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 JADED WAR
 by Kelly Thomas
March 18 2005



U.S. Army Spc. Joel Stewart, of Jamaica, waits for the start of a swearing in ceremony Friday, March 11, 2005, at the George Bush (news - web sites) Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Nearly 50 U.S. soldiers from around the world were sworn in as U.S. citizens. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) .Used for Education/Commentary purposes only U.S. Army Spc. Joel Stewart, of Jamaica, waits for the start of a swearing in ceremony Friday, March 11, 2005, at the George Bush (news - web sites) Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Nearly 50 U.S. soldiers from around the world were sworn in as U.S. citizens. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan). Used for Education/Commentary purposes only
Similar articles have been posted before, but articles like this are worth posting again and again.

I'm already seeing the news coverage of the war shift. It is not on page one or even two but on page eight. Not sure what this means. And, I'm not so sure that we have this much support for troops other than "Support the Troops" auto decals. Some face-lifting on "Support the troops" such as raising the death benefits is long overdue. But, not sure that there's not a false support: more of a detachment, "I'm supporting the troops especially since they are not my children."

If you think that serving your country is so great, then why would you not want your children to share in this great experience? I began to think about this when I've questioned people about the draft: those that traditionally would seemingly be all for it and found a different story. One of my best buddies, a real hero, was a Marine platoon leader in Nam, wounded badly; but, when I asked him about the draft, thinking he would think it was great. He was vehemently against it. Why? Didn't want his two boys to serve.

Letting other people's children fight our wars is morally reprehensible. It is possible that we might reach a point where (1) We simply can't afford to support the Volunteer Army in terms of costs or (2) equally as possible that we will not have enough fresh bodies to fulfill our commitments.

 THE ROLE OF VETS AND THE BATTLE OF IWO JIMA
 by John Henry Lee
March 20 2005



Medal of honour recipient and the last living battalion commander in the battle of Iwo Jima Lieutenant Colonel Jack Lucas (Ret.), Lieutenant General Larry Snowden (2nd R, Ret.) and Colonel Gerard Russell (L) together lay a wreath with the aid of a flower detail Marine during a Reunion of Honor ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima on the southern Japanese island March 12, 2005. An estimated 6,825 U.S. soldiers and nearly all of the 22,000 Japanese troops on Iwo Jima died in the first battle on Japanese soil during World War Two. REUTERS/Eriko Sugita. Used for Education/Commentary purposes only Medal of honour recipient and the last living battalion commander in the battle of Iwo Jima Lieutenant Colonel Jack Lucas (Ret.), Lieutenant General Larry Snowden (2nd R, Ret.) and Colonel Gerard Russell (L) together lay a wreath with the aid of a flower detail Marine during a Reunion of Honor ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima on the southern Japanese island March 12, 2005.REUTERS/Eriko Sugita. Used for Education/Commentary purposes only
Last week was the anniversary of the historic battle on Iwo Jima. Most Americans who have any interest in it will think of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. In the psyche of war, it is one of the most famous pictures ever. The story had a good "hook" as it profiled the different attitudes of war: The American one of prolonged heroism and the Japanese one as a combination denial and politically correct sojourn of American and Japanese cooperation.

The story of Iwo Jima is incredibly compelling. So much so that Clint Eastwood, our new icon of what's important in America, is about to commence with a movie based on James Bradley's best selling book, Flags of our Fathers, about the battle. And, quite a battle it was: In the 35 day fight for the eight square mile volcanic island, 6,821 Marines and Navy died. By comparison which is pretty lame but a point: More than four times the number of American troops were killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1600 after the island was declared secure by military authorities at the end of March 1945. Sounds like Iraq. The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.

The Japanese were fierce fighters and the battle of Iwo Jima was an example. The island was 700 miles south of Tokyo and was crucial for American bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From the island, an aircraft spotter could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers. The Americans had to have the island.

In the great scheme of things, how important was Iwo Jima. It probably is a matter of perspective. For us, very, very important. For the Japanese, they see events where mostly civilians died and the nuclear bomb dropped. I think that history of Iwo Jima must be part of our psyche. Officially, it doesn't seem to do much for us in terms of choices.

After WW ll, we had Korea, then Vietnam, now Iraq. Maybe they can't be connected. It was in a timeframe, the world has changed immensely since then; and, so we have to revere and learn from the past but not be driven by it. My thoughts on the matter.

