I wasn't drafted - although I was confident that would happen. I was in college at Western Kentucky University and wanted to finish before I was drafted- so I joined the Naval Reserve. They assured me at that time that I would be able to finish school before going on active duty.
While in the Reserves I did all that was required. of me.- Boot Camp in the summer and weekend meetings. A year after I had joined , I received orders for active duty ! Someone had lied to me! When I inquired about finishing school- I was told "Sorry"-- the apology smacked of insincerity- no one was sorry at all.It gets better! - I was sent to San Francisco to await assignment. I was there for approximately 3 weeks when my orders came. At the time you didn't get formal orders right away, but rather through a teletype machine- virtually every word was abbreviated- something like the texting language of today.I wasn't sure, but I thought my orders said that I was going to be on an RVN. Not knowing what an RVN was, I asked a Chief Petty Officer what kind of boat I was going to be on. His reply," It's not a fucking boat, you dumb ass, it's a ship and you're not on one." I said," What's this RVN?" He replied, "You're getting shore duty- Republic of Viet Nam ." I was speechless.So, I was then sent to San Diego for survival school and on to Camp Pendelton for weapons training. Then I was sent to Viet Nam without any clue of what was to happen.I arrived in Da Nang and had a couple of days of indoctrination and then they sent me to Naval Base.I reported and was told to wait outside- I would be picked up.A Marine vehicle showed up for me- I had been assigned to a Marine Battalion. I wasn't a corpsman so I was pretty confused and scared. I was never given and explanation as to why I served with the Marines- I just did as I was told- like we all did.Forty years after returning home I developed prostate cancer from my exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam. Yet another fable they told us-" It won't hurt you" they assured us!- while the stuff killed everything.Viet Nam - the gift that keeps on giving. For the loss of my prostate I am paid a measly $339 a month in Veteran's Benefits- a small price to pay for my loss.I regret that I only had one prostate to give to my country!
Time Magazine circa 1968
There was so much social and political unrest in our nation during our later years at Empehi and extending well into the mid 70's. Following graduation, I often visited friends at NIU, WIU and Purdue and recognized varying degrees of campus unrest, extending from extreme to mild. Were any here on this forum active in the anti-war movements that were prevalent during that time?
At Dartmouth, 50-100 students took over the main administration building in 1969, I think the year was, with the goal (ultimately successful for a time) of ridding the campus of ROTC, which was considered to be a tool of the "Military Industrial Complex" (a phrase first used, to my knowledge, in a warning to the nation by Dwight Eisenhower, hardly the personification of liberalism). A couple of my friends were inside the building; I was outside as part of a much larger crowd. Unlike the scenario that unfolded at a number of other universities, Dartmouth quickly got a court order for the students to vacate the building, which was ignored.
I remember standing outside, toe to toe and face to face with one of the National Guardsmen in the cordon. Caught up in the mob psychology, I was screaming "Pig!" at him. At the same time a part of me was thinking, "This guy is not much older than I am, and plainly doesn't want to be here. It's a bit embarrassing to be calling him a 'pig'." But we were both caught up in our respective roles, or our "trips" as we used to say. In that situation, at least, the National Guard exercised exquisite discipline, and didn't start beating up those of us who were outside screaming in their faces. Their mission was to arrest those inside the building, and that they carried out with dispatch.
Despite having the students arrested, Dartmouth's trustees soon voted to banish ROTC from campus. But about 25 years later it was reinstated. History is all about cycles.
In November of 1969 in Washington DC I took part in what was supposedly the largest protest march in American history, at least up to that time. It was reported that there were around 500,000 of us there. I remember hitchhiking down from New Hampshire to New York City, where I caught a ride to DC. Again, while I felt like I was a part of something big and important, I also felt somewhat sheeplike, chanting on cue. I could barely even see or hear the speakers. That was in the days before the federal government had quite figured out how to "control" protest by imposing unreasonable "time, place, and manner restrictions" on our First Amendment rights, and before the media began cooperating by underreporting the numbers protesting as they do nowadays.
I never made it to Woodstock. Didn't even know about it until after it had already happened. But a few years ago I went to one of the annual "Rainbow Gatherings" in a national forest in Vermont. It was kinda weird, too....a lot of old hippies and young Deadheads and whatnot. Too much weirdness for a middle-aged "straight cat" like me.
