How Many McVeighs Will This War Create?

Laurence Vance, April 10, 2008

The crimes of war don’t stop on the battlefield. Here is an account of how fighting in the first Iraq war changed Timothy McVeigh:

McVeigh was assigned as a Bradley gunner, and his Army buddies report that he was “just thrilled” when he blew up his first Iraqi vehicle. McVeigh’s friend Kerry Kling reports, “He said when they were invading Iraq he saw an Iraqi soldier coming out of a bunker and that when the first round hit his head, it exploded. He was proud of that one shot. It was over eleven hundred meters, and shooting a guy in the head from that distance is impressive.” McVeigh’s mother reported that he was “totally changed” by his experience in the war, and that when he came home, “It was like he traded one Army for another.” Or, it might be added, it was like he failed to respect the carefully nurtured differentiation between “heroic” and “terrorist” violence (Lee Griffith, The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God, Eerdmans, 2002, pp. 150-151).

How Many McVeighs Will This Iraq War Create?




109 Responses to “How Many McVeighs Will This War Create?”

  1. Keep this in mind: of three prisoners executed by the Federal prison system, two (Tim McVeigh and Louis Jones, Jr.) were decorated veterans of Gulf War I, which lasted 100 hours. Exponentially, a war lasting more than five years with thousands more deaths of military personnel and Iraqi civilians will yield untold monsters in the years to come. It’ll be another genocide created by George Bush.

  2. Gives “blowback” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

  3. Gulf War 1 was short and popular. this one is long and very unpopular. We have many more wounded and many soldiers have become killers.The military can’t fill it’s ranks and is recruiting from jails and prisons.Heaven help Iraq and heaven help us from these damaged people.

  4. I can tell you one thing for sure. No one comes back from war unchanged. I came back changed in so many ways it’s hard to even explain. I left optimistic and patriotic and came back cynical and pissed off at my government and the people who support war. However, I also came back with a greater apreciation for what I had. My family became my priority in a way that it hadn’t been before I left. I also prayed for the first time in years and learned to find comfort in God. The saying that their are no athiests in foxholes may not be completly true but it was the case for me. I also learned that materialism was one of the things killing America. I met more truly happy people in places where there was “poverty” than I had in years. War is the ultimate failure of humanity, but it does not have to destroy all the people it touches. Getting help for our Vets should be a priority. Much of the destruction that these Vets could cause can be avoided with counseling and support. Having said this their will also be the true devients that seem to get off on the war and they will be a danger that we should be wary of.

  5. I’m much more afraid that this war will create another John McCain.

    One of my brothers joined the Marines back in 1979 and got discharged in 1983. He was never in combat or anything. But the experience totally messed him up. I was eight years old when he left. I miss what my brother used to be.

  6. In what way(s) did it alter him?

  7. More Tim McVeigh’s is scary. But I tell you what is scarier, America will be flooded with Iraqis after the house of cards tumbles. The initial refugees may be grateful to America for asylum, but their children will grow to hate us. We are going to have our own home-grown jihadi networks and we can thank GW Bush and his neocons for it.

    It’s going to be so bad that Tom Tancredo will long for the days when America’s internal enemy was the Mexican day-laborer.

  8. That could happen no doubt. But we could also blame the coming war with Iran on American Muslims and stick them in internment camps. You know, the ones that Haliburton has already been payed millions to build. I hate to say it but I think it’s a very real possibility. All it would take is one terrorist attack in the US by an Iranian American and off we go. Martial law, internment camps, endless wars, some with nukes, hell its a neo-con wet dream. It would also be a great way to put the blame for our up and coming depression on someone else. It wouldn’t be the Democrats fault for their endless spending or the Republicans fault for the wars, or even the Fed for their ignorant policies, we could just blame it on the Arabs and ask the people to sacrifice for WWIII.

  9. The Ministry of Internal Relations
    Chancellor Sieg Sauron
    101 Orwell Way
    Washington, D.C. 20666

    To Whom It May Concern:

    It has come to our attention that certain renegades are entertaining doubleplusungood thoughts about our world war with terrorist enemies who despise us for our freedom, prosperity, and nifty uniforms. To spell these thoughts out publicly is a crime against our unjustly aggrieved state and the morale of the workers and valiant soldiers who make your lives worth living. To even think this way is to lend comfort and aid to the enemy. The Right Thinking Patriot Education camp in Cuba has been recently expanded and has many vacancies begging to be filled with delusional citizens such as you.

    Remember what you have been taught. Freedom is not free! Perpetual war is perpetual peace! Just say “So?”! We will be watching you, everywhere and all the time.

    Yours in truth and libery,

    Chancellor Sauron

  10. I wouldnt worry too much. When they come home their government will get them help or make them cops. Thats my concern. Soldiers trained to treat civilians as threats patrolling the streets with an arsenal of weapons and disregard for the rights of the innocent. Dissent and protest are already rare. Wait until these enemy’s of the state meet each other. Or the next time you try to argue a ticket.

  11. America was kept in check by strong societal forces that promoted conventional white values for years. And then came the 1960s with a lot of personal liberties – freedom from segregation, freedom for gays, and freedom for independent lifestyles. America got a whiff of what real personal liberty is in the 1960s and got spooked and reactionary forces were formed. So we got Nixon; we started the War on Drugs, destroyed black independence in its cradle, and went on desperate searches for external enemies (North Viet-Nam, “the evil empire”, and now the Arabs) to pull us back to “one” America. The “one” America which is some Norman Rockwell vision of well scrubbed white children and reverend, patriotic white adults all going about on useful tasks. This retro dream is the reason-for-being of the Republican Party. John McCain is a poster boy for this reactionary movement.
    Losing in Iraq (which we most certainly will) will signal a real impotence in our military which is the foundation of patriotism for people like McCain. You can bet that the coming military defeat, coupled with economic depression, and revelation of how America’s “patriotism” was yanked around by cynical interests, is going to unleash even more desperate reaction by these people as long as they still control. Striker Force police, internal surveillance, even concentration camps are definitely on the horizon. “Our greatest enemy is unbridled personal freedom”.

