May 262019

Joseph Mallord William Turner Teasing the Donkey 1827


So we’re going to do this all over again? Well, not if I can help it. Not that I have much hope that I can, mind you. As the bastions of war chime on, my voice, like so many others, will be drowned out. The military industrial complex knows how to do propaganda, better than anyone. But I’ll try.

Vietnam gave the US its biggest ever defeat, both militarily and morally, and yet mere years after its deeply humiliating withdrawal was put into action, the country was back at sending its promising young boys and girls not to its school systems, but to far away battle fields to be crippled, traumatized and slaughtered.

I know, I know, the UK and France do that too, but few other places do. Russia today uses its troops to defend its territory, China has yet to reveal its intentions. But the intentions of the US have been known ever since WWII ended.

In 1956, president Eisenhower, himself a longtime military man, warned the country upon taking leave of office, of the military-industrial complex that was threatening to take over its government. Less than 10 years later, that’s exactly what the complex did, and it’s never looked back.

And I’m thinking: you never learned anything at all? Not from Ike, not from Vietnam, not from the non-existent Iraqi WMD, and not from Libya or Syria? How is that even possible? Oh wait, I know, because the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN et al is where you get your so-called news. That’s why. Gotcha.


Today, May 26 2019, and I’m deeply ashamed to say it, I have two stories, one concerning a speech by VP Mike Pence at West Point, the other from Caitlin Johnstone about a Twitter thread initiated by the US military itself. Pence’s speech is heart breaking in its ignorance of US history, Caitlin’s is heart wrenching in its acknowledgment of that same history, and what it does to young Americans.

Now, I think this is not about Trump, as many will undoubtedly claim, it’s about Trump and Pelosi and Pence and McCain and Bolton and Hillary and Pompeo and Obama and all of the people hanging around both administrations. Let’s see what YOU think.

Pence To West Point Grads: You Will Fight On a Battlefield for America at Some Point in Your Life

Vice President Mike Pence told the graduating class of the West Point Military Academy on Saturday that the world is “a dangerous place” and they should expect to see combat. “Men and women of West Point, no matter where you’re deployed, you will be the vanguard of freedom, and you know that the “soldier does not bear the sword in vain.” The work you do has never been more important. America will always seek peace, but peace comes through strength. And you are now that strength. It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.

Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less.”

Mike Pence is a very dangerous person. He’s planning to send American children into endless wars once again, 45-odd years after Vietnam and 20-odd years after Iraq. And there’s no-one left to stop him, other than Trump, Not exactly a solid guarantee. The Democrats will cheer this on, and their media will too. They always have.

Now, I’m not old enough to remember the whole story of the US involvement in Vietnam, but I do recall this 1985 video from Paul Hardcastle, which stated that the average age of the US soldier in Vietnam -towards the end- was 19. I have also seen Coppola’s movie “Apocalypse Now”, and many others, and yes, I’m wondering where today’s versions of these movies are.



Because, you know, when I read the Twitter thread picked up by Caitlin Johnstone listing what was supposed to be a promo thing from the army, my heart sinks and hurts and in the end is downright defeated. It’s like reading the accounts from Vietnam, and nothing has changed in 50+ years. How can that be? Says innocent me.

But religious nut Mike Pence has the guts to present this as some sort of heroic thing. For young Americans to go die in a desert for nothing at all other than Exxon’s access to oil and the profits of Boeing and Raytheon. And of course they’ve been setting this up for decades, that young kids -certainly blacks- who have no shot at a proper education, can get one only if they agree to become cannon fodder.

That’s ‘Nam, guys, that’s the 1960’s, history. And just look at how terribly that failed. Well, Mike Pence would like to repeat that failure.

The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching.

After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?” As of this writing, the post has over 5,300 responses. Most of them are heartbreaking. “My daughter was raped while in the army,” said one responder. “They took her to the hospital where an all male staff tried to convince her to give the guy a break because it would ruin his life. She persisted. Wouldn’t back down. Did a tour in Iraq. Now suffers from PTSD.”

“I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years,” said another. Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them. This article exists solely to document a few of the things that have been posted in that space, partly to help spread public awareness and partly in case the thread gets deleted in the interests of “national security”.


“my grandpa served in vietnam from when he was 18–25. he’s 70 now and every night he still has nightmares where he stands up tugging at the curtains or banging on the walls screaming at the top of his lungs for someone to help him. he refuses to talk about his time and when you mention anything about the war to him his face goes white and he has a panic attack. he cries almost every day and night and had to spend 10 years in a psychiatric facility for suicidal ideations from what he saw there.”


“My best friend joined the Army straight out of high school because his family was poor & he wanted a college education. He served his time & then some. Just as he was ready to retire he was sent to Iraq. You guys sent him back in a box. It destroyed his children.”


