his command who has acknowledged the intense conditions under which Michael served. His family has watched over him, supported him and many in his community have embraced him. In the end, war has taken its toll. Michael faces a trial this week and this decorated young veteran, after choosing to serve his country at war, now stands to add years in prison to the list of obstacles his choices have given him.

Michael could not erase the horrors of what he saw in Iraq. Michael is proud of his service – a soldier committed to supporting the soldiers he has served with because he knows firsthand just how much each has given. Even more, Michael knows just how much understanding they now need. The medications couldn't hide the memories, and the intoxicating effects of the 70 proof contents of a simple glass bottle couldn't hide them either, bringing instead even greater heartache and the endless nightmare of a lifetime of regrets.

Michael lost his childhood in Iraq and returned to lose one remaining connection to better times when his attempt at self-medicating failed and his best friend lost his life in an accident Michael's intoxication caused.
Ignorant commentators issue harsh criticism of those who have volunteered, lashing out at the naiveté of the men and women who stood for what they believed, who acted in good faith and with trust for the words of commanders who had sworn not to abuse the lives entrusted to their leadership, as if those commentating had some higher enlightenment of right and wrong when more often than not they have never stood for anything more than photo opportunities.
We blame our faults on the evil in the world – the evil side of a creator who gave us peace hoping we would know what to do with it; now standing watch as we pretend to have no control over the destruction we alone have caused.
The war is coming home and still Americans don't fully comprehend what we are about to receive.

We will reap what we have sown.

Michael gave what he believed was needed as he stood in response to what he felt called to do. Michael has paid a heavy price, more than any young man should have to pay. It is only the beginning, and a long jail sentence will not bring justice for an accident caused by something far more deadly than driving while intoxicated, with a responsibility shared by thousands who will never realize the cost of their complacency.

Michael, and thousands of others who will return from war to face their own storehouse of demons, deserve people to stand boldly in defense of what is right and just. They deserve people to work together to bring the changes we all need to help our world move a little closer to the goal of peace.

Michael stands to go to trial this week, but Michael should not be standing alone. Every citizen who has not yet stood to see that justice is served in the name of peace shall bear responsibility for what we all are about to receive.

Aren't we all responsible when a veteran returns from a war we allowed to happen, with a storehouse of experiences whose demons he is powerless to silence?

Aren't we all responsible for ensuring that true justice is served?

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.