  12. Thanks to Brad for a sane comment.

  13. the Militarization and Federalization of our local law enforcement coupled with the utter obliviousness of what is happening by the cow-like grazing populace is a potent formula for chaos and martial law.

    The militarization and federalization of our culture, government and law enforcement has many examples of history to compare and contrast to.

    Pick a European Country from the 20th Century….and what is/was the RESULT…

    losing our freedoms for security and empire…..what a bargain….

    The conditioned Skinnerbox-resident USAers bleat louder and longer for more bread and more circuses………..

    Just wait til the “temporary” martial law to keep the peace and maintian our way of life…

    to fight terror and WMDs and opponents of our government… and idsgruntled vets mad at the world with axes to grind…..

    and the Republicrats blaming each other….

  14. For every one potential McVeigh there will be 100,000 potential anti-war Vets. Looking at the Vets in only a negative manner will turn off many Vets from the anti-war movement. We should be trying to recruit Vets that have seen war. They are much more receptive to the message than most people think. Treating them all like potential murderers is not the way to get them into the anti-war movement. Many of them will come back with the same hate for war that I have. Attacking Vets will only forment this hatred towards the anti-war movement. So please people remember these are our Brothers and Sisters, Mothers and Fathers, Sons and Daughters. Kicking them while they are down will only make them mad at you. It will do nothing to convince them that they should join us in our fight against war.

    Peace!

  15. I wouldnt worry too much. When they come home their government will get them help or make them cops. Thats my concern. Soldiers trained to treat civilians as threats patrolling the streets with an arsenal of weapons and disregard for the rights of the innocent. Dissent and protest are already rare. Wait until these enemy’s of the state meet each other. Or the next time you try to argue a ticket.

    James, thank you so much for that comment. I feel exactly the same. Personally, I don’t think our soldiers are racist at all. whomever they are ordered to shoot or detain, they will shoot or detain. Iraqui or American, I don’t think it will matter to them.

    And there is an aspect which frightens me even more: These guys and gals are coming back from Iraq convinced they are heroes and we owe them something, anything, whatever they want. After all, they saved us from the greatest threat ever.

    I have been anti-War On Iraq from the beginning, but with all the stop-loss, I am changing my mind. Maybe we don’t want these folks back. While I feel terrible for the unfortunate people they come in contact with over there, at least they seem to be able to take care of themselves. We would be helpless before them. Maybe we could offer them our daughters in return for leaving us alone?

    “And if we’re feeling down,
    we wander into town.
    And if the population,
    should treat us with indignation,
    we’ll chop ‘em to bits!
    Because we like our Hamburger,
    Raw!”

    “Army Song” – Brecht/Weill

  16. I saw McCain on the View yesterday (don’t hate on me, the Shrews are my one guilty pleasure) I’ve pretty much tuned out the presidential race because no matter who wins they are going to do Israel’s bidding and attack Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan…

    I have to say though that McCain was SCARY. So scary that I called his office and refuted him point by point to his less-than-charming press assistant. Not that it helps — no one in Congress listens to we the people.

    I think that McCain is demented — the man is truly nuts. He claimed that he would continue Bush’s “small government” WTF – small government??? Tapping our phones, emails, IMs (and this post too, I’d guess) is small government???

    Being molested by the TSA thugs with no probably cause when all a “terrorist” needs to do is blow him or herself up in the security waiting line or at the Mall of America or sneak into one of our nuclear plants is “small government”???

    Endless war on behalf of the country Congress truly works for (one guess and that would be Israel) and a more than trillion dollar owed to China and other central Asian countries is “small government????”

  17. What an absolute load of BS. Most Vets don’t come back expecting anything but to be left the F alone. As for being willing to turn their weapons on us thats a joke too. That is far more likely to come from some misguided cop who feels that he missed out on a great opportuninty to get to be a hero. The joes that actually see combat understand that there is no glory to be found in war. As I stated earlier slamming Vets and assuming the worst will only turn them off from the anti-war movement. I would like to ask you a couple of questions. How many Vets do you know? How much combat time have you spent? If the answer is what I suspect your probably not much of an expert. Stop getting your info from movies such as Stop Loss and talk to a real Vet. One thing you might be surprized to learn is how few of them ever wish to pick up a weapon again. The thought of being near one truned my stomich for years. Taking a few examples and thinking this is representative of the whole is just plain ignorant.

  18. For every one potential McVeigh there will be 100,000 potential anti-war Vets.
    Brad

    Brad, that’s not what happened last time, with the War On Viet Nam. Can you really see vets, aside from the psychological pressure, dividing their time between anti-war activitites and trying to get their dis-ability benefits? “Well, Mr. Iraq Vet, it seems to me that if you are healthy enough to indulge in anti-war activities, you aren’t disabled enough to need a disability pension. Besides, do you really want to turn on your brothers-in-arms”?

    Everybody wants to find a pony in the War On Iraq. I am afraid that’s another pony, the vets-will-now-turn-against-the-war pony, which won’t be there.

  19. Brad, I live in an entirely military community. Look- if you won’t try and tell me those people aren’t better than anybody else, I won’t try and tell you they are worse, okay?

    Gee, and for a guy who’s anti-war, you sure put a lot of stock in “combat time”.

    Brad, if wars can make people peaceful, why shouldn’t we have them all the time? Then there would be peace, right?

  20. no matter who wins they are going to do Israel’s bidding and attack Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan…

    Yeah, I can just see the Republicans cheering Obama (or Hillary) on as he (or she) accomplishes what they couldn’t. Oh yeah, that’s gonna happen.

    If Obama, or maybe even Hillary, wins, the Repubs will immediately begin growing their hair out, carrying peace signs, and getting real concerned about detainees and collateral damage.
    Doesn’t anybody remember Clinton’s Balkan intervention?

