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Gate’s Slams Biden the headline read… In it the paper went directly to the money quote by Bob Gates:  “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”  Four decades is a long time.  Going back from today it would begin in 1974.

Of course making decisions invites controversy.  In any decision, there are those who agree, those who don’t.  The only effective judge of any action plan, is how it stands up historically.  One can be on the least popular side, and be proven right as perhaps one considers those who protested the Vietnam War in the 60’s and 70’s for example.  Or one can be on the more popular side and be proven wrong, such as our move into the War in Iraq in 2003.

I quickly found an account that outlined Biden’s foreign policy over 4 decades and simply listed what was forthcoming.  You can judge for yourself, the right and wrong choices Biden made…  I predict you will find that unless you yourself are one who consistently chooses wrong when it comes to our nation’s future (as in Conservative), you will find that Gate’s exaggeration is a bit overblown….

Biden in the beginning focused on arms control issues.  In response to the refusal of Congress to pass the SALT II, Biden took the initiative to meet the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, educated him about American concerns and interests, and secured several changes to address objections of the Foreign Relations Committee.

When the Reagan administration wanted to interpret the 1972 SALT I Treaty too loosely in order to allow the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) to proceed, Biden was who argued for strict adherence to the treaty’s terms.

Biden clashed again with the Reagan administration in 1986 over economic sanctions against South Africa.  Reagan was against them.  Biden for.

Biden can be classified generally as a liberal internationalist in foreign policy;  he collaborated effectively with important Republican Senate figures such as Richard Lugar and Jesse Helms and sometimes went against elements of his own party

Biden was co-chair of the NATO Observer Group in the Senate. Biden met with some 150 leaders from nearly 60 countries and international organizations; three times he chaired the Subcommittee on European Affairs..

Once the Bosnian War broke out, Biden was among the first to call for the “lift and strike” policy of lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims, and supporting them with NATO air strikes, and investigating war crimes.

In 1999, during the Kosovo War, Biden supported the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia and Montenegro,and co-sponsored with his friend John McCain the McCain-Biden Kosovo Resolution, which called on President Clinton to use all necessary force, including ground troops, to confront Milosevic over Serbian actions in Kosovo…

In 1998, Congressional Quarterly named Biden one of “Twelve Who Made a Difference” for playing a lead role in several foreign policy matters, including NATO enlargement and the successful passage of bills to streamline foreign affairs agencies and punish religious persecution overseas…

Biden had voted against authorization for the Gulf War in 1991 siding with 45 of the 55 Democratic senators

Biden was a strong supporter of the 2001 war in Afghanistan, saying “Whatever it takes, we should do it.”

The Bush administration rejected an effort Biden undertook with Senator Richard Lugar to pass a resolution authorizing military action only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts before the Bush invasion of 2003.

Biden argued repeatedly that the Iraqi war should be internationalized, that more soldiers were needed, and that the Bush administration should “level with the American people” about the cost and length of the conflict.

Biden’s stance had shifted, and Biden opposed the troop surge of 2007, saying General David Petraeus was “dead, flat wrong” in believing the surge could work….

Biden was a leading advocate for dividing Iraq into a loose federation of three ethnic states…. similar to how the US is formed.

Biden lost an internal debate to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton regarding his opposition to sending 21,000 new troops to the war in Afghanistan.

Joe Biden became the administration’s point man in delivering messages to Iraqi leadership about expected progress in the country.

Biden’s January 2010 visit to Iraq in the midst of turmoil over banned candidates from the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary election resulted in 59 of those candidates being reinstated by the Iraqi government two days later.

In a controversy arising over how much influence Russia still had on a global scale, Secretary of State Clinton quickly disavowed Biden’s remarks disparaging Russia as a power.

Biden led the successful administration effort to gain Senate approval for the New START treaty.

===

So what was your score?  By my count and it should differ by each person’s outtake and priorities, I count him wrong on five out of the list of the above. (and even two of them were very hard choices)

So …. why the contrarian role announced by Gates?   This may well be the reason.

Biden’s most important role within the administration has been to question assumptions and playing a contrarian role. Obama said that, “The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me.”  Another senior Obama advisor said Biden “is always prepared to be the skunk at the family picnic to make sure we are as intellectually honest as possible.”

