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I was born in 1951. I came of age during the Vietnam War. This morning I was perusing the New York Times when I came across an article about the Republican Neoconservative Establishment questioning the bona fides of Rand Paul. Phil Gramm --  

“Let’s say you knew for certain that by May 1 of next year that Iran would have generated enough highly refined uranium to build a bomb,” Mr. Gramm said. “Would you support attacking?”
I thought, "They just can't wait for the next endless, feckless, two trillion dollar catastrophe." I thought of what I'd learned over the past 62 years about war. For what it's worth...

1) Politics is full of macho, preening sociopaths like Phil Gramm...and "Bloody Bill" Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. They will never suffer any consequences because of their actions. Their children never serve. They won't even lose their sinecures on the Sabbath gabfests. What they do is evil.

2) The tragedies they perpetrate are entirely preventable. The Iraq War was catastrophic in every way for America. It was whipped up out of nothing by Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and pundits like Kristol. Bush and Condi Rice were brought in to "catapult the propaganda." The great Charlie Pierce has correctly stated that Cheney and Rumsfeld -- and Bush and Condi Rice and, yes, Colin Powell who knew better but let himself get mugged by the Neocons -- should spend the rest of their lives cleaning bedpans at a VA Hospital. Instead, Cheney gets $100,000 to give speeches to other sociopaths.

3) Wars are very easy to get into, and very, very difficult to get out of. Only someone like George W. Bush -- who took a pass on serving in Vietnam -- could ignore this history lesson. I wanted to scream at Phil Gramm, "What happens after we attack them? How many billions of dollars do we spend fighting them in their own country? How many Americans died? How many trillions of dollars do we spend? Are you willing to demand a tax hike to pay for it, or will you -- like Dubya & Company -- put the whole thing on our grandkids credit card?"

4) There's a sickening media complicity in all these useless wars. It goes something like this: First, the decision to go to war. This is always framed as "we, America, a nation dedicated to peace, reluctantly must (MUST!) go to war in order to (made up reason here). Then, anyone who opposes the war is framed first as a coward, then as a traitor. Chickenhawk talking heads like Sean "Never Served" Hannity and Rush "Dodged the Draft" Limbaugh will scream the loudest, in full self-righteous dudgeon. All this bloviation will create a sense of inevitability. Next, the war, which quickly becomes a tragic stalemate. Then America has an "oh shit" moment, and we pull out. Finally, the people who got us into it beat up on the (probably Democratic) President as "weak-willed" and "lacking backbone" for refusing to throw more of America's kids into the meat grinder.

So, finally, here are my questions for Phil Gramm and his fellow "Republican Power Brokers" sipping martinis at the Four Seasons in Georgetown:

1) If we go to war with Iran, will you agree that your own children will serve in the military, in front-line combat positions?
2) Are you willing to go before the American public, provide an accurate assessment of how much the war might cost in blood and treasure if it goes on for 10 years, and demand taxpayers approve a tax increase to pay for the war?
3) Are you willing to ask for additional tax increases to pay for the inevitable ancillary costs to take care of veterans of this war at VA hospitals?

The reason people like Gramm get away with shit like this is because there are -- literally -- no consequences for failure. They get to look like fearless warriors, and when it all goes bad they ignore the wreckage.

All I can do is fight...and read my Wilfred Owen. Thanks for reading.

Originally posted to wruckusgroink on Sat May 24, 2014 at 05:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I lost a nephew in Iraq. (17+ / 0-)

    Brian was an orthopedic surgeon and was the director of all medical services in Iraq. He was one of 12 officers who were on the Blackhawk that was shot down January, 2009. We lost more than a relative, we lost a brilliant surgeon who undoubtedly had much to offer in the coming years. Brian left behind his wife and son.

    My SIL served two tours and returned a different person. We sent a happy young man to Iraq and got back a stranger. He has tried to commit  suicide and just recently has been able to hold down a good job. He and my daughter have a wonderful daughter who has shown a lot of strength during the difficult times since he returned.

    I will never forgive the people who created the lie that killed so many Americans and innocent Iraqi citizens.

    "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

    by weezilgirl on Sat May 24, 2014 at 05:53:10 PM PDT

    •  My deepest sympathy on your loss. That is so sad (8+ / 0-)

      My heart goes out to you and your family especially on Memorial Day.

      Our nephew served in Iraq during one of the worst times there back in 2006.  He lost at least three very close friends. One of his best friends was a woman who left behind a grieving husband and three very young children who will grow up without a mother.

