I’ve been watching reruns of the original NCIS show on Netflix lately. Mainly as a means of escaping all the bad news that has been permeating the airwaves and internet lately. Periodically the show will touch on the war in Afghanistan, and does a fairly realistic presentation of what it was like in that God forsaken country. Obviously, it’s not an exact depiction, and the stories that take place there are of course fictional, although they do use real people like George Bush and Hillary Clinton in their story lines to achieve a semblance of reality. It served to remind me of what our servicemen and women had to endure in Afghanistan, and in light of the disastrous withdrawal along with a report of alarming increases in veteran suicides, I felt the need to write about the heroes that serve our country.
A little back-story first. I graduated from high school in 1977. At that time Jimmy Carter was President. It was the era of “diminishing expectations” that were the hallmark of Carter’s Presidency. The military was an option that a lot of my friends chose after graduation, but to my shame, I did not. In high school all I heard about life in the military was that it was no good, there was rampant drug use, poor conditions, and poor morale. I was the youngest in my family, my brother Dave, who was 3 years older than me, had to register for the draft. Thankfully the Vietnam War ended right before his number came up, because I remembered how even in the very small town of Chester where we grew up, a couple of young men didn’t make it back. I was a child of the sixties and the anti-Vietnam war movement played a huge part in my feelings towards the military. Although I was only a kid, my parents always had the nightly news on before dinner, so I watched the daily stories of protests, of atrocities and the staggering daily death counts, which even to my limited understanding seemed to fly in the face of the successes the military was claiming in Vietnam. The failure of General Westmoreland’s “war of attrition” policy, along with the revealed misinformation about the success of his military operations, further cemented my distrust of not only the military, but our own government as well.
Music has always been an integral part of who I am, and the protest music of the 60’s helped to shape my opinions regarding both the government and the military. Like I said, I was the youngest in my family and my old brother and sisters were listening to all the protest music of the day. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Country Joe McDonald, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, were all making anti-war, anti-government songs. I decided that I wanted no part of “the establishment”. Looking back now, I can see how naive I was. It turned out that a lot of the kids I grew up with made the opposite decision and enlisted. Years later, when I started going on Facebook, I searched out some of those guys and found that their experience in the military shaped their lives for the good, often demonstrably so. Later on, this only made my shame deeper, because over the course of time, I grew out of my naivete and came to a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a soldier, humbling me deeply.
In addition to music, I’ve always loved history and especially the history of WWII. I will watch any documentary or film that has something to do with it. I’ve seen so many, that I’ve lost count, shows like The Pacific and Band of Brothers as well as movies such as Saving Private Ryan, Fury, Midway (the one with Charlton Heston) and Tora, Tora, Tora!. My personal favorite is Patton. My Dad served in the Navy in WWII, and saw action in Okinawa. He never really talked about his time in the Navy. I knew he was in Okinawa from some pictures I found after he died. The only time he ever talked about it was when we asked him why he never learned how to swim. His answer was that if you didn’t know how to swim, you got seats on the lifeboats. I don’t know if this was true or not, he was probably just pulling our legs. He enlisted in the Navy when he was 17 so it definitely wasn’t a matter of his bravery. I remember the first time I saw Saving Private Ryan in a theater with my wife and one of my brothers-in-law. The first 15 or 20 minutes of the movie are undoubtedly the most realistic depiction of actual warfare ever seen on the big screen. I was speechless as I watched the shear brutality of war. A couple of days later I was talking with an elderly gentleman at church about how powerful it was, and to my surprise, this hero said that he had seen it too, and that it was very realistic. He knew it was real, because he was there at Omaha Beach. The only thing he said was incorrect was that the opening scene only lasts for 15 minutes, when in reality it went on for hours. My jaw dropped thinking of how it must have been, thousands of soldiers charging the beaches, laying down their lives to fight against Nazi Germany. The blood, the gore and the unbelievable heroism, it really was overwhelming. Those soldiers got into those landing crafts, knowing that there was a very strong possibility they would never see home again. To be sure they were scared and terrified, but they went anyway. I saw one quote where a soldier said that if anyone tells you that they aren’t scared before a battle, they are lying, despite what you see in the movies. This really brought the message of honor and duty home to me, and I looked at all the documentaries, series and films I’ve ever watched in a whole new light. Especially the movie Patton. I remember how when it was made it was supposed to be an indictment of the greatest General of WWII, but thanks to George C. Scott’s amazing and accurate portrayal, it actually came across as the opposite. Scott’s performance displayed George Patton with all his faults, but also showed his brilliance as a battlefield commander. Another one of my favorites was the true story of Inglorious Bastards. The Brad Pitt movie was ok, but the real story of these heroes is a tale of unbelievable courage and heroism, by really what were just average guys and gals, thrust into war, and deciding that they could make a difference in helping to defeat the Nazis.