Simply based on an apolitical history across his lifetime, it now seems obvious that when someone in ignorance makes a disparagement over the effectiveness of one former Senator and current Vice-President Joe Biden , what they are really saying, is a rather negative commentary about a lack of their own astuteness, and not a disparagement about the real Joe Biden….

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“All Rise and Raise Your Right Hand… Do You, solemnly swear to have no remorse, to allow those known to be extremely violent and mentally twisted, to possess all purchasable firearms and ammunition, and to have no restrictions upon their use?  So Help You?

“WE DO.  WE VOTED AGAINST Barbieri HB 88 w/HA 1, HA 1 to HA 1, HA 2 BECAUSE WE BELIEVE  ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN A GUN WITH NO RESTRICTIONS, EVEN IF THEY LOVE THE MALICIOUS KILLING OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

Ok then in order please state your name and affiliation… in the order you are listed above.

Sweeney Todd– Republican; Bruce Ennis– Democrat; James Holmes–Republican; Colin Bonini– Republican; Adam Lanza– Republican; Cathy Clouthier– Republican; Charles Manson– Republican; Brian Bushweller,–Democrat; Gerald Hocker– Republican; Greg Lavelle– Republican; Robert Marshall– Democrat; David McBride–Democrat;  Gary Simpson–Republican; Robert Venables– Democrat; Charley Manson– Republican;  Brian Pettyjohn– Republican; Jeffery Dahmer– Republican; Ernie Lopez– Republican; Sweeney Todd– Republican;  David Lawson– Republican;  Jeremy Loughner– Republican…..

If you ever want your vote to be heard or to make a statement, there is still time in Delaware to switch your party affiliation.

The last opportunity to leave the Republican party opened on Wednesday, last week, and continues until Friday, May 25th, 2012.

Again, if you want to your vote to stand only as a protest vote, like those who vote for Bob Barr or Ralph Nader fof President, then the Republican Party is still for you.

If you want your vote to have any power, you need to switch as soon as possible.

Would any American support a law imposed on us by the Soviet Union?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Communist China?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Islamic Iran?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Mexico?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Canada?

Would any New Yorker support a law imposed on them by South Carolina?

Would any South Carolinian support a law imposed on them by New York?

Would any Delawarean support a law imposed on them by Alaska?

No?

When put in this perspective, the phrase…”it’s the law…” rings rather hollow…

It’s the law… of what? It’s the law of…. who? It’s the law decided by whom?…… What reference does this law have to me?

Such is every Americans feeling to corporate law… These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our knowledge. These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our approval… There laws were applied to the lawbooks not in an open environment, but subtlely sneaked in, unannounced, unnoticed, unapproved, unsubstantiated, and unconstitutional…..

These laws that are being upheld, benefit a very thin percentage of people, a razor thin percentage of people. at the expense of the majority…..

Rick Santorium stands up and states we are a nation of law. We follow the rule of law…

Yes, we will follow a rule of law onto which a majority of us signs on to… But nowhere in our contract with America did we agree to follow laws that have not been sanctioned by the Constitution as being legal. Nowhere in our contract with America, did we agree to follow the phantom that corporations were human beings. that corporations had just as much right as people to write laws, get them passed, and then uphold them… as if they were people….

There are times when breaking the law, is better than following it…

If you don’t believe me, just ask Jesus.

It makes people angry….

Which is why, we have to be very careful whether this video, which purports to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters, is doctored of not….

If you’ve been in war, and most of the third world has, this action is believable.. After all, these dead characters had just tried to take the live ones life in a game of brinkmanship, and the Marines prevailed… There is sort of a giddiness that up-wells during moments like that. Sort of the real world’s equivalence of a touch-down dance… one that could easily happen during such a moment of euphoria… One person comes up with the idea, probably as a joke, and in their limited world of the moment, there appears to be no harm done, and it happens… Anyone who has ever been in war, knows a lot worse things could have happened. …

But there are a couple of problems with this easy answer. One, this is the Second Battalion of the Third Marine Corp.. It is one of the finest in the world. Very hard to believe that four guys who one day one day are building a hospital in a village to show we are the good guys, (who are positively trained and aware of how their personal behavior ripples out to determine the fate of the war), are peeing on cadavers of slain enemy warriors on the next. Yes, it can happen, of course. But I would believe David Anderson turned Muslim, before I’d believe THIS group would violate everything they’d been trained to do… (It would take hell freezing over for me to believe David Anderson had become a Muslim.)