      I suggested my nephew start PTSD counseling immediately upon returning home. Another factor is he would return an empty house because while he was in Iraq, his wife took their little baby girl and moved out of state to be with another man. She asked him for a divorce in an email right after he had survived a mortar attack.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Sun May 25, 2014 at 10:09:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, my. These stories.... so much tragedy and (8+ / 0-)

        heartache. My niece's husband spent a tour as a sniper/guard in the worst part of Baghdad when it was at its worst. He has had a hard time and resists any mention of it, but didn't have any counseling for about 3 years.

        The people who want war never ever talk of the tragedies and how they impact families and especially children.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Sun May 25, 2014 at 10:39:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If their children had to go, (5+ / 0-)

          we wouldn't have these made up wars. Look how Cheney changed when his daughter came out as a lesbian. They want to protect their own and to be damned with our families.

          "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

          by weezilgirl on Sun May 25, 2014 at 12:16:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If They had to go themselves, and to lead... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the charge--war would be a very rare thing indeed.  

            The arm-chair war-hawks play war like like a board game--totally detached from its horrors and its consequences.  

            If only there were a law making it a requirement that those who vote for war be the first ones to go to the front lines.

      •  My SIL was sent to a 23 year old social worker. (5+ / 0-)

        He pulled his soldiers out of a burnning truck and their skin came off in his hands. They weren't only in his unit, they were his close friends. He doesn't have nightmares now but he did for a very long time. He also had nightmares about what he saw Blackwater do. My daughter is supporting him 100% and that has really helped. I'm so sorry your nephew was treated so poorly. NO one deserves that, much less someone away in a "war".

        "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

        by weezilgirl on Sun May 25, 2014 at 12:15:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My nephew had to use his military insurance to go (5+ / 0-)

          to a private therapist who was experienced in PTSD counseling. He knew if he waited for the VA, he would be waiting too long. He wanted to deal with the PTSD and the loss of his marriage and other issues immediately upon return so he could be functional. He was fortunate to find a very good therapist and it helped him move on and he married a wonderful woman a few years ago and they had a baby. So now he is the father of 2 beautiful little girls. And his wife loves her stepdaughter completely...they are a loving little family now.  The wife was also willing to go with her husband anywhere he could get stationed. He even changed M.O.S and had additional training to qualify for a position with the Army at a base in CO to be closer to his child from his first marriage. As fatherhood was important to him enough to make some changes and get further training. ...I am glad for that.

          Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

          by wishingwell on Sun May 25, 2014 at 01:55:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ♥So Sorry, weezilgirl♥ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3rock, WakeUpNeo

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:59:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chicken Hawk John Bolton and Me (15+ / 0-)

    We were both native Baltimoreans.  He went to a fancy prep school, I attended public school.  He is a year and a half older than me and was one year ahead of me in school  

    We were both in the very first draft lottery, December of 1969.  Bolton drew number 185, which was considered border line for getting drafted.  I drew number 37, for which there was no question.

    During the Vietnam War, the National Guard was a way to avoid going to Nam.  No Guard unit ever went to Nam - Johnson and Nixon pretty much ruled this out.

    So the next day Bolton and I called the Maryland National Guard office.  He was due to graduate in May 1970, just 6 months away.  I was due to graduate in May 1971, a year and a half away.  The lady on the other end of the phone said there was a four year waiting list.  If I didn't get on the waiting list when I was starting out as a freshman, forget it.  I don't know what she told Bolton, but he got into the Guard and never went to Nam.  According to his Wikipedia article:  

    In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."
    This veteran - I never landed in Nam but I served as a crew member on flights over Nam - hates John Bolton and his ilk.

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:04:05 PM PDT

    •  "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WakeUpNeo, Navy Vet Terp

      it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."

      Typical conservative -- all about personal responsibility except for their own.  then, whatever they decide to do is the libruls' fault.  Disgusting.

  •  I am just the same (11+ / 0-)

    age and failed my physical in the draft. I thank the fates at least once a week. I look at the men my age and have never met one who thought he did good for himself or his country by going to Viet Nam.
    Whole generation now getting old...didn't Owen or Sigfried Sassoon write a line about that? Or Robert Graves?
    Christ my life would have been diffferent if I'd survived.
    Memorial Day...we used to call it Decoration Day and put flowers on the graves.
    Something that made me think a lot about war and patriotism when i was a little kid in the 50s was, that I had a father and two uncles in the US forces in WWII, and a great uncle and dad's cousin in the German army. (Common enough in Minnesota and Wisconsin then). I used to wonder in my childish way if they were as patriotic as my dad.
    A lot to think about, and I always do so on Memorial Day.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:20:35 PM PDT

  •  Something I wrote many years ago (18+ / 0-)
    War is a false god worshiped by warmongers and poll watchers; a false god worshiped by the media whores who wish to be bathed in its reflected glow; a false god worshiped by those who have never seen, heard, smelled or touched the obscenity of the violence they glorify.

