Aimee Allison, the Army & the Tribune

Aimee Allison, an antiwar GI during the First Gulf War of 1991, is running for Oakland City Council in this month's special election. Below are 2 letters to the Oakland Tribune, one by myself and one by a neighbor.

Aimee Allison's CO status shows courage

In her otherwise informative column on Oakland's special election, Peggy Stinnett writes that city council candidate Aimee Allison "dropped out" of the Army. That is a poor choice of words. Nobody just "drops out" of the military. Not even officers (except for Bush) can just walk out when they feel like it. For us "peons," as we enlisted men used to call ourselves in the Marine Corps, about the only way out was to apply for Conscientious Objector status. But by doing so you might incur the wrath of your commanding officer--who has the power to make your life very, very unpleasant.

Filing for CO status takes skill and perseverance as well as courage. Aimee Allison eventually received an honorable discharge, which shows that she was able to win the respect of people who probably didn't share her views. These are qualities that can make her an effective city council person. I'm voting for Aimee Allison.

Daniel Borgström
Oakland, District 2

The above letter was published by the Tribune on May 4th. But on the very next day the newspaper printed another letter, one that assailed Aimee Allison for her CO status. In response to that attack, my neighbor, Patricia Maginnis who served three years in the US Army, wrote the following letter in support of Aimee Allison.

Aimee the Peace Candidate

Aimee Allison is both warmly praised and foully cursed for refusing to serve in the First Gulf War. It's become a stormy issue in this election. As a former member of the Women's Army Corps, I'd like to say something about my decision to vote for Aimee.

I grew up during World War II, and in 1950 I joined the Army and became a nurses' aid. Without visiting any combat zone, I saw the horrors of war. During my training in the hospital at Fort Sam Houston, I saw amputees--veterans of WW II. One of the saddest things was a soldier who'd been exposed to too much radiation; his jaw was eaten away, completely gone. I still remember the sounds he made when he tried to speak, the awful groans that came from his disfigured mouth.

Our involvement in WW II was justified and necessary. I still firmly believe that. We had to stop Hitler. But it fractures my brain to think of any justification for our misadventures in Iraq. This destructive fiasco, fomented by our politicians' lies, deceptions and greed, following on the heels of some 22 other post World War Two U.S. military adventures, screams to heaven to be stopped.

When the First Gulf War occurred, Aimee Allison realized that it was wrong and said 'No.' It's an inspiring example, and my vote for Aimee is a vote for peace.

Patricia Maginnis
Oakland, District 2