My admiration to those who made the sacrifice and went to Nam. I can't even begin to imagine your fear and trepidation that accompanied your decision to go.
I think a lot of them didn't have much idea of what they were getting themselves into. And for many of them it wasn't exactly a decision. Still, one can only admire and respect our Viet Nam veterans (and other veterans, for that matter). They served during very tough times and survived against very tough odds. Whether they served to "make the world safe for democracy" or because they were lied to by their government - well, that's the political question of the ages. Nevertheless they served, and they're entitled to our respect and admiration. I'd like to think, though, that those of us who recognized the war in Viet Nam as an exercise in futility or far worse, and protested it, served our country too.
It's interesting to me how many of the guys on this reunion chat forum are veterans. A bow of respect and appreciation to each and every one of you.
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003
I will send this to Til separately. Let me know if he forwards this on to any of you. My guess is he'll unload a tirade on me and not pass it on.
As for me, I support my country and those who defend it. If Saddam pulls a stunt that costs U.S. lives, then we should retailiate. However, I am opposed to war on Iraq. If Europe and Asia (2 continents closest to Iraq) are not interested in fighting Iraq, than neither am I. Let the Iranians, Israelis, French, Germans, Russians, Italians, etc. handle Iraq. Let Japan, S. Korea, China handle North Korea. If Hussein takes over the Middle East...let him have it.
When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comforts me,
Speaking words of wisdom,
"Let it be... Let it be"
Subject: Protest The War
I heartily encourage you to pray. Prayer is certainly needed. I'm reminded of another scripture that has been bandied about in churches for years and years, without any visible results that I can see: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14.
I'm not God, of course, but I think that the phrases "humble themselves" and "turn from their wicked ways" are the ones that trip most folks up.
Just out of curiosity, what would you speculate is the percentage of church going people, who call themselves Christians, who think that George Bush walks on water and are praying - PRAYING, mind you - for a quick and decisive American military victory in Iraq? What happens to THEIR prayers? Do their prayers and ours sort of cancel each other out, leaving God free to accomplish whatever grand overarching purpose He wanted to accomplish in the first place?
I have a hard enough time believing in the efficacy of prayer for personal needs, as you know. It's utterly impossible for me to imagine how God could possibly be responsive to the cacaphony of "screaming voices on all sides", as you put it above. My study of history indicates that He lets a lot of "innocent" people die in absurd calamities caused by sinful, fallen human beings who have far more power than they are capable of handling.
we , as a nation, need healing...
As for what to pray for, Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done" – God answers our prayers if we are in synch with His desires -
visits. Just the same, we prayed for her in every Sunday morning service, and on Tuesday in our ladies' group. Today - she can see!!!! God has restored her sight....She is back in church again.
The cacaphony of "screaming voices on all sides" I referred to was not praying voices, but all the opinions, suggestions, and lobbying surrounding the president, and each of us, when we must make a decision. The world is
constantly clamoring for our attention.....
Marie - It means everyone who has a conscience to do so....
JW - In the Old Testament, where Chronicles is found, it was consistently the kings - of Israel, Babylon, etc. - who were held responsible for the spiritual condition of their nation.
Marie - And in Jeremiah, chapter 23 , it is the religious leaders - prophets and priests - who God condemns FIRST for deceiving and lying to the kings and people, "Don't worry! ...you shall have peace" (verse 17) ...... "Don't listen to these false prophets" (verse 16) ....."These prophets are as thoroughly depraved as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah"(chap.23, verse 14)
JW - Here's where my cynical side kicks in big time. Do you believe that Resident Bush writes this weekly presidential prayer team newsletter himself? Do you NOT believe it's merely a public relations or propaganda organ sent out by the administration, aimed at right-wing fundamentalist Christians? You HAVE heard of propaganda or "spin", right?
Marie - I don't know what "spin" means: But I do know that JWB does not write the newsletter, nor is it a public relations or propaganda organ....It was started by christian citizens, like Joni Eareckson Tada, Dave Wilkerson, and other not so prominent people - there are thousands on the mailing list - who take seriously : "pray for those in authority" as a personal responsibility....
