The March of Folly: The Next Generation

Americans killed in Vietnam: 58,193.

Americans killed in Iraq: 4,400.

Americans killed in Afghanistan: 1,087.

Civilians killed: Let’s not go there.

Substantive achievements: None.

On this day we honor our fallen, who sacrificed their lives to the hubris of the American political class.


Hey now!

That’s… That’s…That’s too truthful.

From the novel “Once An Eagle” by Anon Myrer (a WW2 Marine and combat vet) as spoken by the main character, Sam Damon, at a memorial to WW2 vets:

“You have asked me to assist in the dedication of this memorial; and I am greatly honored. But I know you will understand if I avoid the use of words like gallantry or valor or glory. I will leave them to those who have not had to add up the ledger of violence and misery. My own heart is too full of losses today. We are assembled here to honor the men whose names are inscribed on this tablet. Let us, then, do them the simple honor of honesty. This war was a long, lonely, dirty job, as these men seated here behind me can attest. They fought it with courage and fortitude and the hope of better day, and what they did cannot and will not be forgotten. But there is nothing glorious about killing one’s fellow man, or being killed by him, or passing many many days in hatred and misery and fear. And whoever says it is a matter for glory lies in his teeth…”

“We like to say that war is cruel, but no one knows how cruel it is–how deeply monstrously cruel–unless he has himself walked through the fire and felt it sear him. The men recorded on this tablet have done that. Many of them died horribly, some of them needlessly. Yes, needlessly because what is most hideous about war is its waste: destruction of goods and homes, waste of life and hop and that dream of individual dignity we cherish as the particular achievement of America. A country’s treasure is in its young men, and their loss is terrible beyond measure it is irreparable. It is as shocking as the loss of innocence, or self-respect. And more often than not it is the good man who goes: the large act, the spendthrift heart. The medic who goes out to bring in the wounded man, the automatic rifleman who covers his patrol’s withdrawal, the officer trying to prevent panic, the gunner who throws himself on the grenade menacing his friends…”

“there they are, arrayed on the face of the stone. All that is left of their eager faces, their dreams, their inviolable souls. They are dead now. They were singularly trusting. They asked no collateral on the prompt surrender of their lives, they demanded no social privileges, no distinctions, no seats of power or influence as they walked steadily in to the valley. They demanded nothing. What about us, the beneficiaries of such profligate bounty? Will we be callous as to scheme and despoil for these things again– and mock their death, their slow, immeasurable agony?”


“Forgive me, if you can, for so somber an address on this beautiful September day, when the whole land echoes with cries of triumph; but I am weighted down with losses–I am constrained to cry, like another soldier sick of slaughter and folly: The weight of this sad time we must obey; Speak what we feel, and what we ought to say.”

You forgot Korea.

Also: Number of wars fought to protect American soil. 0.

As to the civilians, not really important since they weren’t, for the most part, Americans. That Vietnam monument is very fine. I wonder if its inspiration is the Pinkas synagogue in Prague where the same idea, recording the names of the dead on every inch of wall space, is used to stunning effect. When can we have a monument to all the young men who refused to be part of it, whose lives were disrupted, who waited years to return, whose honorable refusal is still mocked.

War and religion define our politics. Two sides of the same coin.

What passing-bells for those who die as cattle indeed.

Truth to power, dude.

Part of my memorializing on this day goes out to all of those who’ve died trying to prevent wars. I’m thinking about Omar, Lisa and Pablo, Carlos and Guido, among others. They were all my friends, and they were all heroes.

And lest we forget those largely responsible for the current mess we’re in:

Representative Patrick McHenry, R-NC – did not serve. Saw fit to endanger American troops’ lives after a visit to Iraq by violating operational security and helping militias target their mortar attacks on the Green Zone.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY – did not serve (1)

Senate Assistant Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-MI – avoided the draft, did not serve.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Jon Kyl, R-AZ – did not serve.

Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair John Cornyn, R-TX – did not serve.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Ensign, R-NV – did not serve.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-OH – did not serve.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-MO – did not serve.

House Republican Conerence Chair Adam Putnam, R-FL – did not serve.

House Republican Policy Committee Thaddeus McCotter, R-MI – did not serve.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Cole, R-OK – did not serve.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani – did not serve.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney – did not serve in the military but did serve the Mormon Church on a 30-month mission to France.

Former Senator Fred Thompson – did not serve.

Senator John McCain – McCain’s naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. Why did the Bush campaign smear him so in 2000? At least Senators Cleland (D-GA), Kerry (D-MA), Kerrey (D-NE), Robb (D-VA) and Hagel (R-NE) defended him.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert – avoided the draft, did not serve.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey – avoided the draft, did not serve.