    There is no pony in our Middle East Wars. Obama or Hillary won’t find the pony either. God help us, I hope they aren’t stupid enough to try.

  21. Sorry to split my post into two, I just wanted to add the rest of the nonsense McCain spewed on The View:

    McInsane said that we went into Iraq based on “the information we had at the time.” Sorry “pal” — the British papers (and C.N.N. IIRC) reported at the time that Collin Powell’s U.N. presentation was based on a ten-year-old plagerized student thesis from before Saddam destroyed all his WMDs.

    And, as I reminded McPain’s press assistant yesterday, I personally called his office in 2003 and told his foreign policy assistant, giving the assistant all the details of the plagerized thesis, down to the lines Powell had copied.

    In fact, a friend of mine and I called the office of EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF CONGRESS (including Hitlery’s) and gave their foreign policy assistants the details of the plagerized 10-year-old thesis that Powell presented as fact.

    McNuts went on to say on the View that now that we are in Iraq we have to stay there, because he claimed that we had to silence the voice (Osama Bin Forgotten’s — you know that wizard who brought down the Constitution/ Bill of Rights/ U.S. economy while hooked up to a dialysis machine in a cave in Afghanistan) because Bin Laden’s voice is motivating millions of Muslims to violence.

    Ummm, John-Boy — how about our killing of more than a million Iraqis, unknown amounts of Afghans, plus our support of Israel’s attack on Lebanon, and our complicity in keeping the Palestinians in the world’s largest concentration camp (but unlike the camps in WW II, this one, called Gaza, is routinely strafed by U.S. made and paid for helicopters and bombers) — all that had no effect on world opinion of the U.S. in your crazy world view, huh?

    What a nasty tool. This country is over. We’ve allowed a parasitic non-ally (Israel) to destroy every single thing that we cherished, while not holding culpable the wh*res in Congress, and looking to Obama, who is already under the thumb of The Lobby, to save us.

  22. Hey Brad, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t ask me “how much combat time I have” and I won’t ask you “how much time haven’t you spent being the Officer’s butt-boy?” or “how much time have you spent making your own decisions and accepting your own consequences, outside of a military organisation” or many other questions.
    I am not gonna take any shit from someone who’s biggest boast is that at they signed away their own moral agency, and their freedom to the military, and was easily taught to kill. Okay? You can take your “combat time” to hell, buddy.

  23. First I haven’t said they are better than anyone. But you are suggesting they are worse. As for putting a lot of stock in combat time I can tell you why. It’s my experience. So I understand it and speak from that experience. A ton of Viet-Nam vets didnt’t join the anti-war movement for the reasons I have stated. To do so would be to attack their fellow soldiers instead of the politicians that sent them. Why would any Vet want to join a movement that regards them and thier friends as Murderes? furthermore, what I’m saying is that Vets can be a powerfull force within the anti-war movement. So why attack them when you could use their help. Instead of claiming they are all lazy bumbs trying to get disability, potential murderers, thugs or whatnot, why don’t you suggest for them a positive role within the anti-war movement. Getting Vets to speack out against the war is important for a number of reasons. First the next generation of recruits is more likely to believe a Vet than anyone else. Second, haven’t you noticed that it always seems to take the government a while to start their next round of wars. I think it’s often that the first wars Vets have stopped talking about the horror of war and all the new propoganda pro war crap starts to get to our young. Having a Vet dispell the myths of war is necessary. It is important that you get out and protest the war. But realistically who is more believable someone who can denounce the evil of war first hand. Or someone who has only read about it or seen it on TV?

  24. It’s no wonder the anti-war movement has been as inafective as it is. Your obvious failure to look at anything other than your own point of view is part of the problem. Attacking someone because they have had differnt experiences from you is short sighted. Oh, and feel free to ask me any questions you want. I have stated before that I was brainwashed at a young age by our government propoganda, media, schools, etc. I overcame that brainwashing as many other Vets will too. As for what I have done with my life after the military it’s quit a bit. I have been married for 19 years. I have three children, two degrees, I voluteer in my community as well as for anti-war politicians. I have marched against the war and spoken publicly about the evils of war. I don’t know exactly what your problem is but it’s obvious that you have a personal grudge agaist Vets. Airing this grudge is of course your right, but it’s not helping to convince any Vets that being part of the anti-war movement would be to their benifit. It would just make them think, why the hell would I want to hang out with jerks like this?

  25. I forgot the biggest, most “scary” personal freedom of them all – sexual freedom for women. The Pill, bra burning and legal abortion came in the 1960s and generated a whole seperate reactionary army of its own (Phylis Schafly, et al).
    Anyway, this country is heading for a showdown between the forces for individual liberty and the reactionary forces. I am afraid that our professional military will be in the forefront of reactionary forces like those that took over Germany after the defeat of WWI, the punishing economic upheval and the “decadence” of the Wiemar Republic.

  26. For Vets who are interested in the anti-war movement but are put off by the Vets are murderers croud there are good orginizations that you could join. http://www.vaiw.org is the site for Veterans against the Iraq war. Their moto is “Support the Troops, Oppose the Policy ” Veterans for Peace can be found at http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

    What is Veterans For Peace?
    Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. There is an annual convention each year attended by our members, families and supporters from across the nation. Members receive periodic VFP publications.

    The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.
    Veterans For Peace is an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the UN.

  27. Had he and I but met
    By some old ancient inn,
    We should have set us down to wet
    Right many a nipperkin!

    But ranged as infantry,
    And staring face to face,
    I shot at him as he at me,
    And killed him in his place.

    I shot him dead because–
    Because he was my foe,
    Just so: my foe of course he was;
    That’s clear enough; although

    He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
    Off-hand like–just as I–
    Was out of work–had sold his traps–
    No other reason why.

    Yes; quaint and curious war is!
    You shoot a fellow down
    You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
    Or help to half a crown.