“My best friend from high school was denied his mental health treatment and forced to return to a third tour in Iraq, despite having such deep trauma that he could barely function. He took a handful of sleeping pills and shot himself in the head two weeks before deploying.”

If you got the stomach for it, guys, do read it. But I got to tell you, I find it hard.

The US killed millions of people and maimed ten times that in Vietnam, and that very much includes its own young and promising American citizens, and they did it again in Iraq. Mike Pence wants to repeat that in Iran and other theaters. Supported by Pelosi, Pompeo, Schumer, Bolton etc. Shame for them John McCain passed.

There’s only one US presidential candidate who’s explicitly spoken out against this mad repeat of Vietnam, and that’s Tulsi Gabbard, who actually “served” in Iraq. So she will be pushed aside by the DNC. Who are funded by the military industrial complex, don’t you know. Must serve the machine. We have a long way to go.

I always thought that Springsteen talking about Vietnam from Born In The USA is sort of like a haiku, encompassing the essence in just a few words, even if he doesn’t catch all the misery and bloodshed and mental anguish and broken lives and all of it (but how could you?):


I had a brother at Khe San;

Fighting off the Viet Cong

They’re still there, he’s all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon

I got a picture of him in her arms now


I know people older than me have many more examples of this and from the time when the ‘war’ was actually ongoing. Eve of Destruction? Creedence? Please send suggestions.

But also, please recognize the similarities in the madness then and now.

And let’s try and make it stop.

Let’s try and stop history from even rhyming, let alone repeating.

Nassim Taleb likes to point out that in olden days those who declared wars would also be first in line to fight them. By design. The fair thing to do.

Let’s send Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and all of their families into Iran first. And then we can talk.






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    Joseph Mallord William Turner Teasing the Donkey 1827   So we’re going to do this all over again? Well, not if I can help it. Not that I have muc
    [See the full post at: War and Young Americans]

    Doc Robinson


    Vietnam Song by Country Joe And The Fish

    Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He’s got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Vietnam
    So put down your books and pick up a gun,
    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.
    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
    Why man, this is war a-go-go
    There’s plenty good money to be made
    By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
    But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
    They drop it on the Viet Cong.
    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;
    Your big chance has come at last.
    Now you can go out and get those reds
    ‘Cause the only good commie is the one that’s dead
    And you know that peace can only be won
    When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.
    It’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Now come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
    Come on fathers, and don’t hesitate
    To send your sons off before it’s too late.
    And you can be the first ones in your block
    To have your boy come home in a box.
    And it’s one, two, three
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Country Joe McDonald live at Woodstock


    ” …. be first in line to fight them. By design. The fair thing to do.”



    I read all that CJ quoted, nearly ‘cried for no reason’ in front of my wife on this peaceful Sunday afternoon. Reading these, and here’s what I’m hearing:

    Unbroken Chain – Grateful Dead

    Blue light rain, whoa unbroken chain,
    Looking for familiar faces in an empty window pane.
    Listening for the secret, searching for the sound
    But I could only hear the preacher and the baying of his hounds.

    Willow sky, whoa, I walk and wonder why,
    They say love your brother, but you will catch it when you try.
    Roll you down the line boy, drop you for a loss,
    Ride you out on a cold railroad and nail you to a cross.

    November and more, as I wait for the score,
    They’re telling me forgiveness is the key to every door.
    A slow winter day a night like forever,
    Sink like a stone, float like a feather.

    Lilac rain, unbroken chain, Song of the sawhet owl.
    Out on the mountain, it’ll drive you insane, Listening to the winds howl
    Unbroken chain of sorrow and pearls, Unbroken chain of shy and sea.
    Unbroken chain of the western wind, Unbroken chain of you and me.

    Dr. D

    The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” –Ernest Hemingway


    The Grave
    Don McLean
    The grave that they dug him had flowers
    Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors
    And the brown earth bleached white
    At the edge of his gravestone
    He’s gone
    When the wars of our nation did beckon
    The man, barely twenty, did answer the calling
    Proud of the trust
    That he placed in our nation
    He’s gone
    But eternity knows him
    And it knows what we’ve done
    And the rain fell like pearls
    On the leaves of the flowers
    Leaving brown, muddy clay
    Where the earth had been dry
    And deep in the trench
    He waited for hours
    As he held to his rifle
    And prayed not to die
    But the silence of night
    Was shattered by fire
    As the guns and grenades
    Blasted sharp through the air
    One after another
    His comrades were slaughtered
    In the morgue of marines
    Alone, standing there
    He crouched ever lower
    Ever lower, with fear
    â??They can’t let me die
    They can’t let me die here!
    I’ll cover myself
    With the mud and the earth
    I’ll cover myself
    I know I’m not brave!
    The earth, the earth
    The earth is my grave.â??
    The grave that they dug him had flowers
    Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors
    And the brown earth bleached white
    At the edge of his gravestone
    He’s gone

    Dr. D

    It looks bad but don’t lose hope. The wars are fought, and fought forever, only because they can print the currency. If they lose access to money, they lose access to war. And they’ve never been so close to losing the money. China and Russia and everyone else have built a second system, and the more Bolton and Pompeo march around the faster it’s built. The more people we sanction, the faster we’re cut off. We have never been so close to losing the money system, not in 200 years. Could be next month, the way things look.

