Unspun Logo

A Week to Remember

Posted by Bob · June 2nd, 2004 · 6 Comments

The days between Memorial Day and D-Day are especially poignant this year since it was sixty years ago the Allies launched an invasion that ultimately ended World War II.

It was an invasion the likes of which the world had never seen. So many men and machines heading for five beaches. It was daring in scope and purpose. How often are the invaders facing so many defenders stretched along so many miles? How often is the mission to free a continent from tyranny?

By the end of the first day some men had become heros, some had died trying. Many just died never having had the chance. That is the arithmetic of war. It’s as if the god of war demands sacrifice to wage his event, to raise arms in anger.

I suggest that during this week we consider that arithmetic and what we’re purchased for it.

In the Civil War, 365,000 Northern soldiers were killed, and 133,000 soldiers from the South died.

In World War I, 116,000 American soldiers were killed. In World War II, 407,000 died, 54,000 died in Korea, 58,000 in Vietnam.

More than a million Americans have died in our wars, each one much loved by someone.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/25/60minutes/rooney/main619533.shtml

That’s 1,133,000 lives by my calculation. Considering the freedoms our country offers us it seems low, doesn’t it?

For comparison sake consider six million Jews died in concentration camps. Over twenty million Russians died defending their country in World War II.

And nowhere can we calculate the loss of enemy life or, tragically, the loss of civilian life. Can you imagine the hell on earth that must have been their reality? To wake one morning and your neighborhood, your very house is in the middle of a battle. By end of day, you have nothing left. The soldiers walk by with dead eyes, they have seen this too often to be moved by it, but they still have food and basic shelter. You have the rain and the cold and nowhere to go.

See my point? When our losses are compared to other countries we have suffered less and reaped much more. Our culture has not been forced to relocate to a desert and our entire society did not have to rebuild from ashes.

Again, it seems so little to offer for so much. We have the most freedom, the world’s largest economy and, whether we want it or not, a burden.

The burden is responsibility. No, not to be the world’s policeman but to be the world’s example.

What do we show the world with these freedoms? What do we do with this unchained, independent American spirit?

Initially we rebuilt Europe and Japan. Our students in capitalism at one point were beating the teacher before West Germany inherited East Germany and Japan’s economy overheated. It would be absurd to even say that these countries are not better off than before the war. Generations have been raised in peace and prosperity.

While that was going on we literally out-produced a country far larger than us to the point that their economy collapsed. The USSR fell like Humpy Dumpty and all the pieces that made that empire are now new independent countries fighting for their place on the world political and economic stage.

But somewhere after Reagan, we made a turn down a less-confident road.

Bush I won Gulf I but lost the election. How is that possible? A president can build a coalition of unfriendly governments to go to war but cannot unite his own people?

Clinton swept in as the new “Jack Kennedy”, Camelot was reborn but, as in the legend, Camelot fell from within.

Now we’re in the midst of Bush II and Gulf II. We’re seeing an “edgier” and less cooperative government than anytime in American history. We have damaged alliances built from the deaths we recounted earlier. We have an “American Arrogance” that seems to permeate our definition and purpose. America, the lone superpower is ready to go it alone. A scary thought to anyone in her way. And in this election year, the opposition party cannot produce a candidate deemed worthy by either side.

Our Democracy seems rusted. Our Republic needs attention. Even the voices that differed in opinion used to unite in the American cause. Now they just distract, shout over and disrespect their opposite number.

What we should remember this week is that those who died expected a worthy ideal to continue. The ideal that each man and woman is entitled to an opinion and a vote. There is no opinion unworthy of being heard and no vote that goes uncounted.

The American political horizon is filled with uncertainty. We have enemies, foreign and domestic, preparing to attack us yet again. We need to see our differences as options, not obstacles. Americans need to get their voice back and use it without the threat of character assassination or ridiculous accusation.

The basic arithmetic is this: more voices heard produces that many more ideas. Some idea, or combination of ideas, can solve what we face together. We either do that simple arithmetic or we can do the arithmetic of war, sacrifice another generation. According to the experts, war is an extension of politics. Currently, our politics are very scary to those with opposing opinions and original thought.

If there is going to be a voice in the American political wilderness then it must be that we will all listen for it.

