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Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day

We originally ran this post for Memorial Day 2015. It’s a lovely read, so we decided it should be reposted this year.

The Washington Post has pulled together a sobering chart that allows readers to determine what percentage of their lives the United States has been at war. It’s worth a look — I was born in 1983, so as long as the Global War on Terror continues for a couple more years, I’ll get past the 50% mark before I turn 40.

On September 11, 2001, I was an 18-year-old with no disqualifying injuries and a vague appreciation for the kind of manpower necessary to conduct land wars in Asia. In Minnesota, where I grew up, the easiest way to escape the draft was via canoe, through Lake of the Woods and on to Ontario — or, at least, that’s what my dad’s plan had been if his number had been called in Vietnam (as it turned out, he was too young and had a good number). Watching the devastation in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, I thought there had to be a draft coming. My country would never be so irresponsible as to attempt expeditionary land war in Asia with an all-volunteer force.

*****

Of course, we didn’t begin a draft, and we did not declare war, keeping alive a streak that started in 1941 and survived Korea, Vietnam, and two encounters with Saddam Hussein. I went off to college, where I spent most of my time writing (bad) comedy and arguing about the wars in which I would not participate. Given what we know about who serves in America’s all-volunteer military, my experience was more typical than not.

Some of my classmates, however, did go into the military. One went to West Point, where he studied medicine. A friend who was not the best student entered the Marine Corps. To this day, he claims that the Corps gave him the structure and the discipline he needed to turn his life around. The bonds he formed with his brothers, he says, are unbreakable.

When my Marine friend earned a Purple Heart in an IED attack in Iraq, the war hit home for me. He still refers to it as the worst day of his life, not because he and several of his fellow Marines walked away injured, but because one of their buddies didn’t walk away at all.

My grandfathers both served in the Navy in World War II. One of them made a career of it, re-enlisting after the war to serve in Korea, where he would proudly fling naval ordnance at the people he referred to simply as “chi-coms.”

My other grandfather did not re-enlist after 1945. He had volunteered for service at 16, lying about his age in order to join the war effort. He never spoke of World War II, but family lore told of a time when Grandpa Virgil was waiting in a chow line somewhere in the South Pacific, and a Japanese soldier — left behind by a navy that could not evacuate him; gaunt, starving, and desperate — moved into the line and attempted to silently cadge a bit of food. American soldiers quickly began whispering among themselves, then pointing at the intruder. Then someone walked up to the Japanese soldier and shot him in the head. Food service continued apace.

Like I said, Grandpa Virgil didn’t talk much about the war.

*****

When I hear people today talking about whether or not it was right to invade Iraq knowing what we knew at the time, I just scoff. I challenge those people to visit a VA hospital or a cemetery and say these words out loud: “It was the right decision knowing what we knew at the time.”

If that sounds like a ghoulish thing to say to a wounded vet, consider the possibility that it is, in fact, a ghoulish thing to say to a wounded vet. Consider the possibility that, given the benefit of time and distance, no one in their right mind would say those same words to a wounded Vietnam vet.

Soldiers have died needlessly in wars since time immemorial. This will never change; every conflict, no matter how high-minded, noble, or necessary, will involve the needless loss of life. But as a nation, we owe it to our all-volunteer military—to the people who actually do sign up for service—to make sure that if we are going to put them in harm’s way, there had better be a damned good reason to do it.

*****

At a cookout yesterday, I got to listen to several current and former Navy personnel discussing their experiences in uniform. It was mundane, workaday stuff, and it was hilarious: pooping onboard a warship is, apparently, an extraordinarily delicate operation. But these Navy personnel also drilled home the bureaucratic immensity of America’s military, and the jealousy of watching contractors do the same job as them for much more money.

None of them were resentful of their service, as were so many veterans of World War I. They know they cannot expect Brokovian tributes to their work in 50 years time, as the World War II vets could. And like most members of this generation of the American military, they will smile politely when you say, “Thank you for your service,” and then they will remind themselves that you mean well, even as your declaration rings hollow.

So another Memorial Day passes, and across the country, untold numbers of people will place wreaths and cry tears and remember lives snuffed out too soon. Another Memorial Day passes, and the United States continues to wage wars-that-are-not-wars, for reasons the American public continues not to understand. Another Memorial Day passes, and we promise amid the haze of beer and hot dogs that next year, next year we will honor our military by placing it in harm’s way only when absolutely necessary.

*****

I am sick of this country being at war. I am sick of this country being at war and not having the courage to look itself in the mirror and admit that it’s at war. I am sick and tired of watching professional sports teams trot out a single soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or guardsman—quite literally a token member of the military—so that the crowd can applaud, and feel good about themselves for applauding before spending $11 on nachos. I am not alone in this sentiment.

I am sick of the idea that a republic can support a global military presence without asking 99% of the members of that republic to lift so much as a finger.

If you see a veteran today, buy them a drink, or ask them what they’d like on their hot dog. Do something to express your gratitude, but know that the best way to honor the men and women of America’s military is to not treat their lives as expendable.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. And if you’re looking for actual, meaningful words about the reality of war, I encourage you to read Mark Twain’s War Prayer and Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et decorum est.

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  • Celtic_Gnome

    I probably wouldn’t have gone to Vietnam. I’m White, was a student at the time, and had a high draft number. I was vehemently against the draft, not just because it affected me, but because it was quite obvious to all of us that it affected others far more disproportionately.

    One of the factors that turned the corner on that war was that, being on the tube every night, middle class parents realized that they couldn’t just turn their backs on the whole idea, since there was too much risk that it would affect their own children.

    I have since come around to the idea that some form of universal public service, common in Israel and many European countries, is a necessity. War is seen in this country as a way to enrich a small portion of the population with lucrative defense contracts at the expense of a handful of yokels who agreed to be cannon fodder for Halliburton. Only if every American parent, from the lowliest janitor to Senators and Congress critters, could lose their precious offspring to this machine will we ever turn away from this stupidity.

    • Biff52

      My number was 74. I was in the process of enlisting in the USAF, so by the time I got rejected by them, my time in the barrel was up. Shoulda never contested my 4F!

    • SnarkOff

      I wonder if the Military Industrial Complex works hard to discourage a universal draft in order to keep itself in business. And I also wish that every American had to spend two years in some sort of public service. Say, rebuilding infrastructure or teaching. If the government spent money on that instead of its bullshit wars, individual Americans would enjoy the same financial benefits of being in the military, and the country as a whole would be vastly better.

      • Ikimizi

        Public service (and foreign policy) should also include going to other countries and helping them build infrastructure projects- hospitals, schools, irrigation, etc. We just might find that we could have more friends in the world.

        • nightmoth

          That’s what JFK tried to do with the Peace Corps. Worked for a while.

  • The Wanderer

    Dan, you get all the upfists for this article, and for the use of “Brokovian.”
    May I also suggest Sassoon’s “Aftermath?”

  • chascates

    There was never a good war or a bad peace.
    There may be a just war such as World War II.

    I second Celtic Gnome’s call for universal public service. I also demand that in spite of a volunteer military all foreign military involvements should have the adult children of members of Congress drafted to serve at the front.

    • The Wanderer

      And the very rich.

    • nightmoth

      One of the many reasons I love Joe Biden is that his sons served. I believe he’s the ONLY senator with that distinction.

      • alwayspunkindrublic

        McCain’s son is still serving, in the Navy if I recall.

        • nightmoth

          You’re right! Thanks.

  • Villago Delenda Est

    Having served, and in plenty of exotic (to most Americans) places, like Germany, Korea, and Honduras, and not been involved in actual shooting explodey things, although with them always looming over my head, both Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day are special to me. I can’t hope to equal Dan Weber’s eloquence, but can only express my approval for his sentiment.

    The entire structure of a volunteer military was supposed to give pause to casual expenditure of the lives of servicepeople that seemed to many to be what Vietnam was all about, and the military was structured to avoid another Vietnam. Didn’t work out that way, not when you have someone craven enough to launch a war based on a lie.

    We have a long way to go.

    • eddi

      If Congress thinks a war is called for, they themselves should volunteer for work at the front. In Graves Registration.

    • dshwa

      In some ways, the all volunteer military made it easier for us to do Iraq. With no draft, 99% of the public doesn’t have a risk of having skin in the game, so they’re much more willing to support a war (or whatever we’re calling it these days) starting, and going on far longer than it should.

  • chascates

    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
    From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,

    And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

    Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

    I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

    When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
    –Randall Jarrell

  • memzilla
    • willi0000000

      he was the WWi Bill Mauldin.
      .

  • Lizzietish81

    This last week I’ve been watching The Civil War (no not the Capt America movie) and was reminded of the founding of Arlington National Cemetery.

    It was Robert E Lee’s front lawn, and Montgomery C. Meigs, Quartermaster General put it there on purpose so that the house could never be lived in again. He buried his son in Mrs. Lee’s rose garden.

    • chascates

      I have the DVDs but can’t watch them too often as I tend to cry at certain things in them. The letter of Sullivan Ballou, for example

      • nightmoth

        I have inherited a very similar letter from a great, great grandmother. She had a secret lover who died at Shiloh the day after he wrote her. As none of my family is interested in history, and I am childless, I plan to donate it, and the hand carved box it was locked in, to the museum at Shiloh Battlefield.

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          Amazing. How could no one else be interested in this.

          • nightmoth

            I don’t understand, either. It seems the only “inheritance” my cousins are interested in is the materially valuable kind. If it isn’t cash, or easily convertible into cash, they don’t care. Unfortunately, this seems to me to be a very “American” trait, and it’s why this country doesn’t learn from the past. Just speculating.

          • alwayspunkindrublic

            How sad. I admit to being a bit of a Civil War buff, but beyond that, this is just such a profound story…novels have been written about less. Bless you for preserving it.

          • nightmoth

            Since you guys can appreciate it, I’ll tell you a little more. The letter begins chattily enough, in a neat, tight cursive. As it becomes more intimate, the handwriting becomes bigger. At the end, it’s a big loopy scrawl when he says, “Tomorrow we fight at Shiloh. It may be that I will fall, but if I do, know, oh know, my darling, that I fall with your face within my heart.” After grandma Cynthia got word that he had died, she ripped his signature off the letter and locked it in the little box. It was jimmied open after her death, and her children found the letter.

          • jmk

            Just that made tears fill my eyes. Thank you.

          • Lamashtar

            Same with my family. I have a small collection of guns and a large collection of gemstones. The youth of my family couldn’t care less except for how much they could sell them for.

        • chascates

          That is a wonderful legacy and a wonderful way to share your families history.

      • jmk

        Yes. And Sam Waterson’s rendition of the Gettysburg Address makes me sob out loud.

    • alwayspunkindrublic

      In a documentary full of profound moments, that one is high on the list.

    • AlasAnAss

      I cannot recommend highly enough Shelby Foote’s Civil War trilogy. He gets a number of things wrong (understandable, given the scope of the narrative and when he wrote it) and more than once his valorizing of the South is disturbing. But no one, in my view, has done a better job of dramatizing the war in its myriad facets. Yes, it’s a huge undertaking, but it’s time very, very well spent.

      • alwayspunkindrublic

        A great read. And yes, he is a child of Memphis and a southern upbringing, so he does lapse into romanticizing the Confederates. I heard the writer Hampton Sides at a book festival, who is also from Memphis. His best friend growing up was Shelby Foote’s son, who, if I recall, is named-or nicknamed-
        Huggie. Mr. Sides had hilarious stories of playing in garage bands with Huggie in their basement and driving Shelby out of his gourd with the noise.

        • AlasAnAss

          If it wasn’t Mozart, it made Foote murderous.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      I love olde timey spite. They really knew how to do it back then. There’s an old mansion in my town that a woman left to fall into ruin just to spite her mother in law.

  • btwbfdimho

    US Military is the largest payroll in the world. Very popular federal program indeed, and hard to downsize.
    Watch out China, huuuuge army, but they have a 1.5B population.
    Soon the question could be: who is willing to serve on Trump’s Imperial Army?

    • Ghenghis McCann

      Members of the NRA?

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Fat chance of that. People who have actually served look at the Bundy Bunch and understand instantly why the Bundys never served; they wouldn’t have made it past basic training.

        • Ghenghis McCann

          As my old Dad said,’They could always use them as shields for the good soldiers.’.

      • Jonny On Maui

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

    • proudgrampa

      That 3.2 million does not even include all the contractors’ and vendors’ employees that the DOD pays for.

  • Dulce Et Decorum Est
    by Wilfred Owen

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    • The Wanderer

      The Old Lie is also carved into the amphitheater behind the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington. I marvel at the irony of it.

  • dshwa

    Amen.

  • Vecciojohn LLC

    When a Beau Goes In

    When a Beau goes in,
    Into the drink,
    It makes you think,
    Because, you see, they always sink
    But nobody says “Poor lad”
    Or goes about looking sad
    Because, you see, it’s war,
    It’s the unalterable law.

    Although it’s perfectly certain
    The pilot’s gone for a Burton
    And the observer too
    It’s nothing to do with you
    And if they both should go
    To a land where falls no rain nor hail nor driven snow —
    Here, there, or anywhere,
    Do you suppose they care?

    You shouldn’t cry
    Or say a prayer or sigh.
    In the cold sea, in the dark
    It isn’t a lark
    But it isn’t Original Sin —
    It’s just a Beau going in.

    – Gavin Ewart

  • Juan de Fuca

    When I hear people today talking about whether or not it was right to invade Iraq knowing what we knew at the time, I just scoff. I challenge those people to visit a VA hospital or a cemetery and say these words out loud: “It was the right decision knowing what we knew at the time.”

    Very well stated, Dan. RIP Spec. Clarence Cash, also too. Life is too short.

    • Dr. Krieger IRL

      Finding out that Dubya had designs on Iraq since prior to his swearing-in was the fact that got me off the bench, politically. Never again. I’ll be damned if another Rethug warhawk puppet gets installed into office.

      • Juan de Fuca

        Thank you.

      • Bitter Scribe

        At least the dumbfuck has the good grace to stay out of sight. Although I’m not entirely sure thats a good thing. People should be reminded what happens when ignorant shits get installed in office because of earth tones and inventing the internet and who would you rather have a beer with.

    • SayItWithWookies

      Hell, Dubya said shit like that to veterans and their families during our occupation of Iraq, and he’s said that shit to this day. As much as I’d like to think he has pangs of shame, it would be entirely out of character.

  • The Wanderer

    THE GUARDIANS

    GOD LOOKED AROUND HIS BARRACKS;
    AND SAW SOME EMPTY SPACES;
    HE LOOKED DOWN ON ‘OLE HAMBURGER HILL;
    AND SAW AIRBORNES TIRED FACES.

    HE PUT HIS ARMS AROUND THEM;
    AND TOOK THEM IN HIS CARE;
    GOD SMILED AND SAID,
    “THIS PLATOON HAS DONE ENOUGH”
    YOU SEE HE WANTED THEM “UP THERE”

    I CRIED AND CRIED,
    WHEN I HEARD THEY HAD GONE;
    BUT THEY DID NOT GO ALONE;
    FOR MOST OF ME WENT WITH THEM,
    THE DAY 1ST PLATOON WENT HOME.

    SO BEWARE AMERICAN ENEMYS;
    YOU ARE DOOMED WHEREEVER YOU GO;
    WE GOT AIRBORNE GUARDING HEAVENS GATES,
    THE 1ST OF BRAVO-

    badger

    – by Danny L. Crafton
    (copied and pasted verbatim, caps lock and all)

  • alwayspunkindrublic

    Re-posting this from the last thread, but worth sharing again.. From Drew Gilpin Faust’s “This Republic Of Suffering”, I learned that the inspiration for Memorial Day came at the end of the Civil War, at a hellhole POW camp for Union soldiers that was abandoned-all the white people fled- when Sherman came through. The freed slaves from the surrounding plantations gathered at the camp, buried the dead with dignity, and held a solemn ceremony of thanks for these men who gave “the last full measure of devotion” for the cause of freedom.

    All this so we can go buy dining room sets and mattresses on sale today.

    • The Wanderer

      Was that Andersonville?

      • alwayspunkindrublic

        I don’t recall, but this was in South Carolina; I believe Andersonville is in Georgia (I edited the post to clear that up).

        • The Wanderer

          Yes, it was. I recall that Wirtz, the camp commander, was hanged for war crimes.

          • alwayspunkindrublic

            One of the few, actually. The forbearance-inspired by Lincoln-shown to traitorous rebels was remarkable. You’d think they would’ve appreciated it….

          • Celtic_Gnome

            As we’ve seen, they appreciated it as much as modern day banksters appreciate being bailed out. They message they get is what they did wasn’t wrong.

          • AlasAnAss

            A very apt comparison.

    • anwisok

      It seems that it is difficult to pin down “the first” Memorial day, in part because one can use any of several definitions for “first.”

      I trust Snopes’ research better than Wiki, so here’s what they have to say.

      • alwayspunkindrublic

        I don’t think she claimed in the book that this was actually the first Memorial Day, but an historically accurate incident that was part of the inspiration for it. I find the story to be more powerful and resonant than any dry declaration or official celebration.

