Saturday, December 26, 2009

What War Is and Does to People:'The Girl I met on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968.

This was originally a letter sent to my
son, Kyle, and then, my daughter, Nora.
I've added to it since, and will more as it
will be part of a novel.

I never heard a response back from my
children, and it just feels worse.
But, I am re-posting and re-editing this
over the next few days

I was trying to explain why I was not an
ordinary father with a 9-5 job, career etc...
much of the terror, trauma, and grief was and
had to be suppressed at the time...because I
had a bigger concern...just surviving that

It's only later when we return that it comes
over us.For me, it meant drinking as much as
I could, and any drugs I could take during my
first 2 1/2 years back to shut out the thought,
images, pain and hurt.

Each Christmas is harder to survive in a way
because I landed in Da Nang, VietNam on Christmas
Day 1968 at about 2-3 am...and if you read far
enough below you will read of 'The Girl I met
on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968.

But, this year I started writing about it. I
felt so fucked up in pain that at some point
I took a pen into my hand.

What she did...without ever speaking a word was
to show me what war is and does to people. She
took this hard marine and ripped his heart out
and humanized him! I think of her, and have
never forgotten her.

I came to Vietnam with Marine Corps training that
taught me to hate. But, I left her feeling awful...
and feeling love for her and also, hurt, pain,
and the beginnings of a new awakening.

What War Is and Does to People:

Dear Kyle,

It was 40 years since I was in Vietnam as a
young boy of 18. I was a Marine Corps 'grunt'
(a rifleman). This Christmas will be 41 years.
The first time I was 18 and 4 months when I
was medivaced from a place of terror. I felt
guilty for leaving my platoon, and especially,
Chief, my team leader and a Seminole Indian
who had saved my life at least once.

I was walking point , but as I made it to the
top of the hill I stopped. I felt uncomfortable
with the layout. The hill was a large area with
chest high grass, and surrounded by trees. I felt
inside somewhere that this could be it for me. I
didn't think that I could turn around and say I
got a bad feeling about this...can we go back
to the fire base? No, I was there. I was a
FNG (fucking new guy) walking point.

But, before I could take another step my Chief,
(Paul Bowers) my team leader stopped me. I
really think that it was for Chief to take a
look for himself. If i fucked up and stepped
on a landmine it would not be just my life.
He saved many lives by stopping me.

He turned his back to the hill, and told me
if you see anything don't look directly at it,
or they may open up on us if they think you've
seen them...or words to that effect. He had me
look at him and said not to look at the hill,
then he told me that there may be something
at 1 o'clock, or between 1 and 2 o'clock.
his neck was 12 o'clock.

I turned my head to my left away from the
hill, and smiled like we were sharing a
something funny, but my right eye was
looking over the spot, and I had a
sinking feeling in my heart or stomach...
and nodded.

I was waiting for Chief to get back into
his spot when I was told to 'freeze'.
Chief came back, and motioned me to step
back. He carefully went through the bushes,
and vines I’d been pushing through, and
showed me a green vine that was flat
against my chest. It was a trip wire. He
had it between his thumb and forefinger.
My next half-step and I’d been blown to
bits by an anti-tank mine on one side of
me and an anti-personnel mine on the
other side.

It would've taken 8-12 men dead and wounded.
My own death was one thing, but I would've
felt awful to have caused the death of
others. If we were ambushed as well,
then much of the platoon would be gone.
That’s how sharp Chief and aware of
everything around him, and why he was
important to the platoon. He came up;
took a look, and remembered something
that wasn't right and came back. I and
others are alive as a result.

Bobby traps, particularly, the 'bouncing
betty' killed more US troops than anything

It was a special to see him laugh or smile,
or share good moments with him. He saved my
life, and I learned to watched for everything
in a way I hadn't before that. And, I had been
very alert and aware.

Weeks later, our platoon (about 45 men) were
used as bait for a battalion of NVA (North
Vietnamese Army regulars). We were put in a
small abandoned Marine fire base. Hall, a
state (high school) wrestling champion came
up to me and patted me on my right shoulder
and said, (I thought) 'Are you okay?' And I
said 'ya, i'm just getting my gear; i'm doing
the first watch.’

