Tag Archives: war

On Snipers

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Earlier today, documentarian, social commentator, and bad film maker Micheal Moore enraged some and emboldened others when he declared the late Chris Kyle, subject of the current box office front-runner American Sniper, was — like all snipers — “a coward.” I believe Mr. Moore to be incorrect in his assessment of military snipers; while I do not ascribe any particular courage to snipers, I am certain they are in no way cowards. In fact, of all the combatants on the modern battlefield embroiled in modern warfare, snipers know better than any other the true face of war and its unfathomable costs.

Long years ago, warfare was bloody, smelly, claustrophobically close, and violently personal. In ancient times, men would stand in the heat of a summer day hacking at one another with swords, spears, and axes of copper, then bronze, then iron. A soldier saw the face of each opponent he killed. Often he would leave the battlefield soaked in blood and gore which was not his own, but belonged to his foes . . . or his friends. War was serious business.

Beginning in the Medieval period, however, the distances between combatants changed. Longbows and a little later crossbows lengthened the battlefield from face to face out to a couple of hundred yards. Unquestionably men would still finish the day with sword and axe in hand to hand combat, but the archers and crossbowmen firing in massed formation seldom saw the person who fell pierced to the heart by their projectiles.

Then came firearms and the game evolved dramatically. Now men stood at distance and blasted at one another with muskets while their compatriots in the artillery corps shot cannonballs through the ranks opposite them. Some military historians debate if the smoothbore musket was a great improvement over the longbow in terms of accuracy and rate of fire. One thing is certain, the Brown Bess took much less training and practice than the yew stave stringed with gut cord so common people rather than warriors started becoming more active participants in war.

Long about the American Revolution (sure, leave it to the Yanks) though, some enterprising gunsmith rifled the barrel of a musket. Now, instead of a range of a football field, a man with good eyesight could shoot an opponent through the vitals at over 400 yards. Thus were the first snipers born on the battlefields of North America.

From the beginning, snipers have been a hated group. The British during the American Revolution repeatedly wrote about how “unsporting” and “barbaric” the rag tag American riflemen were for refusing to stand in neat ranks and march resolutely towards another line similarly arrayed whilst shooting at one another all the while. The early Kentucky rifle carrying militia men were hated, but they lived to shoot another day . . . and they taught the British the folly of those bright red uniforms with the big brass buttons.

Ever since rifles became widespread in combat, every military — at least in times of war — maintained units of snipers. Sometimes, they were professional hunters or of similar occupation allowing excellence with a rifle and superior marksmanship. Later, men would train in the art of sniping. No matter what their background, however, it was (and remains) the sniper who carries the tradition of the personal, bloody killing of the ancient battlefield.

Today, snipers don’t carry an assault rifle capable of spraying down jungle and plain alike with hundreds of rounds in a blink. Snipers don’t have the conscience clearing luxury of blindly firing during battle at some movement and later being able to say to themselves, “Maybe I didn’t kill anyone.” Snipers KNOW they kill people. It is what they are trained to do and every time they look through their telescopic sight atop their high powered sniper rifle and pull the trigger, the SEE the target — the person — crumple and fall. Combat for snipers is ALWAYS personal, even if it may not necessarily be close.

On the battlefield, snipers are always certain of one thing — if they are captured, they WILL be summarily executed. EVERY army kills enemy snipers unlucky enough to be captured, “international laws of war” be damned. Captured snipers are killed out of hand for one simple reason — RAGE. Nothing on the modern battlefield is as terrifying as a trained sniper. If you get killed by a mortar round, it was your time. Shot during a firefight? Same thing. But sitting quietly eating an MRE and your buddy’s head explodes next to you like a pumpkin dropped from the roof? You know he died because a MIND, a THINKING person deliberately WANTED him dead. Snipers rob an army of its peace even in the rear area.

A sniper can change history with one pull of the trigger, or one shot not taken. For example, in 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine, British sharpshooter (sniper) Capt. Patrick Ferguson had an unusually tall, American officer in his rifle’s iron sights but he chose not to shoot the man because the officer had his back turned and it wouldn’t have been very “gentlemanly.” That tall officer was George Washington. Imagine how different the American Revolution might have been if Ferguson had pulled the trigger.