    And what if they try? That’s part two of keeping hope: although the government, the corporations, the media (but I repeat myself) are 100% pro-war, war every minute for every reason, the people are not, as illustrated in Caitlin’s quotes. On the Army website. In public. They are not afraid and not ashamed. The media is incapable of shame, but it doesn’t matter: they’ve already shot their wad. They’ve already done everything. They are 100% all in, redlined the engine and no motion. Will Americans fight? Sure, we’ll always fight, but apparently we’re all fighting the GOVERNMENT; one side fighting jack-booted statism and and the other is fighting Trump. I suggest that’s a different situation than before. P.S. I still wouldn’t suggest invading, as if that was ever a credible, even functionally possible threat, but I don’t think it is. We still have a rifle behind every blade of grass, like Admiral Yamamoto said. Don’t avert our aim from the government, monopolies, corporations, and Facebook, and attract it to yourself. No one will.

    But this goes like all markets, which are natural objects, like wind, weather, and flight of birds. It always goes vertical in an unsustainable blow-off top before suddenly reversing, without notice. A bird turns? A leaf falls? That last snowflake? No one knows, but it’s in the charts all the same. If the war mongers are 100% in, who’d left to buy? If with 100% support, they’re going nowhere, doesn’t that mean the tide is turned?

    I guess we will all know shortly. But the real turn is the return to truth and honest money, strangely they are the same. If 4 years or 40 years of villainy is declassified, what is a currency worth that is based on “Full faith and confidence”? In our banks, our government, our military that can’t take on Venezuela, the size of New Jersey, and ALSO can’t take New Jersey, and doesn’t dare. Hey didn’t they outlaw guns there, and Connecticut, and New York? And –zero– people obeyed the law? What’s up with that? Aren’t they all-powerful and going to round up those lawbreakers? How about the hash growers? That’s a high-level federal offense. Where are you guys? Bolton? Wray? Barr? Anybody home?

    So we have a currency depending on confidence no one has, in a nation no one respects, that doesn’t have an economy, and can’t beat Afghans from the stone age. That currency cannot abide, because both legs of the stool are gone: it’s not even inertia. And without that currency, the military cannot stand, because it can’t get paid. Today? Tomorrow? When the market realizes they aren’t getting a $5T stimulus thanks to reckless, pointless stonewalling?

    That’s when this ends, with honest money. And when that happens, China goes too, and they stop buying rhinos. Well, it’s an ill wind indeed that blows no good. We won’t like it, but the party was long ago. Now it’s only the paying.

    “I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.” –Thomas Paine.

    …Though the heavens fall.


    I’m old enough to clearly remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. Things got more and more tense as the days passed until one morning the newspaper had headlines sternly warning of imminent war between the US and USSR. I wondered if those two started throwing things at each other, would Australia be affected, concluded we wouldn’t, and blithely went on with the rest of my day. I thought then and still think that at the time the world was threatened by armed, militant, aggressive Communism.

    My number didn’t come up to be fed into the Vietnam war machine, thank god, and I never had to suffer through what so many other young men suffered, and suffer they did. I am blessed. I have read of the emotional, mental and physical illnesses experienced by Vietnam servicemen.

    I read of the shabby, parsimonious treatment offered to contemporary men and women in our armed services. Our navy personnel seem to commit suicide far more often than they should, and no war has been declared.

    I have heard and read similar histories from WW2 serving personnel.

    Now we see the world threatened by armed, militant, aggressive Americanism. We are all in a desperately bad situation. We squander resources of every kind — human, animal, vegetable, mineral, temporal — in a childish and futile competition to see who can be hegemon over as much of the planet as possible, who will be King of the Mountain this decade.

    I find it interesting to observe how the situation has reversed since Cuba: the US now appears as the global menace, Russia appears to be defending us from it. I am heartily sick of hegemons and would-be hegemons: US, EU, Russia + China. If planetary resources hold out, which they won’t, India will soon claim a place at the hegemonic table.

    I wish they’d all settle down and just play nicely. Dream on.