Categories: The Decline of America


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nat // Jun 2, 2004 at 8:03 am

    [See Editor’s Note later in this post, documenting (with links) what’s wrong with it. As long as gNat wishes to continue posting false information here, we will continue providing you with the evidence refuting the lies. gNat would start his own blog, but feels incompetent to do so, since most people won’t read blogs filled only with false information. He feels he can do “more good” by injecting as much false information into this blog as we allow him to post. I have been receiving emails urging me to stop allowing gNat to distract me — you’ll note that I haven’t posted as many articles since he showed up because I’ve been busy researching his comments and providing the evidence to refute them. I am considering setting up a special area just for gNat so that I can allow him to post to his heart’s content while I do what so many of you tell me you’re doing: ignore him. Meanwhile, every time he posts a lie here, I’m going to post the refutation. I’ll use evidence to back my claims, in contradistinction to his repetition of someone else’s attempts at mind-reading various people with whom they disagree.]

    Kerry honored by COMMUNIST PARTY in Ho Chi Minh City. Photograph hangs in section devoted to American war protesters whose actions and words encouraged the VC

    A Ho Chi Minh City museum that honors Vietnam war protesters features a photograph of Sen. John Kerry being greeted by the general secretary of the Communist Party, Comrade Do Muoi.

    “The Vietnamese Communists clearly recognize John Kerry’s contributions to their victory,” said Jeffrey M. Epstein of Vietnam Vets for the Truth, a group opposing Kerry’s campaign for the presidency. Epstein’s group says the exhibit refutes Kerry’s insistence his anti-war protests did not render support to the enemy in time of war.

    “The Vietnamese communists clearly feel that the American anti-war protesters were a very important force in undermining support in the United States for American war efforts, a force that contributed materially to ultimate communist victory in 1975,” the group said in a statement.

    “This find can be compared to the discovery of a painting of Neville Chamberlain hanging in a place of honor in Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in 1945.”


    [Editor’s Note: There are several things to note about this photograph from 1993. First, the war was long over in 1993. Second, Kerry wasn’t there alone. Even this interestingly spun story notes that he was there with a Veteran’s Delegation. Third, the placard in the museum says that Kerry and the Veterans met with the Secretary General; our Worldnet author gives no explanation of how this is different from when Vietnamese officials met with Republican John McCain. Fourth, the story does not contain a comment from any Vietnamese — official or otherwise — stating that Kerry’s “contributions to their victory” was appreciated. The idea that Kerry contributed to their victory is stated by people who claim to have been veterans who state that Kerry was universally disliked in Vietnam because he was such a bad guy. Tell that to Jim Rassmann.

    Kerry was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V for saving Jim’s life during combat. Although the former crewmates had not seen each other since 1969, Rassmann is now campaigning in New Hampshire to help John Kerry in another tough fight. — from the Veterans for John Kerry website.

    It should also be remembered that just as in the United States, the Vietnamese know the value of spin in convincing their populations of the rightness of their cause. It’s almost as if they thought that they needed to mislead people to get them to go forth and attack foreign countries, with one difference: the Vietnamese war was fought on their soil. They didn’t need to trick anyone into going off to war. The war was brought to them.

    Suppose, though, that the people arguing that Kerry and the Veterans Delegation are honored in “the American protesters’ section.” Let’s accept that for the moment this: that Kerry and other veterans of the war are so honored — does this mean Kerry and those other American veterans really did make a contribution to the communists’ victory? Are the communist representations veridical? Let’s see…

    Despite government claims to the contrary, McCain says he twice tried to commit suicide while suffering from torture, solitary confinement and a lack of food. “I couldn’t control my despair,” he wrote of his most painful moments. “Nothing could save me.”

    In the Vietnamese rendering, McCain and his fellow pilots appeared to have been on an extended stay at summer camp.

    “Though having committed untold crimes on our people, American pilots suffered no revenge once they were captured and detained,” says the exhibit. “Instead, they were well-treated with adequate food, clothing and shelter.”

    The exhibit includes a volleyball net used by the prisoners. One photo shows an American prisoner clinking glasses at a meeting with Vietnamese journalists, and another features Americans cheerfully cleaning a chicken while preparing a meal. — Hanoi Revisited: 25 years after the war, Vietnam beckons American tourists.

    So who’s right here? McCain? Or the Vietnamese?

    As I noted in Our Irrelevant Constitution, this is just another example of the fact that gNat and others like him cannot win on the issues. Since they cannot win on the issues, they have to attempt a character assassination. And they will do this even if they have to twist the truth, even if they have to make things up and, finally, even if they have to lie.]

