History Made and History Being Made. A Veteran's View.


I go through the New York Times and the Washington Post every morning to look for items that veterans can ponder that day.  Uncharacteristic for me is a sort of traditional, "patriotic" glow that every now and then comes over me and I have to share this story from the Times today.  It concerns a Jewish American soldier who acted as Cantor at the first Jewish service in Germany since the rise of Hitler’s pogroms as he was waiting to throw himself into battle at Aachen Germany on OCtober 29th, 1944.  American GIs who were Jewish held the service.  The story will make you proud.  The GI is still alive.

I distrust the American view of "patriotism".  It is too close to jingoism, bellicosity and a simple desire for revenge.  We can be quite brutal in our vision of what it means to be patriotic.  Any veteran reading this site who has ever been in action anywhere knows how brutal and unforgiving that can be.  Patriots make me nervous most of the time. While they are singing "America the Beautiful" I am often hearing "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles". But this article is worth your time, it will warm you up.

Now, onto other things to ponder today.  Veterans should always ponder their nation’s business every day.  They have earned the right to lead more than any other citizen, period.  And they must lead.  That is their sacred duty.


Another story in the Times concerns President Obama’s reversal of a Bush policy to build and maintain a missile system in Eastern Europe to defend Poland, the Czech Republic and other Eastern European nations against Iranian missiles, should that need arise.  The story is here and oddly enough, Obama claims he needs to do this because the Bush plan did not provide adequate protection and he claims that his plan does this much better.  European allies seem angry and feel betrayed.  This plan is better?

Hmmm!  I am not sure how I feel about that.  It sounds hokey to me.  I am not sure that I believe it.  Sorry, I am just not that trusting. 

To be frank fellow veterans, it sounds a little whacky to me.  This story has legs, watch it carefully.  I bet you dollars to donuts that there is much more going on here.  I have to tell you I am a bit jaded when it comes to spending tax dollars overseas…veterans here need that money too badly.  And this story is…well…lets just say it sounds a little shakey to be completely believable.  Watch the money.  After all, it is your money.

The next story in today’s Times that I place before you was written by two Times writers and it concerns the politics behind the Star Wars type missile shields and how politics have changed since the Reagan era.  Good background stuff. 

But once again my concern is money going overseas or even staying here and not being spent on us, the American veteran.  I know…I know…I always sing the same song.  It is the only one I know.  It is the only one I want to know.

American veterans have needed that money long before Reagan got involved in Star War fantasies and it continues today.  How much of that money could be used to serve disabled veterans?  Hundreds of billions of dollars?  What did we gain by spending it on sci-fi presidential fantasies over the last forty years?  Why are they still spending that money on this stuff?

By the way, you say you have to wait another six months to get in to see the doctor at the V.A. Hospital?  If you had access to this money for veterans’ care, you would be seeing him tomorrow.

Next up in the Times is a story about Italy’s government making overtures to bring its soldier’s home from Afghanistan.  Many were blown up in Kabual a few days ago.  The story is here.  Europe is getting nervous because the Taliban are targeting their troops in a big way now. 

NATO nations appear to be growing in their disenchantment with Afghanistan duty. Sound familiar?  It is time for the President to cut bait.  We need those Service people and those resources and that money here at home.  Veterans could use it as well as the nation’s infrastructure.  We need that money to rebuild the fifty year old infrastructure that is presently falling down throughout the nation.  That is hard to do when gobs of available tax money are being used on a war with no mission.

Next up is a story about the political fallout that the U.S. must deal with because there will almost certainly be a runoff election in Afghanistan. The story is here. Hamid Kharzai, our man in Kabul, without doubt stole the recent election.  The European Union observors cried foul and a runoff will almost certainly occur…next Spring…that leaves Afghanistan without a credible leader for many months.

Could this situation get any worse for us or the Afghani people?  Who put this Afghan mission together?  Who came up with the tactics, the strategy, the political supports for this mission?  It looks like this was put together by Ensign Pulver (of Mr. Robert’s fame) Captain Parmeter (of F Troop days) and Captain Binghamton (McHale’s Navy C.O.) with help from The Three Stooges playing leading roles as State Department wonks. 

This thing is and has been a total disaster.  Besides being missionless and completely unclear in its overall strategy it is downright embarrassing!  Our man in Kabul has stolen an election? We stood there and watched him do it?  Let me get this straight because I want to understand it.  We have spent all this money and lost and taken all these lives so we can turn Afghanistan into Chicago?  Are you kidding me?  Bring those troops home now Mr. President.  This is humiliating.

Another story in the Times concerns something that we have nothing to do with.  Nothing.  But trust me, we are going to get blamed for it.  In a story that is incisive in its look into the modern Arab mind and the dangers it presents for us is a tale about the needs and desires of Arab developers in Bahrain to dig up ancient graves to put in housing and commercial real estate.  The story is here.

Americans are going to be blamed for this throughout the Arab world.  Trust me.  Traditionalists are going to say that the need to be "modern, American, Western, etc." is robbing them of their ancient heritage to the point of grave desecration.  Some religious group will blame us and the rest of the West and before you know it we will have yet another jihad called against us.  It is just the way that reactions to modernity play out in that part of the world it seems.

Somebody somewhere in our government will suggest that will need to bolster our naval bases and troop installations in Bahrain.  The Pentagon will secretly do just that.  Months or years from now the bases will be attacked one way or another.  Americans will die there. We will retaliate and before you know it we will be involved in yet another one of these Biblical wars that seem to have no end.

And it will all start because Arab developers in Bahrain dug up graves that were thousands of years old to build a golf course, a shopping mall and a Ruby Tuesdays.

My God I am getting tired of this.

In today’s Washington Post there is an article that outlines the Secretary General of NATO’s plan to link European NATO missile systems with that of the former Soviets, the Russians in particular.  Now there is an interesting twist on an insane idea. The story is here

Now, if this goes wrong, we will have dead Americans in less than a generation lying all over the steppes of Russia as we yet again are called in to Western Europe to defend them from themselves.  Within a hundred years we are going to have more U.S. Armed Forces cemetaries in Europe than in the Continental U.S.  I truly get tired of reading about U.S. Service men and women paying the price for Europe’s failed attempts at forced "fraternity, equality and liberty".

If this thing blows up in their faces, let them deal with it.  There has been too many American dead lying over there in the past 100 years for my liking.

And in the last article that I will reference, a Canadian trooper and an American soldier were killed in separate bomb blasts in Afghanistan yesterday.  The article is here.  How many more Mr. President before we pull out?


CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)


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