So, to answer Mr. Moore simply, “no, snipers are not cowards; they are soldiers.” Of all soldiers save medics, the sniper knows the blood of war most intimately. He is a hunter of men; a killer of men. A killer, but not a murderer. The sniper kills those who would kill him, his friends, and his fellow soldiers. I’ve personally known two snipers and also heard Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock speak at a dinner I attended. None of them bragged about the men they had killed. They did what they were trained then instructed to do, just like Capt. Paul Tibbets of the “Enola Gay.” They put sights on a man, pulled the trigger, and watched him die. I can’t imagine a coward being able to do that.

Love y’all. Keep those feet clean.

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This is NOT a Movie

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enders_game_ver12Budge and I went to see Ender’s Game Saturday afternoon. I read the book eons ago and Budge knew enough that we both expected the “twist” at the end. I sat through the movie, which was beautifully shot and orchestrated, but after it ended, Budge and I walked back to the car in depressed silence.

This movie is not — let me repeat that to be clear — NOT a faithful representation of the source material in Orson Scott Card’s novel. What it is, and in spades I’ll add, is a blatant and scathing indictment of America’s actions towards foreign countries over the last two Presidential administrations.

It doesn’t bother me that the movie could have been a Michael Moore rag; what bothers me is how spot on it was in its satire in places AND how simple it was for me and Budge (who abhors politics) to pick out the director’s theme.

I don’t usually put spoilers in my movie posts, but I’m making an exception in this one, so if you’re planning to see it 1) don’t say I didn’t warn you and 2) don’t read any further down this post.

In the BOOK, Earth is attacked TWICE by “Buggers” who show every intention of returning again, which establishes a pretty good case for some type of preemptive action on the three NATIONS of the Earth. The BOOK has two important sub-plots that involve Ender Wiggins’ psychopathic brother Peter and his beloved sister Valentine. In the BOOK, we look like a species trying to defend ourselves from another eminent attack from space.

In the MOVIE, we look like bullying, Nazi-esque douchebags.

Our planet is attacked one time. The “Buggers” show no sign of coming back, propaganda to the contrary, and the globe is depicted as a single New World Order type unified one-nation entity, thereby discarding the three warring “mega-nations” that gave purpose and tension to the novel. The book is subtle in it’s Cold War political message; the movie isn’t subtle at all. Instead, the movie invokes the old saw that, “If the only tool in your box is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Children are taken from their homes at ridiculously tender ages and sent to “Battle School” where they are pitted against each other in a series of Darwinian tasks that make The Hunger Games look like an afternoon of croquet.

The book has those elements as well, BUT in the movie, everything is stripped down. NO allowance is made for the fact THESE ARE CHILDREN, and in the end, one of those children — the eponymous main character — becomes the architect and executor of a genocide Hitler, Stalin, and Mao couldn’t have imagined in their collectively most coked out acid trips. In the movie, our wonderfully united species spends 50 years building a space-faring fleet with one purpose in mind — eradicating the “Buggers.” We don’t try to communicate with them because the bodies we discovered after the “invasion” show no vocal cords so naturally a species capable of interstellar flight couldn’t POSSIBLY have some other way of communication than spoken words.

Nope, they are different from us, they apparently don’t like us — but we don’t bother to ask them, so obviously, we have to kill every single one of them in order for our world to be safe. Does any of this sound the slightest bit familiar? If it doesn’t, turn off Rush Limburger and Sean Hennessy and think about it for a minute. If you do, you’ll see it’s a perfect picture of American foreign policy for the last 12 years.

The USA was attacked on 9-11-2001 by elements of Al-Qaeda under the influence and command of Osama Bin Laden. Quite predictably — and I think appropriately — we flipped our collective lids and beat our pruning hooks into swords overnight. All of our intelligence, indeed all of the WORLD’S intelligence, pointed to Bin Laden hiding out in the mountainous border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. So, with revenge on our minds, we gear up for a massive beat-down such as the world has never seen. We load up the transports and carriers with men and weapons and we head across the waters to kick the everloving sh . . . I mean poop out of — wait for it — IRAQ!?