Of course, I can be accused of turning a blind eye because ” I CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”… lol.. I’d say, no… I’d think the video was faked because that, considering all the players, all the activity, a fake video would actually make more sense, than having four random Marines desecrating several enemy bodies…

How? You Ask?

Ok, you twisted my arm so tight it hurts…if you promise to let go, I’ll tell you……

The United States is pulling out of Afghanistan. That means there will be no market for munitions. Currently the United States and Afghanistan have a very fragile relationship. There is little trust. We do not trust Karzai and his way of governing through corruption. We know he is in cahoots with the Taliban. Not publicly, but privately. We don’t tell him much, because it will cost American lives. He, upon realizing we are acting unilaterally, doesn’t trust us at all, because we will one, not confide in him, and two, not listen to him because the intelligence he could be giving us, could be leading us into a trap… One that will cost American lives.

Anything that pours gasoline onto this fire, will reap great amounts of money for people who sell weapons for a living… The absolutely very last thing those people want, is a cessation of hostilities. They will do anything possible to prevent that from happening… Not publicly of course, but surreptitiously .

So there is this tremendous pressure building, much of it emanating from the America Right and remnants of what once was called the Military Industrial Complex, that does not want this conflict to end…. And that pressure, is what makes this video popping up right now, kinda suspicious…

I’m no expert, but even as I looked at the difference of shadows between the bodies and the soldiers, I noticed the sun was at different angles.. (you can tell by tracing the shadow to the object and the angles should be identical). So I asked a 14 year old knowledgeable about video editing if such a thing was possible.. He responded by running the video through gaming software, and replaying the video with miniature anime characters holding umbrellas dancing on the dead bodies as the urine cascaded down… It was that easy…

So, looking with a clear eye, we have the motive. We have the means. And we have the evidence.

Of course, I could be over-speculating; it could be a real event, but I will hold my breath until the military investigation is complete. We have the Marines, we know by now who they are, we know if they are guilty or innocent. If guilty, we will condemn them and punish them just like we do a touchdown dance that goes too far… If it turns out they are innocent, and this is a circumstance of trying to poison the well, we can recognize the real enemy: those who sell weapons to both sides, and negate their influence on the diplomacy of that region…

It would be no different than two people at work, who upon finding they’ve been manipulated into hating each other, join forces and together, expel the perpetrator of all problems…

He wasn’t much to look at… In fact, a lot of people more in tune with the rush of life, kinda made fun of him.. A dotey old man. One whose humor, and politics had long been used up and become obsolete.

He took pictures, lots of them, of every occasion. So much that when any one else pulled out a camera, the group would groan, and his name would bounce around, with a couple of laughs…

His own spouse brushed him off. He was doofy, couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do, could not be counted on, and probably had to be taken care of like a teenager, which taxed her a little too much, since she was bringing in all the disposable income…

To kids he had a big heart, and big stories…. Especially about Korea.

Soon a precision guard of 6, will unload the casket from a hearse parked on an Arlington road way, pivot the flag draped casket 180 degrees and march to a grave site up the hill, set it down, and stand holding the flag during prayer. Three shots will be fired, taps will be played, a final salute, the flag folded and handed to the closest of kin….

No one really knew he was wounded in combat so many long years ago…

His nation never forgot…. Entitled by law, to a full burial with military honors, his worth to this nation, forgotten while alive by those quite close, his honor was restored in death. Quite a few of those standing around the ceremony, will never have such an elaborate funeral…

One has to love a country that takes such good care of those who fought. It is a nation we are all part of… and proud of.

One can never forget it’s obligations.

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

This blog is a must read before anyone writes that the students “deserved” it.. My right wing friends, you know who your are… So you don’t look too stupid later, read this before trying to write something witty…..

