It's difficult for me (Kitty Antonik Wakfer) to read anything these past few years without seeing the holes in the writer's work, both in what has been said and that which is missing. Many, I simply just note out loud to my husband and partner, Paul Wakfer (who has been greatly instrumental in helping me recognize "holes"), but with others I set myself almost immediately to creating a response. I actually lost track of exactly what path lead me to "Iraq Veterans Against the War", so I spent more than several minutes mapping the route I'd travelled. As I was almost sure, it began at Rational Review News Digest that I receive daily, but often fall behind in reading. In my Friday 11/11/05 (Veterans Day) edition I read the clip from the Associated Press item linked to its inclusion at the cbs4denver.com website about a Colorado soldier who went to Iraq in 2003 with reservations about the war and came home in 2004 certain that it was wrong. This piqued my interest to read more about the group that she helped form and what its members are actually doing. After reading several items at their website I wrote the following message to the email address on the group's contact page.
From: Kitty Antonik Wakfer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 9:43 PM
Subject: Troops Stopping Their Aggressive Actions Will Get Them Home
While "Iraq Veterans Against the War" is headed and has articles by former and
current members of the military who do not support the US actions in Iraq, I did not
initially find a mission statement or specific goals on their website. However, I
did come across an interesting item, "Open Letter to All Troops", by Stan Goff, which,
though not dated, can be seen by an included reference to Hurricane Katrina, was written
in August of 2005. He starts off by immediately encouraging readers to email, write,
phone their elected officials "TODAY" (and provides a link for determining the actual
contact info), but continues, "and tell them that we need the troops back home now."
Directly following this, he goes on, "Then send the things you want to say to the public,
but can't because certain ass-kissing brass wants to silence you to protect their careers,
to Bring Them Home Now! at email@example.com."
Stan is described as active duty National Guard Reserve, which may be the reason why he
states after the above: "I can't tell you to do any more than that without going to jail."
I don't know if this is actually true, but since I am not nor have been in the military I
do not think it applies to me; my closest tie to the military is being the daughter of a
20 year naval officer (deceased in 1991). I do not hesitate to plainly encourage current
members of the military to refuse to partake in offensive actions in other countries, as
opposed to strictly defensive ones within their own country. Furthermore, I urge these
(and all other) enforcers of the government's edicts/laws/directives to completely remove
themselves from these roles by resigning their commissions/enlistments, even if this means
some loss of pay and/or other enacted penalties.
A major item that Stan Goff (and many others still) do not appear to realize is that the
actual participants in the military actions in Iraq (and Afghanistan) are the ones who
make it possible. Without them, and those providing them direct support, the force being
perpetrated hourly in Iraq, in the name of "eliminating WMD", "stopping terrorism", "bringing
democracy" or any other stated political purpose, could not take place. Without the enforcers,
the laws/edicts/directives of legislative and/or government executives would be just so much
waste paper or hot air, and any issuer of these orders would be seen as reminiscent of the
Wizard of Oz caught behind the curtain pulled back by Dorothy's dog Toto, or the Emperor
"wearing" no clothes. Even more important - also not covered by Stan - is the fact that each
individual is responsible for hir (his/her) own actions; none of the US military participants
can even claim that hir family members or loved ones are being held hostage under threat of
harm, thereby making the choice to follow the orders given the lesser of evils. The buck stops
at the feet of every soldier/sailor/marine/airman who is engaging in force or directly supporting
those acts of force - this applies to military support contractors as well. None are required
to do such work; they can find honest and productive (as opposed to destructive) employment
elsewhere if they try.