I’ve also seen a lot of the anti-war films, like Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now and Platoon. All of these movies tell tales of horrors occurring during the Vietnam war, and of atrocities that were said to have been committed. While I do believe that there is some truth to these stories, I remember the My Lai massacre in 1968, but I really don’t like the way the soldiers are depicted in these movies. I’m sure Vietnam made soldiers do things they wouldn’t have done at home, and turned some soldiers into psychopaths, but these movies always seem to portray an abundance of American soldiers as bloodthirsty psychotics like Sgt. Barnes in Platoon. In Apocalypse Now every main character is a nutjob, from Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard, Robert Duvall’s crazy Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, to Dennis Hopper as a lunatic worshiper of the megalomaniac, Colonel Kurtz. These madmen are presented to us as being commonplace. Another of my brothers-in law did 2 tours in Vietnam, he won’t talk about the experience, understandably, but I know for a fact, he’s not a big fan of these flicks. For me, one of the best Vietnam Era films was Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers Once, a very realistic, true story about the advent of the Air Calvary during that conflict, and the incredible bravery of those soldiers who were totally outnumbered. The thing that gets lost in these movies is the simple fact that these men and women ARE THERE! They either enlisted or were drafted, and if they were drafted, they didn’t take the cowards way out. They chose to serve their country. I understand that people may take exception to me calling draft dodgers cowards, and I realize the Vietnam War was in fact, unjust and wrong, but in my mind dodging the draft gravely insults the sacrifices made by the soldiers that went to Vietnam, or any previous war, for that matter, whether they felt the war was right or wrong. Those dodgers that escaped to Mexico or Canada, get no respect from me, at least Muhamed Ali, had the strength of his convictions and accepted jail time. Even so, I think of Jimmy Stewart, who although he was a bonified movie star at the time of WWII, chose to forsake stardom and serve his country in the Air Force where he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards. To me those who went despite their misgivings deserve a medal for bravery just for doing that.
Nobody seems to mention the fact that Trump was the first President since Jimmy Carter not to involve the U.S. in a foreign conflict. This is a very important point, since the end of WWII, America has almost always been at war with someone. After WWII, it was Korea in the 50’s, Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s and then all the military actions in the Middle East, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Samalia and Afghanistan, to name a few. I remember listening to a Dan Bongino show and he made the obvious point that the everyday soldier has no desire to go to war, they will do it, and most do it proudly, because they are soldiers, but it’s politicians and the Generals who actually want war. Dwight Eisenhower famously said to beware of the Military-Industrial (MI) complex that emerged after WWII and he was so prophetic. The MI Complex needs wars, wants them badly to justify their phony baloney jobs and massive paychecks. Like in Orwell’s masterpiece “1984”, where war is constantly needed to make sure that there isn’t an over-abundance of products. Where the destruction provided by endless wars, ensures that a constant supply of men and materials are always at hand to accomplish the “necessity” of whatever war is being fought. Today we have 900 Generals for a force of roughly 1.3 million, a ratio of 1 General for every 1,400 troops. In WWII we had 2000 General officers for a force of nearly 12 million, that’s a ratio of 1 for every 6,000 troops. Today’s military is top heavy with bureaucratic Generals, a lot of whom have very strong ties to the defense industry. It boggles my mind that someone like General Milley could have made it to the rank of a Four-Star General. The only plausible reason is that he did it politically. Milley is an imbecile and a traitor, and in my humble opinion, needs to go, ASAP!
