Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Defending Freedom

I've been to nice recently. Too calm, too collected, too darn perky. I was going to post a standard Veteran's Day post yesterday. Then I saw with our pal Liz Kaeton (not linking to her blog under any circumstances) wrote. And it's taken this long for me to cool down enough to write. Her one virtue is an easy, conversational writing style.

For everyone's convenience, I've reproduced her post in full, below. Let the fisking begin. Her blatherings are in Times font, my responses are in Georgia.

I support our troops, but not the War in Iraq or the War in Afghanistan.
The second part is accurate. But your support of the troops consists of saying you support the troops and pressing for their immediate withdrawal which renders everything that they have accomplished to date futile. No one is ever more idiotic or deceptive than a hippy who won't grow up. No one.

That's not an oxymoron. Neither is it unpatriotic.
See above statement in re: stupid and self-deceptive. And you don't love America. You love the bits that you like. You hate the rest of it. Your prior writings exemplify the level of your hate. You also continue to practise the Big Lie. Helpful tip: Saying your not unpatriotic doesn't make it so.

I love this country. I am as patriotic as the most patriotic person, but I love this country enough that I am against war - especially these two.

I love this county, I support our troops and I do not support the War, but I am not a pacifist. That takes real courage - courage I confess I have searched for but have not yet found.
You are a pacifist, unless the war is against the people you despise. The right, the whites, the middle class, the religious, the Christians and any one else who actually believes in a higher standard or who tries to be ethical or moral. You're a lefty revolutionary type and you very much believe the ends justify the means. You have used the old cliche about omelets and eggs.

I fear I am too much of a coward to be a true pacifist.

That's one way to put it. I wouldn't have said it quite that way. I agree you are a coward. And I also agree that you aren't a pacifist. But here you are trying a bit of deflection. By pleading guilty to what you believe to be a lesser offense and admitting what you hope will be seen as a flaw, you hope to gain the reader's sympathy and gain acceptance of the farrago of rubbish that follows.

So, I have settled for this peace: I think the most patriotic thing we can do is to do everything we can to end these wars that are not ours and bring our young men and women home.
Of course, you can provide no justification for that remark. Instead of 'think' the better word is 'feel'. Thinking has nothing to do with what you have written.

In many ways, these two wars feel like Viet Nam all over again. Even my father - who fought on the Pacific Front in WWII, and was very proud to have been decorated with the Purple Heart - was very much against the Viet Nam War.
It feels that way because the only experience you have or will ever admit to having of war is Vietnam. The two current wars are not even remotely like Vietnam. If you bothered to become informed about them, then you would know that. But, because you are ignorant about Vietnam, not to mention every conflict the US has engaged in since that time, you come up with nonsense. Helpful hint to anyone who wishes to be informed about the current conflicts. Here are some useful websites, chock full of accurate and current information. And your Dad being a vet and all, that means his opinion informs the current day's issues. Nice.

One year, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, Veteran's Day fell on a week end. We left shortly after he had marched in the local Annual Veteran's Day Parade and traveled to a Military Cemetery outside of Boston to visit the grave of one of his buddies who had died.

After we had laid a small bouquet of poppies near the headstone, my father said to me, "Look around. Look at the gravestones. What do you see that's the same?"

I dutifully did as my father said, walking slowly among the markers on the graves, fingering the cool marble stone and listening to the dry leaves crackle as they were blown across barren field by the brisk November wind.

"Dad," I said, finally, "Everyone of these stones has PFC before the name. What does PFC stand for?"

Cue the class warfare.

My father smiled briefly, proud of his daughter's correct observation. His smile was suddenly clouded - the way the sun goes in and out in the November sky.

"Private first class," he said sadly.

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"They are the youngest soldiers - the newest soldiers - the ones with the least experience in war."

"Look around," my father continued after I considered his words. "You won't see too many graves marked 'Captain' or 'Lieutenant' or 'Colonel'. Oh, there are some, but most of the graves here are the PFC's."

Not to interject reality or anything into this affecting story, but the single most casualty prone rank in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and modern times is Lieutenant. There are less of them overall than PFC's. You have to ascend to field grade officer ranks to see any dramatic reduction in casualty rates.

"Like your friend?" I asked.

"Like me, too," he said.

He grew very quiet and said, "We were very young. Too young. We were young warriors, fearless young turks, ready, we thought, to die for our country. But, when death came to our friends, we were never ready. But, we had to keep going. We had to keep going . . ."

He took a few drags from his Lucky Strike and his eyes trailed off over the tops of the gravestones to a long ago battle in a country far, far away.

"War is a terrible thing," he said almost whispering his words over the rows of graves that held the bodies of young PFCs.

I looked at my father's face, lined with sorrow and pain and suddenly, it all came clear. In that moment, I understood the terrible nightmares that woke us up in the middle of the night - a sound so horrible and so loud as to wake the dead.

I realized, then, that it must have been the dead that had awakened him.

Suddenly, I understood his frustration and anger when he would 'get an attack of The Malaria', as he called it - which brought him right back to a place and time he'd much sooner forget and never have to relive ever again.

I couldn't possibly have understood - still can't possibly understand - the full cost of war, but I knew he had paid - and was continuing to pay - a heavy price for playing his part in The War that was supposed to have ended all wars. But didn't.

"War," he said again, "is a terrible thing."

He said it as fact and he said it as prayer.

I understood then, that some may have fought for freedom for all, but all may not ever again be fully free.

Pray for our Veterans on their Day.

Pray for peace in our time - and their's.

And bring them home ASAP, so they will never have closure. So that everything they have fought for will be forever in vain. So that evil will triumph, so that no other country will ever take the US seriously again. So that Elizabeth Kaeton can live the rest of her life in peace, knowing that the country where she lives has been doomed by her actions. that the grandchildren she purports to love will be the slaves of one faction or another. Pray for the people of Chatham, New Jersey and especially for the congregation of St Paul who have to endure the rantings of a narcissistic sociopath. And pray that nothing she desires ever comes to pass.

As for me, I'm praying for a miracle. I'm praying for the Reverend Doctor Elizabth Kaeton to repent and come to the fullness of faith in Christ Jesus her Lord. But then again, I've always liked long shots.

1 comment:

Perpetua said...

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for doing this. It does seem like a cowardly way of undermining America. I just don't know that she has thought through what will happen to her liberties in the long run.

Last Sunday morning I had to endure the rantings of a narcissistic sociopath,, but not this exact one. Oddly enough, that minister is a gay man.