A Response to Ann Jones’s New Book, “They Were Soldiers”


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What can I say after reading this article by Ann Jones on the horrific costs of war to our young troops? I do not belong in this century anymore. I do not recognize the time warp that has put me elsewhere. The country I grew up in [the USA of the 1920s and 1930s] was a different country. We were a peaceful lot. We saw the picture books of the mutilated dead from World War I and said war is bad, any war. We learned in school that our American history said to stay out of foreign entanglements. In 1937 we saw Europe start to head into war with the rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany. It took a lot of hard-headedness for Roosevelt to see that if England fell we might be next. We did not want to get involved. The fascists in our country fought him because they saw no threat from Europe. They liked what Germany and Italy were up to. We should be bystanders.

Then Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941 by a powerful sea fleet supporting an aggressive air wing soon to be joined by the European fascists. I joined the military, just an eighteen year old child, in 1943. I considered myself a pacifist but there was no choice. In the three years I was in I never met anyone who wanted to be there.

Now I live in a country who uses the argument that Roosevelt used to “get involved” to convince our citizens that the “war on terror” is the same. It isn’t in any way, shape, or form! These “terrorists” have no Atlantic or Pacific fleets, no submarines. No fighters or long range bombers. No aircraft carriers or Stukas. They are a bit crazy by our standards and ready to blow themselves up in order to kill and frighten us. They have succeeded because our political leaders saw the opportunity to destroy our own freedoms and enrich their corporate sponsors by engaging in perpetual wars for resources and markets using the excuse that “we should learn” from Pearl Harbor. What we should have learned from Pearl Harbor is what Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo learned, a war for resources and markets is the road to perdition.

Before I went into the army in 1943 I read the book by Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun, about a young World War I soldier who was wounded and lost all of his senses except his mind. The book is about the madness in his mind, being alive but dead to the world of feeling. The horror! It scared the hell out of me. In Jones’s article I see that same horror in the insane military action we are perpetuating. It strikes my heart because those who have brought this calamity upon these young men know that the whole thing is senseless and is driven by greed and the self-interest of the few.

5 thoughts on “A Response to Ann Jones’s New Book, “They Were Soldiers”

  1. Try and project your experiences and feelings to today’s gun culture. Citizens have no submarines, Apaches attack helicopters, no drones, no WMD’s. They DO fear the government and propaganda handed out in daily dosses. The Nazi master (Goering) taught the current cronies well. Tell the lie over and over until its believed. Gun folks might not be as erudite as the liberal intellectual establishment crowd, but can wrap their growing insecurities around some cold hard steel that can save your backsides in gorilla fashion when enough is enough. Consider them the first line of defense against total subjugation and tyrannies (martial law). They do see through the BS and realize the manipulation.

    The tragedies we witness daily due to firearm violence (which has all the indications of a megaphone escalation) is horrific enough, but as the cliché proclaims: ” small price to pay” for those who gave up freedoms for temporary relief–good old Bennie Franklin. Probing and poking by TSA turns out to be poetic justice as WE ALL FEEL SAFER now, don’t we? Never let a good crises go to waste; lets have a Patriot Act or out of control NSA. A small price to pay are traffic deaths on an annual basis as compared to car confiscation and the shutting down of highways.

    Yes, misguided tea party folks manipulated by Ted Cruzes and a document called a law that even “Nancy” said you’ll have to read it to find out what’s in it. So it got stuffed with lobbyist crap as intended. Bright people at work. Dumb people with their crappy small arms (not even able to be full automatic as their military and police pit bulls and thugs minders oversee as George Orwell aptly predicted). By the by-these military incursions are necessary to train the civilian swatters. JOIN HANDS WITH THE HAVENOTS and feel justified and at peace!

  2. Goodol Bill, you say “Gunfolks are not erudite” and thus “liberal intellectuals “ are. Bill. both “gun folks” and “ liberals” are citizens of this country we all live in. As citizens we are all entitled to attain what ever goals we seek. Everybody doesn’t live the same kind of life..
    Unfortunately in the last twenty years we have seen that our politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have empowered through tax and regulatory policies a very small group of people, we will call the 1%, who are composed of both ‘gun lovers’, and ‘intellectuals’ (certainly not liberal) with something like close to 50% of the wealth of this country. This has given this small group unprecedented power over the 99% of gun folks, liberal intellectuals ,and the rest of our citizenry who just want to live a peaceful and productive life.
    . This 1% has shipped our jobs to China and all over the world. They have started wars and military action all over the world. They approve of using long distance machines to kill innocent, women and children in backward countries all over the world. They have systematically defunded our public education. They have thrown our taxpayer money at the biggest banks to ensure that they continue to be “too big to fail”. They have built a spying network that has invaded the life of every innocent citizen in this country and yet I see no ‘gun folks” or “liberal intellectuals’ rising up in force to bring this destruction of our democracy and economy to an end.
    Both the “ gun folks’ and the “liberal intellectuals” have failed to take to the streets to oppose this. It seems to me that both the “gun folks” you speak of and the “liberal intellectuals” have a hell of a lot of common complaints about where or country is at now. Bill, give a thought to that.

  3. Bravo! Bravo! Well stated. The juices are flowing. Get mad as hell and don’t take it anymore. Getting this response makes me feel good that I championed the gun culture. We need a spark to start the ball rolling and Ed Snodarofsky soon to be Snonagottfried pulled the trigger and all we got was an Elmer Fudd pop! Keep thinking of a catalyst that would just makes people stop and say: “enough is enough” and realize this folly and stand aghast proclaiming “Look what you’ve done.” Go tell it on the mountain; prance into the prairie to proclaim. I’m not satisfied with explanations that it will topple under its own weight. Provide a solution and stop with the lamenting or we all will be Johnny in vain.

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