    V. Arnold

    I got drafted December 13, 1968; I had a letter, written reluctantly by my doctor (it would be good for my character development), documenting my physical condition (badly broken leg with 3 screws).
    The doctorat the induction center (the final step) asked me if I wanted to enlist; thinking it was a trick, I hesitated to answer. He then said; look, it’s a simple question; if you had the choice to go in or not; what would you do?
    I said I didn’t want to join. He said okay, I’ll give you a 1 year deferment, a 1Y.
    I think of that doctor often, to this very day. He likely saved my life.
    So I escaped one horror for a littany of others; stretching to the horizon in the 51 years since…

    Today’s U.S. Hegemon just beggars belief and makes me sick both in spirit and physically…
    There is no stopping today’s insanity/sickness; we’ve embarked on a journey with no return, no redemption, no salvation; reaping the results of our thoughtless march through a world we don’t know or understand; and the final cut/insult is that we do not even know ourselves……..

    Bill Roope

    As terrible as it is for young American’s left with maimed bodies and minds, it’s important to remember that there is also a far vaster multitude of maimed and dead of all ages worldwide. And, their voices are rarely if ever heard.


    I had to refuse the draft for hte Vietnam War twice. I never regretted not going.

    A few years ago, at a Starbucks in a community in the Central Valley of California that I used to live in, I noticed a regular gathering of Vietnam Vets with their motorcycles I guess it was some kind of club. It’s hard to believe but it looked to me like they were “proud of their service.”

    Still later, I was in a Trader Joe’s I was in the line behind an older lady who was babbling with the young female cashier about the service of our boys in Afghanistan. I pointed out that that very day marked the 10th anniversary of the start of that war and they turned to me with scornful looks, though I had said nothing more than it was the anniversary.

    But like the late Chalmers Johnson wrote in his Nemesis trilogy, the chickens will eventually come home to roost on this military madness.

    The US military hasn’t won a war since WWII, and is now almost completely exhausted after 20 years of foolishness in the Middle East.

    Not only is there strong evidence that the Russians have developed superior wearponry (and probablhy the Chinese, too), there is also strong evidence that both Iran and the North Koreans have developed ingenious defensie weaponry and strategy.
    And this is to say nothing of the bloated, corrupt US defense department and its development and deployment of boondoggles that faiil regularly in any kind of test or combat operation..

    The US would get its ass handed to it in any conflict with Iran. Not only would Russia and China immediately come in, but Iran itself would burn the house down in defense and retaliation.

    Pence was wrong. Our boys/girls won’t be fighting in wars overseas any more. Besides, as military scholar Martin Van Creveld has documented elegantly in his book Pussycats, women and transgenders in the US military is a fatal error in regard to combat readimess and wartime capability.

    You asked for a song. The best one I’ve ever heard was written and sung by Bob Dylan in 1961. I first heard it in the early 70s while I was collectinog “underground” Dylan and I could not believe he wrote it so long before Vietnam actually had blown up into a full scale war.

    Despite what the video says (that he released it as Blind Boy Grunt, a name he had used only as a studio musician), I am certain he never released this track until 30 years later or so, therefore this is a song that few have ever heard.

    Bob Dylan John Brown

    John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
    His mama sure was proud of him
    He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all
    His mama’s face broke out all in a grin
    “Oh son, you look so fine, I’m glad you’re a son of mine
    You make me proud to know you hold a gun
    Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
    And we’ll put them on the wall when you come home”
    As that old train pulled out, John’s ma began to shout
    Tellin’ ev’ryone in the neighborhood
    “That’s my son that’s about to go, he’s a soldier now, you know”
    She made well sure her neighbors understood
    She got a letter once in a while and her face broke into a smile
    As she showed them to the people from next door
    And she bragged about her son with his uniform and gun
    And these things you called a good old-fashioned war
    Oh, good old-fashioned war!
    Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
    They ceased to come for about ten months or more
    Then a letter finally came saying, “Go down and meet the train
    Your son’s a-coming home from the war”
    She smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around
    But she could not see her soldier son in sight
    But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
    When she did she could hardly believe her eyes
    Oh his face was all shot up and his hand was all blown off
    And he wore a metal brace around his waist
    He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know
    While she couldn’t even recognize his face!
    Oh, lord, not even recognize his face!
    “Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they done
    How is it you come to be this way?”
    He tried his best to talk but his mouth could hardly move
    And the mother had to turn her face away
    “Don’t you remember, ma, when I went off to war
    You thought it was the best thing I could do?
    I was on the battleground, you were home acting proud
    You wasn’t there standing in my shoes”
    “Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
    I’m a-tryin’ to kill somebody or die tryin’
    But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
    And I saw that his face looked just like mine”
    Oh, lord, just like mine!
    “And I couldn’t help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink
    That I was just a puppet in a play
    And through the roar and smoke, this string is finally broke
    And a cannonball blew my eyes away”
    As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
    At seein’ the metal brace that helped him stand
    But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
    And he dropped his medals down into her hand