W.T.F? Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda people are in Afghanistan / Pakistan. Why are we invading Iraq? Bin Laden is not in Iraq. Bin Laden is in Afghanistan / Pakistan somewhere. Yet for reasons NO ONE can adequately explain, we roll in to a sovereign nation, shoot the place up, destabilize the entire region, and ultimately kill Bin Laden? NO. BECAUSE BIN LADEN ISN’T IN IRAQ!! No, we kill Saddam Hussein, who, yes, is a raging asshole who killed his own people (with a lot of weapons he got from us in America) and turned the country from something resembling a nation into a festering bed of warring sects who hate each other AND, incidentally, HATE US TOO.

Only after we tidy up the loose ends that Dubya’s daddy left hanging in the family closet do we go flounder around in the deserts and badlands of Afghanistan for ten years and finally manage to kill the ONE GUY we’ve been looking for as he was kicked back and relaxing in our supposed “ally’s” backyard.

The 9/11 attacks changed everything. I know that. I sat and bawled like a baby for six hours watching the news after I got home from teaching classes that day. Unfortunately, they destroyed our country and no one seems to mind. The best estimate I can find is 2,996 people died in the attacks. In the Iraq War that followed — tell me why did that happen again — 4,486 American soldiers died. That doesn’t include the 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed because when everyone looks the same and there is no real front line, you kill them all and let God and Allah fight it out.

Despite all those casualties, the worst face of the Iraq War / “Global War on Terror” is the face of the soldiers who are coming home. It’s bad enough for our regular forces to have to face combat, but so many of the troops who’ve fought this war AREN’T regular forces. They’re National Guard troops who signed up for some extra money and to help fill sandbags during floods or look for missing people during a hurricane. They were never trained to go to a foreign country, meet interesting people, and kill them.

Now they are back and they are broken inside and from what I can see, no one gives a really good damn about it. THAT is what saddens me most about what our country has become and that is what’s brought to the fore so painfully in this mockery of Ender’s Game: the movie. One line in the movie says it best of all. The psych officer is confronting the main training colonel about his harsh training tactics and the line she delivers is one for the ages:

“You are turning these children into KILLERS and when it’s over and they finally get to come home you want ME to try to fix them. Well, they can’t BE FIXED!”

I lost my daddy in Vietnam . . . another war eerily similar to the Iraq War. Oh, he’s alive and probably sitting in his recliner watching westerns on tv as I’m writing this, but he went to Vietnam a 19 year old kid from Fountain Inn, SC who’d never been on a plane and he came back 13 months later and 100 years older. I never got the chance to know the man my mama and Granny Wham talked about.

And now, it’s happening again.

Love y’all. Keep your feet clean and I’m sorry I don’t know the answers or what else to say.

It’s 11 Years Since the WTC Attacks; Do You Know Where Your Constitutional Rights Are?

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This Patriots Day, I’m not going to look back at the terrible events of 9-11-2001. We all know the horror, the intense loss, and the overwhelming fear which billowed up and gripped our nation by the throat 11 years ago today. I want to spend a minute looking at the results of the fear because I’m afraid ever since that dark day, we’ve become accustomed to the dark in this country. Specifically, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact our Constitution and its Bill of Rights — cornerstone and keystone — of our nation have been largely discarded in the name of state security.

First, look at the PATRIOT Act. This single piece of legislation has destroyed the liberty and freedom of more Americans than any law this nation has ever passed. It is a law any dictator would be proud to have on his books. It is a law which has completely eviscerated our Constitution.

Broadly defined, the PATRIOT Act has:

expanded authority to regulate financial transactions . . .  and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities . . . . The act also expanded the definition of terrorism . . . thus enlarging the number of activities to which the . . . .  Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.

When (and why) did our police start looking like our military?

