Member Rara Avis
Well, I would be careful if I were you, Ron. Should Colon use wmd's to gas a few hundred thousand of it citizens, attempt to invade Ohio, refuse to let the UN conduct a full and unhampered inspection of its borders looking for those wmd's that they had already used, be recognized by two presidents (one democrat, one republican) as the most dangerous threat to the rest of the US....I think it's possible a Colonoscophy would not be out of the question
Mike, I don't remember anyone in government suggesting we should go kick some ass because of the Kurds or Kuwait?
Frankly, an unwarranted colostomy would definitely be time for a new doctor, Mike. I certainly wouldn't keep the same one if he performed a potentially dangerous operation and then felt compelled to find new justifications after the fact. "Well, we didn't find the cancer we expected, Mr. Carnell, but you needed the operation any way so you could lose weight. Once you get past the terrible pain and pay all those hospital bills, I'm confident you'll be the better man for it."
Sorry, but a man who can't see his own mistakes is doomed to keep repeating them. But not on my, uh, village.
To say that killing is killing no matter if it is in wartime or shooting the milkman stretches it a little, I think.
Wartime, Mike? That term seems to be getting a little muddy these days. We have a war on poverty, a war on drugs, and of course, a war on terrorism, none of which seem to have gone particularly well by the way, but no one ever quite got around to declaring war on Vietnam.
Which, of course, doesn't mean it wasn't one. War, very much like murder, seems to be best defined by context. When you're at the wrong end of an M16, it doesn't seem to matter whether you're a villager or a milkman, the results are certainly the same. There's a little hole going in, a great big hole coming out, accompanied by a gnawing sense of injustice that no one should ever have to die like that.
Scratch that. It doesn't really matter which end of the M16 you're holding, except maybe that one end gives you a little longer to consider that sense of injustice.
Anyone who thinks all who died in Vietnam were carrying weapons or posed an immediate threat clearly wasn't there in the late-Sixties. Innocents died every day, often for no other reason than they looked a whole lot like the enemy, and sometime just because it was expedient and safe. Take three parts fear, two parts anger, mix liberally with gunpowder, and the recipe probably isn't going to produce an American apple pie.
Do I blame the troops for the injustices I know happened in Vietnam?
One of my best friends, Steve, was with the 47th Scout Dogs, 101st ABN. The animals he worked with were extremely well trained and usually extremely vicious. They were as likely to bite someone they shouldn't as they were to stop their handler from walking into a hidden booby trap. Were they bad dogs when they snapped at a friend? Or animals just trying to survive after being thrust into a world not real conducive to survival?
The decisions we make, in war as in life, are our own responsibility and can't be blamed on others. I think the veterans who stood up against the injustices of Vietnam recognized and were responding to their own sense of responsibility. We might cringe at their allegations, might think they exaggerate or are wholly wrong, but we have to respect their intent. They know they can't change the choices they made, or perhaps saw others make, but they hope they can keep others from being thrust into a world where those choices have to be made. They just want injustice to take a holiday for a while.
Murder? That's a word that gets defined, and often redefined, by the survivors. The euphemism you want, guys, is collateral damage.
It's what we call it when innocent people get in the way of warriors trying to survive another day. There was a lot of collateral damage in Vietnam, as I suspect happens any time the battle lines are blurred and the difference between friend and foe is defined by the split-second reflex of an index finger. Some will contend that collateral damage is an inevitable consequence of war, something we just need to accept.
In my opinion, it's the acceptance that makes it murder.