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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Myth and reality

Recently people have commented that they'd like to see a general strike or a new anti-war movement, and frankly that amused me.

Because if you want to talk about living in the past, a fictional past, that's a good way to start.

Let's state the obvious: the anti-war movement failed. Badly.

It alienated the middle class, it failed to gain any congressional victories and anti-war legislators were defeated (Al Gore,Sr, Ralph Yarborough)while US troops were in Vietnam. It also led to two Nixon elections.

While many may feel some misty colored memories for the antiwar movement, it's mostly nostalgia. People say "we stopped the war" and I nearly have to laugh out loud. They didn't stop shit.

So how did the Vietnam War end?

The US Army stopped working.

By 1971, the US Army was rife with drug abuse, racial tension, and an inability to function in combat. Soldiers took to monkey wrenching the system. People want to give credit to a GI movement, but there is no evidence that other than writing newspapers and reflecting low morale, that it did anything to end the war.

The reality is that the soldiers opted for passive resistance, sometimes violent resistance. They wouldn't patrol, they would cover for people living off post, they would alter forms. In some cases, you had combat refusals or combat avoidance.

Even fragging has been overblown. Most of the violent assaults were committed by rear eschalon troops in disputes over drugs or race.

In 1970 this is the number of stockade rebellions in the US Army



* Fort Carson - Sick-call.

January 28

* Great Lakes Naval Training Center - On-base riot.

March 2

* Mannheim Brig - Stockade rebellion.

March 13

* Mannheim Brig - Stockade rebellion.


* Stanford University - ROTC building damaged by fire.
* Fort Polk - Stockade rebellion.

April 9

* Berkeley - Anti-ROTC demonstration turns into riot.

April 15

* Fort Carson - Sick call.
* Fort Dix SPD - Sick call.
* Fort Lewis - Messhall boycott.
* Fort McLellan - Messhall boycott.
* Fort McClellan - Sick call.

May 20

* Camp Humphries, South Korea - Attempted fragging. An American guard and three South Koreans were injured, helicopter badly damaged.

May 26

* USS Richard B. Anderson - Sabotage.

May 30

* Ponchon, South Korea - On-base riot.


* Mannheim - On-base riot
* MCRD San Diego - On-base riot.
* Oakland - Attempted fragging.

July 4

* Iwakuni MCAS - Stockade rebellion.

July 24

* Camp Pendelton - Armory broken into, 9 M-16s, grenade launcher and .45 pistol stolen.

July 25

* Camp McCoy - Western Electric transformer and the central telephone exchange bombed.

July 26

* Fort Hood - Stockade rebellion.

July 27

* Fort Scott - Outdoor model of a Niki Ajax Missile destroyed in an explosion.
* Mannheim Stockade - Stockade rebellion.
* North Beach - Bomb thrown at North Beach MP Station.

July 27

* Fort Dix - Stockade rebellion.

July 30

* Fort Carson - On-base riot.

August 6

* Fort Monmouth - Sabotage.

August 12

* Camp Pendelton SPD - On-base riot.

August 12 - 13

* Fort Ord - Stockade rebellion.

August 17

* Camp Pendelton Brig - Stockade rebellion.

August 20

* Berlin - Black GIs riot.

September 12

* Chanute AFB - On-base riot.

September 16

* Chanute AFB - Messhall boycott.

September 26

* Fort Carson - Stockade rebellion.


* Alameda NAS - On-base strike.
* Fort Benning - Stockade rebellion.
* USS Deeley - Sabotage.

October 27

* USS Ingram - Sabotage.

November 10

* Iwakuni MCAS - On-base riot.


* Kadena AFB - On-base riot.

December 20

* Fort Hood - Stockade rebellion.

By 1973, the US Army was barely able to function, with indiscipline in the ranks and open racial violence.

People want to claim this was some "movement" of GI resistance, but that's a bit much. There was no overarching goal, no political philosophy. And a lot of the underpinnings of the violence was racially motivated. Some people didn't belong in the Army, some just hated it.

The Army stopped working and that ensured it would leave Vietnam.

When people, especially those who live overseas, call for dramatic action like a general strike, they aren't aware of America 2007. America is a land of crushing debt and underpaid workers. Most families live paycheck to paycheck. To lose a job is to lose health care and risk homelessness.

When people protested in 1968, jobs were easy to get and keep. That isn't the case today.

But I'm going to argue something else: the current antiwar movement has been a raging success.


First, 70 percent of the public wants the war to end.

Second, recruiting has been crippled.

Third, there is now an antiwar majority in Congress. War opponents are given a full hearing in public. Unlike Nixon, Bush is reeling in the polls over the war. The "silent majority" is against Bush, as are most of the editorial pages.

This domination of the antiwar position allows people to ignore protests and limit their fallout. The damage ANSWER does is limited because they can't define the antiwar movement.

The power of this movement isn't in the streets, it's in blocking recruiters, it's in electing politicians. It does things, quietly, differently, but far more successfully than those wishing for a return of the 1960's.

George Bush doesn't care about protests, hell, he doesn't care about Congress. You want to end this war, you need politicians, not protests.

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