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Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran’s Day Drunken Musings

I decided to celebrate Veteran’s day by drinking one glass of wine for every war America has ever fought, and I have found that, being only an occasional drinker, our wars are more numerous than my tolerance is capable of handling. I had to quit at WW I.

“Why Alcohol?” you may ask. I’ll tell you. It has been the second greatest morale booster behind sex any army has ever used. Considering that we are in a war right now, and the men and women who are deployed cannot have alcohol, I thought it would be appropriate to drink as a symbol of the privileges they are sacrificing for our security, and for the freedom of the Iraqi people.

As I drank, I considered the sacrifice our veterans of every war have made for the American people. I considered not only the blood they lost from wounds and mortality among our own ranks, but also the effect of slaughtering other human beings on the psyche of these brave warriors. Hunters have spoken of the difficulty and guilt involved in shooting gorillas due to their resemblance to humanity. I can only imagine the greatly amplified level of guilt heaped upon men who have had the misfortune of being forced to kill other human beings in armed combat.

During the civil war there were men who checked the weapons left on the battlefield. They found guns with full loads packed one on top of the other all the way to the top of the barrel of the rifles. These weapons belonged to men who, while brave enough to fight for the principals they believed in, could not get themselves to actually squeeze the trigger and kept reloading without ever having fired a single shot. They could risk their lives for their country, but could not take the lives of other human beings.

The survivors of our wars come home scarred. The come home with the horrors of combat permanently etched in their minds. They tell stories of watching their best friend get his brains blown out as he stood beside them. They tell stories of the pain of taking a human life. They tell stories of being immersed in a bloodbath where only the lucky survived and, they are amazed that we actually managed to win the battle. They come home from the warzone permanently scarred and sometimes damaged beyond repair.

Prior to Vietnam the psychological effects of war went largely ignored. Mental damage was seen as a weakness. Only relatively recently have we come to truly understand the terrible effects war has on those who must experience it.

History is riddled with tales of men who return from war changed. They have seen horrors no man should be subjected to. It affects people. It leaves a permanent mark, and even those who seem unaffected are usually just hiding the pain within.

I cannot begin to offer a solution to the problem of how war veterans are damaged. I can only offer sympathy and my greatest respect. Men and women who risk their lives for a cause, OUR CAUSE, deserve every bit of honor we can heap upon them. I don’t care whether you agree with our current war or not. I care that you honor our soldiers, both living and dead. I care that you stand behind our brave service men and women for as long as this war must go on until this war is won. Whether you disagree with this war or not we are committed to victory. Rally behind our troops and show them your love. Give them a reason to come home. Show them all how much you love them by supporting their efforts and letting them know that you eagerly await their victorious return.

The protestors who demand our immediate withdrawal are sympathetic to the enemy. In my mind they are traitors who deserve banishment at best. By opposing our fighting men and women they are giving hope and solace to our enemies who would see us all dead. I call upon all who are opposed to the war to shut up and debate the validity of this conflict when it is over. We are fully engaged now and every protest you hold encourages the very people who are killing our soldiers and Iraqi civilians. By opposing us you support them. Show your country how much you love it by honoring the living as well as the fallen among our ranks. Divert your efforts from protests to demonstrating your love of the lives of our people. Send care packages to the warzone. Donate to the Army Emergency Relief Fund. Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. Do something constructive for a change. I beg you, show our troops you support them even if you disagree with the mission they cannot change.

Veteran’s Day is a day of honor for our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines. It is a fine day to change from opposition to support for those who may die any day, and to show your patriotic love to the families of the fallen. Do it, please. Our brave warriors need it, and they appreciate it more than you can know.

This is Sergeant Levesque, singing off and desperately hoping to honor those wo have sacrificed by joining them at war. Remainig safe in a dental clinic, preparig those who must face death for war without risk to myself is simply disgraceful. I long to join those who are actively engaged in the Army's mission: defending the homefront and destroying our enemies. Four years of of honor-free safety is too much for me to bear. I have signed paperwork to switch the chemichal corps. It is an understrength, combat related job. As soon as I complete my training in Decembe of 2006 I will volunteer, once again, to go to war, and, finally, I will not be denied. I cannot bear to to spend this entire war in safety while so many have sacrificed so much. It makes me feel like litle more than a draft dodger, avoiding the risk, waiting for it to be safe once again. I must do my part.

17 Comments:

  • Wow, Daniel.
    What a post.

    Thank you for your service, and your service in the near future.

    God bless you.

    jimmyb

    By Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy, at 6:18 AM  

  • Damn fine writing -- the best I think you've done so far, but then, I've just started reading your blogs.

    Ah, re: changing MOS. That is of course your perogative. Just want you to know that even though you feel you are somehow letting down the front-line troops, the rear detachment from the grunt buck pvt peeling patooties to the bird col. in charge of the golf course is just as valuable to the country as the man taking fire in Iraq.

    I know you know this to be true,
    and yet I fully understand your willingness to join in the frey,
    which is greatly admired by us old warriors.

    Mr. Levesque, I gratefully salute you and wish you well. You've already done more than your share for our country.

    Hooah!

    Phantom Driver

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 1:07 PM  

  • What Phantom said! Ditto! Great post!

    And you should be commended for something else as well: your superhuman patience!!!!!!!!

    How in the world you can still be debating with Dan Trabue on my blog regarding Howard Dean, is beyond me. I had to quit a long time back.... can't take it any more.... I was going absolutely nuts! I have been told many times that I have a lot of patience but you have proven you have much much more! Kudos! :)

    By Blogger Gayle, at 2:13 PM  

  • I messed up! If I am going to give you kudos for continuing that debate for so long, I suppose I should, in order to be fair, also give Dan Trabue kudos for extreme patience also.