    Nice songs. There must be so many; and today there’s only silence

    Chris M

    Unforgiven. The American Economic System Sold for War and Debt. By Charles Walters



    Sitting here gut-punched. today’s TAE brought back all that buried stuff. 50 years on to the month: a year later, “gentlemen greet your replacements” the faces departing were very different from the faces arriving. arriving clean green and fearful, departing red stained dusty 1000mile stare
    And restless 94111, those guys you saw at starbucks, they were there for a reason that you cannot grasp, i won’t try to describe, you cannot know.


    “Let’s send Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and all of their families into Iran first. And then we can talk.”

    Let’s send the self-proclaimed human corporatist God-priests of the globalist-occult roundtable and their immediate families, too. If they are Gods, surely they will be victors and return unharmed.

    Stone Lodge

    Love everyone’s contributions. This one’s more basic than most of the beautiful messages from Dylan, Country Joe, etal, but it got me questioning in the post-Vietnam early ’80s:

    Black Sabbath
    Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black masses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Sorcerers of death’s construction
    In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds
    Oh lord yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor

    Time will tell on their power minds
    Making war just for fun
    Treating people just like pawns in chess
    Wait ’til their judgement day comes

    Now in darkness world stops turning
    Ashes where the bodies burning
    No more war pigs have the power
    Hand of God has struck the hour
    Day of judgement, God is calling
    On their knees the war pig’s crawling
    Begging mercy for their sins
    Satan laughing spreads his wings
    Oh lord yeah!

    Funny…I read both CJ’s piece and Pence’s remarks in seriatim yesterday, and was floored by the dichotomy. Had to tell my partner about it as soon as our unexpected (and mindlessly patriotic) house-guest turned in. I LOVE you posting this Raul! Thank you.

    Stone Lodge

    I also heartily — and often — recommend not a song, but Mark Twain’s “War Prayer.” I won’t post the full text here, but if you haven’t read it, it is a powerful and cogent commentary on war, written in Twain’s (Clement’s) anguish against the Spanish-American War, but published only posthumously.


    Military Madness….is killing the country – Graham Nash. Got a brand new 200 gram super vinyl copy off ebay the other day.

    As an early 1968 draftee as well as antiwar protester (yes you can be both and many were) I was lucky enough not to be “in country” but was well within staging area of the theater of operations, I watched as the B52’s went off on their nightly bombing runs. The difference between then and now is the draft. Everyone had the potential to have skin in the game (yours or your family and friends). The media did the job they were supposed to do, bring home in detail what was being done in the people’s name. People like Daniel Ellsberg risked their freedom to expose what was happening. We have fine examples of that today but not many really care because they derive the benefit (rationalized) without no potential for sacrifice.

    The original line that did not make it into the final copy was…The military, industrial, congressional complex.

    As a user of Veteran’s health care as well as a trained trauma therapist I have inquired into what the treatment is for those with ptsd. The reason there are so many suicides these days is because the VA is doing exactly the wrong therapy. The main thrust of what they are doing is making the problem worse, not better. Desensitization therapy only fragments the psyche even further.

    to be continued later….


    Where to start? As the lawyers say, I have some standing for my opinions. I entered West Point in 1964 and there was turmoil even then within our instructors and my classmates about the wisdom(?) ie idiocy of that involvement . There was even a hushed up exodus of officers who departed suddenly when the army decided to purge dissension in the ranks. Was that ever covered in the press? I was lucky to end up wielding medical instruments instead of war instruments but the sight and smell and sounds has stayed with me. I was lucky to escape combat but I lived and worked with the consequences of it. Some of the participants were cream of the crop but the bulk were soldiers of color and marginal education and social status. Perfect cannon fodder while the cowardly chicken hawks like the Cheney/Bush/Spence types just skated. In Nam statements like what spence uttered could have gotten him “fragged” Even today when well meaning types thank me for my service I almost gag. Even today like a moth drawn to a flame I read about the history of war and the progression of armaments over the eons and like most middle level officers I have contempt for most of the generals and respect for the NCOs amd many middle level officers who were and are front line. The chicken hawk politicians of both parties are scum beneath contempt. The MIC and the currently structured Technological military is more fragile than Boeing ads and army recruitment ads would have you believe.The US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain using outdated obsolete assumptions like the aircraft carrier wouldn’t stand a chance in a real shooting war even against a tiny adversary like Iran with supersonic anti ship missiles.. The aircraft carrier makes as much sense today as the battle ship did in 1950.The advertised propaganda that the US Military is the best in the world is analogous to the US Health system the best in the world. A true statement is that they are the most expensive in the world both a victim of excessively complex fabulously expensive technology vulnerable to annihilation. The Us military is like the British military in WW1: an army of lions commanded by donkeys.