  • 2 Kent // Jun 2, 2004 at 10:43 am

    Just to add a little information to this, since I have seen the contents of the exhibit in question. Right next to the picture in question is a picture of Lt. General Michael Ryan, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time and member of the delegation. On the other side of that picture is a picture that has all 4 leading members of the Veterans Groups were on this very trip.

    In congressional testimony Ambassador Winston Lord described the purpose of the trip:

    “……high-level delegation to Vietnam to press for more progress on unresolved POW/MIA issues. I had the honor of co-leading that delegation, along with Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober and Lt. General Michael Ryan, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. We were accompanied by leading representatives of the four largest veterans organizations.” –http://www.aiipowmia.com/testimony/lord294.html

    Did this trip provide positive progress for the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting that opened offices in Hanoi in July 1993? It certainly did as you can read in Ambassador Winston Lord’s full transcript.

  • 3 Rick // Jun 2, 2004 at 3:38 pm

    I had a feeling there was more to the story than gNat’s friends were reporting.

    The normal mode of operation these days for Republicans seems to be to find something that, taken out of context, could be used to smear someone.

    When you find out — as Paul Harvey would put it — “the rest of the story,” you realize there was nothing to it.

  • 4 Nat // Jun 2, 2004 at 5:08 pm

    Denial is a river in Africa.

    [Editor’s Note: Actually, the Nile is a river in Africa. No surprise, though, that gNat gets this wrong. Bush knew so little about foreign policy that he couldn’t name the leaders of most foreign countries during his first campaign. Then he decided, “Does it matter? I’m going to change them out anyway.”]

    Clearly, Kerry is NOT FIT to be the president of this country and you people can’t mask your lack of enthusiasm for this conceited poodle.

    [Editor’s Note: Do I really need to remind, yet again, that this is another claim without evidence to support it? Essentially, it’s an opinion based on…what? Does our fearless gNat lay out strips of paper with candidates names on them and then spin the bottle to decide which one deserves his kiss of approval? Show us the reasons for such claims. Or, instead of attacking a candidate I haven’t even publicly supported on this blog (my only post about Kerry actually criticized him and, as gNat keeps forgetting, I’m not a Democrat). Why the insistence on attacking a candidate I didn’t support and for whom I didn’t vote? Because it distracts from the true issues being discussed. gNat, like his candidate, only understands two groups: the “for us” group and the “against us” group. Everyone “against us” has to be the Kerry group. How do you spot Republicans? They’ll be the ones not discussing the issues.]

    George Soros is giving Kerry $75m worth of TV ads. Now isn’t that interesting? $75m is the exact amount of Federal campaign funds alloted to each candidate. So Kerry, the nominee of the party that is always griping about “fairness” will have a 2:1 spending advantage.

    [Editor’s Note: According to MSNBC,

    The president raised a record $180 million, and half of that was budgeted for campaign operations, the other half for pre-convention advertising. But of the advertising budget, $90 million, the Bush campaign has already spent at least $40 million.

    By comparison, John Kerry has spent about $10 million. — Shuster, “Bush’s disappearing financial advantage: Did the president’s campaign spend too much money too fast?” (April 15, 2004) MSNBC.

    What? The President spend too much of someone else’s money too fast? Hard to believe that could happen.

    The New York Times notes,

    It was a setback to Republican efforts to maintain the party’s financial advantage by shutting these groups down.

                                                 * * *

    Some Republicans, however, said today they were happy to accept that challenge, saying they would prevail in such a matchup.

    David Keating, executive director of a conservative 527 committee, the anti-tax group Club for Growth, said the F.E.C.’s decision in essence tells major Republican contributors come on in, the water’s fine,” The Associated Press said today. — Justice, “Election panel won’t impose new spending limits on groups” (May 13, 2004) New York Times.

    Somehow, I don’t think the Republicans are thinking there’s a 2:1 advantage going to Kerry. In fact,

    On paper, President Bush seems to have an unbeatable edge — over $100 million bucks in the bank and more on the way. John Kerry has a few million. — “Attack ads skirt spending limits” (March 4, 2004) CBS News Online.

    The big fear, if you read the full article is that by turning to grassroots organizations not handicapped by spending limits, the Democratic party might be able to start to equalize the playing field. That doesn’t sound much like a 2:1 advantage, now, does it? Kerry coming from (way) behind moneywise to have a chance at just equalizing things?

