"There is no such thing as getting used to combat. Each moment of combat
imposes a strain so great that men will break down in direct relation to the
intensity and duration of their exposure…Psychiatric casualties are as
inevitable as gunshot and shrapnel wounds in warfare…Most men were ineffective
after 180 or 140 days. The general consensus was that a man reached his peak of
effectiveness in the first ninety days of combat, and that he became steadily
less valuable thereafter until he was completely useless."
John Keegan, "The Face of Battle" (Quoting US Army doctors in an official
U.S. Marines accused of murdering helpless, unarmed civilians. Women. Children.
Babies. The President is “shocked.” Rumsfeld “needs more time to develop the
“facts.” We are left to presume that he, too, is “shocked.” Possibly even
“awed.” Senators are all but speechless. What is there to say? Civilized
countries do not fight wars in such a fashion! Americans take prisoners and hand
out chocolate bars. Our precision-guided munitions are designed to eliminate
We have, along with other morally sophisticated nations signed agreements that
establish rules and regulations designed to make atrocities such as the above a
rare, if not all but impossible occurrence. We have done all we can do to assure
that our citizens and most important, our children, will not be exposed to the
actual sights, sounds, and smells of the battlefield. We comfort ourselves with
wholly fictional notions of combat casualties: John Wayne clutching his
bloodless breast as he sinks gracefully to the sand on Iwo Jima (the opening
scenes of “Saving Private Ryan are more accurate), GIs marching smiling Germans
to the rear after having accepted their surrender (more accurate in the first
waves at Normandy would have been marching them “behind the rocks” and cutting
their throats), Richard Conte lying in a field in Italy after being
machine-gunned, a small trickle of stage blood trickling from the corner of his
mouth as he takes a few calm last breaths, saying a heartfelt goodbye to his
buddies before closing his eyes and passing sweetly away (machine guns have a
nasty habit of cutting bodies literally in two, and hysterically frightened
screaming is heard far more than calm last testimonials).
Murder? What in hell do we think has been going on in Iraq for close to four
years now? What do we think we create when we expose nineteen and twenty year
olds to the never ending strain and frustration of combat? Do a Google search
for “Lidice” for part one of the answer. Then do another for “The Rape of
Nanking.” Lest you think these were but hiccups in an otherwise gentlemanly
conflict, do a search for “My Lai.” I know that I, for one, am plenty old enough
to recall THAT one.
The “investigation” into the recent events in Iraq has not yet started, but when
it is concluded you can bet that no high-ranking officer will bear any blame.
Like My Lai, no significant punishments will be handed out at all. Lt. Calley
served only 3 1/2 years, and that under house arrest.
I would call for Donald Rumsfeld to step forward and accept the blame for this
ongoing tragedy and its yearlong cover-up by the military. Rumsfeld is in charge
of that department. I WOULD call for him to step aside, but I am not given to
fruitless exercises. This clown has never accepted blame for anything at all in
his entire, useless career in government. Nor has his equally inept and arrogant
Perhaps one might make an argument that the Marines who pulled the triggers were
to blame, not the idiots who put them there in the first place. You COULD make
that case, I suppose, but Marines are by disposition and training amphibious
shock troops, not police. They are not all that good at static defense, nor
SHOULD they be.
Nah! Forget that argument. In a perfect world these two, Bush and Rumsfeld,
would be indicted and hauled before a war crimes tribunal, but that ain’t gonna
ever happen. I don’t think that it’s even constitutionally possible. Of course,
they might be impeached, but that would require a vote in the (Republican)
House, and trial in the (Republican) Senate. Don’t hold your breath. Those two
august bodies are engaged at present in far more serious matters; matters
CRITICAL to the well-being of average Americans:
A constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage.
A bill increasing fines for using “indecent” language in broadcast media.
A bill permanently eliminating the tax on estates.
And on, and on…
Oh yeah… What do you think the extended families of the victims of the massacres
in Iraq did in the aftermath? I imagine they kissed the hilts of their daggers
and vowed eternal possibly even suicidal vendetta against America. Thanks Don!
Thanks George! I feel safer by FAR since you took the reins!
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will
scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse
to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a
reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the
Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom
It seems the news isn’t ALL bad for Bush! A recent article in the NY Times
focused on the positive news out of Provo, Utah. I must warn you, if you choose
to read these quotes, do so with a sense of humor and an empty stomach!
“"When I watch him, I see a man with his heart in the right place," said Delia
Randall, a 22-year-old mother from Provo, the hub of a county that gave Senator
John Kerry just 11 percent of the presidential vote in 2004. "I like George Bush
because he is God fearing, and that's how a lot of people in this area feel."
His heart is in the right place? What in hell does that have to do with doing
his job correctly? If an employee constantly screws up on the job and negatively
affects the company’s bottom line, is the fact that his heart is in the right
place going to save his job? God fearing? This dangerous jackass is murdering
your children, neglecting both the financial and physical health of your fellow
citizens, and setting social and medical progress back by decades. What does his
fear of God have to do with ANYTHING? I see you are 22. If you love that jerk so
much, get your lard ass to a recruiter and join the Marines. The experience
might open your eyes, Della.
(Taking a deep breath…)
"I'm against the war in Iraq — and what happened with Hurricane Katrina, well,
it was a failure by everybody," said Ron Craft, a sales manager in Provo who
said he was a devout Mormon and a strong conservative who considered himself
independent politically. "I tend to judge a person by their character. And
President Bush reminds me of President Reagan. He's a man of principle."
So you think he’s a screw up, but you like him so much you’re willing to
overlook his failures. By all means judge people by their character. Judge those
who work for you by their performance. Katrina was a failure by “everybody”? I,
for one, had NOTHING to do with the affair…
"He's strong, and he doesn't waver," said Jaren Olsen, 18, a freshman at Brigham
Young, the nation's largest religiously affiliated private university, who is
from Albany. "I like that he is for the family, that marriage should only be
between a man and woman. And the war, we need to finish what we started."
I see you, too, are of draft age, Jaren! See my advice above on enlisting in the
military! Then you could personally see to finishing the job “we” started!
He’s strong and doesn’t waver? So’s my DOG, Jaren! This from a college student?
According to the article, the news from Utah isn’t ALL bad, it seems Bush is
hovering at around 50% approval, in that reddest of the red states. Bad news for
Once more, allow me to thank you for your indulgence, and invite your responses.