Veterans and the “Occupy” movement.

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Veterans and the “Occupy” movement.

It started with this posting at Addicting Info:

 The thousands of indefatigable Wall Street protestors, risking their eyes and recording equipment against Wall Street’s personal jack-booted thugs in the NYPD, recently garnered even more support– the US Marines. That’s the type of support that may make an NYPD cop think twice before he decides to go all Tiananmen Square on a group of teenage girls, armed with chalk and cardboard signs (maybe it’s because they are spelled properly?).

 The Occupy Wall Street movement may have thought it broke new ground when the NYC Transit Union joined their movement, but that ground just tipped the Richter Scale with news that United States Army and Marine troops are reportedly on their way to various protest locations to support the movement and to protect the protesters.

That part obviously caught my eye.  But what came next was worse, the article cites to Ward Reilly, who on his Facebook claimed:

 “I’m heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform. I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:I didn’t fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it’s Congress’ turn.

 My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the F*ing Marine Corps first. Let’s see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets…

 We can organize once we’re there. That’s what we do best.  If you see someone in uniform, gather together.  A formation will be held tonight at 10PM.  We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That’s what we will be doing.


The problem with this section is manifold. 

First, Ward Reilly hasn’t served in the military since 1974. And he never served in the Marine Corps.  And his service was less than exemplary (including a stint AWOL.)  And his truth telling has been an issue in the past.  For instance, as my friend Jonn once noted, Reilly claimed:


[Reilly:]  I served, proudly, for 32 months in Germany in the 1st & 16th(Rangers) as a mortar gunner, starting in 1971, when I volunteered for the infantry at age 17.(With 2 full years left in the ground war in Viet Nam)

I went where the army sent me…that what soldiers do. I could have just as easily been sent to Viet Nam, but I got lucky.

[Jonn wrote:]  Well, that part about “two full years left in the ground war” isn’t exactly true. Reilly joined in October 1971 – ground forces in Vietnam were being reduced and by August 1972 all combat forces had been withdrawn.

That “(Rangers)” in Reilly’s statement jumped out at me when I first read it, so I did a little research and found that the 16th Infantry Regiment call themselves “Iron Rangers” and that’s why Reilly added it to his bio – hoping to scare every one into thinking he was a Ranger.

It’s like the 7th Infantry putting (Cottonbalers) on their unit designation because that’s their nickname (from the Battle of New Orleans when they fought the British from behind cotton bales). Could we assume that they’re actually qualified to bale cotton?

The second problem is of course, that active duty people (and veterans too for that matter) aren’t supposed to be showing up at political events in uniform.  The premise of our military is that we answer to civilian authority, and showing up as if the military is supporting something like this is verboten.

Anyway, we do know there are veterans out there.  Here’s a few videos that show that.  Some context on the first one, since I looked into it.  Apparently there are two parks that the protestors have been using in Boston, Dewey and the Greenway.  The protestors were allowed to be in Dewey, and in the Greenway up until midnight, but they didn’t want them camping there for the simple reason that the city just spent $150,000 planting shrubs and cleaning it up.  When 1:00 am rolled around, so did the police.

Now, it is perhaps unfair to share that one without a look at one guy who is legit (Ryan Cahill), and taking part in the occupy movement.



Now the ridiculous “Veterans Today” (no link for them ever) is calling on all Veterans Organizations to send our people into the street in support of the movement.  That is unlikely in the extreme to happen.  We didn’t take a position on the TEA party officially, and we won’t be officially taking a position here.  Not sure why they even would think as an organization we would.  I’m certain that many of our Legionnaires are out protesting, and probably an equal number are watching it on TV at home grumbling about the protestors.


As Lincoln said, A house divided against itself cannot stand


The reality is that The Legion is a microcosm of veterans as a whole.  And our people run the gamut from the far right to the far left.  I know prominent Legionnaires who have either served as, or served under, politicians on the Democrat and Republican side.  I even know one Legionnaire who served three different Governors, a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent. 


I remain somewhat ambivalent.  If they have a common cause, I haven’t figured out what it is, and I hate to waste taxpayer money on security and clean up.  But, the Constitution allows for a petition of redress to grievances, and I guess that is what this is.  Hopefully at some point someone will articulate the specific intent.

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Rollins is the better commentator on what is really happening. That came up when I watched your link as well. I agree there are attention seekers at any event be they Tri cornered hats or Chinese flags.