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay – avoided the draft, did not serve (1). “So many minority youths had volunteered … that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself.”

Former House Majority Whip Roy Blunt – did not serve

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist – did not serve. (An impressive medical resume, but not such a friend to cats in Boston.)

Rick Santorum, R-PA, formerly third ranking Republican in the Senate – did not serve. (1)

George Felix Allen, former Republican Senator from Virginia – a supporter of Nixon and the Vietnam war, did not serve. (1)

Former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld – served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor. (1) Served as President Reagan’s Special Envoy to the Middle East and met with Saddam Hussein twice in 1983 and 1984.

GW Bush – decided that a six-year Nat’l Guard commitment really means four years. Still says that he’s “been to war.” Huh?

VP Cheney – several deferments (1, 2), the last by marriage (in his own words, “had other priorities than military service”) (1)

Former Att’y Gen. John Ashcroft – did not serve (1, 2); received seven deferment to teach business ed at SW Missouri State

Jeb Bush, Florida Governor – did not serve. (1)

Karl Rove – avoided the draft, did not serve (1), too busy being a Republican.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich – avoided the draft, did not serve (1, 2)

Former President Ronald Reagan – due to poor eyesight, served in a noncombat role making movies for the Army in southern California during WWII. He later seems to have confused his role as an actor playing a tail gunner with the real thing.

“B-1” Bob Dornan – avoided Korean War combat duty by enrolling in college acting classes (Orange County Weekly article). Enlisted only after the fighting was over in Korea.

Phil Gramm – avoided the draft, did not serve, four (?) student deferments

Congressman Ron Paul – active duty flight surgeon from 1963-65; Air National Guard from 1965-68. (link)

Former Senator Bob Dole – an honorable man.

Chuck Hagel – two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, Vietnam.

Duke Cunningham – nominated for the Medal of Honor, received the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, fifteen Air Medals, the Purple Heart, and several other decorations Recently entered plea bargain on felony charges of bribery, etc. etc.

Senator Jeff Sessions U.S. Army Reserves, 1973-1986

Colin Powell. What are we to make of Powell? On the one hand, a long career as a military manager. On the other hand, accused of covering up the My Lai massacre. Back on that first hand, one of the seemingly sane voices in this administration when it comes to Iraq (or at least he used to be). On the other hand, a clear hypocrite (“I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed… managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units…”)

Representative Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), served in USMC in Vietnam; wounded in action.

Noron, on MSNBC just said “Happy Memorial Day” to some guy at Bagram … is she really that dense?

I feel the need to highlight the one that makes my head explode:

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay – avoided the draft, did not serve. “So many minority youths had volunteered … that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself.”

In lighter news, the Catholic Church is now free of homos.

@blogenfreude: In an earlier version, I was going to note that the last two presidents to serve were Bush I and Saint Jimmy.

@Benedick: Technically I shouldn’t have included Nam, since Tuchman’s book takes us up to that one. But the original take was “wars during my lifetime”, all of which have been criminally pointless.

I was also going to quote a truism that was popular thirty years ago: “No Republican ever started a war.” Except, y’know, Lincoln.

@Benedick: And, in the immortal words of Molly Ivins, let’s not forget that W protected the skies over Denver from the Viet Cong.

@Benedick: Right, the British attacks on Washington, Baltimore and New Orleans were just disagreements managed with guns.

@FlyingChainSaw: No one’s worse than the British. Their proxy wars against the French were just as bad as the US’s proxy wars against the USSR or China.

@all: checking in for my return flight, and there is an achingly beautiful woman with two kittehs at the counter. Baked comes to mind…

@Nabisco: Wait. Aren’t you like… married? What is this, a singles bar? “achingly beautiful” What like Cher? (no sign of dachshunds?)

@Bene: totes married, yes. But I admire, especially travellers with pets.

@nojo: I see from your response to Promnight on another thread that you’re up at this hour. Thank you for this Memorial Day post. Thanks also to Manchu, Nabisco, Blogenfreude, Benedick, and all who reinforced the message of “When will they [we] ever learn? When will they ever learn?” “WAR! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”


see how well self regulation works?
i suggest it’s time for Ma beesko to put you in a choke collar/short leash.


yes, my thanks too.


i was going to bitchslap the next person who said “happy memorial day!”
and we can be proud (?) that it would be a terrible “shonda” for an israeli politician to not have served OR their child.

i weep today for all soldiers. the hypocrisy and greed and stupidity of humans. the planet will take care of them, good riddance.

and speaking of good inhabitants of the planet, my 2 kittehs have spent the weekend running away from Bella. hee-larious. they love dogs, puppehs? not so much. all 5 of us settled down in bed together last night.
peace reigns. and no, she will have no part of that evil crate whatsoever.
why should my life get easy now.

i have a shout out for HF and Flippen.
been laughing like a deranged hyena from the soap dish dialogue.
Must rent!


i need your advice. during my usual monthly sweep of RB’s everything, (something i never did, ever, for 9 years) the fuckhead doesn’t even cover his tracks, i found a text message from that sabra whore. wishing him a happy birthday! i bloodied him with it of course. he claims he has had no contact. i know when he’s lying, his lips are moving. he claims complete devotion to me and has paid mightily for his indiscretion. i have to go back to that country and kill her, right?