        • AlasAnAss

          That entire book is remarkably informative and moving.

    • cynmac

      You are correct – in Charleston, SC, not far from where the Civil War started at Fort Sumter.
      http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/first-american-memorial-day-commemorated

    • Bitter Scribe

      Dear South: Take your Lost Cause, your Heritage and your Stars and Bars, and fuck yourself in the teeth with them. Thank you.

  • dshwa

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydl59nnyx_E
    This is my favorite setting of Whitman’s Dirge for Two Veterans.

    • Dudleydidwrong

      Thank you for sharing that. I’ve always appreciated the Vaughn Williams setting but I think this one catches the spirit of Whitman’s words a bit better.

  • btwbfdimho

    BitchBetterHaveMoreMissiles

    • btwbfdimho

    • btwbfdimho

      Clinton cut Defense from 4.5% to 3% of GDP.
      Bush did the opposite.
      That 1.5% is not only money but also millions of lives gone (here, there, and everywhere). How many?

  • JustPixelz

    Thank you.

    I am sick of the idea that a republic can support a global military presence without asking 99% of the members of that republic to lift so much as a finger.

    We should draft people into national service in the same numbers as we dispatch our soldiers overseas. Maybe the draftees do civilian work on military bases, maybe they help with TSA lines. No exceptions. Their lives, though not in danger, are disrupted.

    And we should fund all overseas military operations with a gas tax. Everyone pays for war.

    • Frank Underboob

      The problem is that the One Percent & the weasels always manage to avoid the Draft for themselves & their kids.

  • ManchuCandidate

    “You have asked me to assist in the dedication of this memorial; and
    I am greatly honored. But I know you will understand if I avoid the
    use of words like gallantry or valor or glory. I will leave them to
    those who have not had to add up the ledger of violence and misery. My
    own heart is too full of losses today. We are assembled here to honor
    the men whose names are inscribed on this tablet. Let us, then, do them
    the simple honor of honesty. This war was a long, lonely, dirty job,
    as these men seated here behind me can attest. They fought it with
    courage and fortitude and the hope of better day, and what they did
    cannot and will not be forgotten. But there is nothing glorious about
    killing one’s fellow man, or being killed by him, or passing many many
    days in hatred and misery and fear. And whoever says it is a matter for
    glory lies in his teeth…”

    “We like to say that war is cruel, but no one knows how cruel it
    is–how deeply monstrously cruel–unless he has himself walked through the
    fire and felt it sear him. The men recorded on this tablet have done
    that. Many of them died horribly, some of them needlessly. Yes,
    needlessly because what is most hideous about war is its waste:
    destruction of goods and homes, waste of life and hop and that dream of
    individual dignity we cherish as the particular achievement of America.
    A country’s treasure is in its young men, and their loss is terrible
    beyond measure it is irreparable. It is as shocking as the loss of
    innocence, or self-respect. And more often than not it is the good man
    who goes: the large act, the spendthrift heart. The medic who goes out
    to bring in the wounded man, the automatic rifleman who covers his
    patrol’s withdrawal, the officer trying to prevent panic, the gunner who
    throws himself on the grenade menacing his friends…”

    “there they are, arrayed on the face of the stone. All that is left
    of their eager faces, their dreams, their inviolable souls. They are
    dead now. They were singularly trusting. They asked no collateral on
    the prompt surrender of their lives, they demanded no social privileges,
    no distinctions, no seats of power or influence as they walked steadily
    in to the valley. They demanded nothing. What about us, the
    beneficiaries of such profligate bounty? Will we be callous as to
    scheme and despoil for these things again– and mock their death, their
    slow, immeasurable agony?”

    *cut*

    “Forgive me, if you can, for so somber an address on this beautiful
    September day, when the whole land echoes with cries of triumph; but I
    am weighted down with losses–I am constrained to cry, like another
    soldier sick of slaughter and folly: The weight of this sad time we
    must obey; Speak what we feel, and what we ought to say.”
    -Sam Damon From Once An Eagle By Anton Myrer

    • cleos_mom

      It might be worth mentioning that the “well, it was war” justification is rarely indulged in by those on the receiving end.

  • Fartknocker

    No snark.

    So Congress has the power to issue a Declaration of War and we apparently haven’t done that since 1945 (Korea). After that it’s all been police actions, conflicts, or Operation (insert patriotic or military ordnance phrase here).

    As Americans we have either lost the balls to tell our elected leaders that if you want a War, declare it or worse, we have sent so few to participate that the rest of us are insulated from it. Rachel Maddow’s book “Drift” has changed my opinion on all this. I blame us voters for not stuffing some of these chickenhawks in the shitter and electing politicians who will thoughtfully and deliberately consider all of the information before declaring war. Never have so many people been fucked by so few in power.

    I turned 56 at the beginning of this month. Hooray me: I have only seen war about 46% of my life. One of my firefighters is on his way for another TOD in Afghanistan. This is tour number 3. We pray for him and his family and support his wife and 2 kids with house chores, maintenance, and just having an open ear.

    Thank you Dan for putting this in perspective.

    • Ghenghis McCann

      Semantics is a wonderful thing. I remember some years ago reading that someone had claimed that the Falklands War wasn’t a war at all, because neither Britain or Argentina had actually declared war on the other. Obviously a Proper War needs a diplomat in a top hat and wing collar to deliver a sternly worded note before it can start.

      A more sensible person pointed out that although Argentina had declared war on Nazi Germany on March 27, 1945, no Argentinean forces had taken part in any form of combat. So which one was a war and which one was a country jumping on the bandwagon so they could still be friends with Uncle Sam?

    • Bitter Scribe

      Thank Richard Nixon. By ending the draft, he started the devil’s bargain that has been renewed by every president since: Give me the power to declare wars unilaterally, and you won’t be forced to fight in them.

    • Angela Ruzzo

      We haven’t actually declared war since 1941. When North Korea invaded South Korea, Truman asked the then-new U.N. Security Council for international sanction for the war, and was able to get it because the USSR was boycotting the Security Council at the time. Truman’s view was that U.N. sanction for the war eliminated the requirement for a declaration of war because 1) it was not a war in the strict sense, but a “police action” under the U.N. Charter; and 2) the U.N. Charter constituted a treaty which bound the US to go to war if the U.N. so ordered. Truman’s action set a precedent we live with today. This precedent was justified later, during the Cold War, when it was widely believed that there would not be time to declare war if an all-out nuclear war began. In Viet Nam, the transition from military assistance to advisers to advisers in combat to U.S. forces at war was so subtle that there was no moment to which you could point that said we were now in a state of war, where previously we weren’t. Johnson believed he could not get Congress to declare war on Viet Nam, so he didn’t ask them. These precedents have led to political acceptance of the idea that all wars were at the discretion of the president. Congress appears to have accepted this.

  • Ghenghis McCann

    The General by Siegfried Sassoon

    ‘GOOD-MORNING; good-morning!’ the General said
    When we met him last week on our way to the line.
    Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
    And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
    ‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack
    As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
    . . . .

    But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

  • SDGeoff

    I am glad comments are not allowed because I have nothing to add but outrage. And thank you for running this.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    “We originally ran this post for Memorial Day 2015. It’s a lovely read, so we decided it should be reposted this year.”

    Weak. You could just say “We didn’t feel like writing anything” and admit you’re low energy. I’m not saying you’re low energy. Never said it. Show me the tape. I’m just saying you should write a post about how fantastic Donald Trump is at war. Beautiful. I’m the most militaristic guy you’ll see. I fought all the best wars. Won them all. We’re going to make America great again by being terrific. Just terrific. We’re gonna do more than waterboard my friends. A hell of a lot more. We’re gonna build a wall. Bomb the shit out of ISIS. Japan. China. Mexico. My good friend Vladimir Putin. No one is going to be laughing at us anymore. Unlike Obama. Pathetic!

    • AntiDerpomeme

      Bidenator, I’m guessing this is your new alter ego. Great, really terrific! Love the hair.

      • Rick Hill

        A little too good, even for him. I’m thinking it’s actualy Turnip, hisself and he’s setting us all up for the greatest trolling effort in history.

        • anwisok

          Why would he waste his time at Wonkette when he’s trolling the entire country?

          • Rick Hill

            He’s too petty to allow any slight go unpassed and, face it, there’s plenty of weaponized snark here at Wonkeland.

    • Biff52
      • Pickwicknext

        You know it has to be fucked up if Stephen Hawking doesn’t understand

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          His deep knowledge of Black Holes notwithstanding.

          • theCryptofishist

            But what does Penrose say?

      • Hairstrike Alpha

        Scott Adams has had like a month long orgasm over Trumpy so maybe he can explain to a real dumbass like Stephen Hawking just why Trump is so terrific.

        • Frank Underboob

          One big difference between Hawking & Adams is women have wanted to have sex with Hawking.

        • WomanComingHome

          In no way, shape or form should Scott Adams be linked with an orgasm.

        • Zango LeHoonery

          Scott Adams was on Bill Maher’s show last episode. Did you know Adams is a trained hypnotist? Mind. Blown.

          Not really.

      • doktorzoom

        “The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about Stephen Hawking’s comments on Donald Trump, which were embargoed for 7:01 p.m. EDT (2301 GMT). Hawking also did not make the comments in the ITV morning show that was broadcast Monday — the comments were taped to be shown at a later date.”

        A Brief History of Bad Timing?

        • Biff52

          ♪♫♪Awkward!♫♪♫
          Kinda like how we lost Dan Rather!

    • btwbfdimho

      And don’t ask what Melania can do for the country, but what your country golf club can do for Melania.

      • Playonwords

        We have always been at war with Melania

    • Angela Ruzzo

      It’s a holiday. Wonkette editors need and deserve a holiday just like everyone else.

  • OddMan

    Here is a song that hits close to home on this Memorial Day “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle.
    The song was written to honor the Australian soldiers killed in the Battle of Gallipoli in WWI.

    “In all, some 480,000 Allied forces took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, at a cost of more than 250,000 casualties, including some 46,000 dead. On the Turkish side, the campaign also cost an estimated 250,000 casualties, with 65,000 killed.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG48Ftsr3OI

    • btwbfdimho

      +10

    • Angela Ruzzo

      I’ve heard this before. Good song. Analyses of the Gallipoli campaign say that “it was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning, insufficient artillery,
      inexperienced troops, inaccurate maps and intelligence, overconfidence,
      inadequate equipment and logistics, and tactical deficiencies at all
      levels.” In my job in IT, if we had bad leadership the result was low morale, inaccurate data, and a lot of unproductive people and computers, but if the military has bad leadership, many people die.

      • WomanComingHome

        The military leadership in WW1, especially on the Allied side, was jaw-droppingly poor. And yes, many many many soldiers died as a result.

        • Angela Ruzzo

          Very true. I think our leadership in Viet Nam could have been better, at all levels. The Allied leadership in WWII was exceptionally good on all sides, which was actually fairly rare in history. What would have been the outcome if they had not had such exceptional leadership? Who can tell.

          • WomanComingHome

            If we had had the equivalent of Haig, Joffre, and Pershing in WW2 we would undoubtedly be much more fluent in German and Japanese.

          • Angela Ruzzo

            Very possibly. But it was their poor military leadership that taught younger men, who served in WWI and later became generals in WWII, not to make the same mistakes. Unfortunately this effect seems to be cyclical – because they applied the lessons they had learned when Viet Nam came along, but Viet Nam was a completely different kind of war, and the lessons didn’t apply. A successful species must “adapt or die” and we don’t seem to be as good at adapting to new military conditions as some people would like us to believe.

          • theCryptofishist

            But Generals are always fighting the last war. Or so I understand.

          • Angela Ruzzo

            Probably true. But the war on terrorism has been going on for 20 years, and they don’t seem to be learning anything.

          • theCryptofishist

            Is our Generals learning?

            Well, maybe it should be Is our Congress learning?

          • Angela Ruzzo

            No, they never learn anything.

          • theCryptofishist

            *sigh*

          • Lamashtar

            I was reading an article in NCO (non-commissioned officer) magazine on the history of US occupation, and one thing that caught my eye was that they threw out most of the records that had to do with Vietnam, because, the article quotes they said, “we would never be in a war like that again.” You can almost feel the frustration of the writer. Military historians tend to be very sensible people.

          • Angela Ruzzo

            I know someone, who shall be nameless, who participated in military ops in Southeast Asia that were kept under wraps for 50 years, and he was never allowed to speak about it even to his family. He is now writing a book on the subject, as the time limit has expired. There are many things about that war that have never been revealed.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Thankfully, we instead had Marshall, Eisenhower, and King.

  • WomanComingHome

    May I add to the reading list Where Men Win Glory – the Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer?

    Warning – common side effects include incandescent rage, muttering and pacing, and an inability to pronounce the name of our 43rd president without the use of the phrase that motherfucker. If these symptoms last for more than four hours, congratulate yourself on having a conscience.

    • alwayspunkindrublic

      One of those books that probably should be required reading in this country. Pat Tillman was a very bright and complex guy…he never fit into any convenient niche that people wanted to put him in.

      • WomanComingHome

        He was an amazing person. And his family is equally impressive.

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          His mother was relentless…it is mostly thanks to her that the truth of his story finally came out.

          • WomanComingHome

            She is a real American hero. Bless her for being unafraid to stand up to the psuedo-patriotic fuckweasels in that motherfucking administration.

          • alwayspunkindrublic

            I very much wanted to send her a letter, expressing my condolences for the loss of her son, and commending her for her courage. I also didn’t want to seem like an opportunistic grief vulture reminding her of her loss for my own gratification, so I never did it.

          • WomanComingHome

            I completely understand.

            A little O/T – I have to leave for work in about an hour, and right now I am so. Damned. Angry. It’ll be a miracle if I make it through the day without offending everybody.

          • AlasAnAss

            One should never do neurosurgery while angry.

          • Captain Kraut

            But sleepy is apparently okay.

          • alwayspunkindrublic

            Hope nobody got hurt! I had to work today too, but through no fault but my own. I’m self-employed, and my boss is a tyrant asshole.

          • WomanComingHome

            You really need to do something about working conditions there. And I’m happy to say that no lives or or delicate little egos were destroyed.

          • AlasAnAss

            Well, how many did you light up?

          • WomanComingHome

            Nary a one, sad to say. Not saying that there weren’t some temptations, but I’m very lucky that I actually love what I do. It keeps the homicidal impulses at bay.

          • AlasAnAss

            If you’re an assassin, you’re a very paradoxical one.

          • WomanComingHome

            Assassin is really more of a fall-back career, should things not work out in my current position.

          • AlasAnAss

            Not an assassin presently? I’m so sorry. I’ve been talking to the wrong WomanComing Home.

          • WomanComingHome

            Dammit, that’s my twin sister HumanComingHome. She must have been setting alight the beacon, which I’ve just remembered is magnum45withasilencer-shaped. Naughty, naughty HCH.

          • AlasAnAss

            Well, that at least explains why she kept wanting to inflict wounds, rather than inspect and heal them. Also, the peril. It explains that too.

    • Shibusa

      I’ll second that.
      “Redeployment” by Phil Klay is well worth reading. Amazing short stories.

  • Spotts1701

    “I am not proud of the part I played in it. I did it because it was necessary for the safety of this country. That’s why I am such a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war. Unfortunately limits — attempts to limit war have always failed. The lesson of history is when a war starts every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available.” – Hyman G. Rickover

  • DoILookAmused2u ?

    Written in real-time 2002-2003 when I was going through my troubadour phase:

    Hell To Pay (I may do a parody version about Trump called ‘Hell Toupee’).

    The Whitehouse said,
    “Saddam Hussein wants us dead”
    The President speaks
    And they fire up the war machine
    They put people down
    For expressing any doubt

    But this ain’t just another nightmare
    This ain’t just gonna go away
    This ain’t gonna fix itself
    There’s gonna be Hell to Pay

    A light-force invasion
    Follows on the “Shock and Awe”
    But not enough troops go in
    To control the weapons stocks
    Leaves our boys facing
    An armed insurgency
    Coming home in body bags
    Coming home as amputees

    [break]
    And I’d like to say
    That I did something to stop this thing
    But all I did was complain
    and that’s my Hell to Pay
    [/break]

    My buddy Jerry
    Went to look for CBNs
    In Iraq
    Never saw him again
    He left behind
    A wife and a kid
    Traded his life
    For a lie and folded flag

    But that’s their Hell to Pay.

    ….

    Obviously, it leaves out destablizing the region. Like I said, it was a real-time written thing that hasn’t been updated since 2003.

  • Shibusa

    My Dad and his two brothers were all in WWII. One Navy, one Cavalry, one Army. My father was a doctor, so he didn’t see as much awfulness as the other two, who were in combat. The three brothers were very close. He said the other two never, ever talked about what they’d seen in the war. One brother fought anxiety and depression for the rest of his days. They were all grateful to have survived, since many young men from their neighborhood did not come home. Sad.

    Enjoy your holiday, fellow Wonketeers. Best to you all.