So terrorism is now whatever our government says it is and anyone our government denounces as a terrorist IS one. In the name of state security, our federal government — and by extension state and many local governments as well — can wiretap your phones, monitor your cell phone usage, track your internet browsing, and, with the provision that brought out the fight in librarians all over the country, walk in to your local library, flash a FBI badge and ask to see your library records. What makes this so insidious is this can all be done without your knowledge and in many cases without a warrant. Please read the following and compare what it says to the PATRIOT Act:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If it sounds familiar, it’s because you remember the text of the Fourth Amendment from a civics class somewhere in your past. Many “unreasonable searches” and more than a few “seizures” have taken place in the last ten years, but where is the required “probable cause?” Probable Cause is no longer a legal definition; it’s whatever the FBI and other law enforcement agencies SAY it is.

Next, how many of you have heard of a guy named Anwar al-Awlaki? He was an odious little man who, as a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, spewed venom and hatred against the US from his platform as a Muslim imam in Yemen. You don’t have to worry about him anymore though because he was killed about a year ago in a Predator drone strike carried out in Yemen on President Obama’s orders. This probably won’t make anyone lose sleep and I’m not saying it should except for one little detail about Awlaki. He was born in New Mexico in 1971.

According to US Law, anyone born on American soil, regardless of the nationality or citizenship of his or her parents is an AMERICAN CITIZEN. Anwar al-Awlaki was just as much a citizen of this country as George W. Bush is and Awlaki was assassinated on foreign soil by US armed forces. Our President ordered a citizen of this country summarily executed.

Time for another civics review.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

That’d be the Sixth Amendment. Our Founding Fathers wanted to see to it American citizens didn’t just “disappear” like so many French citizens did during their Revolution. One of our most precious rights is the right to a trial. It’s one of the things which makes us who we are as Americans. “THEY” stand people up against walls and shoot them. WE don’t do that! Or we didn’t. Now we do; and let me ask you a question — how long do you think it will be before American citizens on OUR own soil deemed to dangerous to live and to potentially hazardous to arrest and prosecute in the courts end up missing? When that happens, you may want to start looking up.

America has NEVER violated the rights of its lawful citizens in a time of war.

Of course, by the end of this year if you look up, and you live in an urban area, chances are good you’ll see a Predator or a Globe Hawk or maybe even a Reaper drone flying around above your city looking harmless. Right now, the military has 64 drone bases operational on American soil. Not all of them are for training. Maybe the government won’t use the ever-growing drone fleet to spy on us . . . maybe.

Finally, a word about The Global War on Terror. Ever since 9-11-01, many people believe we have been at war with terrorism. Here’s the problem with that. You cannot WIN a GLOBAL war on TERRORISM unless you control the WHOLE WORLD. What you can do though, is keep a lot of people scared of boogie men in Arab robes around every corner. The whole premise of TGWOT is ludicrous, unless you want to keep the country ACTING like we are at war. See, I listened to Granny Wham tell stories about how things were on the home front in WWII. You couldn’t do things you could do before Pearl Harbor. Police could do things they formerly couldn’t do because the country was AT WAR and when you are AT WAR, you have to draft WARTIME LEGISLATION. Unfortunately, we can’t win this war because “Terrorism” isn’t a country we can invade and wipe out. For every terrorist cell we find and take down, three more will pop up.

Comic book or prophecy?
You decide.

That’s okay with the government though because being AT WAR makes it okay to do almost anything, like put Japanese-American CITIZENS in concentration camps, or detain people at Gitmo for 11 years without a trial or spy on our own citizens. As long as the public is running scared and we are theoretically “At War” the government can do whatever it wants to do and cover it up or spin it and it’ll all be okay because it’s all done in the name of national security. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. Read the book instead of watching the movie. The movie is an action thriller; the book will make you think. Just replace the book’s nuclear war with The Global War on Terror and see where it leads.

Let a great American from another era end this posting with his thought on “security.”

Take it away, Ben.

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and in the end will lose both.

What If They’re Right?

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Religious Subject Matter Disclaimer: My atheist and agnostic readers might want to skip this post since I realize many view me as a nut job or fanatic for discussing something as “archaic” as “Christianity” but think of me what you will; my motto has always been “Better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not.”

