RANGER AGAINST WAR: Bring Yer Welllies <

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bring Yer Welllies

It was Kevin Kelly, with his chopped off wellies
In the middle of the summer time he was looking fine!

--Kelly's Wellies
, Gaelic Storm

Sitting in a truck stop after tropical depression Fay has blown through his landscape, Ranger was reflective. Being in a truck stop always makes me so, but today it is not FOX News which causes the thought (Yes, even truck stops impose that garbage upon you.) Maybe it's puttering around in my old jungle boots because of the rainy weather. Ranger is not a Wellies or Crocs kind of guy.

Last night my little fire base lost all power due to the storm, and this led to thoughts of Baghdad and the world that endures largely without electricity or operates routinely through daily outages. This morning the deer stood stoically under the pear trees, enduring the heavy rain while looking for a meal.

The deer flashed me back to times that Ranger stood under trees enduring nature; the cold, rain, monsoons, typhoons, and like those deer, just stood and endured. This is one fact that all veterans know: We were all animals caught in a storm beyond our control.

This knowledge is what makes us veterans. Forget badges, tabs and awards, which are the symbols. The reality is that we weathered storms and did our jobs.

Ranger next thought of the naturalists of the late 19th-early 20th century who saw nature a a neutral force, moving our lives disinterestedly. Fay is just a fact of nature, neither good nor evil. Natural history is the same -- a recitation of facts which just are.

The most common question I encounter is, "Are you against all wars, or just Iraq?" (Afghanistan is usually ignored, as though a given.) Both have morphed into the entertainment that is www.PWOT.com.

In the past, Ranger answered that most wars are are futile exercises in human endeavor. Going with the naturalist point of view, wars seem to be a natural occurrence for men. Damaging and sometimes mortally so, but just a fact.

The Revolutionary War and Civil War might be exempt if one imagines them justified and righteous, but even my thinking on those wars has changed. Even they could have been resolved politically and humanistically. Neither of those wars were Good Wars. All wars are bad, and good cannot come from their inhumanity and brutality.

England banned slavery without a civil war, and Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India and Pakistan became independent without launching major wars. If man has the capacity to reason, then reason should dominate his actions; wars are never acts of reason.

Wars are shameful, and that is why they are glorified.
Labeling soldiers "warriors", giving medals, adulation, etc., all hide the shame of a society that destroys life and batters bodies and condemns them to a lifetime of physical and psychological suffering.

Wars begun without physical provocation are the common man being elevated to warriors doing the bidding of leaders with faulty moral compasses. Going to war is not an exercise of freedom; it is another form of slavery.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, i know that old song too ranger. the more i reflect, the less i believe. funny that.

as we age and the old guys drop off the muster lists i just become a bit more lonely.

reading the ancients i am often struck by the way they define the courageous as those who "stand" in a phalanx or cohort. marching is easy. facing down massed spears or swords or horsemen, not so easy.

a whole lot of our supposed courage was simply remaining. enduring.

the old boonie rat saying

fuck it, don't mean nothing, ruck up and press on.

rough wisdom that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, it don't mean nothing.Let's add a line i believe was stolen from Neil Young---This is nowhere.That sums it up in a nutshell. jim

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

I like the concept of all of us being animals in the storm--I never worded it that way, but have long believed it. It is the focal point of what passes for my spiritual life. As for wars, few are "justified" by anything except the most base of human emotions.
And it is a sad stage indeed for mankind to show his most glorious nature; we need a new image of hero, one that is not simply what sci fi author Sheri Tepper says is only good for "being a dead soldier"...in other words OUT of the gene pool. I threw her book across the room all those years ago, finding that statement the most cruel thing ever said about boys sent to war. I don't like war any better...but I think I would still throw that book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i haven't read sheri tepper, but one thing that struck me, and a lot of folks who wrote about war from homer through hemmingway, was that it does tend to select out the best of us.

the good, the noble, the brave are very heavily represented among the first to fall.

when the siege of dong ap bai was finally lifted i was amazed at all the faces i had not seen over the previous three days. i'm certain that many of that overlooking or not noticing was due to my own tunnel vision and extreme focus upon what was right there in my face. still, i made more than a couple of full site tours between assaults to pass water, ammo and bandages, and there were a whole bunch of folks on the helo pad that i couldn't quite place on the line.

they were dirty like me, but they weren't scuffed and nicked like me either.

hiding can increase survivability greatly.

can't blame them any more though. all i got out of that fight was a couple of medals, some scars and some sleepless nights.

i can't fault them for refusing to die for a mistake.

in the sum of things, what happened there never really mattered.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, all you say is sad but true. jim

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 1:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rick98C said...

