Metallic Pea

Frustrating People Since 1971.

What Did YOU Do During the War, Daddy?

with 8 comments

‘The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat … ‘  ~ Isaiah 11:6a

(Conclusion of Parts One, Two, and Three)

basic22a.jpg

Ah, eighteen years-old and drunk with that warrior spirit!  Eager to kill for Uncle Sam–or so I thought.

‘Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.’ ~ Winston Churchill

Having already explained in a previous post why my wartime memories have recently been brought to the fore, I would like to take the opportunity to complete my tale by explaining what compelled me to commit it to writing at this moment.  The reasons behind doing so are manifold but not complicated.

Chicks dig It.  Leaving Something for Others.

I have enjoyed reading war histories and personal battle accounts since I was a young man, devouring the firsthand retellings with great excitement and anticipation.  That affinity for the battlefield narrative only increased as I continued my studies, eventually earning a Master’s degree with an emphasis in military history from Texas A&M.  Over the years I have continually wrestled with the idea of relating my experiences to a wide audience—especially when unsolicited—due primarily to the feeling that most would find the account uninteresting or irrelevant (or boastful at worst).  However, I have begun to reassess my attitude in that regard; certainly there are others such as myself who enjoy the excitement of reading the harrowing tales of war and survival as well as the opportunity for the vicarious exercising of their warrior spirit.  Were I to take my experiences to the grave I would feel that—and I state this without any sense of self-importance or hubris—I would be selfishly robbing others of the same enjoyment I have received over the years in reading these very things.  Therefore, I decided to share with those who may be of like mind.  (And those who are not may click away from the page without penalty.)

Having Others Pay the Bill

Secondly, with the rampant violence that envelops our society and the ubiquitous and increasing calls for the expansion of our war efforts throughout the world, I felt compelled to share my experience to shed light on the fact that life to-day, it would seem, is cheap.  To be sure, most of us to-day will voice our opposition to abortion without much prompting and take a stand for the same with great vigor and ardor.  However, once out of the womb, life seems to have less value in the aggregate. I am concerned that many folks in our country appear to care very little for the thousands of women and children who are killed—‘collateral damage’ they are called—and the hundreds of thousands wounded or left homeless and orphaned by war.  After all, it is much easier to ignore or downplay when it is halfway across the globe instead of in our own back yards.  For that matter, there is little pity for the enemy soldier who is forced to fight by conscription or those who do so out of a sense of duty to protect his family and homeland—just as you or I would.  (I saw this firsthand.)

More disconcerting is the ease with which we call for more killing—as long as it is someone else’s son doing the killing and/ or dying.  Those feeding our sons into the War Machine do not have nearly as much invested in peace as those of us who have our sons returned to us in a pine box (or horribly maimed).  Most of the war puppeteers have never so much as donned a uniform, much less been asked to end another man’s life–while also risking their own.  Death and destruction are not abstract concepts—they are reality and have real consequences.  As I discovered firsthand: IT IS NOT AS EASY TO KILL A MAN AS YOU MAY THINK.  (At least, it shouldn’t be.)  Still, I find it interesting (or is it maddening?) that amidst the prevalent calls to arms in the Us Against Them struggle, the lines outside the military recruiting offices are glaringly anemic.

I often wonder whether, if our politicians were faced with carrying out their military policies with their own hands,—or those of THEIR sons—would things be different?

Peace to you.

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Written by ninepoundhammer

October 11, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. I have been thoroughly engrossed in your narrative and am quite glad you shared it.

    Questions: Did you at the time have any reservations about the motivations of our government for going to war? Do you have any now, looking back on it?

    Thanks for your hesitation in killing. I know that killing is necessary as well as reacting quickly, but it give me hope that there are a few soldiers who give an once of thought and value into human life.

    Jacob

    October 11, 2007 at 4:44 pm

  2. Jacob: I was 100% behind the war at the time. In the interim since, I have questioned the motivations for that invasion–especially in light of current events. If I had it to do all over again, I would like to think that I would have the guts to resist. Of course, with that comes consequences–and jail would be a real possibility. But obedience to God does have its price.

    I have written before that I believe, as the Bible tells us in Ecclesiasted 3, that there is a time for war. I am not a pacifist. However, I would like to think I would practise a better form of discretion in view of what Scripture has to tell us.

    ninepoundhammer

    October 11, 2007 at 9:49 pm

  3. “I often wonder whether, if our politicians were faced with carrying out their military policies with their own hands,—or those of THEIR sons—would things be different?”

    In the Roman Republic, Senators and Consuls (the two highest ranking classes of Roman politicians) did carry out their military policies with their own hands, and occasionally died doing it. Nevertheless, Rome was martial, warlike and aggressive. So the answer to your final question may be:

    Yes, things would indeed be different; war would be more common, and military glory would be more sought after.

    Ted S.

    June 26, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    • @Ted S.: True enough, but our leaders are most certainly not of Roman stature. I stand by my assertion that, if our Congress and President were forced to do the fighting and dying, we would be involved in far fewer conflicts–if any.

      ninepoundhammer

      July 2, 2009 at 9:10 am

      • Thanks for your reply.

        What I’m suggesting is that if Congress and the President had to participate personally in our country’s wars, then …
        … we would get very different Congresses and Presidents.

        And history shows that for the men who attain leadership in those circumstances, getting blood on their hands is no barrier to declaring war. Indeed, it may even be an incentive.

        Ted S.

        July 2, 2009 at 7:44 pm

  4. I understand what you are saying. Either way, I reckon its a sad situation.

    ninepoundhammer

    July 3, 2009 at 4:56 am

    • No doubt it is often sad. But it may be less sad than the alternatives. And sad isn’t the same as wrong. So far, perfect peace and harmony has never been a real option. The real options have so far always been between various evils: fight or submit, fight here or fight there, a bad fight now or an even worse fight later, etc.

      I think one of the reasons that the portraits on the right grace this page is that those men recognized this and understood that it means responsible men must take imperfect actions in imperfect situations and live with their role in the resulting imperfect world. I also think this accounts for the look in their eyes, or General Jackson’s anyway.

      Ted S.

      July 3, 2009 at 11:44 am

  5. […] (Continue to Conclusion…) […]


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