Egypt’s new President, Mohamed Morsi. How will his election affect the Middle East and beyond?

I was raised Pentecostal and steeped in the hope of the imminent Rapture of the saints and return of Jesus Christ to Earth to judge the quick and the dead. I was a devoted student of prophecy to the point that I honestly never figured my loved ones nor I would die because we would be “caught away” to spend seven years in Heaven while the Great Tribulation raged down here on Earth under the command of the Antichrist.

Well, times of personal tribulation proved to me all my loved ones will not be in the Rapture — most of them have already gone by the grave. Same destination, just a different bus. In any event, my present church doesn’t emphasize prophecy or eschatology the way my former church did so I haven’t kept up with every website and article like I used to. Still some events earlier this week touched off my prophecy radar more strongly than anything has since the 9-11-01 attacks had so many of my colleagues buzzing about the end of times. The event that sent me checking up on some old sources was the election of Mohamed Morsi as the new President of Egypt.

So what? Why would one election in the midst of a slew of revolutions and general political upheaval in a traditionally volatile Middle East cause me to sit up and take notice? One simple reason: Mohamed Morsi is also one of the highest ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the granddaddy of all Pan-Islamic movements. Its mission statement, according to the MB English language website is

“God is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

Three goals of the Brotherhood are: 1) Installation of Shari’ah (Islamic religious law) as the CIVIL legal system 2) Unification of all Islamic Arab states under the banner of Allah and 3) Liberation from foreign (read Western) imperialism.  Again . . . so what? You may be wondering, “Dude, why does this concern you at all? What’s Egypt got to do with anything?” Well, it’s not Egypt necessarily that I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about Israel.

Since the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords, Egypt and Israel have been at peace. Understand that from 1948 until 1978, the two nations were at one another’s throats and fought four serious conflicts: The Israeli War of Independence, The Suez Crisis, The Six Day War, and The Yom Kippur War. The enmity between these two nations goes all the way back to Genesis. Egypt was Israel’s bitterest enemy for 6,000 years. Now, however, Egypt is the ONLY Arab nation that recognizes Israel as a nation having the right to exist.

What worries me is new President Morsi — despite calming words to the contrary — will eventually renege on the Camp David treaty. You have to realize just how badly the Arab nations HATE Israel. I won’t get into the 6,000 year history of blood and fire between Arab and Jew, but NO member of the Muslim Brotherhood is going to stand for peace with Israel indefinitely. The rest of the organization won’t let him, and if Egypt breaks the treaty with Israel, that little nation will once again be surrounded on all sides by water and hostile nations. Israel will be backed into a very tight corner and since 1948, backing Israel into a corner has NOT turned out well for the attacking nations.

This is how Israel responds to being backed into a corner.

So here’s what all this means. The Middle East is a tinderbox in the best of times. Israel’s existence is the main catalyst for the friction. The United States is Israel’s ONLY consistent ally and we’ve cooled towards her significantly over the last few years. If Egypt turns on Israel, it will be a matter of WHEN, not IF the Arab countries invade Israel just as they did in 1973. War will engulf the Middle East and the United States will NOT intervene for one simple reason . . . the Samson Protocol.

It is the worst kept secret in the world that Israel, thanks to the French and Mossad, has full nuclear weapons capability. Make no mistake, Israel will NOT give up one inch of her land. Before she will admit defeat, she will initiate the Samson Option and threaten to use medium range ballistic missiles to turn every Arab capital from Riyadh to Cairo into smoking glass parking lots. Then, things get real ugly. Russia jumps up in anger, China comes in . . . it’s all just a mess until one voice speaks up.

Nobody knows who he is or where he will come from. Ignore anyone who tells you differently. Whoever he . . . or maybe she . . . is will step up with a plan and — somehow or another — accomplish what NO ONE ELSE in history has been able to do: bring total peace to the Middle East. This person is the Antichrist prophesied by Daniel and John the Revelator. He will take over the world THROUGH PEACE. It’ll be a false peace, but peace nonetheless.