    "The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." Kurt Vonnegut - "A Man Without a Country", 2005.

    by BOHICA on Sat May 24, 2014 at 07:33:52 PM PDT

  •  I bought a poppy today. (9+ / 0-)

    From a man that looked old enough to be my grandfather.

    I made a donation and asked where he served.

    He answered, my country.

  •  The warmongers are insane. (11+ / 0-)

    Absent use of nuclear weapons, which would undoubtedly trigger world war, war with Iran would probably encompass at least ten years, most likely longer. The outcome, such as it would be, is uncertain.
    Essentially, Iran has a self-contained weapons industry (including guided missiles), an enormous land mass, the world's fourth largest blogging population (we don't own hearts and minds). Numerous and substantial urban population centers. Not to mention what war with Iran would do to incite worldwide religious sensibilities.
    Blood gargling sociopaths. What nightmare from hell are they promoting now?

  •  All chickenhawks should put up or shut up (7+ / 0-)

    As a Vietnam vet, I absolutely HATE the God damned draft-dodging warmongers.
    If they're so eager for a war, they ought to be the 1st ones killed in it.
    A pox on the likes of 5 deferment Dickhead, Cheney, Flush Limpdick, Sean Insanity, Wolfowitz, Deserter-in-chief Chimpy(Bush the lesser), Iran-Contra criminal Elliot Abrams, Feith, Perle, Rumhead, Condi, in fact the /strong>ENTIRE administration.

  •  High recs to you, wruckusgroink for this diary! (8+ / 0-)

    I thought #4 was especially good and less discussed. The media do really whip up a war fever and even those who do not want it can get caught up in it. It is a very perverse and evil thing. I remember talking about Iraq before the start of it with my brother-in-law who said he thought it was a war for oil (he was a firm Republican at the time and I a lifelong Dem lefty). But I just barely came down on the side of thinking it was probably a necessary war. Very soon I saw how wrong I was to believe any of the crap lies and I wrote a lot of diaries trying to expose them, trying to uncover the truth of that terrible war's consequences.

    Therefore:  Just love this idea:

    Cheney and Rumsfeld -- and Bush and Condi Rice and, yes, Colin Powell who knew better but let himself get mugged by the Neocons -- should spend the rest of their lives cleaning bedpans at a VA Hospital.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sun May 25, 2014 at 10:35:24 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, wruckus. I'm about the same age (3+ / 0-)

    as most of those commenting here.   You succinctly make some very good points that pretty much define the U.S. position since the mid-60s.
    I expect most of us wish the neo-cons got a taste of their own medicine, but it didn't happen then, and it won't happen in the future either.   That kind always have the connections or the loop-holes to escape the consequences of their policies and actions.
    Besides, who would want Bill Krystal, Sean Hannity, or Rush in their foxhole?
    I could see Cheney getting fragged after about a month of his bullshit.

    Ignorance is a virus. Once it starts spreading, it can only be cured by reason--Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by theBreeze on Sun May 25, 2014 at 02:24:36 PM PDT

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)
    3) Wars are very easy to get into, and very, very difficult to get out of.
    Reading this made me think of an eerily prescient remark LBJ made in May 1964: [President] Johnson: "It's damn easy to get into a war, but if it's going to be awful hard to ever extricate yourself if you get in." A prescient Vietnam discussion

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

    by AllTheWayWithLBJ85 on Sun May 25, 2014 at 06:46:20 PM PDT

  •  Mr. Gramm was the chief architect of (0+ / 0-)

    the 2000 Commodity and Futures Trading Modernization Act which brought about the 2008 crash and consequential depression that still affects us today. That he still has the temerity to speak publicly after what he did to this country displays an astronomical level of gall and conceit- and given that, his answers to your 3 questions directed to him are pretty much a foregone conclusion:

    "No."

  •  "Bring em on" "I'm really not that concerned about (0+ / 0-)

    Osama Bin Laden" "We don't want a smoking gun to become a mushroom cloud" "This has absolutely nothing to do with oil" "We estimate the cost of the Iraq war to be in the range of 50 billion to 60 billion" "I think it will go relatively quickly...in weeks, rather than months"
    1994-Cheney, Dick-"How man dead Americans is Saddam Hussein worth? It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq".
    Father knows best, in other words. Why many Americans no longer have any trust in our leaders and/or most of the media. This one, anyway.

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