As for those at "home", in "Social Preferencing - Evaluation
and Choice of Association; A Method for Influence" I wrote the following:
Rather than "support our troops" - which means in essence to support the enforcers
and their direct physical supporters - I urge those who have concluded that the
US and its allies are wrong and unjustified in their military action in Iraq
(and Afghanistan and everywhere else) to instead "influence the troops" via social
preferencing, to cease their actions, resign their positions and openly announce
their objections. Reduce association with individuals in the military and let them
know why. Make it clear that when the enforcers of government harm (all of it actually
is such) refuse to continue to act, governments are impotent to do harm. Offer to
provide support emotionally and physically towards an enforcer who becomes an
ex-enforcer, but shun anyone continuing in that role. Support individuals who
make decisions that maximize the lifetime happiness of everyone (and not merely
US citizens) using the widest view and longest range thinking, and discriminate
against those who do not. Act in your own best interest using that same criteria.
It may be quite true that Stan Goff would find himself being court-martialed were he to suggest
that active troops refuse to continue in their roles and resign their positions. However the
spotlight of publicity is unavoidable in this age of the Internet, as those in government are
finding out with growing discomfort. Were Stan to become well grounded in the foundational
reasons for why participation in acts of initiated force is not in the widest view, longest
range best interest of anyone, then his message "to the troops" would be of added value, and
this foundational understanding would provide him with strong defense if legal action occurred.
Moreover, he would be an even better example if he simply resigned from the National Guard,
used his skills in non-government employment and continued to actively write against government
military actions abroad. He described in his "Letter" how the US government's actions after
Hurricane Katrina were a collection of bad judgment and errors (and I agree), but unfortunately
he appears to think that merely the presence of troops/equipment/supplies that were in Iraq
would have made the difference. With more study and considered thought on the nature of
governments, Stan would see that government per se is the major problem.
After writing the above I searched the ivaw.net website again and found at the FAQs a list of the
group's main objectives:
1: Bring the troops home now.
2: Support Iraqi reconstruction in whatever way possible.
3: Support our veterans and our troops now and upon their return home.
If those who lead and are members of "Iraq Veterans Against the War" really want the death and
destruction to stop, they would best make it clear that the US participants need to stop their
actions NOW. All IVAW members would need to become former enforcers - no longer
active in the military. Some might then call for a strike or sick-out, or they might urge mass
resignations, registration as conscientious objectors, rejection of enlistment/re-enlistment
incentives and other methods to opt out. Whatever the actual mechanism, the purpose would be to
STOP the initiation of force. These actions would bring the real issues to the forefront, instead
of them being masked by the political excuses given these past 3 years.
It would be best for an individual member of this (and similar) group(s) to understand what is in
one's best interest starting from first principles - the nature of human beings. This would then
allow such an individual (as well as each member of the target audience of current government
enforcers in the military and recruits considering becoming enforcers) to work towards maximizing
hir own lifetime happiness - all that one values and seeks to acquire. After reading my previous
essay referenced above, I urge a serious examination of the links within it to the foundational
essay by Paul Wakfer, "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction", the
principles of which are the basis for the society that is the goal of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project
and in which there is no government - social preferencing is the major method for influencing others.
With these tools members of IVAW can be far more effective in "support[ing] Iraqi reconstruction"
and in providing the type of "support" to current enforcers of enormously harmful government orders,
that will motivate them towards becoming ex-enforcers.
**Kitty Antonik Wakfer
MoreLife for the rational - http://morelife.org
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
Self-Sovereign Individual Project - http://selfsip.org
Rational freedom by self-sovereignty & social contracting
PS This email and any substantive response to it will be part of an essay in the Focus on Freedom portion of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project.
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I hope to see "Iraq Veterans Against the War", and similar groups that aim to stop government initiated force, grow in numbers of members. But as I've made clear in what I wrote to its leaders, that the actual enforcers have the ultimate and essential power must be understood by everyone - especially those who think that the power to stop the harm (in Iraq and elsewhere) lies in the hands of elected officials. This is a lie that has been perpetrated for decades (actually centuries) on followers of those who seek power. Individuals have been lead to believe, increasingly through government education in the last 40 years, that the state is "the" source of information, health care and protection. However, the reality is that only individuals can think and act, and that "the state" is powerless without individuals willing to enforce it or be its victims, and often both.