    • anwisok

      My dad was in WW II. He never, ever talked about it. I mean, to the point that I still do not know where he served, in what capacity, or for what country (he assured us it was on the Allied side). Since he was deaf, he certainly couldn’t enlist with the US or Britain.

      I did hear stories about his brothers, all 5 of whom served in the US military. 2 of them didn’t come back, and two of them were wounded – one of them gravely, carrying several bullets for the rest of his life.

    • alwayspunkindrublic

      My dad was in the Pacific in WWII aboard a destroyer…saw action in many of the major battles. He NEVER spoke of it, and lived life as a very damaged man. After his death, my brothers and I found a diary he kept during the battle of Iwo Jima. It was horrifying…and maybe goes some way to explaining the man he became.

    • WomanComingHome

      Great grandfather in WW1, grandfather in the Pacific in WW2, uncle in Vietnam – none of them ever talked about the bad stuff. Ever.

    • The Wanderer

      One of my older cousins went to Vietnam, and wasn’t exactly right afterward. It took a very long time for his family to help him.
      My father joined the Army as soon as he was able, and served in Germany during the Occupation and into the Korean War. He told me that, ten years on, Dachau still had the smell of a slaughterhouse about it. I visited Dachau in 2009, and Dad was right.

      • Bitter Scribe

        My sister’s boyfriend, whom I liked very much, dropped out of college and got drafted into Vietnam. It completely fucked him up. They broke up afterward (and she promptly took up with the world’s biggest shithead).

    • cynmac

      My dad was a doctor during Viet Nam. They had the doctors rotate into MASH units every so often. It was bad. My dad drank.

    • Fat Mermaid

      My grandfather lied about his age to enlist in the Korean War (hilariously young compared to my peers who always had grandparents who fought in WWII, but this shit happens when you’re the oldest child of an oldest child of an oldest child). He was heavy artillery.

      He was a born storyteller. He talked about how boot camp was awful and hard and he tried to quit but they wouldn’t let him, and it was probably the best thing for him. As an aimless and poor young man who was undiagnosed bipolar, it probably was the most structure he’d ever had in his life, so I don’t doubt it was good for him. He talked about learning to box while he was in the army. He taught me how to listen to a cannon: mouth open to equalize pressure, hands loosely cupped over your ears. He made sure I tried, at a young age, all the Asian cuisine he’d learned to love in Korea and Japan.

      He never, ever, ever talked about anything directly related to the actual war.

      • Lamashtar

        My father-in-law is a Vietnam Vet and would talk the hind leg off a donkey. He loves to talk and he’ll tell you all kinds of odd stories about stupid bureaucracy in Nam and radios (he was commo like everyone in our immediate family) and the people he dealt with (he loved the Montagnards) and how dumb military crap ended up getting him shipped to France right after his tour ended and how much fun the ex-Foreign Legionnaires were–but yeah, I never noticed til you commented that he never talks about actual combat.

    • nightmoth

      My Dad was a nurse–one of the few male nurses in WWII. He was a little old for combat, so he rode the hospital train back and forth across the country, tending the wounded as they were dropped off at one hospital after another. They got the European casualties in New York and the Pacific casualties in San Francisco. Like the other fathers cited here, he would not talk about it. Once when I was pressing him for stories, he looked at me with big sad eyes and said, “The burn victims were the worst.” And that’s as far as he ever got.

      • OneDemin EOr

        Mom of my BFF was a WAC, assigned to a burn hospital in Texas. She would talk about it (being a gal) and the methods of skin grafting that were developed were crude, but effective.
        My dad was in the South Pacific, a Merchant Marine. He would tell (somewhat) light-hearted tales, but you knew not to pry. He never went to the beach; he often described being at sea once for 9 months. They had exhausted their rations except for hardtack and Vienna sausages. That was as close as he got to the terrible stories.
        Bless them all for their dedication to duty.

    • jmk

      As a family, we’re lousy with servicepeople – my stepfather enlisted in the Navy during Vietnam, my brother was career Army, and spent eight months or so in the sand during Desert Storm, and both his sons currently serve (Army and Air Force, both with multiple tours in Afghanistan). My sister enlisted in the early 90s, and was blackmailed out of the Army to keep her from testifying against her sergeant in a sexual assault and harassment case…for some reason, my mother always leaves her out of the list of family members who are veterans.

      My grandpa was in WWII… he was an MP, and had lots of stories about drunks and pranks and accidents. He was one of the motorcycle escorts for the dignitaries at Yalta, and he was very proud of the certificate Stalin signed for him that allowed him – or so he claimed – to ride his motorcycle anywhere in the USSR without hindrance. He got caught up in the Battle of the Bulge, though, and wouldn’t tell any stories about that other than to say how exhausted the men were and how scared he was. When an intimidatingly-gigantic former cop with a deep, booming voice and an even bigger nose tells you he was scared… well…it makes an impression.

      But they all came home, and for that, I am profoundly grateful each Memorial Day.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    Wingnut memorial day movie marathon:

    1. the Green Berets
    2. First Blood-Rambo
    3. Rambo II
    4. Rocky IV
    5. Red Dawn
    6. We Were Soldiers
    7. The Flying Tigers
    8. Saving Private Ryan….what the fuck? Git that anti-Murican shit tha hell outta here!

    • Enfant Terrible

      Here are some real stinkers.

      Sands of Iwo Jima.
      Pearl Harbor.
      Hamburger Hill.
      A Bridge Too Far.
      Heartbreak Ridge.
      Inchon.
      Revolution.
      The Patriot.

      • Juan de Fuca

        Heartbreak Ridge libelz only because I drive through Camp Pendleton every so often on the way to San Onofre beach and they filmed part of that movie along Basilone road.

        • Back in the early 80’s I’d have run into you there.

          • Juan de Fuca

            I figured you would have ;-) Was going to head out to Old Man’s this morning but since I have tomorrow off, decided not to fight the traffic today. You should see the old training areas now – V-22’s flying close overhead during live training sessions, although it’s probably mostly the same as it was back in the day. Every now and then, they block traffic during training and I get out of my car and watch and reminisce. I enjoy going through Pendleton.

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          Charlie don’t surf.

          • The Wanderer

            Now that Obama’s opened the place up a bit more, maybe they will.

      • Lamashtar

        I liked Heartbreak Ridge. It had a nice balance between military loyalty to your comrades and hatred of your stupid leaders, the silliness of Grenada (Americans are still being thanked by Grenadans, but it was a glorified SWAT action) versus the seriousness of actual wars, and the anger of those who felt betrayed by the military versus the lifer. You can’t watch Marsha Mason’s fury at the military and say its an empty dog and pony show.

        • jmk

          As I once heard a comedian say “hey – don’t diss Grenada! That was my generation’s war….it was a hairy weekend.”

      • kaw143

        I have been trying to find a watchable copy of Inchon! for decades, simply because I know it’s reputation, and I can’t believe a film with such a lofty pedigree could be so bad.

        And, if you can find it, the R-rated cut of Pearl Harbor isn’t nearly as bad as the theatrical cut. (For one, Ben Afleck doesn’t board a train to get to England.) It doesn’t alleviate the fact that it is a Michael Bay movie (although I am not one of those who considers “Michael Bay” to necessarily be a bad thing), but the story at least makes sense.

        Tora! Tora! Tora! is still probably the better Pearl Harbor flick, and it wasn’t really all that good.

        • Juan de Fuca

          Mrs. de Fuca and I watched that today. I don’t get the hate on it – (deep voice)Well, it wasn’t historically accurate, yeah, no shit – neither was The Shining. Then again, we lived on Fort Shafter, HI during the filming of it and during one of the bombing scenes, you can see the big water fountain next to the gazebo we were married in along Palm Circle Drive on Shafter. The hospital scenes were actually filmed in our MP barracks on post.
          So, we’re admittedly biased about liking it.

          • kaw143

            I would likely buy it if the director’s cut ever makes it to blu-ray. Yes, it was hammy, but, hey, lots of war movies are. I’m not usually a fan of director’s cuts, since 9 times out of 10 a director could have gotten final cut in his contract, if he were willing to accept a cut in pay. In Michael Bay’s case, he usually has final cut. In the case of Pearl Harbor, though, Disney was adamant that they wanted a PG-13 movie, and he was obligated to deliver.

          • Juan de Fuca

            Something tells me you do this (film work) for a living?

          • kaw143

            Heh. The Hollywood answer to your question would be, “Oh, I’m between projects. I just haven’t found anything that really inspires me.”

            The reality is, I used to, decades ago. I studied it in college. Tried briefly to break into the business, and I was not willing to do what it would take to do so. Turns out, I enjoy having a soul. I bounced around the periphery for a while, made some contacts (of which, I still have a few) sold a treatment or two, did some script reviewing, even managed to sell a screenplay, once upon a time (which has not yet been produced, for which I am likely very grateful).

            Ultimately, I never really managed to do more than amass far more knowledge on the subject than anyone should have. I wrote reviews for a while, until I got bored of that, and now I just occasionally noodle around on the subject.

            Actually making a movie at this time in my life (beyond, of course, the claptrap I did in school) might be interesting, but I think there are probably enough white dudes headlocking the industry into submission.

          • Juan de Fuca

            I can tell from your comments you know something (a lot?) about the industry :) Very cool. We have a wide range of backgrounds here on Wonkette.

          • kaw143

            That is very kind of you. I usually think of myself as a blowhard who probably doesn’t know nearly as much as I think I do. But, I honestly have studied it since the age of 8. It’s the one love my mother inspired in me that stuck. I imagine that, if I were to do film for a living, I probably wouldn’t talk about it as much as I do.

            And, yes, we really have quite the range of knowledge around here. That’s a great thing.

      • phoenix00

        Flight of the Intruder? That rather stunk…..

    • Rick Hill

      Not to worry about #8, conservatives will mark the day by watching Shaving Ryan’s privates….

    • cleos_mom

      It might be useful if anyone asked themselves exactly what our military has been “defending” since the 1940s but that isn’t going to happen. Just bringing it up causes otherwise sane people to wax hysterical.

    • Enfant Terrible

      “Red Tails” got some knocks for being formulaic and stuff, but I enjoyed it. A ripping yarn, based on history that really happened.

    • theCryptofishist

      1980’s Red Dawn, or the remake?

    • phoenix00

      I’ll slide Top Gun in at #9

  • anwisok

    Dammit, Wonkette! How am I supposed to have fun at the cookout this afternoon if I’ve got shit like this on my mind?

    • Rick Hill

      Here, have another drink….

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      Free parking downtown. Shop, eat, take in a show.

    • Lamashtar

      I hear there are sales at the furniture stores to distract you!

    • Fartknocker

      The Jiffy Lube near Rancho Fartknocker is serving free hotdogs and little American flags made in Malaysia while offering a special on synthetic motor oil. It’s not like anything is really wrong with refined motor oil, it’s just that synthetic supposedly extends the mile between oil changes.

  • May veterans everywhere enjoy today in peace.

    You are loved.

  • Rick Hill

    ” they will smile politely when you say, “Thank you for your service,” and then they will remind themselves that you ”

    I must be too old for that crap. I had a libertardian,ok, he wasn’t that, he was a conservative leaning libertarian, hear me say something about Dubbya. He hitched his pants and headed over to give me the inside scoop. At some point I mentioned I had served six in the Nav at which he stopped long enough to interject a “Thanks FYS.” I don’t think I told him to piss off but it was in the same neighborhood. Any rate,
    here’s to all those who, for whichever reason, right or wrong, went into service and gave their all so we could sit here, wishing we had the freedom to comment in Wonkevillia.

    • The Wanderer

      One day – one day! – comments will be allowed.

      • Rick Hill

        I’m working on a hack that will let us do just that. It’s a sekrit, though, don’t tell anyone.

        • AlasAnAss

          How will driving a taxi lead to comments here?

  • boll ocks

    Powerfully written. Thank you.

  • SnarkOff

    FIGHT THE RICH; NOT THEIR WARS.

    • Anarchy Pony

      !!!

  • beatbort

    My favorite antiwar (but not anti-veteran) movies:
    Dr. Strangelove
    MASH
    Johnny Got His Gun
    Slaughterhouse-Five
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Paths of Glory (early Kubrick, about WWI)

    I’ll think of others later.

    • The Wanderer

      Paths of Glory was an excellent movie. The acting and writing were top-notch.

    • SnarkOff

      “Glory” is also good.

    • alwayspunkindrublic

      I thought “The Deerhunter”, despite many flaws, was powerful. I grew up in a beatdown shitty mining town…a LOT of kids there, including my oldest brother, ended up in Viet Nam.

      • kaw143

        Now, I’ll have to rewatch The Deer Hunter. I don’t remember the flaws. (Then again, I’m one of those people who liked Heaven’s Gate before it was hip to do so. Cimino is one of THOSE directors. You either like the fact that he takes forever to tell a story, or you don’t.)

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          I think it was criticized at the time for what was perceived a a more pro-military POV. Again, from the perspective of somebody who grew up in poor, blue-collar place, I thought it was spot on. Those are the kids, by and large, that ended up going to Viet Nam.

    • tehbaddr

      Apocalypse Now is one of my favorites and Stranglove, brilliant absurd!

    • Shibusa

      Not exactly anti-war but excellent about modern wars’ aftermath:
      In the Valley of Elah.
      The Messenger.
      Why We Fight. (Documentary.)

    • Frank Underboob

      Speaking of Kubrick: Full Metal Jacket.

      • Juan de Fuca

        You write “Born to Kill” on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?

        I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir!

    • riledupone

      The Americanization Of Emily.

      • The Wanderer

        Oooh, perfect!

        • riledupone

          I love that movie.

    • theCryptofishist

      What’s that one with Alan Bates in WWI? The inmates take over the town…

      • WomanComingHome

        The King of Hearts. Great movie, and very loosely based on a real incident.

        • theCryptofishist

          The very one

    • Doug Langley

      Warner Bros got the film rights to The Forever War. Wonder what they’ll do with it.

      • willi0000000

        no story has ever been written with a better likelihood of having it fucked up by hollywood it’s The Forever War.

        [ they’ll make it about the story of a grunt making it all the way to general or the glory of war or some such shit ]

        • Doug Langley

          Sadly, I’m also skeptical. Problem: it’s a budget buster. So to make sure it gets money back, they’ll have to go the vertical marketing route. Which means toy sales, focus group tested chase scenes, love scenes, fight scenes, etc. Which means . . . you get the picture.

    • kaw143

      The Big Parade, also, too.

    • bozilingus

      Would this film be considered anti-war?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3EsNKlB7os

      • The Wanderer

        All of the Yes.

    • AlasAnAss

      O What a Lovely War

  • handyhippie65

    thankfully, i was a soldier during the cold war. my respect to those who were during a hot one.

  • BMW

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      They also serve who only stand and serve.

    • Spotts1701

      Biscuits and Gravy ’92 – NEVER FORGET!

      • kaw143

        The horror. … The hoooorrrrroooorrrr.

    • The Wanderer

      I needed that wholly inappropriate giggle.

    • HogeyeGrex

      I am not going to go to urbandictionary to see what “hot breakfast” is a euphemism for.

  • Vecciojohn LLC
  • Angela Ruzzo

    I looked at the Washington Post chart, and found it interesting, but it certainly leaves out a lot. This is probably inevitable, as you have to set parameters for things like charts. But I am 60 years old and I feel as if my country has been at war my whole life, not because of dates on which wars officially began and ended, but because my whole life I have been personally acquainted with men and women who fought or were fighting in one. One grandfather fought in WWI, both my parents and several uncles in WWII (one uncle lost a leg), several more uncles went to Korea, another uncle and many cousins went to Viet Nam, my brother avoided Viet Nam in 1968 by joining the Navy, and since then I have had nephews and nieces and cousins involved in short- and long-term military operations almost every year, including Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, both Gulf Wars, and Afghanistan. My mother was injured while serving as a nurse in WWII, and 30 years later became totally disabled from that injury. When my father died about 10 years ago, I had a niece and eight cousins serving in the military around the world, most of them in war zones. The chart says I have lived with war for 50% of my life, but I have actually lived with it for 100% of my life.

    I was taught in a political science class in college that “War is the failure of Diplomacy.” That is probably true, but it’s not the whole story.

    • chascates

      Let alone the actions of the CIA, covert funding of others, support for foreign dictators, sale of arms to same, etc.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        Very true. Plus the FBI spying on everyone they didn’t like. There was a domestic war going on all throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and probably still is.

  • Frank Underboob

    People always talk about honouring soldiers & veterans, but some things never change:

    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!
    — Rudyard Kipling: Tommy

    • Playonwords

      Ninja’d, By Glod! I was just about to post this.

      Kipling was many things we (now) find hateful; an imperialist, a militarist and, later, a racist; but he also had a journalist’s eye and a poet’s ear. He was one of the first modern English writers to attempt to transmit dialect in print (Soldiers Three), he was happy with the idea of mixed race children (Kim), saw the loyalty of non-white soldiers to the British Commanders (The Grave of the Hundred Head) and acknowledged the bravery of native levies (Gunga Din).