1. The protest at which UC Davis police officers used pepper spray and batons against unresisting demonstrators was an entirely nonviolent one.

2. The unauthorized tent encampment was dismantled before the pepper spraying began.

3. Students did not restrict the movement of police at any time during the demonstration.

4. Lt. Pike was not in fear for his safety when he sprayed the students. Chief Spicuzza told reporters on Thursday that her officers had been concerned for their safety when they began spraying. But again, multiple videos show this claim to be groundless.

The most widely distributed video of the incident (viewed, as I write this, by nearly 700,000 people on YouTube) begins just moments before Lt. Pike begain spraying, but another video, which starts a few minutes earlier, shows Pike chatting amiably with one activist, even patting him casually on the back.

(The pat on the back occurs just two minutes and nineteen seconds before Pike pepper sprayed the student he had just been chatting with and all of his friends.)

5. University of California Police are not authorized to use pepper spray except in circumstances in which it is necessary to prevent physical injury to themselves or others.

6. UC police are not authorized to use physical force except to control violent offenders or keep suspects from escaping.

7. The UC Davis Police made no effort to remove the student demonstrators from the walkway peacefully before using pepper spray against them.

8. Use of pepper spray and other physical force continued after the students’ minimal obstruction of the area around the police ended.

9. Even after police began using unprovoked and unlawful violence against the students, they remained peaceful.

10. The students’ commitment to nonviolence extended to their use of language.

Now, lets compare their composure with that of the Tea Party….

Teabagger Violence Mars Tax Day Rally With Sen. Marco Rubio

Tea Party Violence: Teabagger Tries To Kill Man With Obama Bumper Sticker

How Teabaggers Would Deal With America’s Tired, Their Poor, Their Huddled Masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

When The Whole Country is Going South, Look to the North, as In Northington
Photo Courtesy of Northington 08

It is hard to run a Congressional campaign… sometimes things go wrong…

But sometimes one does things right, and that in itself, is an achievement worth celebrating…

Jerry Northington has run a good campaign from his own bootstraps… Not only is it good, but running without the “backing” of the state’s primary neutral Democratic party, he has emerged as one who has the potential to ruin Republican Mike Castle’s dream of his last election…

And that, is what this years Delaware election is all about…

I don’t need to preach to the choir about how Mike Castle has voted the Republican line… I don’t need to preach to the choir about how Mike Castle has voted for the war of oil; I don’t need to preach to the choir about how having a Republican in the extreme minority of the House (it will be entirely Democratic) will affect our slice of federal money; I don’t need to preach to the choir about how having a Congressional Republican from Delaware, puts growth in this state on ice. No…. you all know that already.

You also know that the challenges we will face in the next four years, here at home, 200 miles away in Washington, and across the world, will require a new path to be taken. They will require new ideas to inspire. They will require smart people for a change…. smart enough to work out the details….

And what impressed me about Jerry… was his intelligence…

(Now don’t get all hot and bothered if you support another candidate…I’m refusing to make comparisons…You can discuss it among yourselves if you wish…)

Intelligence… that IS a relative term…..Let me explain….I (cough, cough) have been called on occasion, by misguided people, “intelligent” at times for some of the posts I have written here…. But… I would not expect Dave or Hube to EVER utter such a compliment (except perhaps at my funeral) …. for based on what they represent….(making the assumption they are intelligent too)… my ideas appear bunk… 🙂 But, without them, the blogosphere would fall like a thud, cracking our asses wide open like a seesaw that someone has jumped off too quickly. The world needs some type of balance. We need those guys for constructive dialog, just as they need us….

So real intelligence is the understanding that even though we put the best argument for OUR side up for debate, we NEED another side to debate against, in order to get what we need done…..

I know… it is a big concept to grasp….(come back to it later, will you?) The big guys get it…. I think Clinton got it mid term… I actually heard Newt a year ago in New Hampshire, and I think he got it too. Despite our distaste now for Carper, I know he gets it… and the reason Castle has won so big so many times, is that he gets it…

So let me tell you about Jerry….

First if you haven’t, you should check out the Congressional Primary Debate here.… You should, really… For we are talking about our strategy to navigate this state over the next ten years….