    Thomas Hardy

  28. How old are you, small Vietnamese boy?
    Six fingers. Six years.
    Why did you carry water to the wounded soldier, now dead?
    Your father.
    Your father was enemy of free world.
    You also now are enemy of free world.
    Who told you to carry water to your father?
    Your mother!
    Your mother is also enemy of free world.
    You go into ditch with your mother.
    American politician has said,
    “It is better to kill you as a boy in the elephant grass of Vietnam
    Than to have to kill you as a man in the rye grass in the USA.”
    You understand.
    It is easier to die
    Where you know the names of the birds, the trees, and the grass
    Than in a stranger country.
    You will be number 128 in the body count for today.
    High body count will make the Commander-in-Chief of free world much encouraged.
    Good-bye, small six-year-old Vietnamese boy, enemy of free world.

    Eugene McCarthy

  29. I agree with Brad Smith that the vets are natural allies and an invaluable anti-war resource. Alienating them would be a serious mistake. Who better knows the horrors of war than a vet? The following heartening video shows Iraq war vets seizing the National Archives Building and demanding that the war be stopped and that Bush and Cheney be tried for war crimes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxGX4QdURCo

    Unlike civilians, vets, having seen combat, will not shirk from physical confrontation with pompous authorities demanding our obedience to their police state. This should serve as a powerful inspiration to the antiwar movement. While the rest of us are whining about our criminal government from the safety of our computers, the war vets are taking risks doing something in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson must be smiling approvingly.

  30. When they behave inhumanly–interesting, as you absolutely rightly say–doesn’t mean that they act like an animal. For instance, they don’t destroy something in range, typically if they act inhumanly. What they do typically is certainly–behave like a machine or a disembodied intelligence. And one way to act inhumanly is to act on some kind of principle

    Bernard Williams

  31. Exactly! The ranks of “law enforcement” nationwide are already overflowing with massive numbers of psychologically damaged individuals, many of who are combat veterans, a growing number of these from the insanity in Mesopotamia. Those in charge of “law enforcement” in today’s Amerika apparently believe that PTSD is an essential quality for those wearing the badge. It is a trait that enables an itchy trigger finger and an eager willingness to annihilate those who would resist the creeping tyranny that these badged mercenaries reinforce. Only when these Frankenstein monsters turn on or otherwise embarrass their creators are they disciplined or otherwise “terminated.”

  32. MetaCynic thanks for the link, great stuff. I see it must have been a joint Veterans for Peace and Veterans against the Iraq war protest. I have been somewhat involved with Veterans for Peace sense the early 1990′s. They do a good job and seem to have a very large presence at lease out West where I was during the 90′s.

    Peace!

  33. An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.

    Mao Tse-Tung

  34. Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.

    Ernesto Guevara

  35. Oh, yes, by all means let’s demonize the GIs actually fighting the war, just like we did in Vietnam. Remember? “Veteran” became synonymous with “psycho baby killer.” Meanwhile, the real villains in this war are far away, brunching on pricey fowl and swapping tales about battles which for them are abstractions, board games. Bleeding? Dying? That’s for the voiceless, reality-based peasants. In their remote, rarified world, polite war draftsmen remain, expensive tailoring and all, cheerfully unsullied and chronically unsated.

    How many Iraq War veterans will turn into Timothy McVeigh? If we’re lucky, none. How many dog-catchers will become serial killers? How many day traders will shoot up their own offices before, thankfully, blowing their own heads off? War and modern life don’t inoculate killers with their demented psychosis, it incubates what’s already there. Yeah… McVeigh came back “changed.” Before, he was always such a quiet boy…

    Let’s step back and NOT blame this horror on those least likely to defend themselves. And hanging our bottom-rung warriors with suspicions of blood-drenched tomorrows does just that.

    That’s just too crummy a thing to do – even for well-educated, post-modern Americans.

  36. The fish cannot live on the land
    Nor the flower on the sand
    And the women of Souli
    Cannot live without freedom

    So, goodbye springs,
    Valleys, mountains and hills
    Goodbye springs
    And you, women of Souli

    The women of Souli
    Have not only learnt how to survive
    They also know how to die
    Not to tolerate slavery

    So, goodbye springs,
    Valleys, mountains and hills
    Goodbye springs
    And you, women of Souli

    The Dance of Zalongo (folksong)

  37. Let me say, as a veteran of the initial of invasion of Iraq myself, pointing out that many of the vets from the various wars come back psychologically damaged – including, in rare cases, to the point of sociopathy – should not be understood as portraying vets in a negative manner. If anything, it seems to me that the opposite is true: given what we know about what we have been through, we find it quite believable that others may become the future McVeighs, etc. Of course, that is simply more reason to oppose the war: it creates many more victims in the future, as the McVeighs of the world as well as their victims become victims of the first war. I believe that was the point of the initial post, and it is a good one.

  38. Then came a dreadful spectacle: the women threw their little children down from the rocks and then threw themselves down after them, and the men did likewise. In the midst of this scene Aeneas of Stymphalus, a captain, catching sight of a man, who was wearing a fine robe, running to cast himself down, seized hold of him in order to stop him; but the man dragged Aeneas along after him, and both went flying down the cliffs and were killed. In this stronghold only a very few human beings were captured, but they secured cattle and asses in large numbers and sheep.

    Xenophon (Anabasis tr. Brownson-Dillery)

  39. Scott your right of course that pointing out the damage that war does to Vets is a good point to make regarding stopping the war. However, I know this site well enough to know that many people here will use it as an excuse to bash the troops. They do make a good point, however its also a point that is easily miscontrued.

    Peace!

  40. When a stated “they make a good point” I was refering to the original article not the troop bashers.

  41. I am very well aware that the Army’s training methods and the results they give are very very different from what they were when I was facing the draft. Back in ’67 and ’68.

    Once again, don’t tell me that the experience of being in the Army leads to deep thought and pacifism. Don’t tell me that the people who join up are so much better than anybody else. They will go with what they perceive to be the winning team, and oh yeah, the people who pay their salary and their pension.

    There is no comparison between the experience of 20 years ago and today.