      He also suffered terrible remorse over the influence he brought to bear to allow his son to serve in WWI, an influence that led to the death of that dearly loved child …

      • jmk

        I had read Kim, and the awful Just So stories, and quite a lot of his poetry, but I had no idea of his personal tragedy until I saw My Boy Jack, with David Haig and Daniel Radcliffe. It was very moving.

    • theCryptofishist

      All the upfists for an old favorite.
      Thank you.

  • Beowoof14

    The words of Orwell seem to describe how modern republicans feel about themselves:
    “If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are alone? You are outside history, you are non-existent.” His manner changed and he said more harshly: “And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our lies and our cruelty?” “Yes, I consider myself superior.” (3.3.58-59, O’Brien and Winston)

    Winston was superior, and they took that away. And when I look around at this country I seem them taking away our humanity. Sorry for being so serious.

    • Rick Hill

      Well, it would be inhumane if the machine was grinding up people, better optics if it’s seen as cogs that are being consumed by the machine. Or faulty parts that need replaced and are efficiently stripped of all usable elements first. And anyway, today should be a day for some serious musings. Have another of our complimentary Soylent and reflect, Good Citizen.

    • xy

      I love Big Brother.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • btwbfdimho
  • Bill Slider

    Yes

  • Jonny On Maui
  • chascates
    • Playonwords

      I regret I have only one upvote to give for Edmund Blackadder.

      • natoslug

        I have only one upvote, but many cunning plans.

        • Frank Underboob

          Here – have this bag of weasel tails!

    • Kateaux

      Thank you. I was scanning through the comments (which of course are not allowed), planning to post that myself.

  • chascates
    • bubbuhh

      Smedley Butler is my favorite warrior. Truly, first in war; first in peace; and first to identify the real enemy.

      • natoslug

        Pogo did a damn good job at identifying the enemy.

      • HogeyeGrex
  • AntiDerpomeme

    You don’t normally expect an article in Cracked to move you to tears, but sometimes… 5 Things You See Notifying The Families Of Dead Soldiers

    • Frank Underboob

      Cracked has gotten really good over the last few years. I’ve read quite a few things there that have moved me to tears.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • orygoon

    My country is flawed. I still love it. We must work towards making it more globally loved, respected, admired.

    Signed, a sometimes idealist.

    • The Wanderer

      The Founders prefaced the Constitution with “in order to form a more perfect Union,” because they knew that perfection was an unattainable achievement. It would, however, give us something to strive for.

      • Kateaux

        “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” — Robert Browning

        But sometimes, it seems like it would be so much simpler if we could just have a huge meteor strike (or 2, or 3, just to be sure). Wipe out everything, and let Mother Nature try again.

    • bupkus23

      Something, something, …begins at home. YOU love our country, but I have my doubts about all those people talking about “REAL Americans”.

      They seem to love only a mirage mirroring themselves, but hate the reality of what our counbtry has always stood for.

      • Lamashtar

        “Real Americans” implies some are fake Americans. Now, I get pissed off at the nihilists, the parasites, the anarchists, et cetera, myself….but to the “Real American” crowd even veterans like me and John Kerry aren’t *real* enough for them.

    • natoslug

      I prefer my country to several other countries, but the honeymoon period pretty much ended by late 2001, and I had serious doubts about our relationship in the Reagan years. It’s not you, it’s me, America (no, seriously, it’s you. Quit teabagging everything).

  • chascates
    • Jonny On Maui

      GMTAASH

  • Playonwords
  • natoslug

    War is probably a bad idea.
    https://youtu.be/0Fju9o8BVJ8

    • btwbfdimho

      Unless is the last resource.

    • btwbfdimho

      Actually, every war, since the Revolutionary War, has been a plus for the US, just for the fact of fighting wars “abroad”. Trump would say “we have a deficit”, yes because he doesnt count the exporting of the service of demolition and country building at the global level. Huuugeee.

      • natoslug

        Yep. Without war, the market for spoiled tinned foods and poorly constructed boots and faulty weapons would be far too small.

        • AlasAnAss

          You beat me to it.

        • Frank Underboob

          If you count F35 fighter jets as faulty weapons – which is a fair call – yes. Do you know how many allied nations have been pressured into spending billions of dollars on shit like that?

          • Playonwords

            Give thanks to Our Lady of Perpetual Development.

          • natoslug

            I can’t believe that I just spent four hours in the garden and not one person has correctly answered your question. It’s AoT,K, obviously!

          • Frank Underboob

            EXACTLY!

      • tomamitai

        I read somewhere-or-other that the Revolution was fought primarily because the American Colonists didn’t want to pay back the British Crown for the expenses it incurred during the French & Indian War, and because the Yanks didn’t want to be bound by the treaties the Brits signed with the Indians. I think it was on some Canadian blog, so it might have been a tad biased against the States, unlike the totally true and unadorned truth we were taught in U.S. history class, E plegnista forever!

      • btwbfdimho

        Public spending during WWII: 40% of GDP. 40% of the national effort went to build the military! unemployment went from 25% to almost 2% (including women), after Pearl Harbor.
        Well, that spending didn’t go to Japan or Saudi Arabia but as payments to American banks and corporations. Huuuugggeee conglomerate, according to Eisenhower.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • btwbfdimho

    …que está na romaría dos mutilados

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zsj1WQfkjE

  • Rick Hill

    Ok, if we’re going for Memorial day songs….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgRVNjsuycQ

  • Anarchy Pony
  • bubbuhh

    Some things have changed. The names of the Bushes at the top for one thing. Sad.

  • The Wanderer

    Antiwar poetry’s been around a long time.

    After Blenheim, by Robert Southey:

    “And everybody praised the Duke

    Who this great fight did win”—

    “But what good came of it at last?”

    Quoth little Peterkin.

    “Why that I cannot tell,” said he,

    “But ’twas a famous victory.”

    • Lamashtar

      I was there for the first invasion of Iraq. I was a REMF, and I flinch if people thank me for my service (I maintained a secure telephone relay for Gods sakes), but I never forgave Bush senior for ending the war so quickly. His safe little “100 Hour War” that never gave us the chance to make any real changes in Iraq. And the actual combat vets generally felt the same. Though, knowing what we do now, it probably would’ve ended with just as little success. Forcing democracy just doesn’t work.

      • The Wanderer

        Doesn’t matter. You served. A Scud missile hit the barracks of a quartermaster detachment in Dhahran – in modern war, everywhere is the front line.

  • natoslug

    Honor your veterans by making far fewer of them, us/U.S.. And no, not by eliminating survivors.
    https://youtu.be/vdytOGnUFoI

    • The Wanderer

      Great movie. Even greater song.

  • Anarchy Pony
    • Blender_415

      Heh. I’m the only person in my office that served. And I still have to explain to them, every year, how absolutely, incredibly, inexplicably horrible actual combat is. They are learning. Slowly, but they’re learning.

  • Anarchy Pony
  • reelreeler
  • weejee

    As a vet, I have to push back just a bit. Memorial Day is not for we former or current members of the Armed Forces still kicking, but for those like my nephew who gave his all in Afghanistan.

    • The Wanderer

      That’s true. Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day seem to end up conflated.

    • jmk

      I’m so sorry.

      I have two nephews currently serving, and that’s my nightmare.

      • weejee

        Some years back at a family reunion he was just back from Iraq I and asked me when he’d get over what he saw in combat. I paused, bit my lip, and said “never.” He replied, “I was afraid of that.”

        • AlasAnAss

          Can’t upvote this (not a shot at anyone who does, note). Just, goddamnit . . . George W. Bush sleeps fine tonight, just like every night.

        • Ghenghis McCann

          My mother’s father served through the entire First World War in the Seaforth Highlanders. Once my oldest cousin asked him what the war was like and was told, ‘It’s in the back of my mind. If I was ever to bring it to the front, I’d go mad.’

    • cat cafe

      I’m so sorry. Tears here. That brave, brave little boy.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • chascates
    • tehbaddr

      Bush and Cheney didn’t want to win their little war, they wanted to keep it going, secure the oil, and fix the Shrubs Daddy issues, while gutting America and shuffling the moneys to their cronies. It was blatant and pathetic.

  • Callyson

    What Bob Marley sings about may not be the only cause of war, but it definitely contributes:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XHEPoMNP0I

  • Jonny On Maui
  • Msgr_Moment

    To be fair, Eastasia started it.

    • Rick Hill

      That’s how all the texts recording it have said….

      • Msgr_Moment

        IK,R? Who are you gonna believe, MiniTrue or your own lyin’ eyes?

        • Rick Hill

          If you can’t believe your Texas printed textbooks then who can you believe?

    • Biff52

      History is written by the victors!

  • Callyson

    And I’m sure this has been posted, but this bears repeating. Happy Memorial Day, everyone…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpWmlRNfLck

  • Jonny On Maui
  • Biff52
    • Playonwords

      I remember when Joan Baez did it in German and the furore it caused

  • AlasAnAss

    Shakespeare’s always worth reading (look at how well AlasAnAss grasps the obvious), but his play Coriolanus to me is a very powerful exploration of what happens to the people we ask to fight for us. Read along with a viewing of The Hurt Locker . . . it makes for a truly harrowing look into what happens to the soul when someone is trained to fight and to be willing to kill or die for one’s country. And the patrician Menenius was Cheney before Cheney was Cheney. And Cominius is every goddamn politician who mouths platitudes about our veterans’ sacrifices without ever knowing what any of it means.

    • The Wanderer

      Now I’ll have to reread Coriolanus.

    • Serai 1

      Did you see Ralph Fiennes’s version? A beautiful adaptation placing the war in the Balkans. Fantastic stuff, very gritty, dark, and violent. It’s such a pleasure to hear the Bard’s words spoken with artistry and passion.

      • AlasAnAss

        Oh yes, several times. One of the finest film adaptations of Shakespeare I’ve ever seen. PAY ATTENTION KENNY BOY THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE. Redgrave, Fiennes, and Cox are all incredible in it. Poor Gerard Butler was outclassed, though he was . . . all right.

    • xy

      “And the patrician Menenius was Cheney before Cheney was Cheney”

      impossible, Cheney has always been and will always be. Cheney was present before the first light and will continue after the last. when the universe begins again Cheney will be there, waiting, as Cheney has always been.

  • DerrickWildcat

    We shall never forget.

    • Spotts1701
      • Callyson

        Oh, for…I can’t even type it. Let the gif speak for me:

        • Lamashtar

          Needs edit! There’s no gif!

          • SayItWithWookies

            That’s a sign you need to reload — the newer comments don’t show the gifs for some reason.

          • Jamoche

            Disqus is notorious for that.

            Dear every company everywhere: Put down the social media account and back away slowly. You just aren’t good at it.

          • Callyson

            What SayItWithWookies said. I see the gif–try refreshing the page.

  • Enfant Terrible

    I think about what the 1st Minnesota Regiment did at Gettysburg back in 1863. With the outcome of the battle hanging in the balance, they charged into a breach in the Union line and held ground against overwhelmingly superior forces. They took almost 90% casualties, but bought enough time for Union forces to regroup and counter attack. And that led to the Union’s victory at Gettysburg, changing the course of the war and of history. *World* history.

    But those soldiers had no guarantee of success. Besides the loss of life, that’s the damnedest thing about war. There are no guarantees that one’s participation will do any good. Soldiers put themselves in harm’s way, roll the dice, and hope it all works out for the best. And it doesn’t always work out. (*cough* Iraq *cough*)

    We can and should be grateful to the soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way, no matter what the outcome.

    • Spotts1701

      Indeed. The sailors in the Battle Off Samar (aka “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors”) knew that it was suicide. And yet they threw themselves at a Japanese force way out of their weight class to protect their comrades, and in the end caused the Japanese Navy to retreat.

      “We’re making a torpedo run. The outcome is doubtful, but we will do our duty.” – Lt. Commander Robert W. Copeland, CO, U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts

      • AlasAnAss

        Christ. I’d heard of Leyte Gulf, but not this action. Just scanned the Wiki entry, and for those who don’t know about this battle, and in particular the actions undertaken by Copeland and his crew, it’s worth reading in its entirety. Thank you for posting.

      • Beanz&Berryz

        The book of the same title, “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors,” is gripping, and leaves you in awe at the extraordinary levels people rose to, and rise to, in terrible wartime situations. Learning about their story, and not forgetting it, is one way to pay our respects.

        Another tie-in to the Civil War, besides such selfless sacrifice, is that the whole Charlie Foxtrot of the Battle of Leyte Gulf (including the Battle off Samar) arose out of Bull Halsey taking the bait, hook line and sinker, in a ruse by the Japanese to lure away the big American aircraft carriers. Halsey sent all of them off on a wild goose chase across the Pacific. Halsey’s screw up has sometimes been called Bull’s Run, alluding to the Civil War battles at Bull Run,

      • The Wanderer

        The escorts had to protect the light carriers they were shepherding, and they also knew that they were all that stood between the IJN and the landing beaches on Leyte.

    • AlasAnAss

      And after helping to fix the problem created by Sickles extending the Union line out to the Peach Orchard–where it had no business being–and suffering something like 80% casualties, the next day it was placed in one of the few places where Pickett’s Charge ended up breaching the Union line. As a result, the few remaining survivors had to charge *again* into a superior mass of enemy soldiers to help secure victory.

    • Lizzietish81

      If you ever get a chance, go to Gettysburg, it’s amazing. And huge! I recommend going in early spring though, otherwise it’s full of people.

      But when you see the field where Lee sent out Pickett and his men it really brings home how terrible an idea it was. It’s a huge flat space.

      Pickett never forgave him

      • Enfant Terrible

        Of course, a better man than me said it better:

        “[I]n a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        It is super creepy to go there at night. I R scientist. I do not believe in the supernatural, exactly. But there is something seriously creepy about gettysburg when the sun goes down.
        Same with Cold Harbor in VA.
        Maybe it is the signs everywhere that say shit like 20,000 men died in 3 hours right here on this spot where you are standing.

  • BloviateMe

    Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths…I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?

    ~Barbara Bush

    • Anarchy Pony

      Ugh…

    • Zango LeHoonery

      The horror.

    • btwbfdimho

      Did she?????

      • BloviateMe

        I know it’s a real quote, but I still had to Snopes it before I posted, to make sure again, because it’s so awful.

        • Lamashtar

          I checked Snopes when I saw your post. Snopes thought on her quote is probable (that she was just talking about the empty talking heads on tv) but that is a bizarre way to refer to herself.

          • BloviateMe

            I’d be more inclined to give her some leeway were this a one-off quote, but her dismissive thoughts on the victims of Katrina seals the deal for me, she’s fucking awful.

            “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway,” she said, “so this is working very well for them.”

          • cat cafe

            I know. She is an awful, awful person.

          • Beaumarchais?

            Add “I never tip—I don’t believe in it” to her personal ana.

    • tehbaddr

      The Shrub’s and Cheney’s insistence that the returning bodies not be photographed. Nope, can’t have that now can we!

    • tehbaddr

      The hubris of those fuckers pisses me off still to this day, fuck them all, the whole Bush Cheney clan of cronies!

  • Jonny On Maui
  • btwbfdimho

    Italian sufficient but not necessary.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTcMxdbSYmg

  • btwbfdimho

    Another anti-war song by De Gregori, INCLUDING an Italian PRINCE in guitar.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF-cjUDqHlA

  • SayItWithWookies

    It’s a good day to watch Hearts and Minds and remember never to vote for someone who throws bellicose talk around as freely as he threatens to sue his ex-wife, especially if he’s never been anywhere near combat himself.

  • tehbaddr

    Just a little reminder of the Military Industrial Complex mind set.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • nightmoth

    This is my go-to for Memorial Day. Long, but worth a listen.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZqN1glz4JY

    • AlasAnAss

      Maybe the only good thing to come out of that goddamn debacle was the deep and lasting respect the Allies and Turks had for one another. It’s a connection that continues to this day. Every year hundreds of Diggers and Turks meet on the peninsula to remember. And, yeah, maybe also drink and fuck. That’s all right. The men who suffered and died there would understand.

      • nightmoth

        Yes, well-said.
        “After having lost their lives on our territories, your sons became our sons as well.” M. K. Ataturk

        • The Wanderer

          It was the noblest gesture Ataturk could have made.

        • AlasAnAss

          I’ve never come across that quotation. Thanks for posting it.

    • jmk

      My favorite version… Shane’s grating, gravelled voice somehow drives this deeper into my heart.

      • nightmoth

        Same here. Reduces me to tears every time. He sounds like he was there in a previous lifetime.

      • alwayspunkindrublic

        The voice of an angel.

  • proudgrampa

    The Twain reference was spot on.

  • Jonny On Maui
  • proudgrampa

    The one thing that grates me about the last 8 years is that President Obama has not been able to completely undo the damage that the Bush / Cheney war criminals wrought. I understand that much is beyond his control, but the fact that we really are still on a war footing in the Middle East is WRONG.

  • anwisok

    They may have been lied to, they may have been misled, but all respect to those who gave everything they had. I may have overlooked it, but this needs to be posted.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9xNoEu3O8c

  • The Witch of Endor

    I’m sorry it rings hollow when I thank someone for serving, I can certainly understand their feeling it’s lip service. But I can’t stay silent either. If I’m in a setting that allows me to buy someone a drink, I’m happy to do that instead.

