Tag Archives: Vietnam

Let’s remember more than the fallen . . .

image006 (2)Today is the 240th day of the twelfth year of the US war in Afghanistan. So as we approach 13 years there, and pass the 11th year of the Iraq occupation, let’s tune out those who would call a President who moves to extricate us a ‘traitor’. Instead, let’s remember Korea and Vietnam and the lessons we failed to learn from those two hapless interventions.

Afghanistan is already slipping back into its territorial and tribal fights and Iraq is facing increasing sectarian conflict reminiscent of the Sunni/Shia ‘civil war’ of 2005-06.

My hope for today is that those who call for more war will find no ears to hear. Let them shout into the wind.

Jim wrote a letter to Mitt. Wasn’t that nice?

In comments yesterday, Jim Wheeler wrote a little letter to Mr. Romney after seeing the quote below about Vietnam service.  Here it is.

Gosh, Mittens, I was there and I really, really missed you.  And you know what?  If you had been there it would have done wonders for your ability to empathize with the little people.

For example, there was the family separation of 474 days out of 540 during which my wife raised our three boys alone, closed on the purchase of a house and made all the major family decisions without me.  For example there were the incessant hours of boredom punctuated by moments of fear and immense loneliness.  For example there was the frustration of having politicians trying to run the goddam war by sitting around a coffee table drinking bourbon while we were racing up and down the South China Sea lobbing 8 inch shells into attacking Viet Cong.  For example there was the immense pleasure of receiving one’s wife’s accumulated 17 daily letters, each numbered consecutively because she knew they would arrive that way, and because there was no fucking email or satellite video then.

But never mind, Mittens.  You can take consolation with all those souls you won for the Lord in France.  After all, there are all kinds of sacrifice.

Yours in sympathy,

Jim

Just like Cheney who had ‘other priorities’

From The Last of the Milleniums where he has a juicy post about vets, Sen. Jim Webb and the 47%.

An anniversary approaches

I stopped my daily posts on our time in Afghanistan some months ago; of course the calendar didn’t stop. The beat has  gone on.

Afghan caualites '01-'10

My first post on that war was on the first day of the ninth year. In fact, it noted the first hour of the first day of the ninth year of that war. For  nine months I counted the days daily, and then it became weekly, bi-weekly. It’s now been three weeks.

My generation fought in Vietnam. And they fought for more than a decade. And we lost. And it damaged our national psyche for decades. The draft was in force at that time so the price in blood and treasure touched everyone’s life one way or another. Every single one of us.  We fought it, we died in it and we came to demand its end. It was an immoral war and we were ashamed. And we lost that war. The shame and humiliation damaged us; we haven’t been the same country since.

But today’s volunteer, professional military now insulates us from the horror. The nightly news doesn’t even bother to report it. Look at the front page of any newspaper – any Afghan stories there? (For that matter, any Iraq stories?).

Shame on us. Shame on me. Especially since today is the 363rd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan. 2130 Coalition soldiers have died, over 1300 of them Americans. 7266 American casualties as well. 2010 already has the highest death count. The highest before this year was last year. And the highest before that, was the year before. The was has cost, as of today, $362,000,000,000.00. (Here at home, we’re laying off police and teachers.)

Two more days till the tenth year. Is that okay with you?

Fresher than ever

Phil Ochs arrived in Greenwich Village in 1962, the same year I did. As we say, I “knew people who knew him” and my former NYC roommate insists to this day that in fact we knew him. I hope it’s so, because today I continue to honor him.

Texas born and Ohio bred, Ochs died young. Alcohol, drugs and Bipolar disorder led him to end his life.

In 1969, while legions of unwilling young men were fighting and dying in Vietnam, Phil Ochs added his marvelous music to the cacophony. Most of his songs were directed at the world he lived in, but this one – surely his masterpiece – was a cry from the heart of American history.

Were he still here, he’d weep to know that today is the 241st day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.