High School Anti-Americanism
This past Friday afternoon, March 11, 2005 I served as one of a panel of guest speakers at the West Seattle High School Theater after having been invited to West Seattle High School by a student, Mr. Ben Doty, via referral from Ms. Nadine Gulit of Operation Support Our Troops. I served as one of a panel of approximately seven guest speakers at the West Seattle High School Theater. The topic on which I was invited to speak was my experience as a combat veteran of the war in Iraq. I was informed that I would have an opportunity to speak to students, along with other veterans as part of an objective forum with both anti-war and pro-troops sentiments. It was my understanding the purpose of this event was to provide students of West Seattle High School with an opportunity to hear from people with varied opinions on the war. I am pleased that my remarks were welcomed by the student audience. The panel of guests, though varied in opinion, was most professional in all aspects of a disagreeable but respectful discourse.
Why, then, am I writing to you? Upon entering the theater at 12:30 PM, approximately 15 minutes prior to the event, I was taken aback by what I witnessed. As I stood there in my Marine Corps Dress Blue uniform, there before me stood numerous kids running around in sloppily dressed and ill-fitted helmets and military fatigues with utter disrespect for the symbols and uniforms of the U.S. military. The walls were covered in camouflaged netting and the stage was covered with approximately twenty white, life-sized cut-out patterns in the shape of dead women and children, all of which were splattered in red-paint to depict human blood. Onstage, children were kneeling and weeping while dressed in ill-fitted Arabic headdress with white-faced masks similarly covered in red paint to depict human blood. At a podium, children were reading a monologue of how U.S. troops were killing civilians and shooting at women and children. Moreover, several grown adults were standing on stage in bright orange jump-suits, with black bags on and off their heads, some bound and tied, and some banging symbols and gongs in a crude depiction of what I believe were their efforts to depict victims of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse episode.
Within the auditorium, numerous adults appeared to have been supervising this behavior and children were literally running amok. What is going on in your classrooms and auditoriums? Who supervised this program? Who are these grown adults dressed as prisoners and performing such the attics on the stage of our public schools? Since when has it become Seattle School Board policy to take an official anti-troops position and declare returning combat veterans from Iraq such as myself as killers of innocent women and children as if this war were some sick sport. As an Iraq war veteran I am outraged by what I witnessed going on at West Seattle High School!