    • Lamashtar

      Most vets I know always appreciate someone buying food/drink for them. :)

      • Land Shark

        Most of us have led a life of privilege. That privilege is not having to march and kill our fellow human beings. That privilege, which many of us take for granted, comes at a cost that is incalculable.

        Being one of the many who, due age or circumstance, enjoy this privilege, we are at a loss for how to express our gratitude to those who gave up this privilege. I can’t thank all them properly, We can’t easily find the words to express our gratitude, and so, we withhold expressing anything.

        To this I say: express your gratitude through deeds and not words. Buy a drink … show respect … hold a door … quietly take an action, however small, that shows that these men and women, who gave up this privilege, are not forgotten or ignored. I have found myself asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?” to be a wondrous gift. I am always surprised by the simple things that demonstrate caring.

        Nothing but simple respect and kindness … sometimes that’s ultimate thank you.

        • CJTX

          Very well put. I’m at my local corner store for smokes a lot, and I ALWAYS hold the door open when I see one of those older war vets coming in. I also let them go in lilne before me, same with those in active duty. I realize “costs” me nothing, but hopefully it’s a sign of respect. I don’t like saying “thank you for your service” – I agree with the sentiment, but it does seem to ring hollow and they seem feel uncomfortable, at least in my experience.

        • alwayspunkindrublic

          My favorite local bar and grill is owned by an ex-Navy Seal…. Good guy and a Democrat to boot. He always lets vets chow for free on Memorial and Veterans Days. I usually try to stop in and by a few rounds for some of the guys there. Working, so maybe not today, but it always feels good.

    • 3FingerPete

      It depends on the individual. When I was in uniform many (many) years ago I quickly determined to never go off base in uniform unless absolutely necessary precisely because of the strangers who accosted me with their good wishes. This was way before “thank you for your service” became the fashion, but I know I would not want to run today’s gratitude gauntlet. Sometimes the best way to respect active duty and veterans is to just let them live their lives in peace.

      • The Witch of Endor

        Thank you for explaining your perspective. It does make sense to let people be.

        • 3FingerPete

          It was just my personal preference. My nephew was a Marine reservist whose enlistment ended just prior to Iraq II. When he was still enlisted he liked to put on his uniform and hit the bars downtown for all the free drinks.

  • btwbfdimho

    OT but not really. She’s brilliant.
    https://www.facebook.com/ezraklein/videos/523474441173496/

    • Serai 1

      Just see a black square. (My pooter isn’t well.) What is it?

      • Lamashtar

        Men Shouldn’t Be AFraid of Women, by Ezra Klein

        • Serai 1

          A video? If it is, I’ll go look on YT. Those work for my poor little machine.

  • Lizzietish81

    OT: But fuck you Senator Sanders. Our favorite Bro has decided to sue the DNC to have Barney Frank removed from the rules committee and makes all kinds of threats to hold the convention hostage.

    Seriously, fuck him.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/sanders-lawyers-threaten-to-disrupt-dnc-694626371717

    • Serai 1

      Jesus Christ, this fucking guy is going to drown us all.

      • beatbort

        For the record, Sanders is suing to have my state’s governor, Dannel Malloy, also removed. I guess the comrade above will now school us in why Malloy has not passed Bernie’s “purity” test.
        I voted for Sanders in my state’s primary, but this latest move to remove Malloy and Frank (for fuck’s sake, Barney Frank, is not “pure” enough for the Sanders people?) was the last straw.
        Can’t support someone who is this unhinged.
        I’m getting a really really really awful case of Nader deja vu.

    • Spotts1701

      *sigh* I’m starting to get a “If I go down, I’m taking as many of you bastards as I can with me” vibe.

      • Serai 1

        Starting?

    • Good! He does not deserve it, he is a professional finance lobbyist for fuck’s sake. But you don’t give a crap about that, do you? Groupthink at its best. No lobbyist should have a place on any convention committee yet Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz have stacked it with them. Bernie is pressing for Cornell West and Bill McKibben. I guess you hate them too?

      • Spotts1701

        Okay, so how much ground should the DNC give to Bernie Sanders, in your estimation?

        He is dictating terms that his performance does not give him the leverage to demand.

        • beatbort

          I would like to encourage the Comrade to continue trolling because every time he posts a comment like the above, 90 percent of those who read it begin to edge away from Bernie.
          This little gambit to ditch Barney Frank and Dannel Malloy is the tipping point.

        • Oh my god listen to yourselves. You Clinton supporters are so laser focused on herd unity or whatever else bullshit reasons you’re “with her” that you’re missing the point altogether. Who’s side are you on, anyway? Jeebus F Christ on a bicycle.

          • Spotts1701

            Move to strike – non-responsive. Now answer the question.

          • Oh fuck off douchewad. Command me to answer your idiotic question? Fuck off again. There is only one answer – he’ll get what he gets. Your subjective opinion about “how much he deserves” (you mean “we” not “he”, it isn’t about him) is completely meaningless.

          • Spotts1701

            Well, if I’m not on your side I consider it a net plus. I try not to associate with insufferable gits.

  • Markuserektus

    An old favorite:

  • going4baroque

    War. 5000 Wars in 5000 years. Apparently, humanity gives the best years of its life to wars. Is anything sacred? Millions have died in the wars and millions more who were maimed, crippled, physically or mentally and all the millions who cried tears of sorrow for all the loved ones whose lives were lost or ruined by the ravages. Ask them if anything is sacred. They’ll tell you. Life is sacred.

  • majorwiblit

    Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud.
    I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth.
    I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.
    ~Charles Sumner

  • Dolmance

    Fuck it. Let’s just go back to Vietnam.

    • Lamashtar
      • Serai 1

        Whoops, you beat me to it. ;)

        • Lamashtar

          S’okay, they’re both good. :) I loved how Bourdain said the ordinary Vietnamese were so excited about Obama eating at the restaurant. On the other hand, I know of a store at Jamestown that keeps a toilet seat that was used by Queen Elizabeth during the 400 year celebration, ON DISPLAY in the window! XD

          • Ghenghis McCann

            Its a fake. Everybody knows that the Queen neither pees nor poos. Because she’s Royal.

          • The Wanderer

            Being one of the Lizard Illuminati, she doesn’t excrete; whatever she eats or drinks is merely turned to oxygen and various perfumes, and vented through her pores.

          • Serai 1

            Heehee. Maybe they’ll rope off that table as a shrine.

    • Serai 1
  • Biff52

    I went down to the Memorial Day ceremony this morning. Lovely services, until the “local” Congressman USMC Col. (Retired) Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley CA) took to the podium. He’s been dining on his Viet Nam Vet status forever, whatever, it’s part of his history, I don’t begrudge him. He launched into a tirade about some unknown to me NFL quarterback who Cook nearly accused of desertion because he played sportsball while in the reserves. Then he made some subtle digs at Obama, saying his speech will be off the cuff, not relying on a teleprompter, which got some applause, and it got me the fuck outta there. Way to fuck up a somber occasion, fucknuts. Can’t wait to be registered here so I can vote against his ass.

    • Spotts1701

      Ah, would it be Keenan Reynolds he’s railing about? I know he’s been signed by the Baltimore Ravens, and that the Secretary of the Navy is lobbying the DoD to do another “David Robinson” and let him serve in the Navy Reserves while playing.

      • Biff52

        I didn’t catch the name, but that story sounds like the one. The hatred he couldn’t quite conceal is what sent me packing. I don’t know if the guy is trying to shirk his responsibilities or not, but I don’t think he quite rises (or sinks) to deserter status.

      • Lamashtar

        A quick google says the Navy is ecstatic to have a recruitment tool as good as an NFL player active in service. They love that shit.

    • limberrat

      Makes me thankful to have Steve Knight…somewhat. At least he threatens to beat up RWNJs who annoy him.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Tell him about the 43rd President of the United States and his highly questionably military service record. To include joining the NG and checking the “don’t send me out of CONUS” box on his dream sheet.

      • Biff52

        The only respectful thing I could do was leave. Living in rural California, we’re kind of outnumbered.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          Next time bring a group of friends. 10 to 20 for smaller gatherings. When you all leave together, leaving a big gapping hole in the crowd, maybe someone might get a hint ^.^

          *do not mind me, I am all enthralled with this idea right now.

          • Biff52

            I didn’t realize the tone he would take.

            My departure did not go unnoticed, at least.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Showin em silent contempt I think is a far, far better tool in the arsenal than ranting or shouting or getting in fisticuffs.
            I am reminded of that bit in Ghandi with the salt protests, just guys walking right up to get clubbed, and other silently taking their place, until the guys doing the clubbing simply lose heart and realize they are fucking tools.

        • Markuserektus

          If you’re in Apple Valley, I’m just down the hill…

          • Biff52

            That’s where our Congresscritter is from. It’s a long district, and I’m about 210 miles north in Big Pine.

          • Markuserektus

            ;-)

          • Biff52

            You in Victorville? I’ve spent a fair bit of time there.

          • Markuserektus

            Mentone Beach

          • Biff52

            Someplace I’ve never been, and even had to look up!

          • Markuserektus

            It’s more of a local joke now. Areas along Greenspot road were once flooded by the county to create standing bodies of water.

  • cat cafe

    I just want to add one of the more beautiful memorial poems (but only the first two verses):

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

  • majorwiblit

    America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776

    To put this in perspective:
    * Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.
    * No U.S. president truly qualifies as a peacetime president. Instead, all U.S. presidents can technically be considered “war presidents.”
    * The U.S. has never gone a decade without war.
    * The only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression.

  • Serai 1

    Third time’s the charm. Your story about the starving Japanese soldier has hammered the last nail into the coffin. I now hate humanity.

    And yes yes yes to the maudlin hypocrisy of “thank you” which means nothing. When I come across such a citizen, I don’t bring up their record at all. If I did, I fear I could do nothing other than choke back a tear and say, “I wish you didn’t have to do that.” The whole constellation of human traits that encompass violence, war, bloodshed, etc., – those are the absolute worst things about humanity for me. But they’re also what make us human, and mammal and animal, and not something else. (Remember Captain Kirk’s speech about the certainty of violence, and how the only way to deal with it is day by day, moment by moment?) We’ll end up annihilating ourselves one way or another, but it will be part of our inevitable story, and not some aberration. We are what we are, the glories and the horrors both.

  • going4baroque
  • House0fTheBlueLights

    Here’s another one, to go with Twain and Owen.

    Patterns

    By Amy Lowell

    I WALK down the garden paths,
    And all the daffodils
    Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
    I walk down the patterned garden paths
    In my stiff, brocaded gown. 5
    With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
    I too am a rare
    Pattern. As I wander down
    The garden paths.

    My dress is richly figured, 10
    And the train
    Makes a pink and silver stain
    On the gravel, and the thrift
    Of the borders.
    Just a plate of current fashion, 15
    Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
    Not a softness anywhere about me,
    Only whale-bone and brocade.
    And I sink on a seat in the shade
    Of a lime tree. For my passion 20
    Wars against the stiff brocade.
    The daffodils and squills
    Flutter in the breeze
    As they please.
    And I weep; 25
    For the lime tree is in blossom
    And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

    And the plashing of waterdrops
    In the marble fountain
    Comes down the garden paths. 30
    The dripping never stops.
    Underneath my stiffened gown
    Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
    A basin in the midst of hedges grown
    So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding, 35
    But she guesses he is near,
    And the sliding of the water
    Seems the stroking of a dear
    Hand upon her.
    What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown! 40
    I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
    All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

    I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
    And he would stumble after,
    Bewildered by my laughter. 45
    I should see the sun flashing from his sword hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
    I would choose
    To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
    A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
    Till he caught me in the shade, 50
    And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
    Aching, melting, unafraid.
    With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
    And the plopping of the waterdrops,
    All about us in the open afternoon— 55
    I am very like to swoon
    With the weight of this brocade,
    For the sun shifts through the shade.

    Underneath the fallen blossom
    In my bosom, 60
    Is a letter I have hid.
    It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
    “Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
    Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
    As I read it in the white, morning sunlight, 65
    The letters squirmed like snakes.
    “Any answer, Madam?” said my footman.
    “No,” I told him.
    “See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
    No, no answer.” 70
    And I walked into the garden,
    Up and down the patterned paths,
    In my stiff, correct brocade.
    The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
    Each one. 75
    I stood upright too,
    Held rigid to the pattern
    By the stiffness of my gown.
    Up and down I walked,
    Up and down. 80

    In a month he would have been my husband.
    In a month, here, underneath this lime,
    We would have broke the pattern;
    He for me, and I for him,
    He as Colonel, I as Lady, 85
    On this shady seat.
    He had a whim
    That sunlight carried blessing.
    And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
    Now he is dead. 90

    In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
    Up and down
    The patterned garden paths
    In my stiff, brocaded gown.
    The squills and daffodils 95
    Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
    I shall go
    Up and down,
    In my gown.
    Gorgeously arrayed, 100
    Boned and stayed.
    And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
    By each button, hook, and lace.

    For the man who should loose me is dead,
    Fighting with the Duke in Flanders, 105
    In a pattern called a war.
    Christ! What are patterns for?

    • Christopher Smith

      A GREAT poem, and Lowell is sadly unknown now to most…

  • Serai 1

    By the by, we’re at war with Eurasia, not Eastasia. Eurasia encompasses the Middle East. Just FYI. ;)

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      I believe it is a quote from the novel “1984”

      • Serai 1

        Yes, I know. Nineteen Eighty Four has always been one of my Top Ten books. And thus, we are not at war with Eastasia, but Eurasia. (For now. It’ll switch over eventually, just as Orwell said.)

      • Serai 1

        Wow, you didn’t read my comment at all, did you? I’ve read it, it’s on my shelf, I’ve known the book well since I was a teenager.

        And by the way, if you google the sentence you just posted? The FIRST LINK backs up what I said. Maybe you’re the one who should read the book.

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        By sheer coincidence, I just finished my second reading of it yesterday. The first time was in the 1960s.

    • bubbuhh

      The Middle East is split between Eurasia, Eastasia and the Disputed Lands. Oceania, Eurasia, Eastasia continually fight for territory in the Disputed Lands in addition to taking turns fighting each other in the Perpetual War.

      Of course,that’s just just niggling about a bit of fiction. The reality is that we, the USA and everyone else with a bit of power, are fighting wherever it seems politically or corporately expedient to fight.

  • zerosumgame0005

    last time I did anything like thank a vet was in the dispensary I go to, he was a first timer there so I helped him with selecting waxes and shatters and started talking and it happened he qualified for the vet discount they give (I qualify for the senior one, stop laughing you young wippersnappers and GET OFFEN MY LAWN!) as he walked away all I could say was “glad you got back”…

    • jwtukker

      I think a lot of vets would appreciate “glad you got back” more than “thank you for your service”. MHO.

  • “My country would never be so irresponsible as to attempt expeditionary land war in Asia with an all-volunteer force.”

    It depends on how one defines “winning”. If by winning, you mean stripping a country of its assets and infrastructure, privatizing everything in sight, and failing that, maintaining absolute chaos, it’s been a resounding success! Add to that making life more difficult at home and adding thousands of maimed, dependent soldiers to the population, it’s a helluva recipe.

    • The Wanderer

      So you’re saying we fell for one of the Classic Blunders? Five times?

    • Anarchy Pony

      If you can’t assimilate a country into the empire, you ruin it.

  • Biff52

    Has $arah spoken up about shooting guns and ringing bells yet?

    • nightmoth

      It’s Memorial Day. Time for her and her tribe to get drunk and race 4-wheelers.

  • Serai 1

    I posted this the other day, but here it is again:

    The War Prayer

    Mark Twain’s shot from the grave. He wrote it about the War in the Philippines, but it will always be germane to any war. Such a beautiful, passionate, weeping excoriation of every fuckhead who ever extolled the “glory” and “virtue” of institutionalized bloodshed. He knew humanity, all right.

  • majorwiblit

    War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.
    We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.
    ~ Jimmy Carter, Nobel Lecture, December 10, 2002

    • Jamoche
    • Richard_Pietrasz

      Unfortunately, Carter’s administration instigated USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.

    • Ricki

      Hey, major! :) Sorry I missed you! :( If you have some time, it would be great if you could drop by and see me at my new place. :)

  • House0fTheBlueLights
  • Anarchy Pony
  • nightmoth

    Older wonketeers will remember when Pete Seegar got censored off the Smothers Brothers Show but the Smothers protested and brought him back. Only very daring radio stations played “Big Muddy.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHETC5qAnqo

    • Enfant Terrible

      I thought about this song! Thanks for posting it.