Now I realize it may seem farfetched to think that one Egyptian presidential election is going to directly usher in the reign of the Antichrist, but if you buy into Pre-Tribulation, Pre-Millenialism views of the Last Days, SOMETHING has to touch off everything . . . why not this? If you wonder what Pre-Trib, Pre-Mill means, read or look up synopses of the Left Behind series of books by Tim LaHaye and Terry Jenkins.

You know, this may all be smoke and mirrors in my mind. I don’t know. I have several very intelligent pastor friends who think Pre-Trib, Pre-Mill is a complete butchering of Biblical interpretation. I can’t completely answer that. What I can say is this: the US is waning in influence, Europe is in chaos, China is on the rise, the ice caps are melting AND December 21, 2012 is just around the corner. To quote Billy Joel, “You may be right; I may be crazy,” but just humor me and ask yourself one thing . . .

What if They’re Right?

Love y’all. Keep those feet clean and get your burquas washed.

Thoughts on Veterans’ Day 2011

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I would like to thank all the brave men and women throughout our country’s history who have served under arms waging war and keeping peace. It is because of the sacrifice in time, emotion, energy, and — all too often — blood, that the United States of America remains the envy of the rest of the world.

I wholeheartedly support our troops — past, present, and future. Always have, always will.

Having said that, I need to make clear that I am adamantly against the two current “wars” our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have been fighting for the last ten years. Furthermore, even though I was not yet born, I stand retroactively and historically against every war and conflict this country has been involved in since 1945.

Again, to be crystal clear, I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. My immediate family has sent many brave men to fight our country’s wars including my grandfather, father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. If I pull back to look at my extended family, the number of veterans quickly becomes too great to list.  As a teacher, I watched more than fifty of my former students go off to fight. To my everlasting sorrow, two of them returned home in flag draped caskets after making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I have never admitted this to anyone before tonight, but I was prepared to leave college in 1991 to enlist in the US Army in order to fight in the First Gulf War (the semi- justifiable one) when it looked like we were up against a real army and it might be a somewhat long war. I went to Fountain Inn one early fall afternoon and spoke to Papa Wham alone. Papa, with his eyes tearing up, asked me to please not enlist. He said, “Frankie being in Vietnam almost killed Mama (he always called Granny Wham, Mama) and me. I don’t believe either one of us could stand to see you go to war.” I didn’t enlist, but even though I am grateful to have honored Papa’s wishes, I still feel like a little part of me is missing and I’ll never be able to hold my head quite as high as Papa Wham and Daddy with no test of combat under my belt.

Papa had passed away by the time of the 9-11-2001 attacks when I would again contemplate enlisting, but by then, I was 30 and the recruiters all said I was too old so once again, I did not get to fight. My deepest and greatest regret is having never served my country in uniform.

In any event, though I was willing to go fight myself, I do not support the way our military is being used and has been used for the last forty-five years.  I believe, and I feel justified in my belief, that our government, for whatever real or stated reasons has decided to make the United States the big brother / policeman to the entire world. We are spending our sons and daughters’ precious blood on soil where we have no business being fighting for causes that are not our own.

Please look through the following list of the MAJOR wars and conflicts America has participated in and see what we gained.