    The Washington Post reports that, although in April Kerry raised twice as much money — which may be where gNat gets his “2:1 advantage,”

    Bush still has a big advantage over Kerry in cash on hand — about $71.6 million at the end of April, compared with Kerry’s $28 million. — Farhi, “In April, Kerry’s Fundraising Nearly Doubled Bush’s” (May 21, 2004) WashingtonPost.com.

    And the same article says,

    In all, Kerry raised $115 million through April 30, breaking Bush’s record for a challenger, his campaign said. The Bush campaign said yesterday that it has raised $200 million since last year, drawing contributions from slightly more than 1 million donors, the first time a campaign has achieved such a milestone.

    Particularly interesting about that is that not only is Bush raising more money and spending it faster, but he’s doing it with contributions from less people than populate cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. ]

    This raises uncomfortable questions.

    [Editor’s Note: It does, indeed. Such as “Why have the Republicans started breaking campaign finance law to raise even more money?” Surely they can’t be so scared as to violate the law in order to raise money? ]

    What do you people know about Soros? What is Soros’s price for this support? When will you people face THE REAL issue in this campaign is that your candidate has already been bought by someone with an extreme European Socialist agenda.

    [Editor’s Note: Again, no evidence of this. I’m not sure who Soros is myself, so I don’t know what “his agenda” is. But if his agenda is to defeat President Bush then, of course, he couldn’t be a socialist. Socialists believe in giving money and subsidies to those who don’t deserve it. That would be the people who tax the poor so that the rich can get tax cuts. Seriously, how many of you got money back after the great Bush tax cuts? Raise your hands!]

    I smile when I read you bleating about “The Constitution”. Soros and Kerry are making a mockery of The Constitution and laughing in your face about it. However, because they are of your ilk – you conveniently say nothing.

    [Editor’s Note: We’re still waiting for gNat to show us how anyone he’s targeted is making a mockery of the Constitution. Arresting US citizens and holding them without trial or benefit of an attorney? No Sixth Amendment issues there. Telling Head Start teachers they’re not allowed to talk about the massive cuts he’s making in the Head Start program? No First Amendment issues there. Drowning the media with half-truths, similar to what gNat has been doing here? No attempt to make the spirit of the First Amendment irrelevant there! Someone needs to start printing campaign bumper stickers: “It’s the issues, stupid!” Oh…but if we turned to discussing the issues, Republicans would lose.]

  • 5 Bob // Jun 2, 2004 at 8:23 pm

    It is shameful and disrespectful to readers of this blog and Americans in general to use half a truth to prove a self-serving point.

    gNat has shown us on too many occasions that the issues are not worthy of his best efforts. Integrity is not worth the results.

    My heart breaks at this very common practice.

    I would hope that readers of this blog can see through the “he said / she said” thought process and form opinions they share with other readers.

    Your opinion may not stop the world but it may encourage another reader to share their views.

    Our concept of Democracy will always depend on small voices uniting in a just cause, creating a very big voice.

    Please do not remain silent when the truth is the first and primary victim of yet another assault. Please do not rely on others to set the story straight and fight the good fight.

    This is my appeal to rational readers to add their thoughts. Opinions are not obstacles and are welcome here. Please share yours.

  • 6 Mark // Jun 2, 2004 at 10:21 pm

    Interesting thing I read the other day. 76% of the campaign ads run by Shrub have been negative against Kerry (unprecedented in American politics for an incumbent, especially at this stage in an election).

    27% of the ads run by Kerry have been negative towards Shrub.

    Go to Shrub’s official campaign website. You will see one picture of Shrub. THREE pictures of Kerry.

    Shrub’s handlers have nothing positive to say about Shrub (obviously). Their only hope is to smear Kerry with the kind of mendacious crap that one poster here likes to regurgitate ad nauseum. Fortunately, polls show Shrub in steady decline and Kerry building a strong and growing lead.

    Looks like the neo-con guys already know that if votes are counted (and that’s a HUGE if in today’s America), their boy will lose big-time.

    Don’t be surprised if these guys try to postpone or cancel the November 2 election. All it would take would be a well-timed terrorist attack to make a tidy excuse. Could this be why there’s no effort to go after bin Laden and his Saudi and Paktisani funders and protectors?

    It’s becoming apparent that even programming the electronic voting machines to produce pre-ordained results won’t be enough (because not all Americans vote on these hackable pieces of trash yet, thank goodness).

    War Hero vs. War Zero. Most Americans believe it’s an easy choice. Let’s hope we are allowed to make that choice on November 2.

Leave a Comment