Forgetting the War

Which war, you might ask. I’ve been here on Planet Earth long enough to experience WW 2, the cold war from beginning to end,  the Korean “Conflict”, Cuba & the ensuing Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, Grenada, Iraq 1 & 2, and Afghanistan & Libya too. I remember us bombing in Eastern Europe when Yugoslavia wasn’t chopped up into I don’t know what named places. That’s a lot of wars and as long as you are asking–none or all of them.  I can’t forget ANY.

Today I accidentally found and watched a tape showing bombing of civilian targets with Napalm and various other explosives.  It had the “valkyries” music as a sound track, just like the movie Apocalypse Now. It was almost, as, more frightening than the movie. Maybe that is because I live here.  I read about and see people damaged by unexploded ordinance that exploded when they touched it or approached it,  and people crippled by Agent Orange almost every day. It is painful. As painful as watching a movie about the death camps in Poland & Germany during WW 2.  The movie wore me out. It was only a little over 4 minutes, but it hurt just thinking about this beautiful land being torn by bombs and poisoned by chemical warfare and unexploded bomblets that were so cute that little children think they are toys and pick them up and lose an arm, a leg, or their life. Here, fifty years after the Vietnam conflict, Vietnamese are still dying every day, yet I feel no anger from them.

American people are angry at Jane Fonda and other protestors against the Vietnam War.  I was one of those protesting.  I was lucky and did not have to serve in the military here.  I can only imagine how that would have changed my life, and made unknown differences in how I developed as a person.  I wonder if I could have fought these people, who were only doing what we would do if some foreigners invaded and attacked America.  I wonder if I could have killed a man or woman who was just defending their homes and family.

I have an acquaintance who fought in WW 2. He and I used to argue about the use of the Atomic Bomb, he being for and I being against.  I visited Hiroshima a few years ago and found myself crying uncontrollably at Ground Zero. Later that night I met a man in a restaurant and we had a few beers together.  He was not angry and he showed NO animosity towards Americans, just like the Vietnamese I meet here in Vietnam. Things like this make me happy that I never served in the military, but my friend from WW 2 says to me:  “What would you do if someone attacked America and threatened to invade and murder your parents, children, and friends?”  I must answer that I would fight, fight to my last breath to protect my family and friends.

So when Jane Fonda sat in that anti aircraft chair I can sympathize with her and the people in the photo. She wanted to stop the war. They wanted to stop the war. They were fighting to protect their families, friends, and country.  She was fighting to end the divisive  entity that politicians had tried to convince us was saving the world for democracy.  Well, I don’t think democracy was threatened by North Vietnam any more than it was in danger from the despots and criminals running South Vietnam.  We did not belong there any more than we belonged in Iraq trying to make the world safe for the Kings, Emirs, Potentates of the middle east.  Let them alone and they will all sort it out by killing each other.  We don’t have to sacrifice our young in a cause that benefits us not at all.

It is depressing to think that war is Darwin’s natural selection to overpopulation of our species.  The MANY who died in the US Civil war represented a much larger percentage of our population than did the casualties of WW 2, so our population density grew more slowly when that chunk of our youth was chopped out by war.  Korea, Grenada, and Vietnam and the two Iraq wars removed some small surplus, but to kill as many Americans proportionally today as were killed in the Civil war would require the deaths of millions.  That is just not going to happen. Disease and tribal warfare cannot stop the population explosion in Africa, so it seems that only a huge global conflict will provide a solution.   It appears that the spread of Islam around the world in the muslim attempts to establish a Caliphate might stand a chance since those animals kill with no regard for the lives of men, women, or children.  So its “Ya Allah and pass the scimitars”  and we will see what we should really fear.

What do YOU think?



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