But, then Hall said 'your okay.' and patted
me on the shoulder. I looked at him, and he
tapped my radio, stood in front of me, and
said there were three on that(the radio)
before you. I was the platoon Sgt’s radioman).
Plus there was a guy from Vegas (I think)
who got shot up bad when he was the radioman...
then there were three in the 4-5 months he was
in the hospital, and

I had transferred from Fox 2/3 2cn Battalion
(Batt) 3rd Marines (regiment) because 2nd
Platoon golf 2/3 had 'lost' a radioman and
needed another.

Hall was just telling me you're okay and
you've been okay(and LUCKY-mine). I really
respected him. He had a good sense of humor,
was strong, and Always made people laugh and
was good even nice to this F-cking New Guy FNG.
It meant that there was some talk of me:-) I
couldn't have asked to be placed with a better
group of Marines, or fellas than those in the
second platoon of Golf Co.

Then, and this is what happens in war...a
terrible irony…he pointed to all the firing
pins (from hand grenades) scattered around
and told me not to touch them. He said they’re
dangerous. He said that it’s safe to pick them
up one side, he picked one up to show
me he said, but if you pick up the wrong side
your own body heat is enough to set off the
charge. And then, his hand opened up in front
of me from the explosion, and he was screaming
and screaming. It looked as if someone took a
knife and sliced his hand open.

With explosions or see the
results and then hear the noise. There was a
loud explosion after I was looking at his hand,
and blood flying both ways. He was in immense
pain, shock. I was in shock and have never
forgotten that night.

I've always felt bad that if he hadn't been
nice to me...

About a week or less from my being medivaced
(seizure and dysentery) to the USA we landed
on a ridge (Co Ca Va?) in the A Shau valley;
the ‘ Valley of Death ’. It was Fire Support
Base (FSB) Cunningham; the HQ for Operation
Dewey Canyon I.

Being a radioman is one of the most dangerous
jobs; (a snipers delight). They could ambush
a platoon, but if just one man survived he
could call in air strikes within 10 minutes.
So they go for the radio first, and the platoon
is a bit f-cked. Someone (Hall?) explained
this to me after I survived a month (as
radioman) and snipers.

When word got out that we were replacing
Mike Co., 3/9 (3rd Battalion 9th Marine
regiment) it had a chilling effect. 1/9
(1st Battalion 9th Marines was known as
'The Walking Dead'- a casualty rate over
90% dead, wounded, and missing...93.?%
of every 100 young boys like me...year
in and year out...every year of that war.
War is criminal. I had hoped to join them...
was I daft.

But, even 3/9 meant bad, bad shit was going
to happen. The Ninth 9th Marines meant only
one thing: 'heavy combat' and casualties like
not seen before. We missed the main attack
(below) 'Sapper Attack in the A Shau During
the Vietnam War' (link )

But we were replacing the men who had endured
that assault-to rub out the base, plus nightly
sapper attacks…night terror. Sappers were four
men teams with explosives in their backpacks,
and plenty of hand grenades to toss into other
holes. They were brave men trying to rid their
country of foreign the Vietnamese
people had for thousands of years.

Our first night we(Chief and I) were sent to a
share a bunker with some (grunts) from Mike 3/9;
they were leaving the next morning. After we had
made the introductions...some men started to cry;
and these were tough marines...who had been exposed
to too much night terror. They said the things
like...'we're all gonna be die'. They said they
get in every night.

I had no idea of what they were saying. Is he
talking about a ground attack? I had not even
thought, nor probably heard about 'sappers.'
They said sappers get in every night...we're
gonna die. Chief immediately grabbed one covered
his mouth and told them all to 'shut the fuck up'
etc. It was a powerful lesson for me.

As he did this all of a sudden we heard loud
screams from beyond the perimiter wire. They were
silenced immediately by a very loud explosion,
and then, there were no more screams. The other
men started to break down, and the first one said
'See, that's the fourth LP in a row. An LP is a
listening post, and on that ridge it was four
men. With that explosion the total went to 16.
4 men each night for four nights. North
Vietnamese Army Regular (NVA) sappers had
crawled up on the LP and one sapper
sacrificed his life to blow four Marines away.

The men started to sob again and Chief drew
his knife. I got in front of another Marine
and drew my K-Bar (combat knife) and stood
in front of the other Marine. He probably had
much more time in Vietnam than me, and it felt
strange to be doing this. They don't teach
these things in boot camp and infintry training.

