Monday, May 30, 2011

Sixty Minutes tonight featured this young troop from Afghanistan who won the Medal of Honor, the first living recipient since the Vietnam war. Such a humble kid, well beyond his years of 26. He came in at 19 from Iowa where he was working in a SubWay. 

He gave all the credit to others. Interviewed by Laura Logan, the reporter that was sexually assaulted in Egypt--She was really good I thought. They devoted most of the show to him with a short episode on  another part of Afghanistan. To think we are sacrificing youngstes like this in a useless war is really hurtful on this Memorial Day. God bless our soldiers who are doing their jobs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WAR STORY--Brushing my teeth!!!!

I was a big nut about brushing my teeth and shaving. To me, it was more than hygiene. Plus, the Captain required it. He said it showed we had pride in ourselves and our Unit. And, I'll have to say that he led by example. This one morning we were I'n this big grove of trees, kind of peaceful. I walked over and scooped a steel pot full of water out of one of the bomb craters, which were pretty numerous. I dropped a couple of water purification tabs in. The water gave a kind of silky, putrified look. The taste was nauseatingly iodine but a little "sweet," I thoughr. You get use to it. Being raised in foster homes and an orphanage, I could adapt to anything and did. War was a "piece of cake." I proceeded to brush my teeth first and then I'd save part of the water for shaving although this was a nice little well of water and so there was plenty. In the distance, walking by the men and chatting was our first sergeant. He was a giant of a man, over six feet tall and a vet of over three years in the Nam. He wasn't always in the field but sometimes stayed in the rear doing paperwork. His trademark was a gigantic chew of tobacco stuffed in his jaw and spitting these gigantic globs of tobacco juice everywhere. He claimed that he could spit on a streetlight if we had one. This boast was usually followed by a big belly laugh and a demonstration of his spitting prowess. Our Captain was always saying, "Top, if the VC wanted to know where we are, all they got to do is follow your "bacca" juice. The Captain always emphasized "Bacca" because he said that is the way they say it in Kentucky. We had tremendous respect for "Top" and nobody messed with him. His presense could be noted with a trail of tobacco juice/spit.

I was brushing away when he got to me. Chan, he said, as he spat a big glob of chewing tobacco spit into the water in my steel pot. "Damn Top, why did you do that?" With those comments, he cleared his throat again, let go with the entire chew right into my well. If I hadn't had so much respect for him, I would have wanted to kill him. He must have seen the look on my face as he motioned me over. I didn't want to get too close as I might be temped to throw him in. I walked over and he took me by the arm and forced me to look down into the bottom of the crater. I almost threw up. At the bottom were two decomposing bodies of enemy soldiers. How in the world had I missed it. I'll never forget that morning of brushing my teeth.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Claude, Clyde and Jerry,

Great stuff.  I have been contacting some of our chaplains who have deployed in present conflicts to invite them to our next reintegration event to be held this Sep in Colorado.  We have some hurting guys and gals and this event has reached over 50 couples so far.  This year we are adding a day of equine therapy that will hopefully provide additional assistance.

On the communications issue.  I just did premarital counseling with a recently returned Special Forces soldier.  In our conversation, I mentioned the much easier communications link to the home front.  He said for some soldiers it is a real issue on not being fully engaged in their war responsibilities.   I have seen this trend since I was in HI in the early 80's and our chaplain on Johnston Atoll was able to call his wife living on Oahu daily.  It took him 6 months to become fully engaged in his chaplain responsibilities on JI.  I have notice the cell phone to the ear issue with the summer camp counselors when I spent a week at Camp Pecometh last summer.  As director, I would never tolerate that.   


Claude, thanks back for the tip. I will download Self's book. I think there's going to be a great deal of comparison with Vietnam and our present wars. For one thing, it is hard to imagine the social media, not to mention the basic commo that exists now as opposed to what we had: now, they are fighting, then emailing the wife, becoming involved in the domesticity of family  life of raising children, etc.; and, then back to the war.

Plus, another phenomena of those fighting our two present wars is that because they are so aware of things like PTSD, they don't mess around, thet are right on it whereas for Vietvets, it was a good ten years in the PTSD issues and fighting for them. I have never filed a claim but I think most should and the present crop of soldiers will be doing it ASAP.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Be interesting to know if it was a weak moment slap & tickle or an extended affair. I am sure, their will be books, talk show circuts and movie deals to come.

What males this different, I think, he is a rapist and from what we read, often has nothing to do with sex but power, sickness, etc. The French will come around I think.