    @hugho – don’t forget the heel bone spurs. I too cringe inwardly when someone thanks me for my service. It’s the new patriotism in vogue so that people feel like they are doing their part by supporting the troops. The only thing missing is pom poms. The best way to support the troops is to keep them out of war in the first place. And if they do have to go at least support healing their injuries instead of denying injuries like agent orange and Gulf War syndrome. Finally having enough data to decide in the affirmative is a bit late after they mostly are all dead.

    Pence (I’m sure in his own mind as well) is one of the major cogs bringing us the War of Armageddon. Brace yourself for the Rapture that never comes.



    You attribute a loftiness that you could not know nor could you guess. I mentioned those men because they looked very much the same way a lot of men who went to that war and other men who came after look: arrogant and in denial.

    We lost. Many men who fought–if they aren’t crippled by the horrors they went through or saw–are in the camp of “we never lost the war”‘ or “the only reason we lost is because Americans spit on us and demonstrated against us.” Both are lies. Yet, so many believe them.

    As you say, I don’t know for sure, but the body language and demeanor gave me strong clues. But you don’t know either do you? You weren’t there. I was.


    This has turned into quite the thread, which I never expected when I wrote the piece. Thank you guys, a lot. You humble me.


    Restless 94111……There was no intent to turn any of this into a pissing contest. Maybe you did not read the first part of my post
    I was there too. scouts, crew chief, doorgunner.
    now i garden and keep bees……..helps


    cloudhidden….I appreciate your reply It should be obvious to anyone who read my post that I have never been in combat, and that I am grateful I have never been, atter seeing the enormous damage and destruction that it does to the human spirt and American bodies and minds.

    But I’ve seen a lot of men over the years who have been serverely damaged and I decided long ago that my lack of experience in the horrors of meaningless wars has really nothing to do with frankly anything. I made it a point in my 2nd reply to you to clarify that my paragraphs on the vets in Starbucks looked to describe a “we were right” pity party, and…’s a free country. If you want to indulge in that kind of nonsense, then I’ll give you the address of that Starbucks.

    I’m totally glad that you made it out whole and you are now gardening, keeping bees, and have succeeded in your life. But that kind of “we never lost” thing that I’ve seen a lot of men do is deleterious to our country, moreover it has been revealed that this “story” is a push by the MIC to further wars that we are involved in now and that will chew up and destroy even more Americans.

    I urge you to counter this with any Military buddies from that era that you still know. We lost. Denial is not healing. And it doesn’t heal our country. And this is the most important task for all of us on every Memorial Day.


    Not a Vietnam-era song, but from the Cold War instead. Hard to believe that this song is 34 years old:

    In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
    Conditioned to respond to all the threats
    In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
    Mister Khrushchev said, ‘We will bury you’
    I don’t subscribe to this point of view
    It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
    If the Russians love their children too

    How can I save my little boy
    From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
    There is no monopoly on common sense
    On either side of the political fence
    We share the same biology
    Regardless of ideology
    Believe me when I say to you
    I hope the Russians love their children too

    There is no historical precedent to put
    The words in the mouth of the president
    There’s no such thing as a winnable war
    It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
    Mister Reagan says ‘We will protect you’
    I don’t subscribe to this point of view
    Believe me when I say to you
    I hope the Russians love their children too

    V. Arnold

    I hope the Russians love their children too

    Over time it has become apparent, the Russians love their children far more than we love ours; we keep sending our children off to wars of choice…


    List of wars the Russian Federation has been involved in since the 10 years the USSR was in Afghanistan 1979-89.

    1991-93 Georgia
    1991-93 Abkhazia
    1992 Transnistria
    1992 North Ossetia – Alania
    1992-97 Tagikistan
    1994-96 Chechnya
    1999 Dagestan
    1999-09 Second Chechen War
    2008 Georgia/S. Ossetia
    2009-17 North Caucasus
    2014-present Ukraine & Crimea
    2015-present Syria



    Thanks for the unasked for info about a different country who went to war. May I politely ask you who cares?

    This essay was about the United States and the US holiday Memorial Day. Please try and stay focussed.


    Yeah, Russia defends itself. No doubt there.


    Yes restless I take your point. Some points need to also be taken and in my opinion this was one and one I didn’t start.

    “Over time it has become apparent, the Russians love their children far more than we love ours; we keep sending our children off to wars of choice…”

    I’m sorry but it is a rather outrageous assertion and one that deserves countering with a few facts.