    The peace movement would be very foolish to depend on vets to fill their ranks. Sure, there will be some extraordinary people like Brad- but they are few and far between.

    And most people like to make good on their investments, especially if they have invested the possibility of serious injury or death.

  42. There have been many casualties of this war, and this raises on not generally discussed. Let’s remember that John McCain was also such a casualty of Vietnam. Except because of his family and connections, he was able to turn his pathology into a seat in the Senate (soon to be President?). McCain now claims he hates war, but does everything in his power to involve the US in more of them. Obama calls this man a “hero”, as did Mayor Bloomberg yesterday. With heroes like this, who needs villains. How can one say “there is no glory in war” when McCain – who never did anything approching heroic from my view — is considered by even his political opponents as an American hero. Our national desire for wartime glory has created a myth, a myth that may find himself in the oval office very soon.

    Of all the “blowback” discussed, this may become the most destructive of all.

  43. “As in a surreal movie, Romberg’s helmet rolled away from its owner and tumbled back down the slope, clanking against a few rocks before it finally came to a stop.

    I wanted to run to him, but I knew if I did, there’d be two of us dead in the dirt. Romberg, you’re a good man. I won’t forget you”.

    Senator Robert Dole

    Anyone notice the insufferable condescension and elitism in Senator Dole’s account of how he got shot, and how he makes himself into the perfect hero?

    One supposes if Sergeant Carafa had thought the same way–”Dole, you are brave but stupid–I won’t forget you”–there may have been a Senator Carafa rather than a Senator Dole.

  44. My word, to be remembered by Senator Robert Dole, especially when he was running for president, and before the Viagra commercials–my word, what a privilege, what a memorial!

    Immortality, and a drugged induced erection to boot.

  45. At least he had the balls (unaffected by drugs, as far as we know) to serve his country in a war against very REAL Nazis. And he bagged some lead for his trouble.

    Amid the smug assessments and jackass poetry, Eugene – do you have a point here?

  46. Aeneas of Stymphalus, as Xenophon indicates in a word or two, was after the fine robe.

    Very expensive outfit.

  47. Yeah: they didn’t take the machine gun either.

  48. Anyone interested in a detailed review of Monte Cassino?

  49. Merely by the way, I really hate to tell an asshat like Petraeus what he is in up to his eyeballs, but just a stray fact.

    You know them Karduchoi in Xenophon, well, er, hold on to your Ranger hat now–them’s well, er, the Kurds.

    Same time, same station.

  50. Sunni Tribesman to American reporter: “Well, yeah, we have 80,000 fighters.”

    That’s just one tribe.

    Let’s spell it again: M-E-S-O-P-O-T-A-M-I-A.

  51. Pashtun Tribesman to American reporter: “The mistake you Americans made was thinking the Pashtun can be bought. We can only be rented.” (fere).

  52. Incidentally, this is the same logic that was used to declare all Afghan Mujahedin (and even the non-Afghan ones)as ‘potential’ terrorist. Anyone who fought against the Soviets can ‘potentially’ fight against anyone else too. Thus the entire tribal belt of Pakistan and the whole of Southern Afghanistan is being treated as a war zone and considered to be a fair target of hellfire missiles.

  53. MAN. Oh, yes, they are. There are only two sorts of soldiers:
    old ones and young ones. I’ve served fourteen years: half of
    your fellows never smelt powder before. Why, how is it that
    you’ve just beaten us? Sheer ignorance of the art of war,
    nothing else. (Indignantly.) I never saw anything so
    unprofessional.

    RAINA (ironically). Oh, was it unprofessional to beat you?

    MAN. Well, come, is it professional to throw a regiment of
    cavalry on a battery of machine guns, with the dead certainty
    that if the guns go off not a horse or man will ever get within
    fifty yards of the fire? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw
    it.

    RAINA (eagerly turning to him, as all her enthusiasm and her
    dream of glory rush back on her). Did you see the great cavalry
    charge? Oh, tell me about it. Describe it to me.

    MAN. You never saw a cavalry charge, did you?

    RAINA. How could I?

    MAN. Ah, perhaps not–of course. Well, it’s a funny sight. It’s
    like slinging a handful of peas against a window pane: first one
    comes; then two or three close behind him; and then all the rest
    in a lump.

    RAINA (her eyes dilating as she raises her clasped hands
    ecstatically). Yes, first One!–the bravest of the brave!

    MAN (prosaically). Hm! you should see the poor devil pulling at
    his horse.

    RAINA. Why should he pull at his horse?

    MAN (impatient of so stupid a question). It’s running away with
    him, of course: do you suppose the fellow wants to get there
    before the others and be killed? Then they all come. You can
    tell the young ones by their wildness and their slashing. The
    old ones come bunched up under the number one guard: they know
    that they are mere projectiles, and that it’s no use trying to
    fight. The wounds are mostly broken knees, from the horses
    cannoning together.

    RAINA. Ugh! But I don’t believe the first man is a coward. I
    believe he is a hero!

    MAN (goodhumoredly). That’s what you’d have said if you’d seen
    the first man in the charge to-day.

    RAINA (breathless). Ah, I knew it! Tell me–tell me about him.

    MAN. He did it like an operatic tenor–a regular handsome
    fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting a
    war-cry and charging like Don Quixote at the windmills. We
    nearly burst with laughter at him; but when the sergeant ran up
    as white as a sheet, and told us they’d sent us the wrong
    cartridges, and that we couldn’t fire a shot for the next ten
    minutes, we laughed at the other side of our mouths. I never
    felt so sick in my life, though I’ve been in one or two very
    tight places. And I hadn’t even a revolver cartridge–nothing
    but chocolate. We’d no bayonets–nothing. Of course, they just
    cut us to bits. And there was Don Quixote flourishing like a
    drum major, thinking he’d done the cleverest thing ever known,
    whereas he ought to be courtmartialled for it. Of all the fools
    ever let loose on a field of battle, that man must be the very
    maddest. He and his regiment simply committed suicide–only the
    pistol missed fire, that’s all.