  • American Revolution — gained our independence and became a country.
  • War of 1812 — gained nothing for the US.  This war was so unpopular at the time the New England states almost seceded from the United States.
  • Mexican War — Our first aggressive war. We got most of the southwest, which we’d been claiming anyway for years. Oh, and we trained a whole generation of officers for the next war.
  • The War of Northern Aggression — The Confederate States were forced to remain in the Union at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives both Blue and Grey.
  • The Spanish-American War — Our first war started and fought under completely false pretenses. We gained an overseas empire and a bad reputation.
  • World War I — We fought for one year and acted like we won the war single-handedly.  WWI put us on the world stage as a major player, but we could have just as easily sat it out and still emerged as a dominant power in the world. Wilson just HAD to get us in the fight though.
  • World War II — The continuation of the First World War after a 20 year intermission. We could have sat this one out as well so long as we kept Great Britain and the Soviet Union supplied from The Arsenal of Democracy, but the Japs had to sneak attack us (well, sneak attack for Pearl Harbor. FDR knew all about the coming attack) We gained nothing except superpower status. This is also when we started the annoying trend of blowing the hell out of an enemy and then going in and rebuilding them even stronger.
  • The Korean Conflict — Never a declared war. Still technically going on today since no peace treaty has ever been signed. We gained NOTHING from the Korean War except thousands of casualties and the basis for a mediocre but long running television show.
  • Vietnam Conflict — Never a declared war. We lost nearly 60,000 brave young men for NOTHING. Our government committed acts tantamount to TREASON against our troops then a bunch of dreadlocked hippies had the gall to spit on our boys as they came home. This war destroyed any innocence our country might have retained and gained us NOTHING.
  • Gulf War I — Bush I managed to get us cheap oil for a little while longer.
  • Gulf War II —  Bush II managed to get rid of Saddam Hussein in one of the most unjustified actions of aggression against another sovereign nation (albeit it a sorry, lowdown, and wicked sovereign nation) since we exterminated the Indians and paved the way for one of the only non-theocratic Islamic states in the Middle East to become a theocratic Islamic state. Oh, and also did away with what was left of Daddy Bush’s cheap oil.
  • War In Afghanistan — Ten years to kill one man and when we leave, and we WILL leave, the Taliban will come right back in and reinstall Islamic law, destroy all the schools we built with our boys’ blood, and start cutting women’s noses off again if they get “uppity”.

So, I support our troops whole-heartedly and will happily fight anyone anytime anywhere who think I do not. They are doing their jobs despite the government’s ability to tie their hands at every opportunity. They are fighting, not for “our freedom” because our freedom is not endangered by al-queda’s terrorists. Al-queda can kill Americans, but they cannot kill America and if we stayed out of their miserable God-forsaken countries, they wouldn’t be able to kill as many Americans. 9-11 was a lesson, but unfortunately, it has become the entire curriculum.

At the close of this Veterans Day, Thank You once again to all our Veterans, past and present, living and dead; and to our government let me say loudly and clearly,

BRING OUR BOYS AND GIRLS HOME NOW.

ANZAC Day 2010

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Please, if you are a regular reader, pass this post on if you’ve never passed any of my other writings along. It’s about a subject that means a great deal to me — war and young men dying.

This post is a little late, mainly because it’s taken me this long to gather the strength to write it. Sunday past was ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand. If you want to know more particulars about this most sacred of Down Under holidays, I invite you to check out what the ubiquitous Wikipedia article has to say . . . if you are hypocritical enough to use a source most of you school librarians out there won’t let your students use.

The short summary is ANZAC Day is analogous to Memorial Day here in the United States. Like its American counterpart, ANZAC Day is a day of remembering far too many brave men and, nowadays, women, who went off to wars they didn’t want for governments they may or may not have supported to die far from home in a foreign land at the hands of people with whom they had no quarrel. If you can’t tell, I don’t like war. A war cost me a relationship with my father. I realize that war is sometimes necessary, but this world hasn’t seen a Hitler in 60 years and yet we still find a reason to pull out our deadly toys and kill each other.

This ANZAC Day was unique. It marked the first time since the inception of the holiday that no veteran of WWI, the “Diggers” as the Aussies called them, was alive to mark the occasion. In the whole world, less than five men, all centenarians, still live for whom the barbed wire and the blood and mud and mire of the trenches is not second hand information, but real, in color memory. When those precious few are gone, the world will have lost the first hand accounts of the Great War that was to end all wars, the war that — more than any before or since — changed the world as we would come to know it, and that all for the worse.

The last Aussie Digger has passed on as has the last British Tommie and the final German Hun. America still has a doughboy tucked away in the hills of West Virginia and our Canadian allies still have one or possibly two souls who were in a trench the day the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Soon, as always happens once living memory is dead, the forgetting will begin in earnest. I hate to see that happen because when it does, we will forget why The Band Played Waltzing Matilda and the dying and killing will go on and the reasons will get no better.

Love y’all. Pray for our boys and girls fighting and dying please . . . for me.