    And to quote you…”It’s a free country!” And…”Denial isn’t healing!” Russia is not the innocent that so many on here try to proclaim any more or less than the U.S. is innocent. One can also assert that Viet Nam was an outcome predicated on communist expansion taking place all over the globe at the time. And according to you we are talking about the U.S. going to war. Events don’t happen in a vacuum be they misguided or not.


    I believe you mistook the person’s statement that Russians are less prone to get into disastrous wars thereby saving the lives of their young. There was no denilal there because the statement was true.. Therefore, I’m not sure why you felt the need to “prove” that Russia has gone to war. From your list of conflicts they are all involving disputes along Russia’s borders. This is what any country should take up arms for. There is no equivalence with the United States and its wars (and I’m including Panama and Greneda).

    No one is trying to proclaim that Russia is “innocent,” only that Russia does not go 1,000s of miles away to get snagged up in wars that truly have nothing to do with the well-being of Russia. The US is different and that makes the blood and treasure spilled by the US to be a tragedy that must end, before the world ends it or before the US madmen in charge blow up everybody.

    Fially, I notice you pushing that nonsense trope about Communism. It wasn’t true in 1963 and it’s not true in 2019. It’s been debunked 6 ways from Sunday. Vietnam (and even Cuba) were wars fought by the people living in those countries against colonialism and dictatorship. What they, the people inside those countries, decided to do in their own countries afterwards is again none of America’s concern.

    Ben Franklin said: Mind Your Own Business. Until the US does follow Ben’s policy preseciption? No other country not even Russia can hold a candle to the destructive idiocy of America that has killed millions and cost trillions.

    Keep the focus where it belongs: on American policy and its leaders.


    When you want to talk Russia the first issue always must be that they lost more people than all other countries put together in WWII, at least 20 million, probably closer to 30 million. All Jews put together were about 6 million, and many of them were Russian. 80+% of young Russian men born in 1920-1925 were killed.

    There is no other angle. In that light, Russia as an aggressor makes no sense. They may have tried something, because the US wanted to conquer their lands, but there was nobody left. All that talent and wisdom gone and they still came up with Yuri Gagarin was a freak event. But we needed an enemy. And Russia needed to survive.


    We are apparentlty in agreement: Russia has done no wars of agression, save for a few near their borders when necessary.

    However, I missed the part of history where the US was trying to take Russian lands.


    Restless…First of all I’m well aware of the issues with regard to American foreign policy and do not support nor condone much of it. Most particularly the recent wars in the middle east, and I speak out against them on a regular basis. So let’s just say we have that in common.

    Secondly, at the time Russia invaded Afghanistan they occupied the Baltic countries, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Albania, and E. Germany. Their history in Cuba, and their proxy use of the Cuban military in places like Congo, and Angola. Their involvement in Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. And that’s just the short list, I could go on. So please don’t tell me of Russia’s lack of equivalence. Russia killed into the millions in the Great Purge before they were ever invaded by Germany in WW2.

    I’m also well aware, (and not pushing any trope) of the developments of the Viet Nam war and that it was a war for independence from colonialism and had elections scheduled in which Ho Chi Minh would have won handily and it’s a tragedy that it wasn’t allowed to take place. That doesn’t mean that Soviet expansion in Europe, their involvement in Korea as well what was happening in China wasn’t in the calculus with the creation of SEATO and the subsequent misunderstanding by U.S. leaders of the realities in Viet Nam and how it was a separate issue from all those other factors. Like I said, it didn’t happen in a vacuum and Russia was an aggressor in the Cold War and it’s actions contributed to a whole host of hostilities around the world. That doesn’t release the U.S. from the condemnation it deserves for Viet Nam and it doesn’t absolve Russia of its contribution.

    Is Russia different today than it has been in the past? Perhaps, but given that it’s effectively a dictatorship as well as a criminal oligarchy, I have my doubts.

    So please don’t tell me what I should think or say about something as inanely stupid and offensive as a statement that Russians love their children more than Americans do because they don’t send them to die in wars far from home. I do believe they have been bombing the shit out of Syria for a couple of years now so they can support a dictator who has killed millions of his own people. Is it a 1000 miles? What earthly difference does it make?

    John Day

    Thanks Guys,
    I grew up on USMC and Navy bases during Vietnam.
    Dad was there, as he had been at a forward fire station in Korea.
    The draft ended precisely one month before I turned 18. I was blessed.
    I am a family doctor in public health.
    I grow vegetables.
    We have to build something better, below the radar, for after the next firestorm.

    So many good songs already…
    Effigy, Credence Clearwater Revival


    To your 2nd point, don’t use the word occupy when talking about the Baltic states. it was influence and there were short lived military putdowns of rebellious attempts by the slavs, but that was in the 50s and 60s and that was when it was the USSR and that’s not Russia.

