Thursday, June 19, 2008


Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are born

Every Morn and every Night

Some are born to Sweet Delight,

Some are born to Endless Night

—Auguries Of Innocence
, William Blake


From the local obit page:

"Robert Stamps, 57, died 6/11 in Madison (Florida). . . He was one of eight surviving students shot at Kent State in 1970. (He) died of neuro-lyme disease."

Stamps was shot during the protests against the Vietnam War, specifically, the incursion into Cambodia. (Incursion now sounds like a cruise-liner word, or the name of an SUV.) But that's Stamps' side of the equation.

Ranger was particularly affected by the shootings (murders) at Kent State. During my youth, Kent was often the party destination of choice. The Kent/Bowling Green football and baseball rivalries were a yearly tradition.

On May 2/70, Ranger was a young 1 LT assigned outside Bearcat, home station to the 2nd Battalion 47th Infantry (Mech), one of the spearhead units into Cambodia. My friend and associate John McKee was with B/2/47.

Kent State was the beginning of the end. While the invasion of Cambodia was an extremely successful military venture, the tide of public sentiment was turning against the war. Vietnam is still Communist, and now a favored trading partner with the U.S.

Thinking of Kent State and the protesters and domestic opposition to the war back then,
this Ranger constantly marvels that there are no such meaningful demonstrations opposing the present Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©). Why?

Or, why not?

Familiarize yourself and family members with the symptoms of Lyme disease. This disease is treatable if caught early.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i rembemer getting that news well myself. i was pretty outspoken in my approval and defense of the war protestors. far from feeling undermined i felt that they were doing exactly what i was fighting for. making their thoughts and wishes known to those in power. granted, pictures of jane fonda sitting in the gun turrets was a bit much, but, for the most part they were americans behaving as americans should behave. speaking and out and standing up for what they believe in.

one of my favorite junior officers was a recent graduate of kent state and he was in a state of shock. he couldn't reconcile the current events of that day with his memories.

we took him into the ville, got him horribly drunk, dropped him into a big old japanese bath with a few hookers, found out that this didn't make him feel any better so we just sat with him well into the next day.

there aren't any protests because, aside from the immediate families of the dead and wounded, until the price hits on gasoline there have been no personal prices paid. no students are being snatched off the campuses and sent to 90 wonder training as soon as their deferments end, so the students are focusing on getting the hell out of school.

one of the hardest things for me to take when i play at a funeral, or accompany an honor gaurd to meet one of the planes at march afb one of the things that strikes me hard is how few folks even realize that this is going on. the freeways are still clogged with busy people going about their days.

people are talking about how the economy is the main issue for the electorate. what they need to realize is that the demand for oil created by fighting two mechanized wars half a world away, by keeping three carrier groups at sea on a constant basis, that demand alone, will keep the price of oil high. increasing the supply will have zero effect beyond making the already rich, richer. until the demand is quelled nothing will change except for the worse.

this war is also unique in that it has been fought entirely with debt. they have fought a seven year war on credit cards. even if the war was halted tomorrow there would be no peace dividend. just like the u.s. economy was hurt by the bills of vietnam coming due (conveniently blamed on jimmy carter who was only trying to institute some rationality into the budget process), the bills, and the chickens will all come home to roost.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 10:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rick98c said...

When the President tells the people it's their patriotic duty to go shopping is it any wonder so few even think about the wars?

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, my reaction to the shootings was more than i wrote about but i try to keep my writings less personal.I agree with your comments./Re:Jane on the 23mm zsu-my feelings are that this wasn't anything worse than what we were doing.We're both to old and far gone to sweat the little shit.jim

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 12:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in the DC area, so I've seen my fair share of rallies and demonstrations. I even participated in some, during the run-up to our glorious adventure in Mesopotamia. But I don't bother with them any more.

Every demo I've seen has always left me feeling forlorn and alienated -- no matter how stridently the speakers yammer on about "empowerment" and "the people". My biggest impression of these events is that they're not much more than a kind of smug dress-up festival. Everybody's preaching to the converted, and it's almost always a pretty well-to-do crowd. I've **never** seen one that didn't scream upper middle class.

