Raging against the great good night

| March 20, 2013 | 14 Comments

So, this week it’s popular to be against the Iraq War again. Yes, it’s the 10th anniversary of the assault on Hussein’s Iraq, so all of the bleeding hearts are out in force to explain to us why it was such a mistake. At the Washington Post, David Ignatius calls it a “disastrous mistake”. But it was anything but that. It was inevitable as I explained earlier in the week.

But you know why you went to Iraq more than these blivet-headed reporters, or at least you should. And you don’t blame Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld, or anyone else – like this Tomas Young who writes a F*** You to President Bush. He was shot by a sniper and has had a rough time of it for the last nine years or so, well, except when Eddie Vetter was writing songs about him and he was feted by many anti-war figures.

Well, in addition to blaming politicians for his maladies, he’s decided that he’s packing it in and going on a hunger strike until he expires. I understand how he feels, I really do, staring into the great maw of the future with our respective illnesses and the uncertainty that goes along with it. My disease seems to be somehow connected to my service, too, but my service was my choice, like Young. I don’t blame anyone and I accept the future that I’ve been given. And, I’ll admit that at times it crosses my mind to end it, but then, I think about the people who didn’t have that choice. The people I’ve tried to honor here above all else. I owe it to them to continue.

This morning, I got an email from a dear friend’s daughter. Tim Martin died in Mogadishu and left behind three daughters and a wife. His daughter emailed me last night to thank me for the post I wrote about him years ago. She told me that she printed it out and rereads it when she needs a bit of her father’s strength. She rereads your comments to remember what a great man her father was and the lives that he affected before he left us.

So, if I never write another word on this blog, it has accomplished more than I ever expected in this one regard. And I think that’s what we should all strive for – to preserve the memory of our friends who won’t come back, who won’t have the chance to do the things that they sacrificed for us to enjoy. To preserve the memory of their deeds in life for those who won’t know what it was like to have them among us. That is our responsibility – they paid for us to assume that responsibility. Screw the David Ignatius.

And to Tomas Young, I’m reminded of the poem by Dylan Thomas;

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Category: Who knows

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  1. The most profound thing ever posted on TAH: “I don’t blame anyone and I accept the future that I’ve been given. And, I’ll admit that at times it crosses my mind to end it, but then, I think about the people who didn’t have that choice.”

    Thanks. When we dance in Valhalla you still have to lead.

  2. George says:

    That guy, yeah fuck that guy. He might as well be dead, he’s done between the ears anyway. I’d much prefer to read about this guy. US Marine paralyzed during a gunfight. Now, when he’s not stuck in a hospital for months getting remainder problems sorted out, he’s training.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/RetreatHell

  3. George says:

    Oh and yeah, he’s in a wheelchair. Lower profile and more stable shooting platform to hear him talk about it.

  4. Common Sense says:

    Brian Kolfage is an inspiring airman for his positive attitude throughout his ordeal. A 3 limb amputee, nothing slows him down:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nodB7ghERA

    He’s very active on Facebook as well:
    https://www.facebook.com/BrianKolfage

    I thank all of you for your service and your sacrifices. I also thank you for showing me things from your perspective, it’s been enlightening. Thank you as well for sharing stories about the great people you’ve known and served with.

  5. ROS says:

    You’ve promises to keep before you go anywhere.

  6. Athena says:

    Dear Veterans,
    Don’t EVER take shit off of anyone for doing honorable service. I always think of Kipling’s poem when I hear the moral midgets complain;

    I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
    The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
    The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
    O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
    But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
    But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
    But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
    The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
    O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
    But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
    While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
    But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
    There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
    O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

    You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
    We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

  7. brat says:

    “And I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep……”…..

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Jonn. You do and have done more good than you can ever know. I’m not blowing smoke. That’s just the way it is. Unfortunately, you possess both a poet’s soul as well as a fighting man’s, and that is both a blessing and a curse. Life would be so much easier, and sleep so much sounder, were you one or the other. But you are not.

  9. NHSparky says:

    So, if I never write another word on this blog, it has accomplished more than I ever expected in this one regard.

    Let’s hope you have many, many more words to write.

    Starting with dickweed. That one always makes me laugh.

    But seriously, God has a plan for all of us, a mission more important than any one of us. You have been filling yours in yeoman’s fashion, without complaint or deterrence from those who would distract or destroy you. And if the day comes where you should decide enough is enough, there are enough of us here to pick up the slack left behind and pull on.

    God bless all of the people who make this place what it is. Even the dickweeds.

  10. USMCE8Ret says:

    It’s still early, but I’ll raise a toast to all of you dickeweeds tonight. I just wish you could join me.

  11. PintoNag says:

    Jonn, we all make our choices in life, and some, in death. I had an uncle and a close friend, both vets, who decided to go on. I’m not angry or perplexed by either one, only a little sad. They both looked at the end they faced from their respective diseases, and decided to choose their own time and place. The sadness came from the fact that they told no one until it was done. In both cases, they used a gun, in both cases, they called the police to report the impending suicide, in both cases, they made sure someone other than their family would find them. Even at that terrible moment, their control and dignity prevailed. They faced death on their terms.

    I pray that you never have to make that choice. Like the others, I hope you are with us for a long time yet, and continue to battle your disease successfully. You are important to all of us, even those of us who don’t know you personally.

  12. ConcernedCitizen says:

    A day late, but March 20th shares the birthday of another American hero, who would be Fred McFeely Rogers.

  13. A Proud Infidel says:

    Maybe we could make a video documentary: “Liberals, especially Hippies, Attention Whores Gone Bonkers”, we use him, some of the posers highlighted here, as well as the IVAW pukes!! I just finishes a ballbuster shift at work just a week after surgery, and it kicked my a** much worse than it should have, I’m gonna drink another beer in a toast to y’all here and hop in bed with my Mrs., G’night, y’all!

  14. Eagle Keeper says:

    JL: “… blaming politicians for his maladies …”

    Did you even read the piece?

    “I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to ‘liberate’ Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called ‘democracy’ in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

    “I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love.”

    He’s not blaming Bush and Cheney for “his maladies.” He’s blaming them for how they used him.

    You simply cannot deal with a fellow vet who volunteered for honorable reasons but, looking back, thinks he was used for dishonorable ends.

    Any thoughts on Pat Tillman’s remarks to his squad mates that the invasion of Iraq was “f___ing illegal”?

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