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Vietnam and WW2 vets.

by keyhoti2 / December 31, 2004 11:58 PM PST

I have known quite a lot of Vietnam Veterans, mostly Australian, but some Americans .. I knew a gunship pilot rather well.

When I was young, nearly every man I knew had seen active service in WW2, in one form or another.

Just as many Vietnam Vets have formed associations, so did many WW2 vets, e.g. the British Legion and the Returned Servicemans League in Australia, for their mutual support, some reminiscing and often fund raising for their own or other charities, as well as lobbying governments for a fair deal.

Because I could only remember the end of WW2, I sometimes asked veterans what it was like ... some would talk a bit and some wouldn't ... and I never met one who banged on about it in public, certainly not personal experience anyway. The only ones who did, I noticed, were ones rather far from the fron-line, but they were few in number too.

I found much the same with Vietnam Veterans and it is something I have always admired.

Though I did some military service, it was not in a war zone and the closest I got to this was five years fire brigade service, which I find myself disinclined to talk much about, so I think I have a pretty good idea why war vets tend not to ... why all I have known get embarrassed at any suggestion that they were heroes.

I think I know why some got embarrassed when it was clear that I admired them because, on reflection, when some people have said such things about the fire service as, "But wasn't it dangerous?" all I want to say is that I was young, maybe typical of most males in being foolhardy and just doing my job anyway ... never thought about it at the time, even when colleagues got killed.

I've heard similar from Battle of Britain pilots, some number of whom were also pretty reckless young men with their sportscars ... I could only afford motorcycles during my days of doing my level best to kill myself (not really, not literally ... furthest thing from my mind ... after all I was "immortal" back then).

What brings all this to mind is what is going on now in Iraq of course and some people trying to "speak for" those actually fighting ... can't be done and it is certainly impossible to generalize about the eventual attitudes of the men who come through it alive.

Maybe what I have related might shed some light on what most will probably be feeling now, if not articulating it.

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Get it from the horse's mouth
by EdH / January 1, 2005 12:33 AM PST
In reply to: Vietnam and WW2 vets.

Many of the soldiers in Iraq have blogs. You will find a variety of points of view, some against the war and some for the war. But I think if you look at them fairly you will see that most support the war and morale is high.

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"Get it from the horses mouth"
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 1:16 AM PST

Thanks Ed, exactly what I was saying, at least in part.

However you've missed the point that I was reflecting on veterans - those who survived wars - not on men still fighting, except to say that, when in the thick of it (it equally applies to working in some hazardous industry) people just do what has to be done.

Even so, so you are saying, attitudes already vary ... so I was wrong to suppose that this would probably come later. So you've endorsed another point I was making, but have advanced it.

I don't doubt for a moment that most support the war and that morale remains high ... after all those men would be in a sorry mess if, already, widespread disillusionment had set in, like it did in Vietnam.

We differ on how this will all end up - as you know I think this has all the makings of another "Vietnam" - but neither of us will know for sure until a few years hence ... or maybe sooner, if what you say is correct about opposition in the ranks already existing.

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I wasn't exactly disagreeing
by EdH / January 1, 2005 1:36 AM PST

Just saying, "ask the guys who are there."

I doubt there has ever been a war in which there wasn't some opposition or dissatisfaction in the ranks. I don't think it us very strong here. Nowhere near as much as some have tried to portray.

One thing that should be noted is that many of the troops comment that what they see in country does not aquare with what they see on the news. In other words, the media is distorting the picture to make things seem worse than they are.

I think the Vietnam metaphor is way off, as much as so many would like to apply it.

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by TONI H / January 1, 2005 12:37 AM PST
In reply to: Vietnam and WW2 vets.

On this hand you are saying you can understand why they don't talk about war......any of them......and the other hand posts over and over about how bad things are in Iraq for our military (based sometimes on articles by military who speak) and yet you and others pooh-pooh the idea that military are actually speaking out about the good being done there.

