My Uncle Wayne - my Grandmother's brother - received a full scholarship to play football for Oklahoma State, but before he even got to the school he was drafted and sent to Europe.
The fighting was of course brutal. Uncle Wayne was infantry. Hand-to-hand combat, a prief period as a POW. Once Uncle Wayne fought a German soldier close in and had been disarmed. He managed to take the German's rifle and stick the bayonet straight in the German soldier's chest. He kept the bayonet and my Grandmother still has it. It wasn't a war trophy. It was a reminder to him that he had watched a man die by his own hand.
Uncle Wayne was also part of the liberating force for at least one concentration camp, arriving a few hours after the Germans fled, leaving everything in process. He said the survivors were just wandering around the camp, confused. Uncle Wayne never told anybody except my Grandmother what he actually saw.
My Mom says that when he came back, she didn't really know him anymore. All his youthful ambitions and the spark that had always animated him were gone. He did get a job, but he never went to college, never played football again. He lived with his parents until they died, and then lived in that same house until he did. Uncle Wayne was perhaps the most gentle man I have ever known. He taught me to fish and had a great way of playing with children without ever being childish himself. But all us kids - my Grandmother's passel of grandkids - knew that he was wounded, somehow. We knew that he wasn't really whole.
I think that Uncle Wayne's experience at the concentration camp convinced him that WWII was necessary, that the things he did were essential to stopping the monstrosity of the Nazis. Even my Grandmother, who has grieved for the brother that went away over 60 years ago, says that our involvement was just, insofar as any war can be called such. But our soldiers and their families pay a terrible price, one that sometimes can even be worse than the death of the soldier.
Those that minimize the deaths in Iraq, that declare America's sacrifice to be small because we are not losing the masses we lost in WWII, those people are inhuman monsters. Every one of those soldiers is someone's son, another's mommy. Those that come back, mutilated in body and spirit, will be forever changed - in fact, the person they were before will be dead. Some will be able to reenter society well. Others will divorce their spouses, leave their children, perhaps murder fellow soldiers in the woods by stabbing them 32 times, dousing them with lighter fluid and setting them afire.
Now Bush, Lieberman and others want to send more troops into the meatgrinder. They lied to get us there in the first place, they still refuse to equip them properly, and when the soldiers return they spend their money thinking up ways to deny these soldiers the treatment they so desperately need.
God damn them to Hell.
Jack Murtha wants to attach an amendment to a bill requesting more money for the war that would require the Army to follow its own readiness standards before committing any more troops to Iraq or keeping troops we already have in country. That's it. There's no new regulation, really, that the amendment would create. Rather, it would force the civilian, never-been-in-combat masters of our armed forces to listen to the goddamned military for once, and quit sending underequipped soldiers to Iraq, only to keep them there tour after tour after tour.Of course, the yip! yip! yip! of the Bush admin lapdogs in the press can be heard loud and clear. Oh noes! Murtha would damage Bush's ability to do a "surge" of troops! Murtha would undermine Bush's ability to prosecute the war as Commander in Chief!
That sound bite from John Murtha suggests that it’s time a few things be said about him...Look, this man has tremendous cache among House Democrats, but he is not — this guy is long past the day when he had anything but the foggiest awareness of what the heck is going on in the world.What utter bullshit. Jack Murtha has long had a better reputation in the halls of the Pentagon than he has within his own caucus. It's only been his willingness to speak out about the Iraq War that has made him popular among Democrats - but non necessarily House Democrats, since they didn't vote him in as Majority Leader, something Brit Hume knows all too well. An unconscious Jack Murtha in the midst of a heart attack and a stroke would still have a better "awareness of what the heck is going on in the world" than that idiot Brit Hume.