Usually since the beginning of this nation, an outgoing administration has set in place, plans that self perpetuate over several years before they become obsolete.. This administration, however, has been so preoccupied with day to day dilemmas, that they are leaving us with no future plan and an empty treasury starting January 20th……

We need to choose someone smart.

Why? For what happens in Washington, for those of you that do not know, is that a lobbyist shows up at your door with a pre-written bill, he wants you to sponsor it, you horse trade, and then you set your staff on bringing it to the floor… The bills are never read by Congressmen, maybe only by two staffers, and the rest is all hype. To really change Washington, we need smart people to say, “wait a second, why are you billing us for this…?” Dumb people, oh dear, will just rubber stamp…..

I am afraid to say that Mike Castle has become a rubber stamper,…. In his defense, if I had been there as long as he, as I got old I would probably evolve into the same… In the twilight years it just gets so hard to read reams of paper; the cocktail circuit is much more intriguing and fascinating…..

There comes a time, for an old general to retire…. His past victories though glorious, are meaningless if he leads us into one more battle that loses it all……..History is full of such generals who have stayed on a little bit too long…. The best way to preserve ones legacy, I think, is to walk away from it while it is still intact….

Jerry is tall enough to fill Mike Castle’s shoes… To be honest, he is the first Democratic candidate since Mike and Tom flipped, to do so…
In listening to Jerry, one gets the sense that we will do ok if he represents us… He is not harsh like the last candidate…. He is open and understands that he has been led down a miraculous path, one he could ever imagined would continue as far as it did…..

The only reason he is not yet considered a strong contender, is because so few people have gotten to know him… My sources and calculations show him winning on Tuesday… Soon more will learn how good a candidate he really is… We know he’s tough… His gentle toughness has got him this far… But what impressed me most, was that he is solidly balanced….He may not be the raving Liberal that some progressives want….

Unlike most previous candidates for that office, I sense he understands the need, that if America is to get better…. WE ALL HAVE TO GET BETTER AT THE SAME TIME… Conservatives too.

It’s time we had a smart person in Congress. And Jerry can, I believe, push a moderate form of Health Care that will cover all Americans, without busting the budget…. His focus will be on prevention… If a pill taken early costs $3 dollars and a surgery costs $30,000, preventive heath care makes sense…

My favorite line, and the one I think that pushed me to understand that this man has not only the smarts to represent Delaware, but the charm, confidence, and intelligence to make things happen ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, was this one:

“Ladies, and gentlemen, I’m a veterinarian… My medical experience…is that;… taking care of sick animals… We have known in veterinarian science, that the cheapest, most cost-effective way to treat a large population of animals…. is through preventative health care… We have known that for 100 years….. Now if we have known that, and we can accomplish it for animals….why in hell’s name,… can’t we come to an agreement, to do it for Human beings?”

Yeah, I think,……… he’s the one.

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the continuous guns fell silent…… After years of incoming artillery’s deep, resonant pounding,…..the quiet began. The rare pop of small arms fire,….. faded away. Cautiously a brave soul or two crawled out and stood on top of the trenches. Turning to the other side, they saw the enemy of just a few minutes before, mirroring their own actions…..It was truly over.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the US fared well. Germany, France, Great Britain lost an entire generation of their young men…..

Some dreamed that surely, after such a waste, there never could, or would be such a war again……

It was only a dream…..as history would soon prove……

On this day, there are 22 verified veterans left….worldwide. Four of these are Americans. Soon the last living memories of this war….. will fade away……….

My brush with living memories happened when I was in High School. What the German war machine failed to do………an insignificant clot accomplished. Those who visited, told stories of the dark, turbulent wrestling within the soul……They whispered of an alert mind, albeit one locked in the year 1917 from which it would ultimately and peacefully escape…. They spoke in hushed tones of an old man, possessing enormous strength, incapable of being subdued by even the hospital’s largest orderlies……They told of the soldier’s enterprising son, who climbing back into those years to be with him, and navigating the treacherous barbed wire memories, peacefully calmed him down, until the old soldier finally accepted that his war was over, and quietly signed his own armistice with God………..