Which way do you want it, since you can't have it from both directions at once, unless you acknowledge that both directions exist?


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To reply, or not to reply?
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 1:48 AM PST
In reply to: Contradictory

Oh, here goes nothing, if risking a deletion or locked thread:

Do you ever really read anything I say?

In any case: your agendum towards me and any "liberal" (or whatever term you prefer) is transparent ... and you can't stand us ... can't even say you agree with things you actually probably quite favour, e.g. trying to understand what those on active service are probably going through.

Incidentally the "military" you refer to, which puts out public statements about how well things are going, are non-combatants ... higher ranks and non-military too in the White House for instance

My thread is clearly about the men on the ground.

Do you have a problem with that?

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Maybe you're talking past each other?
by EdH / January 1, 2005 2:00 AM PST

I think what Angeline is pointing out is that the men who are there, not the gov't or higher ranks or DoD are talking and what they are talking about is the good things that are happening in Iraq.

And I think her point about your contradictions is well taken. You have in the past claimed to know what is going on in Iraq when clearly you see only that part of the story that confirms your particular point of view.

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Are you saying that ...
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 2:12 AM PST

TONI and Angeline are one and the same person?

I think not ... I was replying to TONI in this case.

As for seeing only one side of things and just what confirms my point of view ... well that is nonsense.

I just don't happen to agree with your one-sided view of things and cannot rely on the sources you use to back it up, precisely because they are so one-sided.

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(NT) (NT) lol and yours is so un biased lol lol funny
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 2:22 AM PST
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Sorry I meant TONI
by EdH / January 1, 2005 2:54 AM PST

Are the blogs written by soldiers in Iraq to be discounted then? I guess everyone who disagrees with your point of view is lying.

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(NT) (NT) you hit the nail on the head
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 4:42 AM PST
In reply to: Sorry I meant TONI
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Have we learned anything over the centuries?
by gearup / January 1, 2005 2:25 AM PST

"Jude the Obscure" and "1984" seem to say we have. But they are only books. Using war as a tool to further internal political goals is still a plague on humanity. The problem is killing the guy down the block never gets your own leaky plumbing fixed.

And yes,they started it and we will finish it
and stick out our chests at what we have accomplished as if techno-kill is a real solution to the worlds ills!

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Can't hear you over the wood chippers
by EdH / January 1, 2005 3:04 AM PST

So what was your solution to the Saddam problem? Do nothing? Or the famous "diplomacy"?

Sometimes war is necessary. That's what we've learned over the centuries.

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What Saddam problem?
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 3:15 AM PST

Even at his zenith and with US backing Iraq could not win an eight year war with Iran.

After the first Gulf War and the imposition of sanctions, Saddam/Iraq could not pose a threat to anyone.

What was the rush? Why not have let the weapons inspectors have another six months and why not wait to get international backing, if it proved necessary to invade?

Why alienate most traditional allies and so many ordinary people around the world?

What was the rush and why fabricate "reasons" which have done US credibility so much damage?

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Sorry; can't hear you over the woodchippers
by EdH / January 1, 2005 3:52 AM PST
In reply to: What Saddam problem?

Saddam/Iraq could not pose a threat to anyone? Wanna bet?

Be honest. If we had waited a month, a year or a decade you would still be against it. It was long overdue in my opinion.

The weapons inspectors weren't going to find anything. They had no intention of finding anything.

International backing? In case you haven't noticed the UN was in bed with Saddam all along. We were not going to get "international backing". Strong words and admonitions maybe; a lot of finger-wagging but nothing else.

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Whether or not ...
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 4:11 AM PST

I, personally, would have always been against an invasion is completely irrelevent.

You surely don't imagine that what I, you, or anyone else here thinks, believes, etc. makes any difference?

I was just reporting on what a lot of people who maybe can make a difference have said around the world.

Of course the question is begged: "What are we all doing here then?"

