We were never the bad guys. We never fought other nations to destroy them, we defended ourselves and helped defend others.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our heroes of the past - those who gave their lives to form our nation, the United States Of America and all who served in war thereafter. Many fell in battle and many died in peace long after but not without first knowing the ways of war and so often the horrors of war. It is no small thing to step across the line to swear service to your country and to defend her and obey the orders of your commanders even at the cost of your life.
I suffer from severe pain and have done little blogging over recent months. A surgery may enable me to rehabilitate and recover so that I may do simple things like take a walk or exercise. A few months later I may be able to play half-court basketball and doubles tennis. I truly have been mistreated at the hands of the FDA and I am not alone...many people who have severe pain have been denied pain medications prescribed by their doctors and forced to go to pain centers where profits for the pain center seem to outweigh any regard for the patient. That has been my experience. Only major surgery can allow me to find a way to exercise and rehabilitate and live a nearly normal life. I work from home and then collapse. Thanks for my friend who has been posting here, the Piltdown Superman, who has been keeping the blog warm as I wait for surgical help that may save my life, for I will indeed die from the stress of pain and the lack of exercise if something is not done.
The following is informed opinion.
As a nation, we first had to fight to form and protect our new republic and also soon realized the pirates of the Barbary Coast required an expansion of what was at first a civilian militia who stepped into service when the nation needed them. So we had at first an Army and a Navy and then the Marines were formed. Is it not ironic and deplorable that Islamic pirates are still attacking and grabbing ships and negotiating for the lives of the crew and the ships themselves for millions of dollars? It would be great if we had a Commander-In-Chief who had a clue about warfare at all and cared about such matters, would it not?
An 18th Century nation became a 19th Century military power at the end of the Century...but not before we fought among ourselves during the Civil War.
Today's substandard public schools make the Civil War very simplistic - a fight to free slaves and save the nation from being cut in twain. However, the slavery issue was just one of many issues that lit the spark of war. States rights was chief among the contentious topics that eventually caused the Confederacy to secede from the Union. In fact the desire of the Southeastern States to be able to sell their goods overseas was the key issue, particularly to England, rather than having to sell to the North because of tariffs levied by the Federal Government that made the crops of the South less profitable. The Southern States believed that the North was robbing them by fiat, in some ways the same issue that caused the Colonies to rebel against England and form the USA in the first place.
The South believed they had the right to secede and the North disagreed. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, was a strong believer in freedom for slaves and also believed that he was elected to preserve the Union at any cost and certainly stop the spread of slavery to the West. Men of the South primarily saw their allegiance to their State first and the Confederacy as a whole second. Many of those of the North also saw allegiance to their home State first. Thus, so many units were drawn from and named for the State from which they were culled. In retrospect, the majority of those who fought on both sides believed their cause was just. The end of slavery was a great victory for all Americans...if only the idiocy of Darwinism and Eugenics did not keep the lies of superior and inferior races alive in the minds of men.
In the 20th Century, we found ourselves becoming involved in a war that began as European squabbles among family members who also just happened to be "royalty" in the case of WWI. The assassination of an Archduke is given as the spark that lit the flames of war. But truly the archaic notion of royal families that were destined by God to rule over the rest of humanity was a preposterous and outdated notion that came from an incestuous relationship between the royals and a false "church" that was primarily about power and money rather than relationship with God. The days of kings and queens and those of their ilk had long passed their expiration date. We decided to ramp up our aid to the side of the Allies against the Central Powers and added boots on the ground, ships at sea and the rudimentary fighting in the air as well and, in doing so, sealed the victory for the Allies. War or no war, the fall of the Russian Czar and the end of royals as the rulers of nations was inevitable. The very vindictive terms of Armistice sewed the seeds of another World War to come and the Spanish Flu killed off perhaps as much as 5% of the population of the world so that the war years were a terrible punch to humanity's nose. Those who survived the war and the flu were left horrified and often traumatized by the experience. Many believed WWI was the Geat War, the war to end all wars. Wrong!
Yet it only took a handful of power-hungry madmen to begin yet another World War within about one generation of the first. The USA again came along to give aid to the Allied forces and later we were thrust into the war by the attack on Pearl Harbor. WWII was a long, hard fight but we again prevailed. We prevailed in part because the Emperor of Japan and Adolf Hitler of Germany were both egomaniacs who, had they used their strategic advantages would have secured control of Europe and Asia before the USA would have decided to make an attempt to stop them. But Hitler was stupid enough to attack his supposed ally, the Soviet Union, when his forces were taking control of Europe and Northern Africa with relative ease. Hirohito was stupid enough to attack Pearl Harbor, thinking that supposedly "neutralizing" the US Navy in the Pacific would keep us from interfering in his conquest of Asia and the Japanese side of the ocean. Hitler overplayed his hand and found himself being stopped by the Russian winter and then pounded from another front in Europe when he could have secured his military gains and perhaps taken on the Soviets years later. Attacking Pearl Harbor awakened Americans to the war in a way that caused us to put our resources fully into taking down the Japanese and also fighting and helping to defeat Hitler and Mussolini.
