Veterans Day

Published Brownsville Herald November 23, 2008

On Veterans Day I watched two really great movies on the Classic Movie Channel; The Stage Door Canteen of 1943 Hollywood Canteen of 1944. They showed the great things the celebrities did for our soldiers during World War II.

The “boys” were served, entertained and danced with the greats of the day in the “USO Canteens” in New York and Los Angeles. The support for our boys “over there” was far greater than today when Veterans Day is not even a real Holiday in many places.

With the undeclared wars in Korea and Vietnam regard lessened for the importance of our sons and daughters that volunteer to go to war to protect our “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Today, I see very few USO Canteens, no movies in support of their work , more frequently hostility.

I served in the Vietnam Conflict and had the privilege of seeing the Bob Hope USO tour and several others.

This period really started the decline as I remember coming home to chants of being a “baby killer”. Fortunately things have improved but not nearly enough.

Our warriors need medical facilities close enough to get to them and they are certainly not adequate even here where there are so many in need.

The “For our veterans” Editorial in the Brownsville Herald on Veterans Day Tuesday November 12, 2008 expressed brighter hope that our soldiers would be relieved of the questionable military action in Iraq. It expressed the great sentiments: “We can best honor our veterans by maintaining policies that pursue peace, and help ensure that they and their children will be sent into harm’s way only to defend our country, and only after all efforts at peaceful resolution of conflict have been exhausted.

In recent times the more the public sees of the reality, once Pandora’s box is open and the war is out, revulsion at the horrors become part of the costs of war and immediate resolution is demanded.
The costs of surrender or the likelihood of a quickly negotiated settlement coming back to infect us again and again are not taken as serious considerations in order to recover some sense of saneness.

We can also see that the polarization of the country, without the domestic propaganda of the past, gains a life of its own and is aggravated by the personal goals of the media and politicians. That national divisiveness is in itself a weakening of our nation and its defenses and in part a success for our enemy.
It seems evident that the only real way for a war to end is when one side clearly loses the ability to prosecute the conflict or the war just continues to flare up later.
A much more acceptable choice is not to go to war, but if necessary, as a last resort we must learn from the successes of the past and the follies of the more recent past.

Let’s help all our military men and women become veterans, not casualties of war — especially a war that was built on lies and fought on questionable terms. Then they can live long, fruitful lives filled with parades and other signs of a nation’s gratitude”

To me the war was questionable because congress never declared it specifically; and the President did not request a declaration specifying what we were going to do and how we would know it was over.

“The War Powers Act of 1973” passed by Congress over the veto of then President Nixon guarantees no accountability for the decisions that can have such a horrendous impact on us folks.
The Act requires the President only to report to Congress any introduction of U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities and when submitted, requires that the use of forces must be terminated within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes such use or extends the time period. It also mandates that the “President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing” U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities. After that so long as Congress keeps authorizing money the war keeps on. Congress can keep providing the funding “for the troops” and avoid any responsibility the decision.
Currently there is no requirement for a request by the President, defining the reasons for “us folks”, to justify a declaration of war. Congress is also not required to declare their sentiments with a vote, so they don’t have to take any responsibility either. In fact there most probably has not been a legitimate military action since World War II, were the issue to be considered by the Supreme Court.

This open door for bureaucrats to start wars is just unacceptable. I can see no great improvement for the future when the party that passed the War Powers Act is in power.

We really need to let the Congress and the President hear that we are tired of being taken from one horror to another without any accountability. Nothing less than, a Presidential request for a declaration of war and the requirement that every living member of Congress must vote only yes or no, can be acceptable.
We also need a law that would make any official who provides false or misleading information to Congress or the public to affect the decision be charged with war crimes.
Perhaps this would give our rulers a little more to consider!
We might have even some little confidence that when our “hearts” go off to war in the bodies of our children, that those responsible, made the decision more for the protection of  “the folks” than just for themselves.


  1. Fred says:

    I really don’t see where the “whiner” description is valid. Perhaps it is a description of a poorly treated population segment that you fail to understand.

  2. Paul Borones says:

    What I don’t get is why most veterans become such whiners. Can you answer that?

  3. Stan says:

    Well, it still sounds like myth.”Sounds like” and being the epithet are different things, if you don’t mind my saying. I don’t have a desire to re-fight that one, actually, and you are correct in saying that it makes little difference today until we start looking at the “lessons” we draw from that war. The lesson I’m afraid the upper echelons took was that you can’t trust a citizen-based army and, thus, the birth of the so-called volunteer army and the rise of a new mercenary force, ones that are able to be trusted because they are more thoroughly bought and more thoroughly brainwashed.
    But no war without a constitutionally correct declaration from the people’s representatives–Congress.

  4. Fred says:

    It makes little difference today except to demonstrate the self-seeking viciousness of the time.
    I personally am against war and see the best way of reducing the likelihood of future ones by establishing responsibility, requiring a specific declaration and that all living members of Congress vote either yes or no. No equivocating!
    As to who was responsible for the loss, I feel it was the mismanagement of the prosecution of the war by the generals and President Johnson. This even carried on to the aftermath when whole segments of the population were liquidated, such as the hundreds of thousands of Hmungs.

  5. Fred says:

    When I returned to Travis AFB, before continuing on to Pensacola in 1969. We were in a bus going to Treasure Island (San Francisco)and there was a demonstration at the gate. I heard a number of epithets one of which sounded like “Baby Killer”. This was quite early, still. I “heard” subsequently about similar demonstrations later on.

  6. Stan says:

    “I remember coming home to chants of being a “baby killer”.”

    I lived through that period, protested both before and after I was drafted (and silent in between), and I don’t recall this happening to anyone I know. Further, I’ve done some research and the accusation that such things happened seems to be connected to the emergence of “revisionist” movies quite a few years after the war, most particularly, Rambo, where that is one of John Rambo’s complaint.

    Did you have personal experiences? Where? When? Who was involved. I’m interested. History has been rewritten to make those of us who opposed that war the reason we lost rather than the actuality of a leadership at just about every level lying about the causes and conduct of the war.