At a minimum, if I were holding an ANTI-WAR rally, I'd at least go for somber, and I think I'd try for some discipline in appearance and presentation. But that wouldn't be as much fun, would it?

What I'd really like to see is a general strike. But I think we all know what the odds of that are, in the "Land of the Free".

In general I wish our "leaders" would quit blathering on about Freedom (tm), and our love of liberty, and our reverence for the rule of law. More and more it sounds like Politburo members bragging about the imminent victory of the proletariat, and the success of the latest Five Year Plan.
-- sglover

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 8:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Oh, I remember Kent State well. First thing I'd seen like that in our nation as an adult (was too young to appreciate Little Rock), and it grew me up fast. I was on active duty, already spent a couple of tours you-know-where, and frankly hadn't thought a lot about what I'd been doing. Kent State changed me. I stayed in, for reasons I still think were sound, but I'd lost my innocence and was never again a true believer. Funny thing about our Army and my branch in particular in those days: everybody was a cynic and a realist. You didn't hear any of this "hooah" crap in those days.

WRT to why Americans don't get energized nowadays, I figure two words sum it up: apathy and stupidity. Apathy, because of course the overwhelming majority of Americans aren't affected by the PWOT (I like that, Ranger) and the stupid wars (or so they think); stupidity, because they don't know that they are in fact gravely affected by all of it. These stupid shits think that because they ain't got a loved one at risk, all they have to do is cheer for the home team and everything will be just fine. They whine about gas prices, they whine about how their roads are being maintained, they whine about everything, never putting two and two together.

Stupid. A couple of women first cousins, around my age, love to send along all of these emails with combat pictures and adorned with waving flags (you've all seen them), slobbering over the troops and warning that if one doesn't pass it on, dire things will happen. I finally wrote back and said: "please stop sending me this shit." And I get the reply: "but, don't you support the troops?" Me: "Support the troops? Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? I am a troop. I'm the guy who spent the time in those stinking jungles, the guy who spent the long tour in the goddamned Army, I'm the guy who did that shit for my country, while you spent your time in East Jesus, calling me a sucker."

I don't think these cousins like me very much. But they don't dare say anything, because I did what they never dare do. My Dad always put as much distance as he could between him and his family because, as he put it, they were stupid. He was right.

BTW, Ranger, IOTM that one good thing about all of this adoration of the troops these days in stupid America is that subversives like you and me get a pass. Whenever I run into one of these latter-day warriors, all I have to do is ask how many medals they've got. Unfair? You bet. Fuck 'em. A couple of years ago, a guy asked me why I didn't have one of those ribbons on my car. I pointed at that decal on the windshield, DoD number on the top, Parris Island with a blue background on the bottom, and said, "there's my ribbon."

Stupid comes in other forms as well. On my wife's side, there are some blue-collar guys. Good guys, and I like them. But I swear, give me five minutes with these guys, and I've got them turned 180, got them going from cheerleaders for George Bush and his "war on terrer," to wondering just what's going on.

Five minutes. That's sound-bite America. That's the failure of our educational system. That's the dumbing-down of our nation. If the right guy had come along, we might have seen those massive demonstrations and a change in direction four years ago. Instead, we got Kerry. If we had an educational system worth a damn, we might have had a lot more Americans asking about Gitmo, about violations of constitutional rights, about a whole lot of things. Instead, we got "No Child Left Behind."

I fear this nation may turn out to be too stupid to survive.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 10:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

Bring Back the Draft!

Publius, when I get those emails I usually write a long discourse on it and then hit reply all.

When Kent State happened I had been back from accross the pond for about 7 months. I had gravitated back to college but was mainly just trying to make up for lost time. I had a professor who had been to NVN with Jane Fonda and he held Peace Marches every friday on Campus. I really didn't know how to react to these but then Kent State happened and it all changed for me. It was no longer just a small group of hippies marching across campus. I finally clued into this nationwide anti war movement.

