As Veterans Day approaches, many people who have served in wars are participating in “Occupy” marches instead of the usual parades. Jim Hightower writes in his new column, “Don’t Just Salute Veterans, Rally With Them”:
Here’s a surprise that the power elites really hate to see: Many members of the 1 percent are joining the “We are the 99 percent” movement in various Occupy Wall Street protests.
I don’t mean that corporate CEOs and hedge fund billionaires are suddenly in the streets to show solidarity with millions of Americans who’re fed up with the systemic inequality and corruption infesting our economic and political systems. No, no — those swells aren’t about to dirty their Guccis with any street action. Rather, I’m talking about another, extra-special 1 percent of our society — the soldiers who’ve been the “boots on the ground” in Washington’s long misguided and bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This Veterans Day, thousands of vets from America’s abused “war class” are not marching in little feel-good parades. Instead, they’re rallying with the Occupy movement, expressing their anger at being used in two senseless wars that enriched corporate contractors while the troops lucky enough to come home alive can’t find decent jobs and are shorted on the health and education programs they desperately need.
In New York last week, more than 100 of our nation’s soldiers marched in uniform from the Vietnam Vets Plaza to Wall Street, where they stood in formation in front of the Stock Exchange. “Corporate profits on the rise,” they chanted, “soldiers have to bleed and die.” Far from offering the salutes they deserve (much less the help they’ve earned), the Powers That Be deployed a line of New York police to block these peaceful protesters from the financial manipulators inside and then deployed another line of police on horseback wielding nightsticks to threaten them.