If ARNIE had any sense which he doesn't I don't think, he'd take a page out of the movie, "Get Low", starring Robert Duvall. Duvall plays Felix Bush, a backwoods Tennessee loner who plans his own funeral. It really isn't so much about his funeral as is the gathering of the the people so he can confess to a great error in judgement forty years ago. In his confession, he asked for forgiveness and redemption. It is a powerful movie mainly as it conveys the great depth to which guilt can take us. Pay attention, ARNIE, these are "pearls."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I agree with you.  Very gutsy call on the part of the President.  Especially the going into Pakistan without telling the Pakistanis part.  I liked that part of it best.  Well, I liked the getting Osama part best, but next best was the Pakistani thing. 
Regards celebrating Osama's death.  I had it explained to me and now I get it even though it's not in my nature.  I listened to a young woman on NPR the other day (and I guess the majority of those who were publicly celebrating were young people).  She celebrated.  She said she was 10 when 9/11 happened (she's 20 now).  She said it terrified her and that she it just seized her and came to dominate her life for a while.  She's still afraid of flying I think I heard her say.  And it came to me Brother, for kids that age 9/11 was their boogeyman.  When I was that age (8-12 I guess) I was terrified of two things; one was that the Soviet Union was going to nuc us and that I'd end up a nuclear mutant and the other was polio. Many nights I laid awake for hours worrying about one or the other.  Thank God Jonas Salk took care of polio, but the Soviet threat persisted for many years.  So, now I can see why people of her age would celebrate bin Laden's death with wild abandon.  To some extent they're free of the boogeyman.

WR, Col., USA, RET.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Beast in the Heart of Every Fighting Man

The article, "Beast In the Heart of Every Soldier," is one of the most disturbing I've read about the war in Afghanistan. While we are beating our chests about killing Bin Laden, we are losing the very souls of many of our young soldiers in Afghanistan. While the idea of The Beast Within is good psychobabble, passing off the killing of innocent civilians, to rogue soldiers is equally an easy way out. We may not have “collective guilt” but it does not mean we shouldn't. Every American bears
when our soldiers lose their way. We've put them at war and bought into a theory that is impossible for young, emotionally unsophisticated Americans to implement. Unconventional warfare is "pie in the sky." To be successful, unconventional warfare would take ten more years and only older, more experienced soldiers in the best environment could make it work. And, the generals know this but keep leading us along a path they know is impossible. And, if the article, Beast in the Heart of every soldier doesn’t convinced thoughtful Americans that “supporting the troops” is more than slapping a bumper sticker on your car. It is demanding that we exit a war without end.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Donald Trump is, by any sane person's  definition, an egomaniac. The very idea that anybody would give someone with his hair, the time of day, much less, credibility is "over the moon" to me. He absolutely should be a joke to people. And yet, according to the media who is totally at fault for creating someone like Trump, he and his hair are near the top in polls for the Republicans.

And, he has done it based on trumpeting a fuss about a non issue, the President's birth place, settled long ago. What it proves to me is something I get and don't know why others are so f..king dense about it: the media can't figure out s..t: they are never interested in the truth, only a story. Why in the f..k can't we get that!! To them Trump is a story where you he is s "f..king" joke. And, it irritates the hell out of me to watch some of these "talking heads" (I'm thinking one from the Washington Post on the PBS Newshour the other night) talk about Trump as though he were important. They never say,  "think about it, an idiot, egomaniac Donald Trump with the worst hair on the planet proclaims himself the Republican frontrunner. How stupid!

I sound like I think he's important. I only mention the asshole so I can graphically frame what I really think.

And, I might add there will be those in the country who will believe a fraud like Trump, his idea of how he has forced an issue of the President's birth or now how he is onto, "should the President have been allowed to go to prestigious schools". For Trump, any disparaging issue in a storm and there will be those who believe his bullshit because they want to believe.

Reminds me of a good war story. When I was young and stationed with the military in Germany in the old days, I got a frantic called from a commander who said a rape had occurred between a soldier's wife and a soldier other than the husband. It was a missle unit and fairly isolated. The young soldier's wife lived on the economy (a little German village) as we called it. I immediately went to the site and questioned the wife. The conversation went something like this, "Mrs. Phillips (not the real name), I am so sorry. What happened?"
"Well, our friend came over while my husband was working. We had some wine and began dancing and then we had sex."
"What! You mean you agreed and there was no rape?"
"Of course not. I told my husband what happened."
I went to the husband and said, Phillips, it was not rape but consensual." He would not believe me. "No, it was rape, I don't care what anybody says."  SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT. "Don't confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up." These Americans (who can believe anything they want) will believe Donald Trump and his hair because they like being stupid.