    George Bernard Shaw

  54. And the Americans without renter’s insurance, alas.

    Some of these tribesmen are direct lineal descendants of men who fought Alexander the Great, who was just passing through, and later intermarried with Macedonians, who manned a few outposts here and there.

    The British in Afghanistan had the hellfire missiles of their day too.

    Karzai ran a restaurant in Chicago. The American military and the moron elite are too stupid to listen to him either.

  55. Most of us that came back from the Nam just wanted to be left alone as I’ve heard earlier. But some did f-up over hard times, no work, woman left you, busted decusted not to be trusted,just like now. Bottom line. war, what is it good for?
    Just makes the rich man richer, ain’t got much to do with country or patriotism. Just money.
    WE WERE SUCKERS

  56. Or a fake terror act blamed on a Iranian

  57. McVeigh blew up a government building in revenge for a government act of terror. He had turned anti-government. He used his training. He did not differentiate between the brutal enforcement mechanism that launched and later finished the assault on the 60 year old church in Waco, Texas by the BATF and FBI from the thousands of innocent government workers in Oklahoma City.

    Posing a question of how many McVeighs are returning from the current wars will certainly keep a few government employees up late at night for years to come whom had not thought of your question before now.

  58. I think you’re right about that. My father was a USMC vet of WW2. He seldom even talked about his experiences except for a few stories about Parris Island.

    In his book Up Front, the cartoonist Bill Mauldin said that the best way to become a pacifist is to join the infantry.

  59. I’m a US Navy vet myself. I’m not a combat vet but there are things you can learn from someone who has seen the machine from the inside. For those who are open to it, reality gives you quite a brain wash.

    The experience actually does lead to deep thought. The deep thought is driven by the fact that the beliefs you were clinging to when you signed up have been pulled into the light, where they don’t look as pretty as they once did. Having to deep-six the stuff you believe in and start over is a profound experience (even though some vets you meet may not have the education to express it in multi-syllable words).

    Of course that doesn’t happen to everybody who joins the military. I’ve known lifers who bought the whole charade and will go to their graves believing it. Any experience that contradicts their blind rah-rah “patriotism” is simply ignored. But a lot of us do get our eyes opened.

  60. The crime rate rose in the US until approximately 1993-96 that is 2 generations out from the Vietnam war the ripple effect through children of divorced families, loss of mental stability of service members, children turning to delinquency, drugs,gangs all this violence is not included in the 3 trillion dollar war. Mark my words this is a Karma waiting to roost in this society and as Ward Churchill said “ITS CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST”!!!!!!!

  61. I suggest limiting responses to 2x or Listening to Pink Floyd’s Careful With That Axe Eugene

  62. I’ve not seen Bashing of troops and the comment is a lie and falsehood

  63. Pink Floyd? My man, Apostrophe, Varese, Green Day, Scriabin, Satie….who’s Pink Floyd?

  64. SWAT teams were a consequence of Vietnam as well.

    What’s next, Blackwater traffic cops?

  65. More generally as well, militarization of police and policification of the military.

  66. “A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. Seventy-six people, including 21 children and two pregnant women, along with Davidian leader Vernon Wayne Howell, better known as David Koresh, died in the fire. This has come to be known as the Waco Siege or the Waco Massacre.”

    “At one point, one of the marshals threw two rocks at the Weaver cabin to test whether the dogs would be alerted. The dogs indeed became alerted, and Weaver’s friend Kevin Harris, and Weaver’s 14 year old son, Samuel, emerged and followed the dogs to investigate, believing that the dog had noticed a game animal (with the cabin out of meat). The marshals initially retreated, but took up hidden defensive positions. Accounts differ at this point as to who opened fire first, but agree that when marshals shot, killing Weaver’s dog “Striker”, 14-year old Samuel Weaver became extremely agitated at which point a firefight arose, resulting in the deaths of fleeing 14-year old Samuel who was shot in the back,and US Marshal William Degan. The marshals fell back from the hillside and requested assistance from the FBI, at which point Weaver and Harris stayed in the house for 12 days.

    On day two, Lon Horiuchi, an FBI sniper, shot at Weaver and Harris, injuring them. Major controversy exists about the death of unarmed Vicki Weaver, who was shot and killed by Horiuchi as she held her nursing baby daughter in her arms.”

    “MOVE is an organization formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1972 by John Africa and Donald Glassey. MOVE was described by CNN as “a loose-knit, mostly black group whose members all adopted the surname Africa, advocated a ‘back-to-nature’ lifestyle and preached against technology.” The group came to international attention after an attempt in 1985 by the Philadelphia Police Department to enforce outstanding arrest warrants for four members resulted in the police dropping a bomb containing C-4 and Tovex from a helicopter onto MOVE’s residence. Eleven members died in the ensuing fire, including founder John Africa. Activist and convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal has been an active supporter of MOVE.”

  67. Pardon–all of the above from wikipedia s.v.

  68. Thanks to InchoateDetail above for speaking up to McCain, via a designated press assistant. The horror of IsraelUSA.

  69. Yes. Give us the full Monte.

  70. Surely more worrying than the possibility of further Tim McVeighs should be the motive that drove the man to become involved in the conspiracy of OKC itself.
    Does anyone on this thread really claim to know the truth – many years on.
    The worry that every American should lose sleep over is that they have a government that would cold bloodedly murder innocent and helpless women and children, burned alive as at WACO on a President’s orders. American citizens on American soil on the orders of an American administration by the American military. By Wesley Clark the ‘butcher’ of the Serbian people as well.
    A government who practices widespread torture, murder and is turning your country into a police state and to the odium of the entire planet. Destroying your currency, your jobs, society and your freedom. Slowly sucking away the American Constitution itself.
    They are the important issues.
    That Tim McVeigh felt he had to act and why he did so is still in the realms of murk.
    If we are concerned about a new generation of ‘deranged’ Tim McVeighs can we also speculate as to where and to what they could feel the need to target their violence.
    The politicians who lied and led America into the illegal and brutal attacks on both Yugoslavia and Iraq. McCain and Billary are up to their necks in both.
    Or more interestingly still those who shed the blood of 3000 on 9/11. Was WACO the forerunner of that. I personally think so. How many ‘vets’ may feel the same and like McVeigh think it is ‘pay back’ time.
    And who among us would shed many tears if they did?
    The complacency of the average American as your nation goes down the pan has many of us ‘foreigners’ lost for words.
    A few passionate ‘vets’ deranged or not, might be just the catalyst needed to wake up the American People as to the cesspit the United States is fast becoming as the world’s number one ‘rogue’ state. Fascist and Corporate at that.
    Elizabeth

