Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

January 21, 2014

Time: 45 years, and images still haunt me…

Filed under: General Discussion, The Human Cost of War — bobfunke @ 2:26

I’ve learned to live with them, realizing that at times I am reliving a past that could have taken a better path, or perhaps a worse path, depending on how one looks at things. Point of fact, I did what I did and now have to live with it. Slowly, the memories drift away, become dislodged in the framework, places, names dates all get mixed together in a stew of musty memories.

Some things stand out because of the sheer violence of the situation, others stand out because of the uncommon calm, that made me think I was in my old neighborhood. I met many a man who was barely literate, nothing like having to print, “THIS SIDE TOWARD ENEMY” on the container that held 500 steel balls, C-4 and a plastic case, even though it had a slight curve to it, when an individual is literate, they can get you killed.

I met men who received their first set of clothes that were not hand-me-downs. At Ft Polk LA, one individual from GA was literally forced to wear combat boots and dress shoes, his feet were so calloused they were stronger than leather, “I don’t wear shoes, they get in my way.”  He could climb a rock face with his toes, put boots on him, he could barely march on the parade ground. So it goes, these tidbits of useless information. How to kill another human being; actually, you have to  look at that person as something subhuman, vermin, a rat or a cockroach, if you saw a human being, you hesitated, and that could cost you life or limb.

We were told we were stopping Communism, little Vietnam was the linchpin of all of Communism, not the USSR or China, but a small stretch of land on the South China Sea. Since the McCarthy years, everyone believed a communist or Socialist was behind ever tree, stone or mailbox, waiting to pounce on the suspecting citizen and “brainwash” them into betraying their country. McCarthy and his acolytes did more to bring this nation to the brink of annihilation than anyone before or since, to put it succinctly, he was a drunken asshole; but lives were ruined, as children in NYC, (needless to say a prime nuclear target), we were told if we saw a flash or heard the warning sirens, we were to hide under our wooden desks. Considering there were huge glass windows right next to me, I wondered about the wisdom of having shards of glass tear through my body while I got under my desk, which was about to ignite in the thermal blast of some 4500+F. Charred children, ripped to shreds, a wooden desk their funeral pyres.

Perhaps MAD, (Mutually Assured Destruction) actually kept us out of nuclear war; after all, the US was the only nation to use nuclear devices on the offense. Vaults of films are still archived from when the Signal Corps went in, deemed too horrible for the public to see, what could be much worse than seeing JFK being shot in the head, MLK lying lifeless on  patio, RFK being hustled out of a kitchen after being shot in the head?

We should see the horrors of war, perhaps the demons would go away if we realized that war is rarely, if ever the answer.  Two things moved Smedley Butler into a war stance after he retired: a direct attack against the nation and the defense of the Bill Of Rights. No more death so that “the few profit, while the many pay.” Smedley D Butler, MG (retired, USMC.

End war now, it’s easier than one thinks, for starters, we can stop selling arms to our potential enemies.




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