" A nation that spends more money on national
defense than it does on programs of social uplift,
is facing spiritual death."
Martin Luther King Jr.
April 4, 1967
I took this photograph at a Veterans Day Parade
in Albany, Oregon in 1992. One of the floats in the
parade was a long flatbed truck that had bails of
hay on it. Behind those bails of hay were boys,
ranging from age 8 to 12. They each had a plastic
pistol or rifle, and they were pointing those guns
at people along the parade route. The crowd was
ecstatic with its approval. One has to remember,
that the year before, America had won a resounding
victory in Iraq with " Desert Storm." Of course no one
wanted to talk about the overwhelming destruction
that was inflicted on the Iraqi people, especially the
civilian population. The death toll and the destruction
to their infrastructure was massive. The " Highway of
Death," was barbaric. It had a concentration camp
mentality of crimes against humanity. This is what
America has become. It is here, right now, in what
Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as spiritual death.
If the American people continue to be so apathetic
about what our government is doing behind closed
doors, and the blind obedience this requires, this
country is headed for self destruction. When I left
Vietnam in 1971, American troops in my unit were
shooting heroin, they were shooting their fellow
soldiers, and they were shooting themselves. That
is what those boys on that flatbed truck could never
Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
February 3, 2010

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