JW - I was referring to the praying voices, though. That's a cacaphony, too. During the war in Viet Nam, I was a baby Christian, and I asked other more mature Christians for advice about what I should do with regard to Viet Nam. The advice ranged all the way from killing "gooks" (in obedience to Romans 13:1) to being a pacifist and attempting to get a conscientious objector classification or flee to Canada. It was indeed a cacaphony of voices, each of them most sincere and purporting to speak for God or at least to understand His word and His purposes.
Marie - Praying is speaking to God - which has been compared to "sweet-smelling incense rising to heaven"- not noise. People - even christian people - expressing their opinions and giving advice about what you or I should do is not prayer.
You're right - we can be confused by all the voices - that's why we need to pray and ask others to pray for us to discern the voice of true Wisdom - again from Jeremiah chap 23, verse 21 - "I have not sent these prophets, yet
they claim to speak for me; I gave them no message, yet they say their words are mine".
JW - In closing, Marie, if George Dubya Bush is a Christian then I'm a Martian.
God's guidance. From every indication he has already declared himself God in his own mind.
Marie - whatever your opinion, it's urgent that you pray for him and all leaders everywhere, be they political or religious......
About Iraq -
Below is a letter I received last night. I thought you might find it interesting and a different perspective on Iraq. Did you know in Paris there is a Chaldean church community where Iraqi refugees worship? or that 600,000 Iraqi christians worship in Baghdad?
If any of you are praying, please pray for the Iraqi christians - and the American bishop going to Iraq to meet them this week.
Three weeks ago, I received an invitation along with French Christian leaders from the Patriarch of Baghad (the majority church in Iraqâ€”the Chaldean Church) to visit there with Christian leaders. The purpose of the trip is to establish contacts between Iraqi and European Christians.
At first I was not inclined to go, as I felt this was beyond my mandate. But the Presiding Bishop, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Communion officer at Lambeth Palace have all strongly encouraged me to accept. The ACO even offered money to offset the cost of the airfare. The Council of Advice in our discussions about it also were cautiously encouraging.
I am to leave Tuesday and return Saturday. I have my plane reservation to Damascus (we will be driven to Baghdad) and visas. Of course under the circumstances I am reserving the right to decline up to the departure itself.
I would ask for your prayers tomorrow and in the coming days: for peace, for guidance about this trip, for safe travel, and above all for the Iraqi people, in particular the million or so Christians who need to know of our support and deep concern.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop in charge
Convocation of American Churches in Europe
I am fine, well received, and in no danger at all.
I met most of the bishops of this country this morning informally, and we shall pray together tomorrow in the Chaldean Protestant Church at 9:30 am.
I was able to visit St George's Anglican Church here, which is clean and well maintained for a building in Baghdad at this time. It seems to have become a place of prayer for all kinds of Christians. I have photos.
My simple message that I am responding to the Patriarch's invitation personally to come, meet and pray together, as well as assuring the Christians here of our churches' attempts to avoid war, is being very well received.
Already to-day I visited a Dominican sisters' hospital, a Missionaries of Charity home for mentally handicapped, met several bishops singly, and seen and talked with many people. More later today.
I am writing from the internet cafe at the Rasheed Hotel, very famous place, from this address because it was the only one of mine that I could access.
It was a good idea to come. thank you for your prayers - please keep them coming.
All my love.
Marie and Friends,
I chose not to respond to the original message because of my own knee jerk reactions being that I am still working with the Department of State and with the Broadcasting Board of Governors--home of Radio Free Iraq among other things such as the Voice of America. However, the Lord gave me peace from knowing that even though the Bishop was being used and his counterpart in Iraq is not acting freely under pressure from Saddam Hussein, God is still able to bring good from it in spite of whatever intentions the Iraqi regime may have in its charm offensive and duplicity. I will be sitting in this week at hearings by Senator Richar Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of U.S. Public Diplomacy to the Islamic World. I had prayer earlier this week with a fine christian gentleman at the State Department who is the Deputy Coordinator for the Office of Religious Freedom. That office works on behalf of persecuted christians all over the world. Right now terrible things are going on.
