Army Censors and Persecutes Joan Baez: Not allowed to Sing Before Troops

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in 1964 Protest at Newark airport: Daniel Kramer photo.

We are told by the war criminals that we are in Iraq to spread democracy to the Middle East. Well apparently the army wants to attenuate it here in the land of the free and home of the brave in the Abu Ghraib-free world. They are restricting what voices and messages their devastated troops can hear while recovering from the Haillburton, Sen Clinton, Bush, Wolfowitz, Perle, Douglas Feith War.

The Washington Post broke this story today on the army’s refusal to allow Ms Baez to sing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They allow rats or whatever in Building 18–my god is this Orwellian or what– to defecate on and sleep with the soldiers but not a heroic, major antiwar singer who dares to challenge the war crimes of the army and those individual baby-killers who wear the uniform of the United States. Her purpose was to care for and entertain the wounded who have suffered in this criminal, repulsive war and not to criticise or condemn them.

Joan Baez Unwelcome At Concert For Troops
Singer Was to Perform With Mellencamp at Walter Reed

By Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 2, 2007; Page C01

When rocker John Mellencamp performed for the recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday night, a couple of things were missing. He squelched his typically blistering rhetoric against the war in Iraq. Also MIA, as it turned out, was folkie and antiwar activist Joan Baez, who says she was disinvited from the event by Army officials.

In a letter that appears today in The Washington Post, Baez says Mellencamp had wanted her to perform with him and that she had accepted his invitation.

“I have always been an advocate for nonviolence,” she writes, “and I have stood as firmly against the Iraq war as I did the Vietnam War 40 years ago. . . . I realize now that I might have contributed to a better welcome home for those soldiers fresh from Vietnam. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In the end, four days before the concert, I was not ‘approved’ by the Army to take part. Strange irony.”

Reached by telephone yesterday at her home in Menlo Park, Calif., Baez, 66, said she wasn’t told why she was given the boot, but speculated, “There might have been one, there might have been 50 [soldiers] that thought I was a traitor.”

Baez, who said Mellencamp had asked her to sing two songs with him, has been an avowed anti-violence activist ever since she refused to participate in an air raid drill at her Southern California high school. In the ’60s, her name became synonymous with the antiwar movement, though many of the protest songs she was famous for performing, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” were covers of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger songs. In 1964 she protested the Vietnam War by refusing to pay 60 percent of her income taxes. In 1968, she married activist David Harris — the two met in jail following a protest — and moved with him into his draft resistance commune…

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