Friday, June 20, 2008 at 12:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Hanoi Jane. God forbid we should love our enemies, right?

Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 12:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one thing that many of the war protesters couldn't grasp is that even with u.s. policy being stupid, wrong, agressively mistaken, and any other perjorative you might care to describe it, that alone does not make the north vietnamese, their army, and their geurillas good. it merely makes them not wrong on that one issue.

over, and over again while i was there (and i was right there in the middle of it for nearly three years) i saw the results of communist (or nationalist if that makes you feel better, the labels are really only convenient identifiers) i saw undisputable evidence of brutal, even creatively cruel atrocity. you might claim that they were driven to these extremeties because of the length of their struggle or their rage against the carpet bombings and other mundane atrocities of war.

still, when you're talking about things like skinning alive, public castration (with close family members having their eyelids removed so that they cannot look away), and other well documented instances of wanton violence, it's hard to say that the other side is good.

faced with enemies like that, the best thing to do is to follow the playground advice your mother used to give.

walk away, you're better than that.

we are seeing the exact same insane committment to violence, cruelty and atrocity every day in iraq and afghanistan. the longer we stay, the more cruel, the more insanely committed they will become. also, because of a basic human reaction that most of us have when presented with evidence of such inhumanities, our own forces will be more and more caught up in the mirroring of this behavior. after all, he did it first mom!

just because our policies are wrong, grieviously wrong, wrong to the level of evil, will not make those fighting us good. they can only do that for themselves.

they can only do that for themselves once the provocation of our continued occupation of their country has ended.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"one thing that many of the war protesters couldn't grasp is that even with u.s. policy being stupid, wrong, agressively mistaken, and any other perjorative you might care to describe it, that alone does not make the north vietnamese, their army, and their geurillas good. it merely makes them not wrong on that one issue."

Which is a nice reminder that the stupid that Publius points out has been a salient characteristic of the American public for our lifetimes was not a generatioal thing.

I like to think that as Americans we not always like this, but I suspect that we were, and the pre-TV/pre-internet inability of the average drooling moron/racist/America-Firster to get their booger-eating-level stupid in print or on the air kept us from realizing just how many of our fellow "citizens" are reptilian mouth-breathers willing to trade the liberties their ancestors fought and died for for an illusion of "safety"...

Funny, the idea that military service and combat somehow trump ideology in BushAmerica...I still remember with fury being lectured by a young Republican, upset that I had announced that the Iraq invasion was a geopolitical mistake and a military clusterfuck of thefirst order, about guerilla war. I was gobsmacked: are YOU, twenty years my junior and without so much as a nanosecond of military service, lecturing ME about warfare?

He was, and there you have it.


Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 8:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

my take on FISA bullshit

and my compliments to the community of this blog. this has been a provocative and enjoyable thread.

well done troops.

Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 12:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


WE agree -thanks to all.

thanks for the encouragement and sorry we weren't on board as we went up to Columbus GA to visit the old 1SGT, who is in fine health. jim

Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 1:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon (sg),

I agree with your assessment and solemnity is the watchword that I would use as a keynote for a protest theme.

Years ago I was appalled and shocked by the light and frivolous rompings of tourists at Arlington National Cemetery. This was in direct opposition to the more somber tone demonstrated around the Vietnam Memorial.

There is something disconcerting about the festival atmosphere celebrating such a deathly serious topic.

Welcome aboard.

Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 1:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


My latest RAW business cards have a prominent Purple Heart on the reverse side. When people tell me I'm not patriotic I flip it and say, "Show me yours."

Regarding Kent, I could never understand issuing live ammo for crowd control when the crowd was not violent. Rifles, butts and bayonets are deadly enough for protecting the troops. Issuing ammo was a stupid call. The M1 is one helluva club.

Apathy and stupidity sums up the current problems well. Poor education (parenting and formal schooling) + media are the culprits. Throw in constant sugar feeds and junk food. . .

Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 1:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I'm glad you point out that simply because one side is "wrong," that doesn't make the other side good. There's enough darkness is the hearts of men to 'round.