    And claiming that Russians made proxy use of the Cubans is false.

    The military action in Afghanistan was in response to an internal coup by Islamist forces in Afghanistan and was again on the USSR’s borders. And again that was the USSR, not Russia.

    The USSR’s involvemewnt whatever it may have been in the North African countries you mentioned are again sketchy and even if true, are little different than similar actions by the US.

    So, no, there is little to no equivalence. I stand by my reply to your list (which started in 1991, right?) Thus, no equivalance.

    You attribute motives of the USSR (again, not Russia) in Vietnam and in other countries friendly to and with similar systems of government to the USSR so your comments are meaningless. That the USSR had friendly releations with Ho Chi Minh just means they were friendly with Ho Chi Minh, nothing more.

    Furthermore, Russia is not a dictatorship. Putin was elected by a wide margin in valid elections.You can express your doubts all you want, but they are unfounded.

    Moreover, your claim that another elected leader in legal elections, Assad, has killed millions of people are patently ridiculous and untrue. And the idea that Russia has just willy-nilly bombed Syrians is also unfounded.

    so, yes. The Russians must love their own children way more than America loves its chilrden. Don’t keep on talking, mate. You sound like ou’ve truly bought the neo-con Kool-Aid, and it’s tragic and boring. I’m not having it.

    US needs to get out of other people’s backyards, before they are thrown out. And believe me, they will be thrown out.

    A country that is very careful about where they use their armies and military is a country protective of its human resources, a care that clearly the US does not have.

    Finally, what Stalin did while he was the dictator of the USSR 90 years ago is off limits to any discussion between you and I. It is irrelevant.

    V. Arnold

    You miss the fact that Russia was invited into Afghanistan by the government of Afghanistan.
    They didn’t “invade”.
    Arguing with PC is a fools errand…


    Agreed, but another good reason for not arguing with PC because it is a fool’s errand is because of the constant “moving of the goal posts” in PC’s arguments.

    First PC invokes a list of countries that have been somehow involved militarily with RUSSIA since 1991.
    But then PC starts talking about the USSR’s actions going backwards from the 80s all the way to 1920s!!

    Hello? That’s not Russia. What a Communist dictatorship did or did not do for 100 years before its total collapse is not relevant to Russia and certainly not relevant to the point of contention with this thread.

    I had meant to include this point in a previous post, so your comment gave me an opportunity to bring that up.


    Yes, okay, my bad. Half a million plus dead in Syria and 5.6 million plus refugees. The Afghan president did invite the Soviets in thinking he had an ally to help stabilize the country. They then assassinated him, installed their own president and proceeded to invade the rest of the country per the so called Brezhnev doctrine. Your white washing of history is to be commended and I have no desire to take them on point by point. Life is too short.

    If the Russian Bear has changed its spots, more power to them. That there are free and fair elections as well as a free press is not supported by any of those who monitor them.

    So, I concede, Russians love their children more than Americans do. For whatever that might be worth. Have a nice day.

    And for the record! I think U.S. foreign policy has in many ways been a negative force in the world. I wish you luck with your Russia.


    You bad alright. The casualty count and refugee count in Syria is a direct result of the insertion in ISIS into that country, with many primary sources pointing to Secretary of State Clinton and the Isrealis. People died and people fled. Sort of like the million people that died in Iraq due to the US invastion of that country. Has the US changed its spots? Doesn’t look like it.

    Afghanistan has nothing to do with Russia. The Soviets did what they did but that country does not exist any more and has not existed for almost 30 years. It’s not relevant.

    I have all the time in the world to take each of your preposterous and irrelevant points, point by point. You ban bring them if you have anything new and relevant to say.

    The monitors of the recent Russian elections certified that election as free and fair, but with Putin polling at 75 percent approval rating there was never any doubt he would be re-elected. However, the meddling in the Russian elections that the US did in the 90s was reprehensible and should be condemned and all the US people who meddled then should be prosecuted.

    It’s not my Russia, mate. It’s just another country. Some things good some things bad about them. I see so many that appear overly emotional about Russia and I have ni idea why, but it’s a dead giveaway that they know little about what they write and what they claim.

    The Russians have so far been able to keep their “children” out of pointless meritless costly wars. The US has not and continues to push for sending American “children” to pointless, meritless, costly wars. The commenter was correct. America does not love their “children.”

    I wish you luck with your nonsense. Just take comfort though: you are not alone in being deluded. “My” Russia (and Syria, and Iraq, and Iran, and China, and countless other countries in the world) are watching with clear eyes and objective brains, however. They are not fooled. Only the Americans and their “children” are. To our country’s detriment.

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