We learned he had suffered from shell shock as they called it then, spending the post-war years in a sanitarium somewhere in occupied Germany, of the bland letters to his wife and unseen child back home, letters whose lack of substance during this vapid time, played rabidly on her fears of another women…..

We heard stories of involuntary reactions, occurring some twenty years later…of a face, framed by white hair, turned scarlet in the middle of a social gathering, when someone absently said, “Oh that was during the war.”

And then there were the personal effects, a letter rapidly written in German by a dying officer, with our hero’s first name mentioned as being the one entrusted to make sure the letter got back to his wife, a letter that said the war would soon be over for him, that the only important thing he hung onto as he crossed over to the the other side, were the times he and she had shared together……..As kids we used to march around in a dough boy’s hat, and a genuine spiked Prussian helmet. (the originals were all black, by the way, no silver.)

And then the youngest son, who came along after our soldier had mellowed somewhat, told of stumbling with his dad, across a model of one battlefield, I think it was Belleau Wood, and how that opened up the memories which, pent up for years, calmly flowed out unrepressed, with no emotional consequences.

Through this, we heard the story of a young officer defying a direct order to attack, solely because the objective was unattainable and trying to attempt it, would wipe out every one of his men….Who opting, instead of facing a firing squad, to have himself crawl into no mans land……accompanied only by his sergeant who had stood steadfast with him during this ordeal only to get ripped apart minutes later, had to lie there for two days protected under the warm, safe body which occasionally absorbed a well placed bullet, kept safe by only the tiniest rise of land preventing a direct shot…..

The story of showing up in France, and leading the AEF’s first attack, upon a fortified hill surrounded by the Meuse, and succeeding…..

Those memories didn’t die….they passed and took seed in another generation. Today they lie embedded in one more, a generation who once again questions the “why” of war.

Like his grandfather before him, this person too was brought up under a religion that seem to question war and tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Like his grandfather before him, this person too believes that sometimes there is no greater duty, than to give one’s life for one’s country……..How are these two, supposedly opposite points of view, ever to be reconciled?

We know that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords. During the final days, when he asks the disciples if they have a sword, and Peter shows two, he says that is enough…..But later that night when Peter uses his sword to protect Jesus and cuts off a servant’s ear, Jesus tells him sternly. “Put that away. We will have no more of that…”

Fascinating. This duality starts from the beginning of the Christian religion itself.

Throughout history, the worst wars fought have been religious ones. The longest animosities, the ones considered too hard to bury, are those originally pricked by religion….

When we are told to turn the other cheek, perhaps we are to do that on a personal level…. By doing so, hoping that we show others, just how deeply we believe these principals . Perhaps this line of thought recognizes that we are each small instruments of change; but a change of heart in multitudes of men, can implement massive changes…..Therefore doing a self deprecating act, such as dying for another, or carrying an enemy soldier’s bag an extra mile, can have a much greater impact overall, than another killing and the loss of one dead soldier…..

But as a nation of free people we have another responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure that justice, (or that which is right),… prevails over evil, (or that which is wrong)…. As some of you may note, there is a wide play of interpretation in just exactly what is right, and what is wrong…..

But for a strong nation to appease a despot like Stalin, Hitler, or those tyrants in Burma, does exactly the opposite of performing justice. Instead it shows others, despite our words, that we implicitly support these evil regimes, and in doing so, we fail to send hope and inspiration to those who fight, to right the wrongs caused by their misguided leaders….

War enacted by a political state is sometimes a necessity, the last remaining line of defense against the selfish designs of a demented few. Less pain and suffering worldwide, can be bandaged by enacting war, than by allowing open wounds to fester, rot, and spread their evil infection elsewhere.

Therefore as a nation, the United States must occasionally gamble all of it’s resources in the ultimate test…. One must on occasion risk all, to determine whether all was worthy to be risked……

Any nation is only as good as its foot soldiers,…. its grunts. Those choice veterans I know, with whom I’ve hugged, laughed, and cried, …… continue to reinforce the notion I once had as a child: that based on the quality of people who put their lives on the line for this nation, we are truly the best nation to have ever lived upon this planet……..