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Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

So, You Think You’re A Bad-A$$?

You may very well be a bad-ass, but you’ll never be D-Day, landing on Omaha Beach in 1944 bad-ass. Today is the 72nd anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy. Mostly comprised of U.S., Canadian, and British troops, the allies gained a foothold on five sectors of the Normandy coast: Omaha, Gold, Sword, Juno, and Utah. It was the largest amphibious assault in history. The taking of Omaha beach was by far the most costly and brutal, with 2000 killed and 1000 wounded. The spoils of such a massive undertaking was a three month, hedgerow to hedgerow battle royal with some of Germany’s best troops throughout Northern France.

 

 

No matter how much I read about the subject, nor no matter how many movies and documentaries I watch, can I fathom how much courage it took to storm those beaches, let alone be a wartime soldier. Not just WWII: Any war. It takes a special kind of person to rush head first into an untenable and unpredictable situation with no regard for their safety, and no guarantee they’ll come out in one piece. You will always hear me question war and military actions. However, you will never hear me denigrate a soldier. They deserve respect, and they certainly have mine, both past and present.

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More Sordid Tales From Zinn City: Emma Goldman and Mark Twain Speak Out on American Imperialism.

English: Photographic portrait of Emma Goldman...

Image via Wikipedia

Feminist and Anarchist Emma Goldman gives her take on the Spanish-American war, many years afterward:

“How our hearts burned with indignation against the atrocious Spaniards!…. But when the smoke was over, the dead buried, and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent- that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree-it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American war was the price of sugar…. that the lives,blood,and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of the American capitalists.”

And this from Mark Twain, circa 1900:

“I bring you the stately matron named Christendom, returning bedraggled,besmirched,and dishonored from pirate raids in Kiao-Chou, Manchuria, South Africa, and the Phillipines, with her soul full of meanness, her pocket full of boodle, and her mouth full of pious hypocrisies.”

With the exception of WWII (and even that war was a golden opportunity to extend our sphere of corporate interest) every single war, “police action”, and military intervention has been about making corporations wealthier while our soldiers kill or be killed under the pathetic guise of patriotism. Only the names and locations of our “enemies” change; the motive remains the same.

Tin foil props to Howard Zinn, and “A People’s History of The United States.”

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Hamburger Helper: From The Conservative Lie

An Iraqi unit prepares to board a US Blackhawk...

Image via Wikipedia

I read this post a few days ago on The Conservative Lie , and meant to comment on it. However, the post was so moving that, believe it or not, I couldn’t find the words. Now I can. If you haven’t checked out The Conservative Lie yet, you should. It’s a wonderful blog. The main man, Dave Jeffries is a former 17 year military man, who served in Iraq.  He is liberal, like myself, and contributes in a way that educates while expressing his view points.

This particular post,Hamburger Helper, gives us a glimpse of how the violence and graphic images of war can affect a person deeply on an emotional level. The post also erases a common generality in much of the public’s eye that soldiers are emotionless killing machines who willingly follow orders, no matter how brutal those orders are. Nothing could be further from the truth. War is deeply personal to our military personal and often leaves them emotionally scarred for life. I remember in my younger days in the produce business a salesman who served our country in the Pacific Theater in WWII. He fought at Okinawa, one of the bloodiest of battles fought in the Pacific. Now matter how much I begged, he would not talk about his experiences.

Dave’s post Hamburger Helper touches on his experience in Iraq; He talks about a file named Hamburger Helper, which contained graphic pictures of an attempted suicide bomber. Dave describes his feelings as they occurred, the post affected me enough to almost bring me to tears.

Thank you Dave for giving the rest of us a glimpse into your troubled past. In addition thank you for your service to our country: You are a good man and a great blogger. Furthermore, you are a true patriot and a modern day American hero.