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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Letter To Lt. General Lewis W. Walt
With full knowledge of your commendable record and vast experience in military training and theory, I would like to answer your interview, published in the May 23rd edition of Life magazine. In doing so perhaps I can clarify my position and view and hopefully that of others who are involving themselves in the dissent presently taking place within the military ranks and possibly bring about a better understanding into this dilemma.
The portions of “The Leaders Code” that were mentioned, I agree, are an integral part of leadership despite its place and source in society. Let me add however, that leadership can only and should only go as far as the individual is willing to be lead within reason and so long as his personal convictions and dictates of his conscience are not infringed upon. Every man is a leader in the sense that he is an entity with the capacity of making decisions and accepting or rejecting those decisions which affect him. Is this not freedom? As soon as he is not allowed to have control of his actions and pursuit of happiness, he can no longer support the organization he is serving.
Should not the military function in a manner which emphasizes human perspective in order for its members to willingly uphold those, freedoms they themselves enjoy and are fully aware of?
Dissent in an undemocratic system composed of people who believe in freedom can only be expected and definitely cannot be wrong.
Must we continue to lead people around without their knowledge of the facts and crush them when they question and dissent if they are not satisfied with the answers? What ever happened to inalienable rights? I agree that dissent and the system cannot work, but isn't it obvious that when serious, honest dissent is made at a large and growing scale that the system needs evaluation and revision?
Apparently the small minority of dissenters is growing and it is evident that the military is beginning to worry about them, (because of the truth which is finally being brought to light) but to make the analogy that “when discipline goes, men die needlessly” is somewhat absurd. It is this very type of thought to which we oppose ourselves. It is the very fact that men die needlessly and are dying unjustly everyday in a war which we have concluded is altogether wrong, which causes our disapproval. Not because we are “misguided kids” without a purpose in life but because the purposes which you have forced on our lives are those of the Great American Dream which has undoubtedly become a nightmare of hunger, poverty, death, war, racism, and total human misunderstanding. Thanks, but you can have it.
You also spoke of military justice in relation to military discipline and like the discipline, the justice which you practice so loosely is not only unconstitutional but medieval. If justice is to sentence a man for 16 years for his “audacity” to exercise free speech and an interest in humanity, after searching and finding truth, and realizing that the oath he took he did so at a young impressionable age without full knowledge of the facts, due to a false sense of nationalism and patriotism, then you can have that too.
Yes, sir, somehow you have let us down, but now that we are becoming aware of what is really happening and the truth behind humanity and brotherhood, and seeing your mistakes, we shall no longer allow you or any military corps the chance to misguide us any more.
For Love, Peace, and Human Understanding
Up Front, no. 2