  71. Bushies destroyed the last illusions of freedoms and liberties using culture of FEAR.
    Hitler came to power using same method.
    Burning Congress would not have worked for generation used to spectacular special effects so WTC was allowed to go ahead.
    3000 dead civilians is a very small price to pay considering what the Bushies, Lobby and their donors got in return.
    Hills are the safest places because demented Mccain plans to attack Russia and China as well.

  72. A big difference between the “Vets” from the Viet-Nam War and the “Vets to be” from Iraq is that we no longer have a draft. We have a volunteer military. Our military people are not yanked from civilian life for two years service and then dropped back into civilian life. Our troops now are expected to make a career out of the military, and most will and there is a great difference between career military and basically civilians with some military experience. Civilians who have had military experience are all over the map in their political outlook although with the twist that their military experience provided. The career military, when they finally retire are, from my experience, authoritarian personalities and very distainful of diversity and personal liberty; they are usually “moss backed” Republicans. I wouldn’t expect many Tim McVeighs from that group, but fascists – Oh Yeah.

  73. Yah, you have a point there. I don’t go in for the troop bashing that some people do but I have to agree I have seen that tendency in some of the Lifer group. The military could form a club for them. Call it the FFA Future Fascist of America. Hell I could make a bundle selling T shirts and jackets.

    Peace!

  74. Truthfool, all you had to do was read down a little (or even up) for confirmation. I’m not saying everyone on this site does it but there are enough that it gets on my nerves and I’m sure it does other Vets as well. The comment stands for itself and is not a lie or a falsehood.

    Vets know the shortcomeings of Service better than anyone. However, we also know that most Vets are not psychotic. As some on this site would like you to believe.

    Peace!

  75. alpowolf you hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t agree with you more. I like this site I really do however, I do get very tired of the black and white thinking that goes on here. The thought that any Vet could gain anything from their experience goes against the grain around here. Even the most negative experiences can be turned into a positive if the right thought process occurs. Furthermore, looking at all Joe’s through a negative filter creates an illusion that paints them in a false light.

    I’ll throw in a Eugene Costa type comment here.

    “A man noticed that his axe was missing. then he saw the neighbor’s son pass by. The boy looked like a thief, walked like a thief, behaved like a thief. Later that day, the man found his axe where he had left it the day before. The next time he saw the neighbor’s son, the boy looked, walked and behaved like an honest, ordinary boy.”

    Lieh-tse

    My point is if we assume the worst it will also be how we visualize what’s in front of us. Thinking Joe’s are all messed up will leave many people with the illusion that they are. Of course the opposite is also true seeing all Joe’s as Saints will lead to another illusion altogether. Seeing things as they actually are is difficult but should be the goal.

  76. Very witty. “Just say ‘So?’”.

  77. Don’t forget the effect of AIDS on sexuality. Fortunately, the people in power at the time, however lax in helping the sufferers and teaching about condoms, did not propose the equivalent of leprosariums or TB sanitaria or internment camps. I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire on a guess about today’s security-obsessed ones’ response to an outbreak of a new disease today.

    As a boomer myself, and a Californian at that, I always felt the so-called hippie movement was little manipulated. My friends whose fathers were high-ranking military always managed to try all the drugs first (wonder why?) and the draft insured that people that age would have a “what-the-hell” attitude about their futures anyway. The so-called crackdown by Reagan onward was merely the effect of not having death in Vietnam looming in your life, and the hope that you could amass a fortune in real estate and stocks, if you kept your nose clean (or not, even).

  78. Oh, THAT Pink Floyd:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4488671888968650349

  79. It’s only Rock and Roll but I like it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjNAeELQ_Z8

    Guess the Jactars did too. Ashanti!

  80. My reaction to the above article by Richard Vance and the ensuing comments mirror Elizabeth’s, as an inhabitant of what is now IsraelUSA.

  81. Change is inevitable. Deal with it. :D If you don’t think we need a revolution you are not anti-war brother.

  82. I believe that the “crackdown” on personal liberty started with Nixon and the “silent Majority”. But the important point is that the conservatives of today are really reactionaries trying to destroy the kind of personal liberty that came out in the 1960s. Rush, Sean, et.al. like to talk about the Democrats and their penchant for big government but their real nightmare is not big government but personal liberty. Just mention 1960s counter-culture or “doing your own thing” and listen to them bounce off the walls. All of this is important if you want to know what is really going on. The political battle for our future is not big government vs small government. We will most assuredly have big government. What bothers me is that if the conservatives win, it will be a very repressive one.

  83. Just one more comment and then I’ll stop. The conservatives, since Carter, have invested heavily in the military as the symbol of American power. That trend has increased until now, the militery has reached levels of divinity (“heroes”, “defending our very lives”, etc.). What happens when we leave Iraq with our tails between our legs? Our trillion dollar a year military proven to be virtually useless to our getting everything our way. What will that do to the American psyche already paranoid about what revenge the world might take against us? What do these add up to – universal paranoia towards aliens, strong government (essentially the unitary executive), declining economic standards, and strong corporate culture? The answer is fascism. We might get McVeighs, but they will be in charge.