  • CJTX

    P.S. Sorry for the length.
    About a year back, I spent a buck on a soda for a guy in vietnam war hat. My dad was in Vietnam. It was just a damn dollar, but he really didn’t want me to spring for it. I insisted ;) I shook his hand and he told me, “I was just doing my job”. I’m not a vet – my parents did everything they could to persuade me out of the military. But as family of a war vet, I know they often won’t discuss their war experience with anyone but other vets – only those who’ve been there understand it. When I was growing up (lot of military here) Vets were old guys I’d see around the PX or in the VFW hall. In the late 90’s, I honestly, truly believed we’d never see Americans dead and disfigured in such an awful way again. After the 2003 invasion/war had been on awhile, I went with a friend and her friends to a baseball game. My friend was active duty (but in the process of being kicked out for being gay), and one of her two friends had just come back. At some point, the ladies went up to go the bathroom or something and me and the vet got to talking…he started talking about a huge explosion in his area of a camp and I could instantly see that thousand yard stare come over him and I know I had been very very wrong about seeing young vets again. There’s plenty of folks coming back with missing limbs, something else I thought I’d never see again. It’s strained the VA system something fierce as we all know. I wish the war hawks would think about these things before they started these messes. As for war in general, I can’t imagine anything as mind-bendingly terrible.
    As they say, war is long periods of boring tedium punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. Something to ponder today.

    • Biff52

      Wars used to be cheaper, because we didn’t bring home as many broken soldiers.

      • CJTX

        Aye, the medical advances mean we’re saving more lives, so that’s great! But of course they come back with traumatic brain injury (like one lady in my class last semester) and/or missing body parts.

        • Richard_Pietrasz

          Every US soldier’s life saved means the war goes on longer before the US public finally gets fed up, and probably costs something like a hundred lives overall. The wars would be far shorter and less deadly if one US soldier died for every one of the “enemy” who did.

          • Spotts1701

            Recommendation noted, logged, and ignored. Anything else?

      • Serai 1

        That’s exactly why wars have NEVER been cheap. The cost of all those bodies, both in the moment and in the future, is and always has been incalculable.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        We used to raise taxes to pay for wars, too. It’s a whole lot easier to convince people to take a country to war if nobody ever has to pay for it. I remember Murdoch promising $.40 a gallon gas, and McCain saying the oil we were going to get would pay for the war. That worked out really great! Except that now we’re paying $4 trillion for the Iraq war PLUS the interest on the money that Bush borrowed from the Chinese to fund the war.

      • Zhu Bajie

        Till recently, most of our wars were Indian Wars and profitable. Now our over-seas wars resemble Indian Wars, but are not profitable.

    • Zhu Bajie

      Well, I don’t talk about my experiences much. I had some extraordinary experiences, but they are the sort of thing most want to hear.

  • Msgr_Moment

    In Soviet Russia, Eastasia has always been at war with you.

    • 3FingerPete

      Our Ministry of Truth is far more efficient than Stalin could have ever dreamed.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        Goebbels would blush at some of Murdoch’s stunts.

        • Zhu Bajie

          Goebbels sometimes said that if he could get access to the US media, he could get the US to join Germany in the Anti-Communist Crusade. The Cold War makes me suspect he was right.

      • Zhu Bajie

        Hollywood fools lots of people around the world, too.

  • Serai 1

    You know what bugs me about the whole “thank you for your service” thing? There are so many people who risk their lives daily doing dangerous work just so we can have the world we live in. None of them get thanked. It’s only the perverse worship of bloodshed and gore in our culture that makes some people think this particular kind of risk is worth acknowledging and fawning over, and all the others can just be taken for granted. That sign of respect? is a sign of disrespect for all the people it never occurs to you to thank. Think about that next time.

    • Lamashtar

      Oh sure. I’m proud of the courage of those of my family who chose to put their lives on the line in the military, but, for me, it was impossible not to notice there was an element of cultishness about military worship. The volunteer soldier’s treatment by certain people has some similarities to oldtime live sacrifices, who were treated like royalty before being offered up. Unless the sacrifice failed, “survived”, and then suddenly the promised royal treatment became lip service that becomes forgetful of the ailing veteran. Not all people, not all treatment, but too many who are TOO enthusiastic, if you know what I mean.

      • 3FingerPete

        It’s all part of the religion America has become.

    • CJTX

      I had to think on this for a few minutes – but I have to disagree, mostly. As you say, lots of people do dangerous work, so we should be thanking MORE people. But the respect isn’t just about the danger – I’m not a vet at all, but there’s a special kind of hell and horror in combat. That and, again from what I’ve gathered, vets are haunted by the lives they had to take.

      These folks went to war, often volunteering, and followed the orders and the plan sent down by others who were high atop the pile and rarely in danger themselves…THOSE people are the fucking twits. The politicians and some of the military leadership.

      People say if you criticize war, you criticize “the troops”. And that’s not true, it’s easy to respect a soldier, but HATE the people in charge.

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        People say if you criticize war, you criticize “the troops”. And that’s not true, it’s easy to respect a soldier, but HATE the people in charge.

        Amen to that, CJ. I can commend the individual soldier while bemoaning the need to have one. And it is a sacrifice (yes yes, they chose it, but considering how the military recruits in poor areas, sometimes it is the only option) not only to body and mind, but to family as well.
        The least we can do is recognize this and appreciate it, in my opinion.

        • CJTX

          “The least we can do is recognize this and appreciate it, in my opinion.”

          Aye. ;)

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            I’m a peace lovin refugee hugging queer gay libtard and all of that. I would REALLY like there to be no war, that would be great. My idea of protest includes silently standing up and leaving.

            But hells bells, it’s a couple little days a year, ain’t hurting anyone at all to say hey, you’re a good person and we appreciate you.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            These holidays to glorify wars, and the people who wage them, help kill millions of people over the decades. That is a lot of hurt.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Both sides do it, Eh?
            Must suck to live in your black and white world. I mean, there’s no purple in it, and purple kicks ass.
            You should try to see the purple a little.

          • 451 Byrnes
        • alwayspunkindrublic

          Not all vets are “heroes”-an overused term if there ever was one-simply for having served, but a remarkable number of them seem to sign up for fairly altruistic reasons and embrace the idea of sacrifice and service. I mean, I work at a really dangerous profession, but it provides no greater good to my fellow citizens, unless you happen to like the furniture I make.

          I read an account recently by a woman working for an NGO who was kidnapped in Somalia. After months of hell, they finally got a bead on her location, and the SEALS rescued her in the middle of the night. She said they were mostly silent and all business, but as they were sprinting her back to their extraction point, they took some gunfire. Without a word exchanged they put her on the ground and lay on top of her to protect her. That’s selflessness.

      • TheBoatDude

        “the orders and the plan sent down by others who were high atop the pile and rarely in danger themselves”

        The Bravery of Being Out of Range, as Roger Waters once wrote…

        • bupkus23

          Checking out the lyrics to that, it looks like Waters was talking more about chicken hawk fanboys, rather than the old men and old womenj who send soldiers to war.

          • TheBoatDude

            12 in one; 1/2 case in the other…

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        One does not truly respect a soldier by treating him or her as an incompetent juvenile incapable of being responsible for his or her actions.

    • Rick Hill

      My problem with “thanks for your service” and what I think Dan is getting at is the throw away style it’s used as well as it’s not something that you heard much at all before 9-11(EVERYTHING changed!!!!)

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        It was handed out to the public to make them feel better for sending people to an endless war. See, you appreciate the troops, you are thanking them for their service!
        Never mind the lack of funding for the actual troops. Never mind the lack of funding for the returning vets. You thanked them so feel good about being at war.

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Whether or not the US military carried out the 9/11/2001 attacks, it certainly recruited Arab involvement in them through decades of previous war against Arabs and other Muslim peoples.

    • Anarchy Pony

      That’s what labor day and May Day are supposed to be for.

      • Serai 1

        Holidays mean very little. I’ve never understood why one day a year of empty speeches and hypocritical flag waving is supposed to make up for taking people for granted every other day of the year. It’s exactly the kind of empty gesture of convenience this country excels at. Fuck the stupid holidays and LEARN TO TREAT PEOPLE BETTER.

        • Anarchy Pony

          That sounds like COMMUNISM!!!!!11!1!!one!

        • AlasAnAss

          You want ethics and general human decency? FINE?

          Some of us need to save 10% on a new Weber grill.

          • Serai 1

            They really should rename Memorial Day, National Mattress Sale Day.

          • AlasAnAss

            Shit. I could have got a mattress too?

          • xy

            also, sex toys. at least that’s what i hear…from several newsletters that i have no idea how i got signed up for.

        • xy

          nice try but americans don’t learn. not anymore.

          • Serai 1

            SOME Americans don’t learn.

    • Richard_Pietrasz

      What bugs me a lot is that it is far more accurate to say “Thank you for being a mass murderer”, “Thank you for recruiting for al-Qaida and ISIS”, or simply “baby killer” (as babies are primary targets of the US military when one looks at total mortality due to these wars).

    • xy

      i’ve never thanked any Veteran for their service, not even my own family members. i don’t know what they did, they don’t talk about it. it seems unnecessary to say it aloud. i thank them by living my life and try to vote for politicians that won’t create new wars. which is getting really hard.

  • Playonwords
  • Enfant Terrible

    Live one alert. A troll with a racist handle is scouting the comment thread under the post about Zoe Lofren. Set phasers to “stunning”.

    • CripesAmighty

      Oooh! Oooh! *click* *click*

    • CripesAmighty

      Where the hell is it (title?)

    • Ho Ri Fuk

      Your phasers have no impact on me – many raffs.

  • The March of the War Dead from Able Gance’s J’Accuse (1938):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPr-TwPh9sk

  • CJTX

    OT WTF:
    Minority students at Yucca Valley High School in California are worried that staged yearbook photographs of them holding fake knives, guns and bombs could haunt them in the future.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/california-teacher-forces-minority-students-to-pose-with-fake-knives-and-guns-for-yearbook/

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      ..Seriously what the fuck.
      And Teacher’s Worst Nightmare? Fucking assholes.

      • Frank Underboob

        Crappy teachers HATE intelligent students.

        • Zhu Bajie

          I well remember wasting my time in high school learning to use an electric adding machine, cuz that was practical and French wasn’t. I haven’t seen one of those adding machines since 1971. I use French every few days.

          • Frank Underboob

            When I started high school, the girls got touch-typing lessons, & the boys got woodwork class. Sure, I learnt how to make wooden spoons & boxes, but god damn, I really wish I knew how to touch type! (And besides, I had an uncle who’d been a cabinet maker who was happy to teach me carpentry on my own time anyway.)

          • Mehmeisterjr

            My HS had the woodworking (which I sucked at majorly) and the touch-typing, which is the single most useful thing I ever learned. Thanks, guys.

            Have you ever tried a touch-typing program?

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            I never took that in HS. But I do…talk on the internets quite a bit.
            Last I was clocked I was up over 100 with fewer than 5 mistakes.

            :D

          • Frank Underboob

            By the time touch-typing software was a thing, I was already used to doing the bizarre, but fairly fast 2-10 fingered typing that I do now, which would be a bugger to unlearn. :/

          • Mehmeisterjr

            I take your point, although after I broke my arm, good God almost 3 months ago, I spent several agonizing weeks typing with one hand and essentially one finger, since I had to find a way to hit the Shift or Alt-keypad combination keys with my pinkie.

            I was immensely relieved when I was able to make some modest use of the broken arm to type, which is where I am now.

            If somebody as hopelessly clumsy I am managed to learn touch-typing, it can’t be The Impossible Dream.

            Of course, Jean-Dominique Bauby managed dictate an entire book by blinking his eyes, which makes like my mountain look like a pretty puny molehill indeed.

          • Mehmeisterjr

            Isn’t that always the way?

            Given how quickly things change and how little we know about how our lives are going to play out, the best education we can get is not one that trains us in exactly the things we will need but one that trains us how to train ourselves in what we belatedly find out we need.

    • Frank Underboob

      YOU. ARE. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME.
      What’s the bet that if the kids had thought up this stunt themselves & shown up at the shoot with the fake weapons, the teachers would’ve shat themselves & called in a SWAT team?

  • TheBoatDude

    Since everyone is posting something about Memorial Day, I wanted to add my $0.02.

    Some years ago, I went on an outing through REI. Among the group, there was a man and wife, maybe late 20’s early 30’s. He was in good shape and wore a Marines t-Shirt. He spent most of the time sitting while his wife lugged all of their gear.

    In my career, I have encountered folks from all five branches (Yes, I count Coasties) and – through casual observation – noted that some guys will break their ass, and some appear to have spent their military tenure as an exercise in work avoidance. I figured Our Man, here, was part of that second group.

    Around lunch time, we managed to be sitting next to each other and we started talking; he had problems speaking. Then I got it: he wasn’t lazy; he was injured.

    Well, fuck me.

    He was an intelligence officer for the Marines and his Humvee happened upon an IED. The ensuing explosion left him with brain damage, diminished eyesight, PTSD and a slew of other injuries.

    When we had to set up camp for the night, his wife was having problems with their tent and associated gear. He pointed to me: “Watch him; he knows what he’s doing.”

    Well, fuck me. Here I am some, half-assed yuppie burn out, and I’m getting props from a fucking Marine.

    Talking with him later on, I learned that he had an MBA from the London School of Economics. For those that are not familiar, they don’t just hand those out.

    That’s when it hit me: We think of losses solely in the physical – dismemberment, death. But we don’t consider the mental, the intellectual. This guy had a sharp enough mind to get into LSE, and in a split second it was permanently fucked in God Knows Where, for God Knows Why, sent there by people that are so far removed, they can’t even be bothered with the detail of it.

    I didn’t give him the “Thank you for your service” because – as stated – it’s hollow. But, when we all hit a narrow, rocky path, I gave him my walking sticks (gives better balance) and helped carry his pack for him. When he needed to use the campsite restroom, I escorted him there and back, so his wife could have a small break.

    Every now and again, I think about this guy and wonder how he’s doing.

    About 25 or so years ago, Roger Waters wrote a song called The Bravery of Being Out of Range. As we wind up Memorial Day Weekend, this should be considered whenever someone bloviates about wanting to “bomb the shit out of” someone, place or thing. It means that someone is going to get permanently fucked up in the process.

    • CJTX

      That’s a good story, thanks for sharing.

      I’ve been thinking – we shouldn’t say “thank you for your service”. I suspect just “thank you” works well enough.

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Unfortunately, “thank you for your service” is actually conspiracy to commit mass murder. “Repent your evil ways” is appropriate to most US military personnel, although in some circumstances is not advisable. Thank people like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Ray McGovern, John Kiriakou, and people in anti-war veterans groups instead.

        • CJTX

          I vehemently disagree…and I’ll leave it at that.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          Edward Snowden is an opportunist who ignored his oath to betray his country.
          Fuck that guy.

          • Juan de Fuca

            Chelsea Manning also, too. Just my $0.02. BUT – at least she said, yeah – I did that and I’ll face the time for it.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Well yeah her too, but she didn’t run away to Russia so I have a bit more respect for her.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            A government is not a country. Snowden betrayed his employer, the US government. It is the US government that betrayed the country.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Government is part of the country. It really is. Being in charge of it all, as it goes.
            Guess it does not bother you a little bit if service members were killed by his actions, or if taxpayers were leaned on to pay for changing things as a result of his actions. Who cares who he hurt, he said meanie things about the USA so therefore he is good?
            Fuck that. And fuck that guy.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            The US government is part of USA, but the entire intent of the Constitution is that it is not the master of it, but a means to carry out the will of the people, with appropriate safeguards against the tyranny of the majority.

            Snowden did not hurt anybody. Some (alleged) criminals may have been embarrassed by having the crimes exposed. From your comment, one might infer you do not care about the millions who died, and millions more who suffered great hardship, largely due to lies, some of which Snowden and Manning exposed. Remember, the information Snowden and Manning exposed are the property of the US people, not just the government.

      • keenanjay

        I’m always tempted to say “You’re welcome,” but I’m afraid with my
        delivery it would come off all Alan Rickman(ish) and I might not be
        welcome anymore.

  • Vegan and Tiara
    • TheBoatDude

      Shit. Rmoney is positively normal by comparison.

    • Serai 1

      Oh, good. That means it won’t happen.

    • CripesAmighty

      Uh-huh. Loathe as I am to admit, but Trump is right about Kristol: “moron…loser…”

      • Serai 1

        Not much of an achievement, that.

        • King of America

          Yeah, that one is like pointing out the blueness of the sky.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        Trump actually does occasionally say some things that are true. I LOVED it when he said “Fox News is owned by an Arab” during the GOP debate. That’s technically not true anymore, but it still made me laugh.

    • Biff52

      Drumpf: “if the GOP can’t control their own, then they are not a party.”

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      • Major_Major_Major

        They’re a party all right, not like the “so awesome I only vaguely recall what happened, but I woke up half naked and no sense of dread” kind of party, but more like the “sad, unisex party playing board games with missing pieces and listening to the Host’s parents fighting” kind of party.

      • Zhu Bajie

        They are sort of a church or a sports team, just like their Siamese Twin.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        I’m not sure if someone is slipping crazy pills into my vodka again, or if the rest of the world is nuts.

    • Iam Reading

      I would enjoy removing his spleen via his throat.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        Wouldn’t we all? It’s what unites us as Americans.

    • Zhu Bajie

      Somehow, Trump makes Mitt look sort of good. :-(

      • Vegan and Tiara

        I never thought I’d be nostalgic for Mittens, but at least he seemed like an adult. A gross adult, but still.