We then came alongside allies to save South Korea by being overrun by Commies from the North and the Chinese. We saw in the Korean War that waging war that the American population did not thoroughly understand or support was futile. At least those who took part in either war or both understood that war is all in or nothing. There is no half-hearted warfare that can truly succeed.
Vietnam is the conflict where the lies of the politically correct come to roost. We were never obliged to defend the government of Vietnam, we were simply allies of France and France had finally abandoned their hold on the region and left a dicey government behind them. President John F. Kennedy initially agreed with his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, who had been a 5-star general during WWII and Supreme Commander of the European Allied forces. John Kennedy had of course been an LTJG, commanding PT boats (PT-109 has been addressed on this blog previously) in the Pacific. The point was that both men, veterans of war, had thought it wise to have advisers there to both help train troops and make assessments of the military and political situation for intelligence purposes.
JFK decided it was time to withdraw all American troops and signed an executive order to that effect. He was assassinated before the order was carried out and Lyndon Baines Johnson then escalated the war and turned it into a pointless human meat-grinder. As many of the veterans of the war will attest, they kept winning every battle and taking every objective given to them. But Vietnam was not a war in which taking territory was a victory. The Vietcong would withdraw over the border to Cambodia or to the North and then regroup and infiltrate the territory that our troops had "won" previously, making the way in which the war was being waged pointless.
There were two ways to handle Vietnam: Either let the people be ruled by whoever won the tussle between the government the French left behind and the forces loyal to Ho Chi Min or absolutely bomb the enemy to smithereens wherever they happened to be within Vietnam or Cambodia. JFK decided to withdraw and he was killed. Then in 1968, when Robert Kennedy had won the Democratic nomination for President in California, he also was assassinated. RFK had run on a platform which included the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. Were the Kennedys murdered to allow the Vietnam War to go on and on and on?
John and Robert Kennedy had a brother, Joseph Jr, a bomber pilot who died in the air over England in 1944 while serving in WWII in the European campaign. Neither JFK nor RFK saw war as unnecessary but both believed that wars were the last resort and not the first course of action. JFK demonstrated this by standing up to Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis and earning the grudging respect of Nikita Khrushchev in the process. He did not start WWIII but he did stand his ground and forced the enemy to either start warfare or back down. Krushchev backed down.
As a child I went door-to-door with Goldwater pamphlets, asserting that electing LBJ would be a vote for continuing a war that should not be and that as a grade schooler, I was sure I would be drafted because if LBJ was elected the war would grow and grow...and it did. LBJ agreed with the Ivy League elitists and his big-money supporters. There is big money to be made during wartime. Why do you think Switzerland was allowed to remain neutral even when war was being waged all around it?
LBJ was elected and I was indeed drafted and chose to enlist after being drafted. I remember watching the helicopters rescuing the last Marines from the Saigon government center's roof...thinking how angry I would be if one of my loved ones had died in Vietnam and now knowing how futile their efforts had been. So many brave young troops died in a cause that may have been admirable but in a way that was a travesty. My respect and condolences to all who served in Vietnam...you were heroes even if your Commander-In-Chief was an unprincipled political hack!
I suspect both John and Robert Kennedy were killed so that the war in Vietnam would be escalated by LBJ (who was an incredibly evil person bereft of any real morality) and sustained by Richard Nixon, a man whose ego would not allow him to be seen as an appeaser by withdrawing from Vietnam. In retrospect, I now consider both Robert and John Kennedy as casualties of war.
The atrocious and cowardly attacks of 9/11 that took down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York caused the USA and their allies to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'd stopped before going towards Iraq during Desert Storm when we could have and perhaps should have kept going on...but we did stop and 9/11 did happen. My own son joined the Army because he wanted to be part of the effort to wipe out the Islamic terrorists wherever they might be. He served in Afghanistan and two of my "Godsons" served in Iraq. Thankfully they all came home from every deployment. Just as my son came home from Afghanistan, his grandfathers both came home from WWII and Korea respectively.
So I am a thankful man. My ancestors lived through wars to preserve my nation and to defend freedom for others and my son came home from war unscathed. God bless America!