That is the fallacy that had delivered America here: Because "they" are bad, anything we do to counter them must ergo be "good."

Add to Publius's "apathy and stupidity" "nationalism" or blind patriotism, which could be lumped under "stupidity."

We just spoke with a waitress whose husband was a sergeant soon to be back from his third tour. Jim gave her a blog card to give to him, and she shook her head violently and backed away saying, "Oh no, he wouldn't like this."

When asked why, she said pleadingly, "Because, if we don't fight them there they'll come here." Six years on, and she really believed it, expressing fear that many more buildings would be blown up if the fighting were to stop.

In our little rarified worlds of polite discourse, we might forget that many of our fellows have never deviated from that fearful posture. To them, everything their government does is permissible because their way of life is under fire.

Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

publius, contrary to rumor i really do think about things.Your cmt re. your branch and the army nagged at me all weekend. It finally came to me in a flash- you were lucky to be in a branch that didn't eat it's young. For those of you never picking up on my humor- this is not a frivolous or humorous cmt. jim

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 12:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

"Your cmt re. your branch and the army nagged at me all weekend. It finally came to me in a flash- you were lucky to be in a branch that didn't eat it's young."

Actually, Jim, my branch—MI—has always been notorious for eating its own. It is a vicious branch. I, and some other weird dudes were able to dodge this for reasons I'll explain.

Back in the dark ages, when I was the commander of a small MI unit in West Germany, the principal US unit in my AO was an armored cav squadron. The commander, who retired as a two-star, was a good friend and I actually functioned as his S2 in many respects. Once, while we were out partying a little bit, he asked me how I could put up with the assholes who ran my branch. That's when I first heard the "eating your young" thing. He was right, of course, which I told him, but I also told him that for my own reasons if I couldn't be MI, I wouldn't stay in the Army.

What did I tell him? Simple. Back in the day, national policy required the Army to conduct, shall we say, unorthodox intelligence operations. I informed him that I happened to be one of the guys who were pretty good at that, and that this assignment was kind of an anomaly and that I wouldn't be doing it again. He said that maybe I'd found a way to beat the system.

So, there you have it, Ranger. My branch ate its young every bit as much as any other branch. I found the loophole, the job that 75 percent didn't want to do, and that 99.5 percent of the remainder couldn't do. The shit job that didn't lead to stars, but that for the right guys were very rewarding.

We were actually kind of like SF (and a lot of us worked with SF in Vietnam): few qualified for the work, but a whole lot of unqualified folks trying to supervise our activities. Because of our mission, and because of some very highly placed people, it was easier for us to ignore them. But with rare exception, most of the guys in my branch always hated us.

But we didn't care. We didn't love the Army; we loved the nation. Note the difference? The Army will always break your heart. The Army doesn't love you; why should you love the Army?

Our oath is to the Constitution.

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 9:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Publius, the 1st time i heard about the rif was in a staff meeting in rvn. our s3 cpt bill prout was privy to inside info re the upcoming rifs projected for after the drawdown.Bills dad was an o6 type and knew what was coming.
Bill advised our WP grad paper flash cdr that the oer's we were recieving were putting us in the danger zone. Support platoon ldrs in leg units were getting max oer's if they were breathing daily and never talked to god.in sf it was rare to get such inflated report cards.anyway after the war the sf were unduly represented in the rif, infy branch preferred infy support platoon leaders being retained rather than snake eaters.
After rvn and during the new 18 series career field implementation the sof community was generally staffed by non sf experienced rvn infy vets.the reorg and career field projections reflected this fact.INFY BRANCH THREW US OUT WITH THE BATH WATER.
My time in a line inf div never gave me the impression that infy branch was a good choice of career field.the back stabbing and politics at unit level was less than savory so i opted for sf thinking it would be different-oops.
I will not ever believe that the army loves and protects it's soldiers after they become expendible. Soldiers are simply assets to be utilized for mission accomplishment and then lookout.Leadership and loyalty are rare concepts usually found on personal rather than professional basis. jim

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 9:53:00 AM GMT-5  

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