  84. Richard is probably right for those who stay in military but what about those who are discharged? What about Blackwater ‘vets’? A lot of people want to take law into their own hands but those with combat experience can really do great damage. FFAs can do great damage too, they can give vigilantism a whole new meaning. But still, thinking all of them to be ‘potential’ terrorists and declaring war against them ( as we are now doing in Afghanistan and want Pakistan to do against its own people) would be catastrophic.

  85. …You’ll also bear in mind just what happened to Timothy McVeigh, and in record time too. This was the Justice Department’s example of, and method for “…The encouragement of others.”

  86. Right on the money Richard. We are in a cultural war between proponents of individual liberty and authoritarianism. you can find left authoritarians, but right now, the main threat is from the right. The Friekorps are marching. Whatcha gonna do?

  87. corr: "on the other hand"

  88. The person that is making the huge assumption that all military members are alike, must be more of a sheep than those he criticizes. I suspect he/she believes in collectivism, rather than understanding the true meaning of individual liberty. Each individual is capable of unique experiences to similar events. Collectivist, are incapable of seeing beyond their own experiences or ideas, usually out of fear. I have traveled the world many times, and have met many people from many backgrounds – I find more people with the ability towards good than not. I come from a military family – enlisted, officers, career, ROTC, and every branch of the military. Their experiences from war, have a greater tendency towards pacifism than many civilians can ever truly understand. In order to understand something, you really must lose that fear you have of anyone that does not think as you do, free your mind and then amazingly, then, you will truly begin to live, then, you will truly begin to see. Your words, communicate more hate. negativity, and total ignorance than the ex-military person you so obviously turn your nose up to.

  89. So who do I fear more? I fear the collectivist.

  90. …So do I, even if I think you are pre-programmed, patent Bertrand Russellesqe observant Mediocrity who is convinced of the essential benevolence of human nature….I would offer that the first step in the “Liberation of the mind” is pulling your head out of your ass, where yours has found a minor kingdom.

  91. Well, suprise suprise, I am quite satisfied with my so called “ass kingdom”…thank you very much. I am not really sure what your stated point is…other than insulting mine. I never really mentioned liberating the mind…I mentioned individual liberty…and kingdom has absolutely nothing to do with that. As far as benevolence, well, unless you did not fully understand, that is a choice of the individual, never, an obligation of the liberated. I myself, feel no obligation.

  92. …You’re verbal Dead Meat.

  93. freeyourmind, your absolutely correct.

    However, this site seems to have a large amount of narrow minded people who would never agree with you. They see things in black and white and have no idea that life is actually grey. I would also say there are some great people here as well and I’m sure many great people who read but never post.

    Although I do believe that an individual can get a positive experience from the military, I would never suggest that anyone join right now. In fact I would support anyone who decided to go AWOL so as not to be part of the illegal occupation of Iraq. As I’m sure you know ending this war (occupation) needs to be a priority for all of America, Vets and civilians included.

  94. With two minutes to go in the Fourth Quarter it’s Collectivists O, Solipsists 0! What an exciting game, folks! We have haven’t seen a defensive masterpiece like this since the great Nurture vs Nature Turkey Day Classic Controversy a few centuries ago…uh, what’s that, the stadium is being surround by Statist Military Police–this argumentation could be history, folks, stay tuned….

    Merely by the way, which one of you guys invented language?

  95. Merely by the way, it’s only pulp fiction but Anne Rice nicely named her first and most famous vampire Lestat, don’t you think?

    An archaic form and cryptotype for L’etat.

    You know–immortal and with a real appetite for blood….

  96. corr: “being surrounded”

  97. “Garlic, check.

    Wooden stake, check.

    Holy water, check.

    Silver bullets, check.

    Tonto…Tonto…”

  98. I alone put the fear of God into the servants or tenants by the time I was eighteen. I alone provided the food for us. And for some strange reason this gave me satisfaction. I don’t know why, but I liked to sit at the table and reflect that everyone there was eating what I had provided.

    [Lestat]

    Tonto, Tonto–where’s that Santa Fe Navajo Silver Cross, quick…Tonto, Tonto…

  99. Rice herself, on the other, later attributed the name to an error:

    In a 2003 interview Rice noted that the character had also taken on some of her own attributes, stating “Stan was Lestat; he was the inspiration. Perhaps it is best to say Lestat was Stan and me. He was Stan and what Stan taught me. Lestat was inspired by Stan, and then I became Lestat.” The name ‘Lestat’ was a misspelling of “Lestan”, which Rice believed to be an old French name.

    [wikipedia]

  100. God won’t save you, and it won’t save us.

  101. treason,treason,they emphatically lied,lied,lied!! I’m a korean vet ’50-’51 (Vietnam,all the the little wars in-between Iraq,a little justification,but mostly we are policing the world,sticking our noses in where they don’t belong!) BUT,in the case of Iraq,total fabrication by a couple war dodgers,theirselves,Cheney,6 times draft dodging,he looks heathy enough to me,our playboy-flyboy got his self out,thru his father in time to avoid serving in Vietnam and niether have the foggiest idea of what on-the-ground troops go thru? I remember Cheney stating emphatically “We know exactly where they!” referring to WMD’s! I come very close to crying,just tears of sadness,when I think of how our troops are being mislead and the losses of humankind,American & Iraqi & others by two oilmen.

  102. …’Fly Boy’ my ass…Bush couldn’t fly a Kiddie Ride in front of a Supermarket.

  103. “Damaged People”????

    Ive been serving in the US Army for over 14 yrs now and by no means do i see myself or the people i serve with as “damaged people”. Just because the media plays up a few that have
    stepped well over the bounderies of stable thinking does not mean that all soldiers require that label. No one is perfect in this life nor do we claim to be but for you to cast a label
    onto men and women serving our Armed Forces is by far out of line! Please who live in glass house should never throw stones Sir.
    But doesnt the ole saying ring true to the ears at times….”When insecure of ones self we
    often will lash out at others to draw attention away from our own downfalls and misgivings”
    Something to think about im sure!!

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