It doesn't get much more uninformed than the two bozos in the above film clip.

It's too bad our 'so called' president and members of Congress have NO IDEA of what it's like to get shot at, run over an IED, or get an RPG in their worthless, collective laps. It's the VETS who have kept us free. God bless America and our vets.

The big money clowns who control our politicians are the disgrace in this country- you criticise the President here for not having served--did you also criticise "Chicken Hawks" like Cheney or Wolfowitz? - I say let those vets protest and be visable reminders that we are a nation of opinions and beliefs, as can be seen in this forum--that's what we fight for.

Dangerous thinking here! Don't you remember Kent State? Our country was founded in revolution!
I believe it was Patrict Henry who stated "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the
death your RIGHT to say it! Viva la revolutione pour des Etats-Unis d'Amerique! Semper Fidelis!

The quote you atribute to Patrick Henry was actually said by Voltaire. Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775, said "Give me liberty or give me death." Among other things. But that's OK, the sentiment was there.

The Corps I knew died in 1981, my father died in 1997. He was at the Chosen resevoir during the
Korean war. He took those memories with him...

Thank you for the correction sir. It is the spirit and intent I was trying to convey, not historical accuracy. Thanks again!

I have noticed how those on the right like to throw around the words socialist and communists in hopes of turning the public view of what the protesters are trying to prove . Fact is the middle class is shrinking and at the same time the wall street crowed is getting richer . As bad as the democrats can be at time I would have to say that anybody that votes for a republican deserves to loose his or her job . Nuff said .

When I served I remember helping the fallen, carrying the straggler, and all in the name of the right and noble ways of America. Would I protest on the economy and how our governing leaders waste time on themselves and their friends? While the USA is stumbling in a TKO? All in the name of Good Old Capitalism values? Let me see would you help shape up the “unsat” fellow next to your bunker? Would you leave the fallen behind? Would you tell a fellow VET to shut the “pie hole”? We all acquired rights by just surviving the nightmares of war, if I am alive I have a voice and an opinion. To remind ya’ll, we all made educated choices since earlier life and here we are; I just request respect for all who might not agree with you (whoever you might be) being American is based on the adventuring diversity in all of us.

No Marine ever refers to the Marines without the Capital M for Marines. He's just a puke Liar and I call out all those pukes who try to use My Marine Corps for their Liberal wussy puke lifetyle of handouts from Uncle Sam besides Mommy and daddy are broke.

That goes for us Airman too!

Your Marine Corps? Just another hot head with no brain? But of course, that was't issued to you!
PS you can have "your Marine Corps", its all yours....Semper Discracus...

You know something? The last person to promote me (the Commandant of the Marine Corps), my father (who art in heaven) and about a half million veterans would just love to have a little chat about
your claim of ownership in one of the finest military organizations on this planet, conceived in Tun's
Taveran in Philadephia, PA.(my home state!) by the Continental Congress in 1775. I really hope you
have never served in a foreign nation, I would just hate to think that you would be representing the United States of America or our best interests.

You know, what makes Jack (from Jack in a box) so great is the fact no one knows who he is. All of our
superheroes had their identities concealed. Batman, Superman, Zorro, the Loan Ranger and now the "99".... Anyone know where we can get those cool "frenchy" masks so we can be "Anonymous"? They are still at work now, taking on a very dangerous Mexican drug cartel... Viva La Revolutione!

I'm not finished with this one just yet. Now LT!, here is something that could use a EDUCATION.
Better take this one back to the factory, it's still engaging it's mouth without having it's brain in
gear, and if it still feels compelled to show it's sorry ass around here, I'll be happy and honored
to introduce it to the frontline of the Pittsburgh Steelers! (they need a new training dummy)

You people are stooges for corporate greed. Wake up. You aren't benefiting and there is no tricle dow. As for the Military budget, do corporations need to make such great profits on the military budget. Don't cut the military budget, cut the profits. I'd also like to know why we spend 50+ Billion (yes, that's billions with a B) on black projects that no one knows what the money is being spent on? How many times over to we need to kill our enemies?

Ernest, you are correct--Remember the last address President Eisenhower gave--he warned about the pernicious and corrupting effect that he saw even back then--50 years ago--and HE coined the phrase "military-industrial complex" as a warning to us as a nation.

To JJ, you are right on! Eisenhower did just that! Many have forgotten that admonishment or just did
not know about it. Study history. Many Philosophers of their day warned them in the past, we would
do well to learn from the past and (by God) pay attention to the present, because the future depends
on this moment.....God's speed!