    So "Kudos" to both of you! :)

    By Blogger Gayle, at 2:18 PM  

  • Phantom,
    Yes, I know that every part is essential to the war effort, both on the front, and in the rear. But I have spent too long in the rear without sharing in the risk of my fellow soldiers. I am no better than they that I should get to stay home and safe while they put their lives on the line.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 4:17 PM  

  • Great points. I think many of us on the right don't understand where the peace activists are coming from. This is the group I grew up with, and this is still where a great many of my peers are in their thinking.

    The peace activist attitude is generally that war is bad, the USA is the strongest of nations now, and we should stay out of conflicts unless were are unbelievably and directly attacked.

    Unfortunately this does not work in the real world, and appeasement is terribly flawed. The peace movement attracts mostly wackos, but the liberals too often follow the same line of thinking until we are at a crisis. I like when I hear people say that they don't support the war, but they support the troops. BS.

    I thank you and all the brave men and women who wear the uniform for defending the nation. My Dad is 85 and a navy vet of WWII, and my hero.

    By Blogger Rick's Corner, at 6:24 AM  

  • It's one strange mix of emotions. I've been standing next to men outside a bunker in Danang, a rocket lands and wham, you buddy is gone. Guilt happens when the numbness leaves you -- why wasn't it me? Why ?
    There is no answer, but you feel guilty it wasn't you that bought the farm. Wierd?
    It's indescribeable, but I think it goes to the fact that in the military, you'd not only give your life for your country, but you'd also do so to save another person.

    You accept the fatalism of the combatant: Why? Because it wasn't your time. Your number did not come up in the Big Wheel. Or God has other plans for you. Whatever,
    But it still haunts you for a long long time.

    Hooah!

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 8:11 AM  

  • Daniel,

    I linked here from A Payne Hollow visit. I was quite moved by your post. My son is a soldier and I am opposed to this war. He supports my stand and I support his. That is the beauty of this country. I pray the freedom to express ourselves, which is what our veterans have fought and died for, never ceases. We need each other for balance and to keep things sane. Hopefully at some point in time you will understand the protesters point of view as well and not consider us in such negative way. May God go with you. Please know that you will be in my prayers.

    By Blogger Marty, at 12:12 PM  

  • "The peace activist attitude is generally that war is bad, the USA is the strongest of nations now, and we should stay out of conflicts unless were are unbelievably and directly attacked."

    I disagree. The objection we have is that we go to war for the wrong reasons. We will leave in place or even support a dictator if it serves our economic interests, and we will destabilize or attack outright a democratically-elected government that tends toward socialism.

    For example: We support the Saudi royal family, the planet's major supporter of Islamic terrorism, while we try every which way to oust Hugo Chavez, who presents no threat whatsoever to our security.

    This is the pattern that's emerged in our foreign policy over the last half-century, and it's completely at odds with the rhetoric we're always handed about freedom and self-determination.

    We believe that the USA should come down on the side of the things we stand for, not just invoke the rhetoric as a justification for wars intended to further our economic advantage.

    By Blogger catastrophile, at 2:00 PM  

  • Nice post, thanks.

    By Blogger Crazy Politico, at 2:43 PM  

  • "For example: We support the Saudi royal family, the planet's major supporter of Islamic terrorism, while we try every which way to oust Hugo Chavez, who presents no threat whatsoever to our security."

    He doesn't pose any real threat yet, but he could be the catalyst that brings something like the old Soviet Union to South America, so we are right to address this problem now before it metastasizes like a cancer.

    I'm with you on the Saudis though. They commit so many crimes in the name of Allah it makes me want to puke.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:35 PM  

  • I don't see a Chavez threat at all . . . He doesn't even seem all that authoritarian, unlike the opposition business leader whose coup we backed in 2002.

    There's a good article here (though it's really more of an extended plug for the author's book) on the role of Cold War powergaming in the rise of Islamofascism. My concern is that our Iraq strategy amounts to more of the same powergaming.

    There is a new Cold War emerging with Europe and China as strategic competitors rather than a Soviet Union, and this campaign to transform the Arab world is going to be a battlefield in that war, as it was in the last. What that means, in short, is more of the same.

    By Blogger catastrophile, at 10:45 AM  

  • In other wars, some of the most valuable personnel were those who trained others: ie: The best pilots were kept stateside to train other pilots. One of the most important duties I see today is the recruitment of bright men and women.

    With your gift of rhetoric and intelligence, I can see you in one of these vital roles.

    I could also see you participating in the Green to Gold program

    http://www.rotc.monroe.army.mil/scholarship_HPD2/green/index.asp
    If you meet certain criteria.

    I'm sure you'd make one four point oh officer.

    All the best,

    PD

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 12:27 PM  

  • Phantom,
    I have considered recruiting. I lack the interpersonal skills to be an officer. I do plan on putting a warrant officer packet to become a chemical warrant as soon as I am eligible though, in about three years.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 1:29 PM  

  • I was with you until your anti-protest spiel. I fail to see how someone who is crying out "bring our soldiers home so that they will not continue to lose their lives in a seemingly perpetual war" is supporting the enemy.

    Don't get me wrong; numerous anti-war protests are done in bad tastes and only cause more strife at home. But the motivation of the protestors is not to appease the enemy, and I know very few Americans who actually hope that the enemy wins the war we're currently in.

    I understand, Daniel L., that you are currently serving. I pray for your safety and that you will never have to deal with the psychological aftermath of war that so many soldiers have experienced.

    Now, I as well drank on Veteran's Day, but admittedly to no one in particular. If it's not too late, I would like to dedicate those ten shots of Jameson's to our service men now.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 2:20 PM  

  • It's not too late. Go right ahead.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:27 PM  

  • Ten shots of Ireland's finest. Here's to ya!

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 7:26 AM  

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