Whether you saw a TV documentary of the history of the Harley Davidson Company or read Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels
you got the same information. Motorcycle groups formed after World WarII from veterans who felt ill at ease with society; they didn't fit in, and were more comfortable around like-minds . I suspect a lot of these vets felt they had seen too much for a young man; maybe they had killed or witnessed war atrocities or maybe felt guilty or shameful at some things they had done. Maybe they were shell-shocked and were experiencing nightmares. Beer and motorcycles took the edge off.
Many more came back from WWII and bought tract housing and got good jobs...many thousands took advantage of a great GI Bill and used the benefits to obtain degrees from universities. Many clammed up and would not talk of the war, even to their wives.
These are the stereotypical vets that we remember , many of us had family members that fit this mold.
History books don't mention any vets who came home trying to find an audience to hear them tell of the D-Day Dodgers, for example, who drank vino
in southern Italy and skipped Anzio.
My late work-friend, Merlin, told us of his days in Korea, freezing day after day,counting the days...warding off frostbite of interminable days-on-end.
Vietnam came along and I grew up with it, and with perfect timing was drafted and sent to California for a year after training. I saw and listened to many returning vets . The older non-commissioned officers laughed at me when I told them I had not been over yet, telling me I'd get to respect "Charlie". I worked in the fort hospital and made frequent trips to the Navy air field near Monterey to bring back army soldiers to the fort hospital for rehabilitation, which was mostly spent in a hospital bed. Many of these guys told me '"Don't go!" . They told me what a mess they had witnessed in Vietnam...two years after the 1968 Tet Offensive had demoralized the war effort. A fellow soldier disappeared one day. I was supposed to work with him on the hospital ward and he did not show up. A month later word trickled back that he had had his parents send him money and he had made his way to Sweden. Another guy shot half his hand off to avoid going. I went.
When I came back I was a bubbling cauldron of hate for our policy in Vietnam. I spent a few years protesting and talking to high schools classes, just expressing my views of the war .
What I'm writing about is support for our troops in Iraq and other outposts.
Many times when soldiers are interviewed they are very loyal to Geroge Bush's policy of invading Iraq. Even when wounded horribly , losing both legs even, they are waiting only for the day when they can go back to Iraq.
I have spoken out against the invasion of Iraq when it became eminent Bush was taking us there. The soldiers and all military personnel are volunteers.
The U.S. has been involved in this war for longer than we were in WWII.
Abu Ghraib prison torture and the murder of Iraqi citizens has been in the news a long time.
I contend the U.S. presence has already sparked a civil war but the government continually says it's not...close, but no civil war.
Bush has backed down..brought in James Baker and Bob Gates, but still vows to win in Iraq.
Most of the troops apparently support him...even having given their legs and arms , they yearn to go back and finish the job, whatever they and Bush think that might be.
Support the troops? To do what?
When I came home I was cursed and shunned by crude civilians and many that counted, like employers and bankers. That was the support of THIS troop I received. And I deserved no better. That war was horrible. This war is horrible. Can we NOT support the Iraq war and still support the troops that support the war effort and want to defend it to their deaths?
Labels: Iraq, veterans, war