 WHAT PUNISHMENT IS ENOUGH?
 by KELLY THOMAS
March 21 2005



This is an undated photo provided by the Lunsford Family of Jessica Marie Lunsford. The father of the missing 9-year-old said Wednesday he is confident she will be found safe as investigators searched for a 'person of interest' who was apparently acquainted with the girl. (AP Photo/Lunsford Family)  Used for Education/Commentary purposes only This is an undated photo provided by the Lunsford Family of Jessica Marie Lunsford. The father of the missing 9-year-old said Wednesday he is confident she will be found safe as investigators searched for a 'person of interest' who was apparently acquainted with the girl. (AP Photo/Lunsford Family). Used for Education/Commentary purposes only
For the registered sex offender who killed nine year old Jessica, what punishment is enough? In this case, what we need to give the killer is about ten minutes with my hero, Jack Bauer. Jack is the main character in 24, played by Kiefer Sutherland and my all time favorite show, the best on TV.

Here's what Jack would do I think: First, he would calmly ask the offender to tell his story. What Jack is looking for is any reason or justification to show just a little mercy to someone who would kill a nine year old. Then he would calmly tell him that no punishment is great enough. The fact that he has ended the life of a nine year old is heinous beyond words and his life in no way atones for the death of little Jessica. But, what might help is if he suffers a little. Then Jack would administer a few shock treatments just to warm him up. And, then, he would probably shoot him a couple of times in the knee caps and let him bleed on the cold floor a little. Then, he would come in and ask him about his family. Jack would try to determine if the perpetrator had anybody he truly loved. If he did, Jack would tell him that he was going to kill all his family. (He wouldn't really do that but just wants to extract as much pain, even emotional as he can.) And, then finally Jack would play Russian roulette with the guy. He would make sure that the full measure of anticipation was involved. Then, I think, Jack would give him the chance to kill himself if the Russian roulette didn't. Regardless, he would die.

Would this help anybody? Not sure but what it would do is not burden the justice system with a trial, the money it would cost, and then the warehousing of someone who has taken the life of a small child. There is no element of mercy to be shown; Jack could do it without emotion and we'd be done with it. There are some acts too heinous to even be dealt with in a civil manner. Jack is my hero.

  IN NORTH CAROLINA I THOUGHT GAY MEANT HAPPY
FROM THE SERIES LIFE IN FRISCO
 by AUGHTRY COOPER
A LOOK BACK



When you live in such a place with an enormous gay population, it is immediately noticeable. In most places, if you see two men together or two women, no one thinks anything about it (and here in San Fran most definitely don't). In San Fran, if you see men together and women, you think, gay. And, about 99% percent of the time if you were interested in such things, you'd be right.

For one thing, San Fran is 40% gay by some accounts- that is almost half the population. And, you better believe, it has a political ramification--most gays vote; where in the so called, "straight" community, less than 50% vote; gays vote 80%. Most of the gay community is fairly liberal or progressive, based on how you would see the population. In San Fran, they're liberal.

Since I've been here, I've seen the gay population change big time. The first book I ever read about homosexuals was one, now get this, I picked up in Fayettenam (Fayetteville, NC, home of Fort Bragg, home of the airborne). Anyway, it was called, The Mayor of Castro Street, about Harvey Milk, the first gay elected official in the U. S.

Even with all that enormous experience, the sexual practices floored me. This was before Aids--the promiscuity was unbelievable; sometimes they would have as many as 20 different sex partners in one night. How could this be? Did the hetero community do this?Superman couldn't do this. The public bath houses were all the rage then and created the atmosphere for reveling in something that most can only shake their heads at. And, Harvey Milk was the leader of the pack and he became a supervisor. In San Fran, this was essentially the town council. Amazing.

And, then when I first came to San Fran, Castro Street was almost like a tourist attraction. When someone visited, I would inevitably take them into what we would call, The Castro. I will never forget my oldest brother's visit. He had a camera and was taking pictures and I just knew someone was going to zap us. Well, when we came to two guys French kissing on a street corner, this was too much. It is a little strange to see a busy intersection, teeming swams and almost nothing but men. I've noticed that nowadays, there seems to be more of a mixture.

I was absolutely amazed at my first real look at the gay community. There were the usual sexual jokes we made, just a tad shy of hurtful, I hope. Growing up in a little town in North Carolina, part of the rite of passage was being "felt up" as we called it by the local strange guy that most everybody knew. Or, there was the guy with some dirty pictures he was showing around. I won't say it was harmless; but, then again, it probably, by the standards then, didn't alter our course in life. In fact, we all knew a local minister who had been known to look in on the naked bodies in the boys locker room with regularity. I guess in today's California litigious society, we could have sued for big bucks. Of course, I do not condone any of this behavior, but it just was.

I will have to agree with Dave Ross, this radio commentator on one of the local stations. Dave doesn't have anything against gays, the gay lifestyle. He's a live and let live kind of guy, but he has to draw the line at men kissing. Why can't they do that at home!!!!!!! Who wants to see anyone kissing on the street??? I mean gee whiz. Shouldn't there be a time and place for everything???

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