What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know? [CSN&Y]

Finally got the paper I’d been waiting for.  Three years, ten months, two days.  May 2, 1970.  “Honorable Discharge”.  Goodbye Thailand, hello California. Then two days later, this:

[Note:  All the information about that day is maintained on the May4th website.]

Because of the international dateline, after a flight of roughly 10,000 miles, we took off and landed on the same day at the same time.  Deja weird.  One day to process out at Travis AFB, then no more living according to military rules.  First on the list:  see who’d made it home.  In our case, all of them.  Seven went in, six saw combat, one shoulder wound (two weeks to fix, then back in the shit), I was the last man back.  W-a-a-a-y too much fun after four years of stars, bars, and striped-ass-APes.  You would have thought we were all mad dog rowdies.  Close.  

America had changed when we were gone, and had become a very strange place indeed.  Complete polarization of the populace.  Absolutely no middle ground.  Fer’ it, or agin’ it; “love it or leave it”.  Bullshit.  We knew what was going on in “theater”, but found the public had no clue.  Eighteen-year-old long-hair kids on campus passing out literature against the war, telling vets what was really going on in Vietnam.  F*ckin’ idiots.  

They raged against the “military”, felt anyone in uniform was supporting the war, and Nixon was the enemy.  Youth in search of a clue.  How could they say that?  One heartbeat after arriving in-country the job became staying alive for 364-and-a-wakeup.  When we got back the job was to do anything we could to help end the war.  So the rest of our people could come home.  No politics involved.  F*ckin’ idiots.

From the time we got home, to the time the war “ended” 30 years ago, neither side gave an inch.  Thank god for Watergate.  A most excellent distraction from the war.  We were “scaling down”, and finally left Vietnam.  Ford finalized the ending.  Carter came in talking about “healing” America, realizing our potential as a people and a nation.  Most of us agreed.  Except the chickenhawk Republicans.  F*ckin’ idiots.

May 4, 2005.  Extreme polarization, neither side willing to give an inch, our people engaged in a war-cupation with a smaller country, and a growing movement demanding that we “bring home the troops”.  This time the people held off slamming the people in uniform.  Until Abu Grahib.  “We love you and want you home you poor misguided sons-a-bitch-baby-killers”.  F*ckin idiots.

It’s Rummy.  No, it’s King George.  No, it’s all of them + PNAC.  No, it’s us, just like it’s always been.  In a participatory democracy, it is our responsibility.  We’ve got the best government money can buy.  MoveOn bought the democrats, just ask them.  The religious right owns the Republicans, just ask them.  The media is clueless, just read them.  F*ckin idiots.  

It is the chickenhawks, the wannabe “Gucci Boy Warriors” in congress, the religious right’s “Jesus Hates Muslims”, and the entire executive branch on one side.  On the other side it is the democrat’s internal pissing contest, machine vs. roots war, dazed and confused leadership, and “morally superior” catechism.  The chasm between the two sides of that counterfeit coin puts the American public between a rock and a hard case.  F*ckin idiots.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the rest of us just try to make sense of it all.  But how to make sense of the images?  I’ve seen them from the first photographs ever taken in war in the 1800’s, and from every war since.  Written descriptions back to antiquity.  No variance.  The acts perpetrated by one human being upon another haven’t changed in millenia.  F*ckin idiots.

I remember the captioned picture that started this thing, along with the picture of the woman screaming in rage and pain following the “battle” for Hue.  Now I’ve added the picture of the little girl who’s family has been shot to pieces, screaming and covered in blood by the side of their car.  And the man in the uniform looking older than Lazarus holding her in his arms, exploding inside with rage and frustration, wishing to god life came with an eraser.  And that the people responsible for starting this thing, for putting him in that position, could just for five minutes stand there in his boots, live in his skin, and tell that child that life will go on.  Somehow.

F*ckin idiots.

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