@baked: Put the puppy in the crate. Feed the puppy in the crate. When puppy is sleepy put puppy in crate to sleep. Your dog will be bigger than your husband. She needs to have better manners. Puppy will love the crate in no time flat. And honestly she’s too young to be sleeping in the bed. Unless you don’t mind changing the sheets and buying new mattresses in the middle of the night. Crate training makes for happy happy dogs. It might improve RB too.

And yes you should go there and kill her. Either that ot insist that he lies better. Or blocks her number. Or explains to her, with a text written to your dictation that she should leave him alone. And I’d suggest something polite. Clearly it’s only a matter of time before you all end up on Judge Judy and you don’t want to look ridiculous in Bert’s eyes.


I’m also in favor of crate training. I used to think that it was terribly inhumane, but one of my rescued Dalmatians was crate-trained as a puppy, and it drives him bonkers that he no longer has a crate, even now nine years later. He likes to sleep under the end-table, under the desk and in a closet. Our house is very small (780 packed, ship-like square feet), and we srsly don’t have the extra space for a crate.

My initial negative reaction to crate training was the linked to the idea that people would abuse their dogs by leaving them in there indefinitely, but the reality is that it really makes a dog feel safe and secure so long as they’re only in the crate for a few hours at a time or while sleeping. They’re predators, so it’s important for them to feel like no one can sneak up on them while they’re sleeping.

Also, my Dals slept in bed with us when they were first rescued, but they had this incredible habit of starting out sleeping curled up in the center of the bed and then gradually stretching out fully over the course of the evening until Mr. OA and I were clinging to the last inch of the bed for our lives. Trust me, if you start crating from the beginning, the crate will become your dog’s home, and they’ll love it, which will make events like transport a snap.

@Original Andrew: Baked is not listening. Though we write with love and experience. It’s simply a truth that dogs like dens. If you leave them alone they will try to dig one. They love a dark quiet place that is theirs. And it’s good for a puppy to have a quiet place to go to. And yes, actually, I am baked’s mother.

mom, i listen to every word you say! and OA, i know all about the wonders of the crate. she will nap in it now…yay! bedtime is the problem.
i know i’m spoiling her a little there. jeez, she’s been here less than a week, and she’s so widdle. we try, we really do. we let her cry, no scream, for 15 minutes. the scream turned to panic. of course i had to take her out. i really appreciate your support. all very welcomed. love you guys.

i have dictated letters, texts, and breathed down his neck as he told her on the phone. she’s a sabra! relentless. so why do i stay? i was running away from home again the other night and he barred the door. with all sincerity, he said, we have to stay together for the DOG !!!!
he makes me laugh.

excuse me while i wash bedding and get bert and ceasar milan on the phone.

@baked: Baked my dear, I simply do.not.stray. But I admire. From afar. Ma Nabisco and I have been at this long enough, and I’ve been off the leash before when the fire hydrants were much more inviting, and nothing. She knows it, and to be honest probably would have been the first one to notice the ‘achingly beautiful’ kitteh karrier had she been with me.

As for crating, I know lots who’ve done it with great success. Should I stop this current turn of the hamster wheel and gift the biscuits the puppy they deserve, the crate is the only way Ma Nabisco would let the thing come in the house. Until, you know, she falls in love with it as she did with our first kitteh.

you’re a good man beesko. ma will not have to learn the look i shoot rat that inspires him to say, i’m an asshole, i’m soooo so sorry! the pup will know the withering look too eventually.
loved Jr.’s remark, though here’s some parenting advice:
“i was hoping you would like the idea, but you don’t really have a vote”
of course get a dog! get 2!! a house is not a home without a dog.

@baked: We might be getting another dog while his family goes to Beverly Hills. Bella is young to be leaving her birth mother and I know what it’s like to have a screaming puppy at night. As they got older our dogs have found places they like to sleep. Our first dachshund ended up sleeping in a closet. I told him to get out, that was my place, but he didn’t listen.

If someone makes you laugh it makes up for a lot.

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