From the Google cache.
War in Iraq: US marines try to recruit 85-year-old
Date: 10/15/05 at 6:16PM
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
This explains the one-page letter that arrived last month in Barbara Mercer’s Seattle mailbox.
“Now is the time to put your unique language skills to the test as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” wrote Brig. Gen. W.E. Gaskin.
“Your command of the Arabic language will be invaluable. …
We’ll push your physical and mental limits beyond anything you’ve ever known.”
Mercer speaks English and converses in French, albeit with an American accent as thick as crème brûlée.
“But Arabic?” she chuckles. “I don’t even speak a word of that.”
Mercer is certainly not game for physical duress to forge what the letter refers to as “a bond that cannot be broken.”
She might end up breaking a bone or two. “I’m 85 years old,” Mercer explains.
“Even” gay people recently, contrary to before, became de facto welcome to die on the Iraq battefields; though still extremely unwelcome in barracks in the United States itself, Germany, or the many other countries with US troops and no war going on.
The Capitol Hill resident was “distressed” about why the military would be looking for recruits among octogenarians.
She fired off a letter to military brass.
“Dear General Gaskin,” she began, “Recently I received a copy of your obviously mass produced letter. …”
The general hasn’t replied. …
Mercer was miffed from the moment she opened her letter.
In her reply to the Marines, she didn’t hold back.
She said she knew why the military is having a hard time attracting recruits.
“The reason,” Mercer wrote, “is perfectly obvious: Young Americans don’t want any part of current imperial U.S. wars in the Middle East, conflicts which are illegal and immoral, and constitute gross violations of our democratic principles.”
Critics of Mercer’s perspective may think, what does she know? Has she even seen battlefield bravery or bloodshed up close?
It turns out she has.
During World War II, Mercer volunteered to serve as an Air Corps flight nurse.
In 1945, she left the service as a first lieutenant.
“I became a pacifist,” she tells me.
“Bringing the wounded home I saw the results of war and felt, never again.”
Mercer’s 84-year-old husband, Lyle, a former Army paratrooper, shares his wife’s way of thinking.
They have protested every war since World War II.
The couple spent the day before their 60th wedding anniversary last month taking part in the big peace gathering at Westlake Center.
They share a military background.
They share a pro-peace point of view.
One thing they don’t share is having received a letter from the Marines.
Mercer’s husband didn’t get one bearing his name, which is just as well.
It would have meant one more piece of junk mail to toss.
War in Iraq means less armed forces recruits in Britain: here.
Britain: scandal of deaths in Deepcut barracks of army recruits.
- John Bruhns: Iraq 10 Years Later: Participating in My Generation’s Most Controversial War (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ten Years Ago Today: FSO John Brown Quit the Foreign Service Over Iraq (diplopundit.net)
- Iraq: Meyer critical of reasons for UK joining war (scotsman.com)
- Iraq War: major new questions for Tony Blair (telegraph.co.uk)
- Catapulting the propaganda in reruns (pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com)
- “Why did we go to war in Iraq? The need for an inquiry” (wilpfact.wordpress.com)