    • Mehmeisterjr

      Dammit, Bill. I was hoping and praying for some kind of Mitt Romney move to divide the GOP and now you go and say this. Now it can never, ever happen. [Sbo, sniff sniff, sob.]

      Don’t you know by now that you are the Jonah of the Republican ship?.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        How awesome would it be if he was running Sarah Palin for president?

    • SayItWithWookies

      I’m sticking with my prediction from a coupla months ago that Ted Cruz is going to hear The LORD calling him to run third party. But Mitt would be equally excellent — fighting it out over the heart and soul of the GOP would be like two homeless people fighting over an empty bag of onions from an Olive Garden dumpster.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        That was so nicely put, it brought a little tear to my eye.

  • phoenix00

    OT: don’t know if this was posted downstream, but this week’s OTM & discus thread!
    https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/stories-of-terrible-restaurant-employees-off-the-menu/food-and-drink
    https://disqus.com/home/channel/bcootmofftherecord/discussion/channel-bcootmofftherecord/530_look_a_placeholder_title/

    Note: read with an empty stomach. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Anarchy Pony
  • bubbuhh

    A Memorial Day song for younger Wonketeers

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDeQT9zCvi4

  • Iam Reading

    Retired combat vet here. You want to honor my fallen brothers and sisters? You want to support vets and troops? Stop sending us to stupid corporate wars. Demand housing, medical, and mental health services for our vets. Finally, vote out anyone who doesn’t have a stellar commitment to adequately resourcing and edifying our public school systems. Only a stupid citizenry bankrupts their country through runaway militarism.

    • Enfant Terrible

      Amen and preach it!

    • Serai 1

      Ah, but to the ones throwing the war parties, that’s a feature, not a bug.

    • natoslug

      I am so very happy to be a non-combat vet, and agree with you 107% (sorry, using Fox News math this afternoon).

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Remember the Cold War? We are all veterans, but still on active duty. Those who do not understand this, don’t know what the Cold War is all about.

        • natoslug

          Considering we were supposed to be able to save ourselves from nuclear annihilation by ducking under an elementary school desk, the Cold War must not have been that dangerous. The Russians could be defeated by a two foot by foot and a half piece of inch thick wood? — pfft! No wonder the wolverines were able to stop the invasion.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            Duck and cover was a feel-good campaign to feed the myth that nuclear war was winnable. At the time, the threat of nuclear twilight (a more accurate term than nuclear winter) was not well understood, although fallout was a considerable concern.

            The Cold War definitely was quite dangerous. In no US war since WW2 has the death rate of US military personnel involved in that war reached as high as 2%. I suspect most military historians competent in the issue would estimate the probability of a US civilian dying in the Cold War, if we replayed it as a war game, as higher than that. I also note that civilian death rates due to war in many countries targeted by USA, including Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, are considerably greater than 2%, perhaps the 5% to 10% range.

        • SlickTrixie

          When I tried to find a safe place to move to, and realized there wasn’t any, I moved close to a 1st strike target. And, as you say, nothing’s changed.

    • Zhu Bajie

      Amen and amen.

  • jmhm

    I don’t have anything deep to add about this, except that after doing our homework at Charity Navigator about military charities, we found Fisher House Foundation, which is something like Ronald McDonald House for service families. They give them somewhere to stay near the facility where their servicemember is being treated, and they spend a ridiculously low percentage of the money they raise on fundraising and administration. FWIW, I highly recommend.

    • Juan de Fuca

      I got to meet Zach Fisher when he opened up a Fisher House at Fort Bragg, back in the early 90’s. Escorted him and his wife around Bragg when I was on temporary protocol duty. Seemed like a very good man.

  • Michael Rush

    I’m going off topic completely the way I like to do , but Breitbart had a story on Harambe the gorilla and I wanted to see what the comments looked like ….

    ( you can probably open this in a new tab to see larger )

    http://s33.postimg.org/70gdg1fen/breitbart_harambe_racism.jpg

    • Enfant Terrible

      They seem nice.

    • Anarchy Pony

      “Racism is no longer an issue in America.”

    • Serai 1

      Why do you hate us?

      • Michael Rush

        They don’t like blacks , but they do love Trump … go figure !

        • Serai 1

          I meant you. Why you have to harsh our mellow with the grunts of baboons? ;)

          • Michael Rush

            We live in the same world as these people , sometimes I study their behavior .

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            I would love an ethnology of Breightbartians. Study their cultural habits and suchlike.

          • Serai 1

            Pity we can’t keep a few in a zoo for research purposes.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            ….we could do that. FEMA zoos have a nice ring to them.
            Only, no letting your lil guys near the fence because unlike gorillas, these things actually would eat your babbies.

    • Spotts1701

      Nope, not going to embiggen. I’ve had a lovely day, and don’t need to go volcanic today.

      • kaw143

        Me, I just got new glasses, so I could see it well enough without embiggening. STUPID GLASSES AND BEING ABLE TO SEE!

      • Vegan and Tiara

        It’s disgustingly cromulent.

    • Me The People

      Truly sickening, as usual.

    • kaw143

      Gaaargh. And here I’ve been working on my Olde Tyme Racism article all day. Yep. Totally lost in the sandy mists of time.

    • Biff52

      Fuck. Post-racial Amurrica is just as fucked up as racial Amurrica.

      • vivian

        Didn’t you get the memo? It’s not post-racial America,
        it’s meta-racial America™.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Trump’s really opened the floodgates, hasn’t he?

    • thenearesthippie

      Thank goodness no white children have ever wound up in gorilla enclosures. That said, these santorum-covered pieces of santorum-filled dried santorum, along with the child’s mother, should be [REDACTED].

    • AlasAnAss

      There are rocks, and these people slither and hiss underneath. Thus it ever was and perhaps it always will be. But then there’s this piece, which I just came across by internetserendipity (shut up it is a word) and it reminds us that change is happening, that we’re winning the fight. It’s not over, we have to keep going, but we are winning.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/20/this-photo-of-obama-and-a-little-visitor-at-a-black-history-month-celebration-says-a-lot/

  • Zhu Bajie

    I’m a Viet Nam vet. All’s I’m going to do is go to work like usual. I will not say or do anything special.

    • You’ve already done it.

      • Zhu Bajie

        Whining on Wonkette? Not special.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          But cathartic, at times.

  • Me The People

    OT : “Rubio Personally Apologized To Trump For Implying He Had A Small Penis”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/marco-rubio-apologize-donald-trump-penis_us_574af1a5e4b03ede4415112b

    For some reason I have this image in my head now, of Marco Rubio being carried screaming towards a giant wicker Donald Trump, his weak protestations of love and loyalty merely reinforcing the terrifying will of the mob.

    • Major_Major_Major

      Why do I have the image from Shogun with the samurai pissing on the back of the pilot, except with Drumpf and Rubot?

      • Serai 1

        Richard Chamberlain said that was one of the hardest scenes he’s ever had to film. That rage on his face? NOT faked. Even knowing it was just pretend, he said it got to him just the way it got to Blackthorne.

        • Major_Major_Major

          I have yet to see the film, but I can only imagine how humiliating that would be, even faked.

          • Serai 1

            I was always amazed he could do it. I know my face turns bright red whenever I watch that scene.

        • The Wanderer

          To be honest, I’d rather have my back pissed on than have someone spit in my face.

          • Serai 1

            I think it’s one of those things that sounds better… until someone actually does it.

        • AlasAnAss

          Not the ones in Thorn Birds when he had to kiss, etc. Rachel Ward?

          Huh.

      • The Wanderer

        Yeah. It fits well.

    • Serai 1

      And I will laugh at him just like I laughed at Sgt. Howie. Ignorance will get you killed, motherfucker!

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      Giant wicker Trump? Is there a kender in his head?

    • bzzzzzzz…

      • Serai 1

        That fucking movie should have been put out as a comedy. It would have cleaned up at the box office then.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Rubio is now saying he wouldn’t rule out a VP position. Poor little Marco! You know Trump would pants him, or give him a wedgie, every damn day.

      • SayItWithWookies

        Rubio doesn’t need to rule it out — I’m sure Trump really wants a loser who’ll apologize for his most memorable line — that’s two strikes more than winning. Personally, I think Darrell Issa is Trump’s ideal running mate — never admits he’s wrong, always scheming, would cut his own grandma if it meant he got ahead.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          Which is why Trump would not pick him. Trump does NOT want someone ambitious. He wants a meely mouthed yes man who will tell him how great he is.
          Marco though was ruled out when Trumpman said “white male” Rubio is pale, but he sounds way too latin for them, I bet.

          • SayItWithWookies

            Trump’s problem is that he needs to pick a running mate who is both politically experienced and not repelled at the prospect of serving with Donald Trump. So he’s basically down to feral dogs, the black KKK member of satire/urban legend, or Darrel Issa. I can’t think of too many other options — maybe if they could find Jimmy Hoffa before the convention….

          • Msgr_Moment

            Pop a new heart in Cheney, and he’s good to go!

        • Vegan and Tiara

          Wait a minute, Darrell Issa is a straight up bona fide criminal…oh…wait…you’re right, he’d be peeeerfect.

    • The Wanderer

      Will he be . . . Covered In BEES!?!?!?!?!?

  • Richard_Pietrasz

    Dan Weber seriously underestimates the fraction of his lifetime USA has been at war. The correct fraction is 100%.

    USA has actively been involved in waging wars almost continuously since 1776. When one considers only USA itself as a target of the US government, we have the war against the Native Americans 1776-1900 or so, Prohibition 1920-1933, and the War on Drugs 1971-present. (The first of these killed millions of people, and the last well over a hundred thousand.)

    The US war against Iraq began in 1991 and never stopped, merely slowed down from time to time. Before that, USA was a co-combatant with Iraq against Iran 1980-1988. USA was an active combatant in the USSR war against Afghanistan 1979-1989, and warred against Panama in 1989. USA has been a co-combatant with Israel against various Arab peoples for many decades.

    • bubbuhh

      This is Memorial Day. This article is about American soldiers being sent to war, hospitals filled with Americans personnel, and body bags filled with American bodies. If you wish to write something about the wider issue of war around world, including the USA’s part in that, go to it. You’ll find a receptive audience. But, please don’t pretend it has anything to do with Memorial Day.

      • Serai 1

        Just out of curiosity, who made you Hall Monitor?

        • bubbuhh

          Is there some reason, I need to be agreeable to someone who was disagreeable to someone else?

          btw, who made you hall monitor?

          • Serai 1

            Me? I didn’t ORDER you to do anything. I asked a question. You’re the one telling people they can’t post anything you consider the slightest bit OT.

          • Vegan and Tiara

            Can’t you two see that you are in LOVE with each other?????

          • Land Shark

            Love is blind I’ve heard ….

          • Serai 1

            That’s why I never ask Him for directions.

          • Vegan and Tiara

            Deaf and dumb, also, too.

          • AlasAnAss

            Those two crazy kids. Everyone realized it before they did.

            I hope they register at Wonkette Bazaar.

          • Juan de Fuca

            I’m beginning to love this song my wife has gotten me hooked on. She’s a CHVRCHES fan. Check it –

            https://youtu.be/BZyzX4c1vIs

          • kaw143

            Awww. Teh Wonkette has turned into a Doris Day movie.

            Everybody sing!

            “Aaaaalll aboard, all aboard for the glass bottom boat, it’s the greatest show that was ever afloat!”

          • redarmyzombie

            Please, Wonkette has ALWAYS been a part-time dating service!

          • kaw143

            Good point.

          • Msgr_Moment

            We have always been at war with ChristianMingle.

          • Serai 1

            ;P

          • Vegan and Tiara

            Get a room, you two.

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Perhaps you should read the article, and do a little research about what war is all about. Memorial Day is a propaganda exercise, and it is appropriate to point it out.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          Perhaps you ought to follow your own advice.
          Memorial day, as stated, was a day to honor the fallen following the civil war. That is all it was. One little day to say we’re not going to forget these people were killed, and hey, maybe it would be good to not send them to die any longer.

          • Spotts1701

            Don’t mind me. Popcorn?

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Sure! But lightly salted, if you please, and sea salt of course.
            Do people put sea salt on popcorn? I do not even know.

          • Land Shark

            By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            That is not what Memorial Day is anymore. Memorial Day is mostly about lies, lies, and more lies, with a little bit of truth sprinkled in. Veterans Day is the same thing, and so is Independence Day. By the way, Memorial Day specifically includes millions of Americans who died defending their homeland or fleeing the assault, because they were American and didn’t wear official US uniforms.

        • Jonny On Maui

          Do tell me, from your own experience, what war is all about.

        • bubbuhh

          You are a two-dimensional pompous git

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Does that mean you want more US soldiers and civilians to die in war because we must ignore the context of Memorial Day? Why they died has a lot to do with Memorial Day.

        • bubbuhh

          I see you still can’t read. And, still think your self-aggrandizement is the important thing. Go play with your straw-man elsewhere.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • Serai 1

        Actually, it’s probably why America has had all the nice things. We stole them from somebody else, usually after beating the shit out of them first.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          We didn’t steal anything with the exception of the homes/lives of Native Americans early on, which actually started with the Brittish and before them, the Spanish (oddly, the French were a lot more live and let live, never quite understood that but good for them).

          We did co-opt the game plan of the colonialists going forward and still have a LOT to do to make up for all of that.
          Unless you are counting the setting up friendly dictators for our corperations to make money bit. In that case….yes, true enough.

    • Odd Jørgensen

      Did the Korea war ever really end? I thought what they had was just a ceasefire-treaty thingiemajingy.
      “On July 27, 1953, American Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. and North Korean General Nam Il signed the Korean Armistice Agreement, ending “all acts of armed force” in Korea, until both sides were able to find a “final peaceful settlement.” The agreement was notably not a peace treaty, but rather, a ceasefire. Sixty years later, it seems we are no closer to a peaceful ending of the conflict.”

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        You are correct when it comes to the legalities, the occasional skirmishes by both sides, the siege (“sanctions”), and the threat of the nuclear trigger.

  • HogeyeGrex

    OT, but utterly perfect: Who’da thunk it? Teh Dernld is broke again.

    When Republicans nominated Trump, they thought that they were getting a billionaire who could help the party raise money while throwing his own cash into the pot for his White House bid.

    What the GOP is stuck with is a deadbeat who talks a good game that they are going to have to fund in the general election because he is either unwilling or unable to pull his own weight.

    BWAAAAAHHAAAAHHAAAAHHAAAAAAA…

    • Serai 1

      I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning. It smells like… victory.

    • Biff52

      And you can bet that whatever campaign cash comes in, he’ll be the first creditor in line to get repaid.

      • limberrat

        That’s pretty much what he is doing now with all those donations. His “funding” his own campaign was a loan to his own campaign and any donations goes back to himself.

        • Vegan and Tiara

          Say what you will about him, Trump is the world’s best carnival barker/snake oil salesman.

        • Callyson

          Hell, I wouldn’t put it past The Donald if he charged his campaign interest on that money. A high interest rate at that…

          • Odd Jørgensen

            Probably pays himself a hefty salary as spokesman for the campaign as well.

      • Msgr_Moment

        It’s like watching “The Producers”, only this time “Springtime for Hitler” is a huge, unironic hit.

    • Callyson
    • Jen_Baker_VA

      Sooooo….all those yahoos screaming about how he’s not bought will shadup now?

      • Mehmeisterjr

        Soooo….of course not. They wouldn’t care if he shot some guy of 5th Avenue.

        Incidentally, isn’t that an odd thing to have briefly alighted on his mind? Is it possible that one of his Five Families pals actually did shoot someone on Fifth Avenue? Cold Case Squad?

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          I have no doubt the man is responsible for at least one hit in his life time. No doubt at all.

    • Markuserektus

      “Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance,” ~ William Kristol

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        Wasn’t it Mittens?

        • Markuserektus

          It seems he just might be messing with Drumpf’s head.

          Maybe it’s Deez Nutz…

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            So hard to do. Just say a word and make it sound negative and Drumpf’s goes all to pieces.

            Sorta like Romo. If you sack him a few times early on, he falls right apart (sportsball allusion for the day. Was a stretch but running out of time).

        • Spotts1701

          Mittens, Ben Sasse (R-Cornhusker), some back-bencher from Illinois. The list was short and undistinguished.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            gigglesnort. GOPers are all about short, undistinguished lists these days.

          • Callyson

            You know what they say about people with short lists…

            (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

          • Vegan and Tiara

            Rimshot!

          • Land Shark

            It’s not complete without a pony …
            https://youtu.be/bS_1ifNaOC8

          • Serai 1

            Love your icon, by the way. One of my favorite films.

          • Vegan and Tiara

            …but they had such a “deep bench.”

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Just between you and me, I doubt any of them can reach the bottom OR bang the shit outta the sides.

          • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

            You misunderstood. “Deep trench.”

          • Msgr_Moment

            You misspelled derp bench.

          • The Wanderer

            No, they had an assembly of Has-beens, Never-weres, and rejects from the Bum of the Month Club.