Good question, to which I don't know the answer, except a fuzzy one that this is the sort of thing millions of people do everywhere, whether in internet forums, churches, bars, in lounge rooms ... wherever.

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You asked; I answered.
by EdH / January 1, 2005 5:10 AM PST
In reply to: Whether or not ...

I think it's relevant because it goes to whether or not you would ever consider the invasion to be necessary. I think the question of the timing is a red herring. A way to argue that the war was not justified. I say, if not then, when? Ever?

Saddam (or his surrogate generals I think it was) signed a treaty ending the Gulf War. He broke every provision of that treaty. He was firing missiles at coalition planes. He was sending up fighters in the No-Fly Zone (which was really stupid because they all got shot down). He would not allow the weapons inspectors to do their job (wonder why).

He had already developed newer long-range missiles that were in violation of the treaty and that could have more accurately imnpact Israel and other countries in the region. I don't think you can say with any certainty that he was no thresat to anyone.

By the way, thank the stars that he did not, in his stupidity attack Israel. I doubt their response would have been as measured as ours has been. I think they would have flattened Baghdad.

Every intelligence agency in the world said he had WMD and was pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. I am still not convinced that intelligence was incorrect.

But I am sure you've heard it all before.

As to what we're doing here, debating the points and hoping that maybe some information will penetrate somewhere. I don't expect to convince you of anything, and I doubt you will convince me of anything, but maybe what we all talk about will cause some thought in others.

Else, why have SE at all?

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Would you agree
by EdH / January 1, 2005 5:36 AM PST
In reply to: Whether or not ...

that regardless of how we got in, that it would be a disaster to get out now. I think we should at least wait until after the election and try to phase in the UN (if they will behave) or some international force to help out, not as occupiers, but as a reconstruction force.

I am a fan of Thomas PM Barnett's SysAdmin idea for pulling basket-case countries into the mainstream "Core" of modern and peaceful nations. This idea will horrify some, I know, but I think it is well worth considering. Barnett is no Bush fan by the way though he thinks the invasion of Iraq was necessary.


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It's prob ..
by keyhoti2 / January 1, 2005 6:59 AM PST
In reply to: Would you agree

a disaster to pull out and a disaster to stay ... all academic now.

Regards, Gerry

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I disagree,. Not a disaster.
by EdH / January 1, 2005 7:44 AM PST
In reply to: It's prob ..

I think we can pull it off, and at any rate we had to do it sooner or later. Now we need to follow up properly.

Here's Barnett's take (which you probably won't agree with):

"Did we topple Saddam Hussein's regime because he had or sought WMD? Because he supported international terrorism over the years? Because he killed his own people in great numbers? Because he defied the UN all those years? Because he was a threat to his neighbors?

"The answer, of course, is not to pick any item from the list but merely to recognize that once you can compile a list about a particular regime, you have basically made your case."

Anyway, enough heavy stuff for now.

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(NT) (NT) he trew out the inspectors so how could they do there j
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 4:43 AM PST
In reply to: What Saddam problem?
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(NT) (NT) job
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 4:43 AM PST
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What 'Saddam problem,' Ed?
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / January 1, 2005 11:09 AM PST

If you really can't see by now that the world, and in many ways the Iraqi people, were better off before our ill-advised invasion, then you haven't been paying attention. The Iraqi War makes sense to one with a "live free or die" mentality -- but there's no evidence that the majority of Iraqis had that mindset. Saddam had been essentially neutered by the First Gulf War. Yes, he was a tyrant, and in a perfect world Iraq would be better off without him -- if the Bushies' pipe dream of being greeted as liberators had played out. But the huge death toll, unemployment rate, and ongoing insurgency make the price of his removal too high to all but the ideologue. And the latest polls say a majority of the coutnry feel that way -- too bad they didn't vote that way, becaue the Bushies still haven't gotten the message. To learn from your mistakes, the first requirement is that you recognize them, and it's clear that y'all haven't!