I wish the Old Guard of the American Legion would admit that they are frontmen for right wing conservatives. So much for the political neutrality of the Legion. Obviously, the Preamble, which they are supposed to recite before every meeting, means nothing to them.


You mean like when we take positions like opening the VA to all veterans?  Or when we put out press releases opposing lowering military retirement and health care?  Or when we represent thousands of people each year in claims before the VA?

...That's why I joined the Legion--the VA needs funding, vets need real support and the Legion is the most effective voice there is...the way that we treat our vets is a reflection of our national conscience.

Agreed.  And, perhaps now is the time to note that I have absolutely no say in any position the Legion has ever taken, as positions are via resolution, and as an employee, I don't ever vote on them.

JJ, you have struck a nerve (maybe hit the jackpot!) "National Conscience"! Thats it! Our Moral Compass has been off since the end of the Vietnam War. Many veterans have felt abandoned even
betrayed by the very people who sent them into harms way to defend ideology. What do you say to
the family and friends of the fallen? Was it a mistake? Look them in the eye, if you can. It is in the
preamble of the United Nations Charter; "War begins in the hearts and minds of men, therefore it
is the hearts and minds of men we must establish the fortresses of peace...."

Hello Mac,
You know something? This dialogue is exhausting me--I feel like I'm chasing phantoms trying to put some perspective here--I'm 54, not gettin' any younger, and I'm tired reading all the B.S. and arguing with people that just don't get it--they are the people who just will never see that they are being played with, getting soaked and being sold a bill of goods--they hate and that somehow sustains them-- but they're not billionares, they(mostly) are just folks who served their country and are probably working hard to make ends meet--and they can't /won't hear. Their minds are closed and that's it. You know, my Grandfather got the stuffing kicked out him in the Argonne(313th NJ-a hard luck outfit), my dad enlisted in August 1940--he was pissed off at Hitler (we're from Holland originally), served for eight years with distinction(1940-46. 1950-52)was a New Deal Democrat and proud of it-now dead from Alzheimers which drained him of himself. and I'm just lucky i guess-no wartime service, just JAG,. But I'm tired. Good luck Mac, and we all honor your dad and his service --in another "forgotten war"-- JJ

Hey JJ,
I am happy and honored to report to you that MAC, SAC, & NORAD were part of my past (served with them) I served with the 1st & 3rd MAW (Marine Air Wing) on both sides of the Pacific. The Wing Commander (LTGEN) was the last to present me with a ATABOY for a job well done during TEAM
SPIRIT 81 Taegu AB ROK. My associates still refer to me as the "SARGE" ever though I had since then
became a Captain in a private security company. The whole legacy of service life is well behind me
now (by 22 years!) Only the memories remain. You may call me Jerry. Semper Fidelis! Veterans welcome here. (non-violant ones)

A claim was made recently that a aircraft was almost destroyed by a terrorist bomb (which didn't work) and the "Official excuse" was that the "spellcheck" function in the computer wasn't working.
Hmmmmmm...Sorry there LT, it was a LT that ruined a perfect career.... any thing else you would
like to EDUCATE us on your highness? Happy Halloween everyone, be safe...Trick or treat!

JJ, see the movie, "V for Vendetta". Do you remember the 5th of November? All of the current sentiment is there, as plain as day! Our story continues.....May the force be with you, always..

For those who think that the Occupy Movement is some type of Red Herring or Communist led uprising then you are way off base. I support a free market economy. However any free market economy that has been left unattended and subject to some of the worse abuse of ethics by the banks and investment firms along with significant numbers of American companies moving the jobs overseas, you see what the result is. For those who say American labor is too expensive my reply to you can you make it on 5 or 10 cents an hour? If American labor is so expensive why are foreign companies such as BMW, Toyota and other building in America? Because it is good business. If you want to sell in American then you need to build in America. If not you will run the economy into the ground and there will not be the aggregate demand for your goods. That is the problem right now.

Americans are slow to anger, but when pushed the wall we will respond. Every modern movement to compell change in not only our country but throughout the world has started with young people. The Arab Spring---young people. Selma and Montgomery and the Freedom Riders galvanized a nation into admitting, we must change. And we did. The Wall Street protests are only the start of something bigger. It is not about communism, nationalism, or any other ism. Its about are institutions doing the right thing. Either big business and Congress change now, or the results will be a castrophic meltdown of this country.