          • HogeyeGrex

            Trump is counting with his fingers again?

          • vivian

            I thought they were all just the right height.

          • The Wanderer

            “Short and undistinguished?” Like Trump’s man bits?

      • Serai 1

        We can always relax whenever Dipshit makes a prediction, because we know it’ll turn out to be false.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          Though this is one time I would LOVE him to be correct XD

      • Markuserektus

        He did get a rise out of Drumpf…

        • RoyalUglyDude

          Ha! He called Bill Kristol a loser.
          Drumpf is right about a thing.

          • SayItWithWookies

            If it helps any, Kristol’s been continuously wrong since at least 2003, so Trump’s still off.

          • HogeyeGrex

            Longer than that. The guy was Dan Quayle’s Chief of Staff.

            The New Republic dubbed Kristol “Dan Quayle’s brain” when he was appointed the Vice President’s chief of staff.

            Though my favorite thing related to him is this bit:

            I remember back in the late ’90s when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture to an economic philosophy class I was taking. It was a great lecture, made more so by the fact that the class was only about ten or twelve students and we got got ask all kinds of questions and got a lot of great, provocative answers. Anyhow, Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol back either during the first Bush administration. The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at The White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at UPenn and the Kennedy School of Government. With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. “I oppose it”, Irving replied. “It subverts meritocracy.”

          • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

            But he also said Kristol has been wrong for 2 yrs. Twenty two is more like it.

          • Pickwicknext

            You’re discounting all the times he was wrong as a child straight through to now

          • Serai 1

            Yeah well, you know what they say about stopped clocks.

        • Odd Jørgensen

          Dummy…the vocabulary and the insults of a 6 year old.
          Who knew that when a R run as an independent the SCOTUS has to dissolve?

          • Enfant Terrible

            “Hey, anyone seen the Supreme Court? I could swear they were just here.”

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Nice SCOTUS you got there…shame if anything happened to it

          • Odd Jørgensen

            Where was Drumpf when Scalia croaked? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

          • Msgr_Moment

            Dude, where’s my SCOTUS?

          • limberrat

            So if an independent runs Trump is going to do something to SCOTUS? RBG…hiiiidde!!

        • Msgr_Moment

          Only 2 yrs?!?! Bill Kristol libel!!

          • Pickwicknext

            More like time libelz!

        • The Wanderer

          Just making eye contact with Trump can set him off.

          • Pickwicknext

            Trump is not majestic enough to be a silverback gorilla

          • The Wanderer

            More like an adolescent babboon.

          • Pickwicknext

            Baboon libelz!

          • The Wanderer

            I could have said a mandrill, with its yuuuge shiny scarlet arse.

    • Enfant Terrible

      Or so Trump says. But really… is his campaign really broke or is he pulling some kind of hustle?

      Either way, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

      • limberrat

        His campaign was given a loan by himself (whenever he says he is self funded) and he has just been using any donations to the campaign to pay himself back.

    • SayItWithWookies

      What idiots. Don’t these rubes know that Trump didn’t get rich by risking his own money? Shit, most of them are rich assholes who got rich risking others’ money — they should know this stuff.

    • Msgr_Moment

      Hillz nailed it: Trump only pretends to be a successful businessman. Give’m both barrels, Hillz!

    • The Wanderer

      (cackles evilly)

      • Pickwicknext

        Is there, truly, another way to cackle?

        • The Wanderer

          Hmm . . . . . . COULD be!

      • Playonwords

        Cackling is an early sign of “Going to the bad” according to Granny Weatherwax. Next thing you know it’s gingerbread houses and poisoned apples.

        • The Wanderer

          Gingerbread houses? Poisoned apples? Those are So 17th Century.

          • Playonwords

            No, Century of the Fruitbat. Very passé in the Century of the Anchovy

  • Markuserektus

    Let us reflect for a moment on Trump’s storied military career: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-rudoy/donald-trump-reflects-on_b_10207650.html

  • URQ196

    Trumpanzee is a military hero! Duh just ask him.

    • The Wanderer

      It still ain’t getting to Heaven.

    • LeMunyan

      Who did the taxpayers put into office? Why it is Mr. Trump. That pix is a good blue flag for liberal illness. the swamp is already half full. What a stench.

  • Vienna Woods

    I have been quite coincidentally been researching Okinawa today. I had never really known the details of the battles there. Now I know too much. We really are lucky to not have to go through what they did.

    • limberrat

      If you get a chance, read EB Sledge’s book With the Old Breed. Gives an excellent account of what occurred there on the ground and makes you feel like you are there.

      • WomanComingHome

        There’s a great interview with him in The Good War by Studs Turkle. He was a pretty awesome person.

    • DemmeFatale

      HBO’s “Pacific” is also very informative,well cast, and a real tear-jerker.
      (The brilliant opening title still makes me cry.)

    • Jason Freeman

      My great-uncle was killed by a mortar round on that island. That story got me very engaged in history, and WW2 in particular.

  • Vegan and Tiara
    • Pickwicknext

      I was also shocked to find gambling in this establishment!

    • Msgr_Moment

      * “Yes, but that’s what businessmen do.”
      * “My business experience makes me well-suited to be President.”

      Both these statements can’t simultaneously be true.

  • Vegan and Tiara

    I’m watching Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and I just realized why I’m starting to really dislike Bernie. He’s starting to remind me of the GOP with his tactics. Just because you lost, doesn’t mean the system is rigged. The GOP has been teaching morons for years that everything they don’t like is UNFAIR! and a gigantic conspiracy, and he’s just co-opting their tactics.

    • Serai 1

      The only thing Bernie seems to be good at is riding somebody’s else’s coattails.

    • Jason Freeman

      I understand what you are saying here, but I look at it like this: Hillary is a good candidate, but does have some glaring faults. Sanders is forcing her to own up to her shortcomings, which in turn, will ultimately help her against republican attacks in the general. I believe that Sanders has carefully and methodically calculated all of the factors in his decision. My ideal situation is that Hillary gets the nomination and taps Bernie as VP. She won’t find any better attack dog vs Trump. Maybe Elizabeth Warren could fit that role too, but I don’t see her leaving the Senate. Just a thought.

      • Me The People

        Bernie would be completely useless as a VP. He’s too pure and free from sin to be tainted by association with such a dishonest Benghaziing bad emailer who – get this – actually raised money for the Democratic party of all things.

        He’s the High Sparrow of American politics. None of us are worthy.

        • Pickwicknext

          You are aware that the High Sparrow is an avatar for religious fundamentalists? He is the epitome of the holier-than-thou RWNJ that we all mock for being sexist and backward thinking

          • Me The People

            Yes and what I’m saying is that the light of unbending righteous purity shines so brightly out of his arse these days that he has become analogous to that lot. Even without the religion.

        • Jason Freeman

          Repectfully, I disagree. But at least we can discuss it like adults. I like Hillz too, don’t get me wrong. I just believe that they would be a powerful force against the Republicans if they teamed up.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        I’d love to see Elizabeth Warren as VP. I liked Bernie in the beginning, but now he’s just helping Trump win the election, and I need him to go away.

    • Playonwords

      That said, the animal rights activist assault on his event was appalling.

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        wait, what?
        Edit: Better caught up now. Appaling, but not really an assault, thanks to the Secret Service.

  • btwbfdimho

    I hope you read Spanish, so you could understand this beauty.
    Joaquin Sabina is the Bob Dylan/Cohen/DeGregori of Spain (Andaluz, like Buñuel, Paco de Lucía y Picasso).
    It deserves an Spanish accent.

    Preguntan a Joaquín Sabina: ¿QUE ES LA CULTURA?

    Se me ocurren dos o tres respuestas.
    Primero, es el grado más alto de la evolución de esos animales carnivoros que eran nuestros antepasados de hace millones de años.
    Segundo, es un modo de hablar con gente de otros siglos. Es decir, yo soy amigo de Dylan, pero tambien de Quevedo. Ellos no lo saben, pero lo soy. Me quedo con estas dos respuestas.
    Aunque tengo una tercera respuesta: mientras no haya un SALARIO MINIMO CULTURAL por abajo, es decir, mientras no haya alfabetizacion global y cuatro libros en cada casa del mas pobre, este planeta sera el infierno de Dante.

    Cuatro libros en la casa del mas pobre, salario cultural minimo. No creo que sea mucho pedir. Por cierto, de esos cuatro libros, uno deberia ser de Homero, LA ODISEA. Otro deberia ser cualquiera de Shakespeare. Otro deberia ser el QUIJOTE y el cuarto, perdonen la colombianez, deberia ser CIEN AÑOS DE SOLEDAD. ¡Dos españoles! Para mi, ese seria el salario minimo cultural. Ah! No los cuatro libros, sino gente educada para poder leerlos. Los niños, los padres y los abuelos de esa casa tienen que tener el salario minimo educacional para poder leerlos y entenderlos. Llevamos dos mil años de historia del cristianismo y muchos mas de historia, y en ese sentido estamos aun en el paleolitico inferior. Si esto no se ha conseguido en España, en Estados Unidos o en Suecia es que estamos en el Paleolitico. Somos “los hombres de las cavernas” de Platón”.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      I can read it out loud with a spanish accent. Can’t understand more than five or six words, but I can totally roll those Rs.

    • Serai 1

      Translation:

      Asked of Joaquin Sabina: WHAT IS CULTURE?

      Two or three answer occur to me.
      First, it’s the highest level of evolution among those carnivores who were our ancestors millions of years ago.
      Second, it’s a mode of speaking with people of other centuries. That is to say, I’m a friend of Dylan, but also of Quevedo. They don’t know it, but I am. I’ll stick with those two answers.
      Although I do have a third answer: while there may not be a basic CULTURAL MINIMUM WAGE [Translators’ note: by which I think he means “cultural literacy“], that is to say, while there is no global literacy and four books in every poorest house, this planet will be part of Dante’s Inferno.

      Four books in every poorest house, minimum cultural wage. I don’t think it’s much to ask. Certainly, of these four books, one should be Homer’s The Odyssey. Another should be any play by Shakespeare. Another should be Don Quixote and the fourth, pardon the Columbian-ness, should be One Hundred Years of Solitude. Two Spanish authors!
      For me, that would comprise a basic cultural minimum wage. Ah! Not so much those four books, but [that] people [should be] educated enough to read them. Kids, parents, and grandparents in that house should have the educational minimum wage to be able to read and understand them. It’s been two thousand years of Christian history and much more of history in general and in that sense, we are still in a paleolithic era. If this [cultural literacy] is not achieved in Spain, in the United States, or in Sweden, we’re still in the Paleolithic Era. We’re the cavemen that Plato talked about.

      • AlasAnAss

        Except Pericles. That play sucks.

        • Serai 1

          Titus Andronicus I always found hard to take. (Though I love that The Reduced Shakespeare Company called their version Roman Meals. Those guys are expert wiseasses.)

          • The Wanderer

            More meat pie? There’s horseradish on the side.

          • Pickwicknext

            I always enjoy Hamlet in 90 seconds

          • Serai 1

            You weren’t at the live performances. They would do Hamlet, then the 30-second version, then the 10-second version, and THEN the FIVE-second version: “JUST THE MURDERS!!!” And all three of them would rush onto the stage, stab/drown themselves, scream, and run off. It was the most epic thing.

            (I especially loved how Adam Long – who always played the girls – would look around desperately for a balcony to do the balcony scene, and not finding one, would run up to the central pole holding the massive audience tent, climb halfway up using the big rope, and then sort of hang there emoting with one arm. Never failed to put the audience in hysterics.)

      • kaw143

        Excellent translation, I would say. (I can read Spanish, but I could never translate it. I have the same problem with translating English into Spanish. I just don’t have enough knowledge of the language to capture the nuances. . .)

        • Serai 1

          Thanks. I used to do Spanish-English translations for a living, years ago, so I always have the urge to jump in and translate when it’s needed. Keeps me sharp.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            You can do ALL my translations for me.
            All I remember is random words, none of them…proper. And Donde esta el bano?
            That is about it. *I have near no propensity for languages, including, it must be admitted, English.*

          • TheBoatDude

            After 3 years of HS Spanish, I only remember “Mi bicicleta motor usa juga de la naranja” which I think roughly translates to “my moped runs on orange juice.”

          • Pickwicknext

            And may your hovercraft be full of eels

          • The Wanderer

            May your nipples explode with delight.

          • Pickwicknext

            Ouch!

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Would you like to come up to my room bouncy bouncy

          • Pickwicknext

            Happens every time I go up or down stairs, so sure.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            I tripped down a flight last week and was all…wtf, thought I was past that shit.
            Apparently my mom was wrong; you don’t grow out of clumsy, you simply learn to live with it.

          • The Wanderer

            I’m going to bounce up and down on my spring, a la Clodagh Rogers.

        • Serai 1

          Yeah, literal translations always irritate the hell out of me. It’s so easy to tell when a translator is not a native speaker, and has learned the language in school. There’s nuances that simply can’t be taught – you have to pick them up by speaking the language, preferably from childhood. (Literal translations of poetry are THE FUCKING WORST. All the rhythm, internal meaning, cultural context, etc., is completely lost. I actually had to create my own translation of Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Desperate Song, the ones I’d found were so clumsy. They didn’t get Neruda AT ALL.)

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        Thank you! And what a lovely piece.

        • Serai 1

          As the Drinks Replicator said, “Glad to be of SER-vice!”

          • The Wanderer

            While it serves you a cup of a liquid that is closely, if not wholly, unlike tea?

          • Serai 1

            It’ll all end in tears, I know it!

      • DoILookAmused2u ?

        One Hundred Years of Solitude.

        Very depressing story.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          Yet very beautifully written.

          • Serai 1

            The image that always stuck with me was the butterfly that emerged from the wallpaper. I love magic realism!

          • DoILookAmused2u ?

            Contradiction in terms. The whole magical thinking thing is fun, I suppose. A girl who butterflies follow around, etc, etc.

            It reminds me of Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” or “Shame” for some reason. Or vice versa.

  • Well…Memorial Day is almost over and thank goodness. Whenever Memorial Day or Veterans Day rolls around I find myself in a position of wanting to beg forgiveness from a wounded vet or a parent bereft of their child that I didn’t work harder to stop our government from putting themselves or their kid in harm’s way for specious reasons.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      So long as you work to help it not happen anymore, no matter how fruitless that work may seem, no matter how hopeless the cause really is, so long as you keep working to make sure there are no more, you’ve got nothing for which to beg forgiveness.

    • Serai 1

      I find myself wanting to go up and apologize rather than thank them.

    • TheBoatDude

      On Veterans Day, I always apologize that vets are being whored out by politicians for their own personal gain…

  • VirginiaLady

    I glanced at the title and wondered what Estonia had done to piss us off this time. We need to end our war over there and let them bring it to us here on our soil.

    • Zango LeHoonery

      Seeing as we have a scorched earth policy and salted our own the fields, I’m not so sure they want to come all the way over here.

  • Jen_Baker_VA

    OT but maybe not: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/houston-gunman-army-veteran-ptsd-article-1.2655110

    When did this become so routine that it does not make it on the news above whatever Trump said that day, and wtf, can we PLEASE start funneling some money into returning vet mental health services?

  • Playonwords

    OT – Palate cleansing
    via Stuff
    Chinese running ducks in a vineyard – with video

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      DUCKS!!!!
      I like that bit at the bottom where they remind people that keeping all those ducks is expensive but neglect to mention if you have a small flock and free range them continually instead of a big release, it would be much better AND the ducks would fertalize your plants for free.
      I know people with guinnea hens who do that.

  • Me The People

    OT I maded a music! Kind of a chillout thing, just messing with a couple of chords. Video is the view from my room, which is in a council estate in the west of Scotland. You can see in the distance the edge of the biggest windfarm in Europe.

    Apologies for tuning issues, mistakes and shit, I’m just learnin’ :-)

    Correction – you cant really see the windfarm, it’s too out of focus.

    https://youtu.be/B3ntcJvc_VA

  • Me The People

    OT : Col. Republicans blame hacker for official’s racist anti-Obama photo — after she called it a joke

    “According to the Daily Sentinel, Sorenson did not deny posting the image, calling it a joke and adding, “I really don’t care if people are offended by it.”

    But her fellow committee members have since contradicted Sorenson’s
    account, blaming outside forces for the image going online. The group’s
    treasurer, Sue Whittlesey, went so far as to blame the progressive blog Media Matters.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/col-republicans-blame-hacker-for-officials-racist-anti-obama-photo-after-she-called-it-a-joke/

    Did the librulz hack Sorenson’s brain too?

    • NorthStarSpanx

      We are supposed to entrust these hacks as thought-leaders, even at a local level? Pathetic post, pathetic blame-game, and pathetic supporters.

  • TeeRaak

    Just think…

    Without those thousands and thousands of dead Iraq war veterans, America wouldn’t have a Black President with a Muslim sounding name.
    https://media1.giphy.com/media/o0rwAoBJ1VeRa/200w_d.gif

  • “My country would never be so irresponsible as to attempt expeditionary land war in Asia with an all-volunteer force.”

    Because it worked out so well when we did it with a drafted military force?!?!

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