You sound like a very important guy, Louis, and poor Marie, Who gets it from both sides and who desires only peace and love in the world (as do I and probably all the rest of us), will be embarrassed by my replying to you, I suppose. But I hope that, while you're being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, of the utmost perspicacity about Satan's devices, you're also praying for an end to the "charm offensive and duplicity" in the Executive Branch of the American government where you work. We need changes not only in the Islamic world but in the so-called "Christian" world here in the West. I fear George Bush and his version of American Empire at least as much as I fear anything in the Islamic world. And you can quote me....though of course you won't.
Funny how the Lord is telling us all different things. I hope someone can explain that to me one of these days.
(and I mean that only with the greatest of admiration for her.)
I have great respect for Oriana Fallaci and her writings -
I invite anyone to comment.........
The Rage, the Pride and the Doubt
Wall St Journal commentaries | 3-13-03 | Oriana Fallaci
NEW YORK -- To avoid the dilemma of whether this war should take place or not, to overcome the reservations and the reluctance and the doubts that still lacerate me, I often say to myself: "How good if the Iraqis would get free of Saddam Hussein by themselves. How good if they would execute him and hang up his body by the feet as in 1945 we Italians did with Mussolini." But it does not help. Or it helps in one way only. The Italians, in fact, could get free of Mussolini because in 1945 the Allies had conquered almost four-fifths of Italy. In other words, because the Second World War had taken place. A war without which we would have kept Mussolini (and Hitler) forever. A war during which the allies had pitilessly bombed us and we had died like mosquitoes. The Allies, too. At Salerno, at Anzio, at Cassino.
Thus, the dilemma remains.
* * *
The second reason is that this war should not happen now. If just as I wish, legitimate as I hope, it should have happened one year ago. That is, when the ruins of the Towers were still smoking and the whole civilized world felt American. Had it happened then, the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden would not today fill the squares to anathematize the United States. Hollywood stars would not play the role of Messiahs, and ambiguous Turkey would not cynically deny passage to the Marines who have to reach the Northern front. Despite the Europeans who added their voice to the voice of the Palestinians howling "Americans-got-it-good," one year ago nobody questioned that another Pearl Harbor had been inflicted on the U.S. and that the U.S. had all the right to respond. As a matter of fact, it should have happened before. I mean when Bill Clinton was president, and small Pearl Harbors were bursting abroad. In Somalia, in Kenya, in Yemen.
* * *
They are also in Europe. They are in Paris where the mellifluous Jacques Chirac does not give a damn for peace but plans to satisfy his vanity with the Nobel Peace Prize. Where there is no wish to remove Saddam Hussein because Saddam Hussein means the oil that the French companies pump from Iraqi wells. And where (forgetting a little flaw named Petain) France chases its Napoleonic desire to dominate the European Union, to establish its hegemony over it. They are in Berlin, where the party of the mediocre Gerhard Schroeder won the elections by comparing Mr. Bush to Hitler, where American flags are soiled with the swastika, and where, in the dream of playing the masters again, Germans go arm-in-arm with the French. They are in Rome where the communists left by the door and re-entered through the window like the birds of the Hitchcock movie. And where, pestering the world with his ecumenism, his pietism, his Thirdworldism, Pope Wojtyla receives Tariq Aziz as a dove or a martyr who is about to be eaten by lions. (Then he sends him to Assisi where the friars escort him to the tomb of St. Francis.) In the other European countries, it is more or less the same. In Europe your enemies are everywhere, Mr. Bush. What you quietly call "differences of opinion" are in reality pure hate. Because in Europe pacifism is synonymous with anti-Americanism, sir, and accompanied by the most sinister revival of anti-Semitism the anti-Americanism triumphs as much as in the Islamic world. Haven't your ambassadors informed you? Europe is no longer Europe. It is a province of Islam, as Spain and Portugal were at the time of the Moors. It hosts almost 16 million Muslim immigrants and teems with mullahs,imams, mosques, burqas, chadors. It lodges thousands of Islamic terrorists whom governments don't know how to identify and control. People are afraid, and in waving the flag of pacifism -- pacifism synonymous with anti-Americanism -- they feel protected.
