Saturday, April 14, 2012

Youth in Asia

--Vietnamese street children,
fr. collection of RAW

The corruption of the people
is the key to the mastery of Rome
--Allen Bloom on Julius Ceaser

kid he says you have
seen better days i can
tell that from looking at you thanks
i said what you say is at
least half true i have never
seen any worse ones
--Why Mehitabel Jumped,
Don Marquis

Let us patrol some hostile terrain and discuss the wars of my lifetime, 1968 to present, using two simple photographs; both sum up the wars in a nutshell.

First look at the photo shot on a Saigon street in 1970, one which still haunts me. See the diseased bodies, filth and hopelessness of these children and ask yourself, "Does it mean a tinker's damn to these kids who controls Vietnam if they cannot get medical intervention? Ditto Detroit and Cleveland, today.

Now look at the cover shot of Noam Chomsky's "Power and Terror". Note the barefoot poverty of the Afghan children and the structure in which they are sheltered, which has a door but no roof, a perfect metaphor for our military efforts:
We will kick in their doors, but fail to see the lack of a roof; what is the use in violating such a structure?

Contrast this lack with the combat dress of the U.S. soldier: He has more combat gear on his body, money-wise, than this Afghan family may see in a lifetime. He has knee pads, but they don't even have shoes. Do they care who controls their country?

The only way those kids will ever see that much money is if we kill their parents and then we buy them off with a cash pay out -- the Ghetto lottery, Aghan-style.

Contrast the female troop eating her ice cream bar with the Vietnam villager of today transporting her home on her back (thanks to reader Deryle). U.S. troops are often cosseted in comparison to the dismal reality of the villagers, regardless of intentions or outcome. The entire question of war is based in poverty, and one cannot fight poverty with a rifle and bayonet.

Imagine yourself an Afghan or Vietnamese parent, helpless in the face of this grinding poverty, looking at a U.S. soldier: What do you see?

It seems that for the last 50 years America has not asked the right questions or made the correct assumptions when conceptualizing the direction of its wars. As immigrants, we should remember that we all came to the U.S. to escape poverty of the body and spirit. When we fight impoverished people believing we are confronting an enemy that can kill our way of life, we are operating from an impoverishment of the spirit.

Operating from the most pragmatic position, we should ask, "What does fighting impoverished people accomplish? What can they gain, and what do we lose?"

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Anonymous Carl said...

The hill tribe kids I saw early this morning in a local park all appeared at first glance to be going on 40+ years old, but their stature and mannerisms put them at around 10.

Their parents and elders all stooped & wearing similar ragged clothes, managing a smile (grimace?) showing betel nut stained teeth. Not one of the kids was crying or complaining.

There were about 30 of them, coming to town to try to sell some of their meager handicrafts during the annual national water madness/road death spree known as "Songkran".

As they shuffled down the road on broken sandals and dirty cracked bare feet I contrasted that to the myriad of latest model 4wd's and other later model vehicles whizzing by, just a few feet away without a care.

Most humans have lost the connect, through sheer unsatiated greed for money, position & power.

The loss of the worldwide human souls' connect will be our undoing.

Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 11:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

Although I personally take issue with this particular author's characterization of "war tourists" this article came to mind when hearing your observations.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 1:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

thanks for commenting.
The poverty and violence of war does not convert well on the silver screen.
I remember the physical poverty of the VN people to include those that made their living in my camp.
The ones that worked for me became real people rather than concepts on a briefing chart.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 7:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

pls go to underground carpenter in the side bar.
his hobby is specialized photography.
i can put him in touch w. you if u so desire.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 7:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Carl said...

Thanks Jim & Ok.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 9:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


You have eyes to see. That vision requires either the photographer's or the rationalist's disinterested stance, or the ability to view oneself correctly.

I'm afraid most of my fellows here in the states feel they lack/need something, so their concerns are very wrapped around the unfairness of the situation in which they find themselves, a situation which denies them something which they feel they are due. This results in depression, anger or a (couched) viciousness in order to gain the thing they think they want or need.

It can be heartbreaking to see this dissociation from one's fellows. We are so remote that we often call our cruelty "rational" or "humane" or some other thing that we also might call "delusion" or "denial".

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 10:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

Hi Ranger,

100% agreement.

Probably my hyperlink didn't go though on my last post but this is the article I was referring to.


Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger dafay said...


Your comments as usual are very apropos - well done -

However, the cartoon about the wolves is very apropos also -
Do you really think we make an impact?

My best to you -
David - from the Lake Ella campus

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 8:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

i do not think-i react.

Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Your link came thru the 1st time.
My cmts were based on the art.

Monday, April 16, 2012 at 8:00:00 AM GMT-5  

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