Lots of foreign companies are building plants in the US. They are just doing it in right to work states which allows them the ability to not only pay fair wages and benefits, but to also require employees to actually perform their jobs or face being unemployed. They also don't have to pay wages to people who aren't actually working. That's why they are building plants here, it costs them less to build in right to work states than it does in their own unionized countries.

A free market that is regulated to prevent fraud, but not legal business activity will result in the economy coming back. Get rid of onerous regulations and jobs will come back. Cut taxes for the small businesses that can't afford a dozen accountants to avoid paying taxes and get rid of the idiotic green incentives that are used for nothing more than a means for large companies to avoid taxes. Open the oil fields to exploration, stop the stupid cafe standards that will make cars too expensive for anyone but the wealthy to afford, get rid of the ethanol that makes gasoline so much less efficient that there is no significant pollution reduction because you may get less pollution per gallon, but you have to use more gallons to cover the same distance. Get rid of the portions of the American with Disabilities Act that involve businesses and customers. While a company should be required to make reasonable accommodations for employees, they shouldn't be required to spend thousands to accommodate customers that might never frequent their establishment. Smart businessmen will make the accommodations as soon as they can, but many are being forced out of business by regulations that have nothing to do with their actual business. Customers have the option of frequent another establishment. It sucks that I have trouble reading the menu without glasses, but that doesn't mean that McDonald's should print it with 4 ft high letters.

Outstanding comments on what is actually responsible for the loss of middle class status. The sooner those that think they are entitled to what another has worked for the sooner they will realize folks are entitled to what the earn and not what another earns.

No one is entitled to what another has simply because that other has it.

The above should have read:

The sooner those that think they are entitled to what another has worked for go to work the sooner they will realize folks are entitled to what the earn and not what another earns.

Is there anyone in this movement that can form a coherent thought? I have heard allegedly ivy league protesters talk for minutes without completing a thought. They just talk in circles and are completely incapable of answering a direct question. They have the right to redress, but what is their point? Moreover, what is their solution? The best that they can do is propose Marxism, but are apparently ignorant of the fact that it has been tried already. Professional students that have spent years at Columbia are unhappy that someday they are obligated to the promises that they made as adults when they borrowed many tens of thousands of dollars. It is truly sad that in their years at Columbia, they learned not a single marketable skill.

If they want to find the cause of the economic collapse, they should research the Community Reinvestment Act and the actions of Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “encouraging” banks to make these loans. What do you expect to happen when you force banks to make mortgages to people that cannot pay them back? Really? Of course the borrower will default.

If capitalism is so great ,why then are the communist lending them money? Ever wonder? Does China ring a bell to you on the right? Why are all the right wing corporatist running as fast as they can to communist China for manufacturing concerns. Ever notice how the right hate anything that might benefit the middle class . Your a sorry bunch GOP/ Greedy Old People . I'd love to be the guy standing behind you all on the day you all come b/4 the lord trying to explain your selfish ways .

I for one refuse to buy into negativity; if it works, don't fix it! It is our inherent responsibility to keep
a watchful eye on all things. It is a shame that the man who just killed 9 people in Seal Beach CA was
a "ex-Marine". Very shamefull. No "Honor" here...

Based on the preponderance of commentary here, I am very concerned for our country. These people who claim to be veterans and are embracing this anti-capitalist, pro marxist crap are failures looking for a free ride and someone else to blame for their predicament. They actually want to take property from successful Americans and distribute it to them. What do you think will happen when they repeat their cycle of failure and there is no property left to re-distribute?

Don't you find it ironic (and shameful) that Veterans cannot afford to buy the same property that they defended with their lives. Who determined success or failure anyway? Those living in glass
houses should not be throwing stones. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Sherlock!

Maybe, just maybe, if the VA stopped issuing VA home loans (a go into debt free card) and started
issuing a VA HOME GRANT, maybe the banks and realtors in this country will stop laughing at us,
and maybe we'll get back the RESPECT that we deserve.... Happy Veteran's Day!......................V

Seems like this is going on forever, well its time for me to go 10-7. Let's regain control of our destiny!
Any person or organization that claims to know more about money than I, or any of my family or friends..... credit reporting agencies, banks, finance companies.....false gods..... was that 999 or 666
Mr. Lucifer? I understood even you was a angel once....

