Saturday, October 31, 2009


I was 20 years old in 1967 and a sophomore in college. The American war in Viet Nam was blowing up. Confusion and chaos were beginning to permeate my world. As a full-time student, I had a draft deferment but I was imprisoned: either I remained a full-time student or would be drafted into the army and end up in Viet Nam. As I read more about the war and Viet Nam, I realized that there was no reason for us to be there. It seemed so obvious to me that I found it hard to understand what the government was doing. All the terminology used to rationalize waging war was either an obvious lie or a far-fetched theory without basis.

At first, I was confused that the ‘adults’ who were making critical decisions to plunge thousands of American kids and untold numbers of Vietnamese into the butcher shop of war using the most tenuous of reasons could be so deluded. I soon concluded that not only were they out of touch with reality, but they knowingly were deceiving and betraying Americans, as well.

Eighteen months later, in early 1969, I was an infantryman with the Fourth Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. Since that time my life has been discretely segmented into three time periods: before Viet Nam, during, and after. Such is the awful power of war.

Now, with the Iraqi war of betrayal and deceit still unfolding, President Obama is deciding the future of this country and South Asia in his councils of war. Any order that puts more American troops into Afghanistan will be more disastrous than our misguided and criminal militarism in Viet Nam. Further recklessness will destabilize South Asia, will drain us of much needed resources in this country for infrastructure, mass transportation, education, health care, social and economic security. This is an example of what we spend our money on now:  Well, I guess we could bomb the Moon. Naw. This blog isn’t supposed to be sarcastic.

If we pursue this war it will cost us billions of dollars and, most of all, the lives of thousands of America’s children. As fast as we became a preeminent world power, we will fall even faster. For what reason? Our security? Al-Qaedda, the stateless, many headed hydra, has metastasized into a both a ‘state of mind’ and magnet for the most disaffected of Muslims. Suicide bombers who target innocent men, women, and children, the great majority who are fellow Muslims, are the most extreme of criminals. Does anyone really believe that an increase of 10,000 or 100,000 thousand American troops will stop the suicide bombers or Al-Qaedda? There are far more effective methods of hunting down and decapitating the leadership of these loosely connected criminal syndicates. Al-Qaedda is no different from the Mexican narco-terrorists who control significant territory in northern Mexico, or FARC in Columbia. Mexico is close to losing control of several of its states. It could easily be argued that the Mexican drug cartels are a far more dangerous threat to our national security than Al-Qaedda or any of its mutations.

What if someone with ties to a Muslim country does succeed in setting off a bomb in Los Angeles, as was done Madrid in 2004 (191 killed) and London in 2005 (56 killed), how would the United States react? Would we invade or bomb every Muslim country the bombers may have had ties to? What would we do? Send more troops to Afghanistan or invade Pakistan? Impeach President Obama? Jail Janet Napolitano?

Just as President Johnson had to make a defining decision for his presidency, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and the United States, so does president Obama. Johnson made the wrong choice.

Late this summer I was having a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at the local Barnes & Noble with my old friend Capt. Omphalos (ret) who also served in Viet Nam. As we talked, I happened to look up and saw a brightly colored book, and for a few minutes I didn’t know where I was, or what year it was. I was stupefied. After I put my head together, I jumped up to get the book and noticed it was in the travel section. I brought the book back to where we were sitting and paged through it, angry, amused, disgusted, and, for a brief moment, interested. I put it back on the shelf behind the travel books about Paris.

Relationships between countries are always in a state of flux. Once a son, husband, sister, daughter, brother, friend is killed before their lives are lived, they are gone forever. A memory frozen in time; for as long as memory lasts, a ghost of what might have been.

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[url=]multiple sclerosis[/url]