You guys are certainly among the few. Seems like most vets need to cling to the belief that all their sacrifice was for a good cause, no matter what happens. When I was stationed in Germany in the 70's I talked to quite a few German WWII vets and precisely none of them thought they had done anything but the right thing. Just as an example. It really takes a dark night of the soul to come to the realizations that you have, and most people just don't seem to have the strength. Not that I blame them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 1:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

Minstrel...Tepper was one of my fav authors till that book. The idea that her character viewed those eager to go to war as a cleaning of the gene pool offended me so very deeply. And while my personal spiritual life tells me that many of the sacrifices made in war are literally that--sacrifices, and therefore holy, I dislike governmental "priests" who pour that blood for wrong causes. And those vets who insist their cause was good? If they named it truly, it would be true---they bleed and die for each OTHER more than whatever governmental fiat landed them in the fray.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

Hooah! FIDO!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Bill Sherman, who knew something about the subject, said that "war is nothing but cruelty and you cannot refine it."

There are times when there is no alternative but to fight or die, but this country, at least, han't seen a war like that since 1814.

All my wars were, like Smedley Butlers, just more business as usual for the usual rackets...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I should qualify the word "wars" - I was an Eighties trooper, and what I saw were nothing but glorified gang fights; that's what imperial troops do: we police the hustings bashing the uppity natives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Mr.Natural said...

Ranger, you have some really literate readers here! Good people all!

Smedley Butler (WAR IS A RACKET)...THERE'S a hero. Those who see through the shiny glistening hero walk/talk and notice the racket behind the war - THOSE are the heros who may one day banish wars to the trashcan.

I'd say as wars go, these wars for profit have to be some of the worst, wouldn't you guys?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

until chesty puller left korea maj general smedley butler was the most decorated marine in the history of the corps.

he was one ring tailed fighting man. who unfraid, always spoke his mind. two medals of honor were awarded to him. and they weren't for selling butterscotch at the major's wife's socials.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

For a good read on the origins of war I recommend War, The Lethal Custom by Gwynne Dyer

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Mr. Natural- All wrs are like chest wounds- they suck. jim

Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys-needs weekend said...

Jim, does this mean we could end the wars by wrapping Saran wrap around the appropriate (A)hole?

Yeah, I know, I know...go to my room.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 1:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Well, Ranger, IOTM that this topic doesn't particularly lend itself to brief blog posts and comments. This is what in our youth might have been an overnighter, lubricated by massive quantities of adult beverages.

Very briefly, however, I will say that I'm not prepared to say that war is always the worst option. You cite the peaceful transition of British commonwealth states, e.g., Canada, et al, but did you ever think the skids for the freedoms of those other colonies might have been greased just a wee bit by the events beginning in 1775 in this nation?

I'm very big on freedom and self-determination. I'd fight a war anytime for that. For myself, you understand. Not for foreign devils who, in my experience, are often too content to just kick back and let guys like you and me do the heavy lifting for them. I also think you can make a case for the Civil War if you really delve into the prevailing political situation. WW2, also. You know, we were attacked. Plus I don't think we would have really liked a Pacific Basin run by Bushido boys or Europe run by Nazi boys.

I'm not going to get all squishy and pacifistic in my old age.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 11:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


It was a great improvement to fight WW II, substituting Stalin for Hitler in Europe, and it is so much better having China than Japan controlling the region.

The problem with Japan was that we fought a war to prevent them from being imperial colonialists, but thoroughly approved French and English actions in the same area. Japanese brutality was not a U.S. concern.

I've not gone all squishy. I'd kill everyone in Iraq and Afganistan, inc. their barnyard and domestic animals if it would solve a problem. And these wars are not.

But like WW II, they are stimulating sectors of the economy.

There is a clear distinction between defensive and offensive wars. Clearly, if attacked, all nations have the right and responsibility to respond with force. (This inc. Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and Iran.)

Further, democracies always use wars as a last course of action, not a first.

Friday, August 29, 2008 at 1:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

"Further, democracies always use wars as a last course of action, not a first."

Amen, brother.

Friday, August 29, 2008 at 3:54:00 PM GMT-5  

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