My War Ended Jay Wenk
during a warm Spring day in
The Germans were done.
Safe now, birds returned,
trilling, fluttering around my head,
seeking sustenance for tomorrows.
I was homeward bound,
unaware that for my sake,
Eisenhower murdered Eddie Slovik,
unaware the French,
trying to regain a cushy colony,
were destroying a world,
unaware that Korean menus were being
printed by MacArthur and Co.,
unaware that my youthful interest in
Finland, Ethiopia, China and Spain
made them mine.
Unaware that Truman prepaid Vietnam
to the tune of 4 billion,
secret music the French would waltz with.
As an introduction to that dance,
lies were floated on the high seas.
Heroes trekked to Canada, while
Harry’s co-conspirators tangoed over the jungles.
Reverberations of their tunes left
common folks withering
with their trees and food and homes,
birds again taking wing to hidden places.
Today, these ancient danse macabres continue in
the Golden Triangle, where peace-proclaiming
leaders’ lies lubricate
the Birthplace of Civilization, compressing it with
greed into civilizations’ tomb.
Me, naïve, all those juddering decades ago.
My war never ended, never will.
April 22, 2017
Dear Vietnam Memorial Wall,
It has been two years since I wrote to you in May 2015. I again am writing to you to express my sorrow for the pain and agony inflicted 50 years ago on the Vietnamese people– and on the American people– by the elected leaders of the United States.
While you The Wall reflect the names of over 58,000 United States military who died because of U.S. military action in Vietnam, you remind us also of those not named on The Wall–those six million residents of Southeast Asia who died during these military actions.
And people continue to die because of United States military actions– in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The U.S. still has over 800 military installations in the lands of other people from which to wage war.
We have a new President of the United States, Donald Trump. I’m deeply concerned that he will continue the wars of his predecessors and also will find other countries to invade, occupy or attack. It seems like this is the American way—wars –not to resolve international security problems, but wars to destroy nations and cultures and leave chaos in our destructive wake.
In May 2017 I will speak at a conference held in Guantanamo, Cuba on the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases. It is no mistake that the conference is held in Guantanamo, Cuba as it is the location of the longest held U.S. military base in another country. The U.S. has had possession of the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base since 1903-for over 114 years! A compliant Cuban government in 1903 signed a lease in perpetuity to the United States but the Revolutionary Government of Cuba does not recognize the lease and does not cash the $4,085 check it receives annually from the U.S. government for the lease of the base.
The U.S. government continues to operate the infamous prison on the naval base.
779 prisoners have been held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo since the prison opened on January 11, 2002. Of those, 729 have been released or transferred, including one who was transferred to the U.S. to be, and nine have died in the prison.
The 41 remaining prisoners include 10 men charged at the war court; 26 indefinite detainees known as “forever prisoners”; and five cleared men, including two whose repatriation deals stalled at the Department of Defense and could not be released before President Obama’s term ended.
Most of these prisoners were purchased by the United States in a bounty program. They were not captured, but bought. As a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, having served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves, I am offended by these military actions ordered by the elected officials of the United States.
I was a part of the U.S. government, either in the military or in the diplomatic corps, for most of my adult life. However, in 2003, I resigned from the U.S. diplomatic corps in opposition to another war, the war on Iraq. I had been a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and was assigned to U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. I was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001.
As I wrote to you two years ago, as I remember the Vietnam Memorial Wall, I will continue to work for peace around our world…and continue to challenge our own country to end the threat it poses to our planet in our politicians’ thirst for war.
Peace ole Wall,