Happy New Year! -- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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dave they were better off
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 11:49 AM PST

ask the famiallys of the 100,000 found in mass graves

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Respectfully disagree.
by EdH / January 1, 2005 12:01 PM PST

"If you really can't see by now that the world, and in many ways the Iraqi people, were better off before our ill-advised invasion, then you haven't been paying attention."]

I have been paying attention. I think you are completely wrong. Things are tough there now, I agree, but in the not-so-long run they will be so much better that you will wonder at your words. Already much has improved.

To abort the progress would be a cardinal sin.

And how was the world better off? That makes no sense to me.

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I don't know if they were better off now or then
by Diana Forum moderator / January 1, 2005 9:20 PM PST

but I do know that Bush chose his invasion very carefully. He didn't want to invade North Korea or Iran because they both had or had the potential of nuclear bombs. North Korea has a worse tyrant than Iraq but would not have been as easy to overrun and can you image trying to guard a country as large as Iran?

click here to email

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and did you do what ed said read the blogs
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 2:21 AM PST

take your own advice be fore you pass judgement

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Contradictory? What good being done there??
by Bob / January 1, 2005 7:22 AM PST
In reply to: Contradictory

I would sure like to hear what good is being done in Iraq by Coalition troops. All I seem to hear is about the killing, bombing, maiming and destruction taking place in Iraq. I don't dispute these reports because I see pictures as well as live reports. Because of all of the bloody messes that I see from there and the misinformation, disinformation and downright lies being reported to us back here in the US I have become a complete Anti-War person. I have never understood the necessity to mislead and lye to us if the war is going well. Of course the Bush Administration's goals for Iraq are far from mine. When I see the death and destruction and corruption in Iraq I can find no reason to back the Bush Administration's conquests. I can also see the need for the money spent over there to be spent right here in America for OUR needy causes. The Halliburton and Oil-For-Food scandals will be discussed for many years but the end result will always be the same. Our country is badly divided and these are just two more reasons for that division. I worry about the fate of our country because even the USSR was not divided like this before their fall. Devisive debates will not help to unite us again either. Please do not use the term "Follow blindly wherever your President leads". IMO he is the cause of our divisivness. His dictatorial leadership style has initiated much of our distrust and dissention. What ever happened to a President listening to the voice of the people? Sooner or later the people will bring an end to the Iraq War as they did with the VietNam War.

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the people spoke when they reelected him
by Mark5019 / January 1, 2005 7:35 AM PST

by a majority no less.

and i guess you didn't see the blogs that say different.

thats why the Iraqi people face death at the scum there to set up elections. yup no good being done there.

we should have left the UN to handle it, as if the ever did, when Saddam threw out the inspectors what did the UN do?

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"Shock and Awe"...
by Blake Cook / January 1, 2005 8:30 AM PST
we should have left the UN to handle it, as if the ever did, when Saddam threw out the inspectors what did the UN do? - mark5019

Saddam never threw the inspectors out. We asked the inspectors to leave both times. The inspectors found the same thing that we did, NOTHING. Yet that's not what this administration wanted to hear, so GW told them to leave or risk being killed as we used "Shock and Awe" to bomb Iraq...

The administration claimed to know where the WMD's were located, but it refused to share that knowledge with the inspectors. Perhaps it actually knew that the WMDs really didn't exist and it didn't want the world to see that we were just blowing smoke in order to promote our invasion...

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Think about this
by EdH / January 1, 2005 8:58 AM PST
In reply to: "Shock and Awe"...

If the Bush Administration knew there were no WMDs how hard would it have been for them to PLANT SOME? Indicates to me that they expected to find them.

As Bubba was fond of saying, "That dog won't hunt".

Saddan did everythig in his power to prevent the inspectors from looking into the various sites. Come on, don't tell me you don't know that.

BTW Clinton was also convinced thare were WMDs in Iraq as was every intelligence agency in the world. Some, such as Russia, who opposed the invasion STILL insist they were there. So, again, the claim that Bush made it up is simply false.

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