Besides, Europe does not care for the 221,484 Americans who died for her in the Second World War. Rather than gratitude, their cemeteries give rise to resentment. As a consequence, in Europe nobody will back this war. Not even nations which are officially allied with the U.S., not even the prime ministers who call you "My friend George." (Like Silvio Berlusconi.) In Europe you only have one friend, one ally, sir: Tony Blair. But Mr. Blair too leads a country which is invaded by the Moors. A country that hides that resentment. Even his party opposes him, and by the way: I owe you an apology, Mr. Blair. In my book "The Rage and the Pride," I was unfair to you. Because I wrote that you would not persevere with your guts, that you would drop them as soon as it would no longer serve your political interests. With impeccable coherence, instead, you are sacrificing those interests to your convictions. Indeed, I apologize. I also withdraw the phrase I used to comment on your excess of courtesy toward Islamic culture:
"If our culture has the same value as the one that imposes the burqa, why do you spend your summers in my Tuscany and not in Saudi Arabia?" Now I say:
* * *
The final reason for my dilemma is the definition that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair and their advisers give of this war: "A Liberation war. A humanitarian war to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq." Oh, no. Humanitarianism has nothing to do with wars. All wars, even just ones, are death and destruction and atrocities and tears. And this is not a liberation war, a war like the Second World War. (By the way: neither is it an "oil war," as the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden maintain in their rallies. Americans do not need Iraqi oil.) It is a political war. A war made in cold blood to respond to the Holy War that the enemies of the West declared upon the West on September 11. It is also a prophylactic war. A vaccine, a surgery that hits Saddam because, (Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair believe), among the various focuses of cancer Saddam is the most obvious and dangerous one. Moreover, the obstacle that once removed will permit them to redesign the map of the Middle East as the British and the French did after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. To redesign it and to spread a Pax Romana, pardon, a Pax Americana, in which everybody will prosper through freedom and democracy. Again, no. Freedom cannot be a gift. And democracy cannot be imposed with bombs, with occupation armies. As my father said when he asked the anti-fascists to join the Resistance, and as today I say to those who honestly rely on the Pax Americana, people must conquer freedom by themselves. Democracy must come from their will, and in both cases a country must know what they consist of. In Europe the Second World War was a liberation war not because it brought novelties called freedom and democracy but because it re-established them. Because Europeans knew what they consisted of. The Japanese did not: it is true. In Japan, those two treasures were somehow a gift, a refund for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But Japan had already started its process of modernization, and did not belong to the Islamic world. As I write in my book when I call bin Laden the tip of the iceberg and I define the iceberg as a mountain that has not moved for 1,400 years, that for 1,400 years has not changed, that has not emerged from its blindness, freedom and democracy are totally unrelated to the ideological texture of Islam. To the tyranny of theocratic states. So their people refuse them, and even more they want to erase ours.
* * *
Upheld by their stubborn optimism, the same optimism for which at the Alamo they fought so well and all died slaughtered by Santa Anna, Americans think that in Baghdad they will be welcomed as they were in Rome and Florence and Paris. "They'll cheer us, throw us flowers." Maybe. In Baghdad anything can happen. But after that? Nearly two-thirds of the Iraqis are Shiites who have always dreamed of establishing an Islamic Republic of Iraq, and the Soviets too were once cheered in Kabul. They too imposed their peace. They even succeeded in convincing women to take off their burqa, remember? After a while, though, they had to leave. And the Taliban came. Thus, I ask: what if instead of learning freedom Iraq becomes a second Talibani Afghanistan? What if instead of becoming democratized by the Pax Americana the whole Middle East blows up and the cancer multiplies? As a proud defender of the West's civilization, without reservations I should join Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair in the new Alamo. Without reluctance I should fight and die with them. And this is the only thing about which I have no doubts at all.
Oriana Fallaci is the author of "The Rage and the Pride" (Rizzoli International, 2002). Updated March 13, 2003
Come on all you big strong men,
Uncle Sam your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible
Way down yonder with old Saddam
So put down your books,
And pick up a gun,
Gonna have yourselves a whole lotta fun
So its 1-2-3
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me,
I don't give a d--m,
Say hello to Mr Saddam
Ain't no time to reason why !
Whoppee, we're all gonna die !