The end of America’s involvement in Afghanistan closed a sad and tragic chapter in our history. It also revealed the true evil of the Military-Industrial machine. I will admit that for a long time I thought George Bush was a good man and a decent President, I thought George Bush Sr. was as well. I now see things in a much different light thanks to President Trump. By not engaging in some useless foreign campaign, Trump brought to light the war-crimes of the Neo-Cons. Those “rat-bastards” like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton. These vermin lied about “weapons of mass destruction” and so many other despicable things. The Bush’s and the Neo-Cons, are not good people, they are manipulating liars feeding off the patriotism of good Americans to appease their appetite for endless, unjustifiable wars. There is hardly anything more despicable to me than that. Every President since Jimmy Carter has gotten the U.S. in an unnecessary conflict, whether it was to serve the MI complex like Reagan and the Bush’s, or to “wag the dog” like Carter, Clinton and Obama. Either way the result is the same, the tragic waste of patriotic American soldiers. I’m not saying that America should be an isolationist country, that is absurd. American interests globally always need to be protected, but when you dive into the conflicts America has been embroiled in since the Carter Administration, especially Afghanistan, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that our government has been lying to us for a long time. By not evolving us in yet another needless conflict, Trump exposed the Neo-Cons and MI complex for what they really are, part of the Deep State. As a result, the MI, along with the intelligence community, who Trump also disparaged, did everything they could to bring him down, or thwart his policies. General Milley had a big hand in doing that by sabotaging his attempt to leave Afghanistan, with the phony Russian bounty on American soldiers lie. The worst however, is Biden with his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. What he did, and the way he did it has to be a treasonable offense. “Aid and comfort to the enemy” is a traitorous charge, which is exactly what he did by abandoning Bagram Air Force Base to the Taliban, leaving behind roughly 80 billion dollars of military equipment for the CCP to reverse engineer. If that doesn’t qualify for aid and comfort to the enemy, I don’t know what does. That isn’t the worst thing though, by leaving behind hundreds, if not thousands of Americans and some of the Afghans who helped us, he has humiliated America like no other President had done before. Even that isn’t the worst thing, 13 soldiers died who didn’t need too, whose deaths could have been avoided by competent leadership. That is as unforgivable as anything the Bush’s, Clinton’s and Obama have done, and made the sacrifices of the soldiers who served and died in Afghanistan worthless. It’s no wonder why some veterans choose to commit suicide, and to me all those suicides lay at the feet of all those Presidents.
A soldier, like a first responder, is a hero, simply because of what it takes to be a soldier, or to be a first responder. It’s the courage I didn’t have, but respect more than I can say. For a veteran to need housing or medical help and be denied, while our government sends billions of dollars to countries that hate us, or treats illegal immigrants better than people who served is unconscionable. It’s why when I see an old man wearing a ball-cap saying he is veteran of WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, I always go out of my way to shake their hand and say “Thank you”. The same thing I do when I see someone in uniform, they made the sacrifice I was unwilling to do. Much like the draft dodgers, I once considered myself a coward. Nowadays, I like to think that if, God forbid, there is a civil war here in America, a war that it sure seems like the progressive/globalists are trying to start, I would take up arms in defense of freedom and the true American ideal, like so many millions of our heroes have done throughout our country’s history. Only time and the shape of things to come, will tell if that is true. Like the common soldier, I don’t want a war, I abhor the very thought of it, but I also know, now, deep in my heart that I won’t hesitate to fight for my country if need be. This country is under assault by the progressive/globalists who see America standing in the way of their demented dreams of a one-world-government. Reagan said America is a shining light, that light is under attack, and if the progressive/globalists have their way, it will be extinguished, sooner rather than later. Rendering all the sacrifices of all the heroes that served our country in vain. THIS JUST CANNOT HAPPEN, WITH GOD’S HELP AND OUR DEDICATION TO THE IDEA OF AMERICA, IT WON’T HAPPEN! I pray for peace, always, but I’m also prepared to do whatever it takes, as are millions of my fellow Americans.
BEWARE THE SLEEPING GIANT, HE IS ASLEEP NO MORE! REMEMBER OUR HEROES, REMEMBER THEIR SACRIFICE, REMEMBER WHAT AMERICA TRULY REPRESENTS.
Peace, Love, Prayer and hope, my brothers and sisters
ROCK ON Y’ALL!