I see u mentioned a vet that was or had been awol. Where were u when "W" was running for President?
He was awol and for longer then 30 days. Does that not make him a deserter?

I definitely agree the veterans should not attend these functions in uniform. Baseball caps are acceptable. As for Veteran Organizations not getting involved with the 99er's, why was our prior A.L. Commander In Chief and top echelon 110% Republican at every opportunity? I thought this organization was supposed to be apolitical and fighting for veteran causes. Not favoring one political party over any other political party, except for Communism. I hope the current Commander is not favoring the Democratic over the Republicans or voicing American Legion support in favor of any politcal party.

Our past national commander had a convention which featured speakers like Nancy Pelosi, Keith Ellison, Mark Dayton, Tim Walz, Al Franken, and President Obama.  So how exactly was he Republican? 

I am all for freedom of speech as I and everyone else served to protect that part of the Constitution. However, these OWS to me, are nothing more than anarchists, socialists, Marxists, commies and a host of other useless dribble of society. It's just a matter of time before violence rears its ugly head. But that is just me. We all know things are bad and it affects me too. BUT, I look to the man in the White House not Wall street for what has gone on in the past 3 years.

People in this country are understandably outraged by the total sell-out of the working class by our representation at the national level. As Veterans we are entitled to our say, also, and there is no reason why we should not protest however we see fit, if we believe in our hearts that we are doing what is right.

I agree however with the folks that said that Veterans should not appear in Uniform as their protest is personal, not official.

As Americans we should boldly stand for what we believe. That is what separates us from other countries.. our freedom of speech. We should defend our freedoms in speech and action, respecting the other fellow's point of view; but drawing a line in the sand when our rights and livelihoods are threatened. What good is representative government when the interests they represent are not those of the people who they are supposed to serve?

I bring government into this because ultimately they are to blame for all of this. They are supposed to protect the people and regulate against outright corporate greed, and look out for jobs and well-being of our citizens. They are doing a terrible job of it, and are allowing the country to become a land of the haves and have nots. What is happening on Wall Street is dispicable; but it also happens all over, thanks to our self-serving governmental leaders. I believe that serious change IS needed.

Before I close I want to make one comment about the original article that inspired this long email trail.. the war in Vietnam was still taking new soldiers during my time (72-75) to rotate out those who had served their time in theatre. The Army does choose where we go and what we do. That said, people should never misrepresent their time in service, or pretend they served when they did not. That is dishonest and demonstrates a lack of personal integrity.

Steve, I wanted to let you know that your input was very well written. You would be amazed how much
we have in common. My uncle retired from the Army, he had been in Vietnam 5 times. He had nothing
good to say about it. We have had 8 members of "the family" in 4 of the 5 branchs of the Armed Forces at one time or another.(no coast guardsmen) I agree with just about everything you stated.
I had graduated a course administered by a command in Quantico, VA.,"the Staff Academy". The course included "Military Law", which is not that much different than civil law (only stricter). I am a firm believer in "poetic justice". There have been many cases of misrepresentation all over everyday.
Just look at our political leadership. How about those background checks? Did anyone check? The
"higher virtues" have not been lost, they just get buried in the B.S. Nothing up my sleave, DD214 on
file in the county courthouse, come on down. Veterans Welcome.

Well, it looks like my cousin working for the FBI doesn't want me making any more posts. I thought that was illegal (censorship!). Later, men...

Please keep trohwing these posts up they help tons.

The analogy is worth considering -

I suspect many, whose words populate this page, would criticize those who marched over 75 years ago to "Occupy DC" and I would be impressed with the consistency of their argument.

I am of course familiar with the marches, however, I think that the two can be distinguished fairly easy.  The bonus marchers were asking to get something that they were contractually obligated to.  For instance, in any contract, 1 person does 1 thing, and another either does an act, or renders payment.  In the bonus march context, one party had already fully performed, and was merely looking for the payment they were due.

Now, I suppose an argument can be made that the OWS protestors are obligated something, but I don't know what it is.  I'm comfortable with the marches and such, and even agree in spirit with one of the complaints, the bank bailouts.  But, I'm not sure I get the analogy.  I'm not complaining about anyones right to protest, my concern is only what someone is protesting about, and since OWS still hasn't issued a set of demands, save one guy that posted 12 that were immediately repudiated, my primary concern is a lack of understanding just what they want.

Now we know why this is called the "BURN PIT"! Very interesting, thank you everyone!


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.