Veterans Day - 2005


A big hit against the president's policy these days is couched within the framework of the term American Imperialism. It's the fad of the current crop of naysayers to attempt to paint the USA as some sort of oil-obsessed colonizing power running rampant throughout the world in a quest of conquest, much as the old-Europe nations did throughout the world through a number of centuries right on through the twentieth. The remains of their handiwork can now be seen in Africa, South/Central America, India, and other places where populations contend with everything from illiteracy to HIV/Aids to dictatorships or quasi-democratic governments too broke, corrupt, and incompetent to rule anything.

Someone mentioned to me about this time last year that I should check on some of the overseas newspapers to see how intense is the loss of this nation's "goodwill of much of the rest of the world;" however, I can read as much hatred for this country as they spew over there just by reading the mainstream press in the USA. I couldn't care less about the goodwill of much of the world, or any of the world, for that matter. What I DO care about is the safety of this country. As for American Imperialism, just tally up all the lands in the world captured and now governed by the USA as the result of its victories for the last 100 years, during which it has been the difference between freedom and slavery for entire populations. And…think of the sacrifice, especially in terms of blood, but also of treasure. The American military veterans have done more to change this world for the civic good than any other group of people throughout history, but have not attempted to colonize any territory, unlike the old-Europe powers that grimly hung on to their empires until after World War II.

Europe realized freedom in 1917-18 ONLY because of the USA (117,000 dead Americans); ditto for Europe and Asia 1941-45 (405,000 dead Americans); South Korea 1950-53 (37,000 dead Americans). This country lost 58,000 of its finest in Vietnam, and how much of Vietnam belongs to the USA today? How much of any of the countries involved in these conflicts does the USA own/govern today? After freeing it in 1991, how much of Kuwait and all of its oil belongs to the USA, or has ever belonged to the USA, this terrible imperialistic power so named by the (gasp) foreign, sophisticated press or disaffected American wannabe presidents such as Pat Buchanan, who finds it amusing, perhaps, to refer to USA imperialism, knowing full well that he lies between his teeth? The USA did the dirty work regarding Serbia-Kosovo in the 90s, so how much of those countries does the USA own/govern today? All of eastern Europe was freed in 1989-90 from the Soviet Union ONLY because of the USA, and how much of that huge expanse does the USA own/govern today?

The USA also freed Cuba and the Philippines from Spain just over 100 years ago and maintained a presence in the latter, helping against Japan in WWII, and removing itself militarily, as requested, just a few years ago. Now, Muslim thugs are taking over that country. The USA could have made Cuba into a state, but it didn't, and now look at the mess there. To even mention imperialism in connection with anything this country has done militarily is to not only be patently wrongheaded, but also to be scurrilous to the point of malice. Look to Europe for centuries of imperialism – England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and look at all the benighted nations they held in subjugation, and mentioned above. Who drew the lines in the sand in the Middle East after WWI and WWII and contributed greatly to the terrible problems there? Is it any wonder Great Britain should feel a responsibility in the Middle East?

It is the American veteran who is honored during this week, and rightly so. It is to be hoped that the nation will never come to the place that it doesn't realize that the fittest survive, and that the well-equipped and respected military person is the key to that survival. Some have argued that peace is not necessarily the absence of war…but it is, in tangible terms at least.

VETERAN

So little have they spoken…returning from their hell -
Those men who should be broken…but, sane and strong, yet dwell
Both sides these five long decades…their memories intact,
Of blood and gore those decades…they hold the scenes exact;
Yet, rarely have they spoken…but have so much to tell,
They are the very token…of men defying well
The scourge of the dictator…or nature’s grimmest test
Of risk to kill dictator…of manhood at its best.
Do justly now they figure…that no one would believe
The gross and cruel torture…that humans can conceive,
Or, have they just concluded…recalling is too drear,
When in their thoughts intruded…marks pain, the dread, the fear?
Might they have calculated…that young ones have no time
For valor celebrated…in battlefielded grime,
That conflict judged as mortal…is waged with words and tact,
That millions now immortal…had no clue how to act?

So little have they spoken…returning from their hell,
Of nations being broken…where citizens rebel
Against wise preparation…to fight despotic might,
For vapid declaration…when only strength is right.

So, have they simply figured…now lion less than lamb,
And so have simply figured…nobody gives a damn?

When Graves Again Are Filled

Fast pouring from the silent depths of graveyards far and wide,
They came in hordes from granite rows in cities, countryside,
They came from where they were unmarked, but buried namelessly,
They came, as well, from ocean tides, from deep beneath the sea.

And as they rose and marched again in cadences…just so,
Their booted rhythm formed the beat for voices sad and low
To chant the mantra of the brave, the ones who gave their all,
Then loudly shout back toward their graves that none should live in thrall.

And as they looked back toward the earth they saw it bathed in blood,
They saw the places where they fell…in crimson, blackened mud,
They saw the oceans turned to red…where they had fought and bled,
They saw the people, blood-washed free…and knew why they were dead.

And on they marched, that multitude, in perfect left and right,
And sang an anthem of the free as they went out of sight,
But, when they were no longer there, the air grew still and chilled –
The feel of an impending doom…when graves again are filled.