Then, Chief took me away from that fortified
bunker and went pointed to two small three
foot deep holes forward of all the bunkers
with no sandbags or any protection, and right
out in the open. He got in front of me; our
faces were far apart, and as he pointed to
the bunker that we had just left he said 'We´ll
be okay. will watch each other each other's
back. We'll be okay, but we got to get away
from that(panicking-mine). He pointed toward
the bunker we had just left .' Chief said it
twice and looked into my eyes saying "we´ll
be okay." And we were okay. We survived a
scary night. I trusted Chief, and would have
followed him in any situation.

The next morning, Mike 3/9 were gone. That
night our company, Golf 2/3 were facing what
had terrorized the men from Mike 3/9. Of the
three platoons in the company, ours, the second
platoon, had to send out the first LP. Everyone
was nervous because by then we knew what had
happened to the other LP's/ It came down to
our squad and then, our four man fire team-
Chief’s. But, Chief had a plan to make sure
that we didn’t get blown away. I wasn't
surprised that Chief was chosen to take out
the first fire team!

I thought that Chief stood the best chance
in the whole company. I'm just glad that I
was with him. In 2010 he joked me that he
just thought that they (command) were trying
to get me killed

Chief's plan was simple, yet like everything
he did...he had put a lot of thought into it...
and that night, Chief wasn't exactly leading
the cream of the Corps (myself included--still
green;-) men he could have, but he made it work.

The plan was this: if we try to stay out all
night...we'll be dead. They'll-the NVA creep
up on us like they did the other LP's. We
were going to have to be faster, and sharper.
The others were blown away within an hour or two.

When we heard movement...even before they could
get within hand grenade of us...we would notify
our LT (Lieutenant) that we had contact and were
going to toss hand grenades to break contact,and
come back into the perimeter...this allows for...
when we think we hear contact? They were there,
but we're alive.

But, the brass didn't want us to come in. When
I called in-radio-to the CP they said we need
more information on how many they were, the
direction of attack know the types
of things that would get us blown to bits if
we stayed out all night like they wanted us
too. I whispered to the next man what was
said, and it was passed to Chief. Chief and
I leaned forward, and looked at each other.
Chief shook his head back N forth "NO!' a
few times, and made a sign with his hand
and that was good enough for me, and I went
to squelch on the radio. This meant that I
could not talk (make verbal transmissions...
as someone is to close:-) And, I could only
use (key) my handset.

We had tossed our frags (grenades) in front
of us, to give us time and cover to get back
into the perimeter. I was the the last one
out-position, I was 'Tail End Charlie. And
when I got up I realized that they were closer
than we thought. As I got up to run I heard
noise to my right and almost right rear and
saw someone in the darkness...where we hadn't
thrown frags.I was terrified that they had
gotten so close. I sprayed a burst emptying
my magazine. I was more than nervous...
'scared shitless' is the word.

I ran forward through the zig-zag like coils
of concertina wire, whilst looking behind me
for anyone who wasn't supposed to be there.
I was last. I was changing the magazine in
my rifle while listening for the sound of a
'frag'(hand grenade)dropping near me(theirs-
none). I was trying to catch up with the
others. As I came through the last twist
and turn of the wire all hell broke loose.
I thought that the NVA had opened fire on
the hill, or launched a ground attack, and
ours were returning fire.

As we came through the wire,someone set off
a trip flare, and we were visible to all.
We came the shortest way...across our kill
zone, and were almost cut to pieces by our
own machine guns, and every trigger happy grunt
(or as we say 'every swinging dick with a rifle.')
I had radioed in, but no one had told the fellas
we were on our way. We almost got torn to shreds;
the bullets were all around us and me.

I was the only standing target. ´Chief´, ´Rags´
and ´Florida´ were on the ground. I turned facing
the hill and went to drop, but a hail of bullets
went all aroud where I was to drop. I don´t know
how I wasn´t hit.

I turned a bit to me left-the direction of where
the others were on the ground and saw Chief look
at me like I must be crazy standing, but as I went
to fall bullets tore up the ground sent wood, rocks
and everything flying all around me on my left and...
I had tears and fear I turned back slightly the
first way facing the hill and fell to the ground.
Bullets were tearing up the ground just above
where my head was and down my right side. I was
terrified, and screamed into the radio. We
survived; Chief’s plan worked. God bless Chief.

When someone asks me how I survived I say I
know there is a God because I can't understand
the times I was almost been killed and Chief
wasn't there:-)

Secondly, Chief handled everything that God
was too busy for at the moment! And, that
was a lot!!

Third, my own instincts, and again, there
was Chief and my own good instincts…which
were constantly honed and corrected by Chief.

Finally, luck....if there is such a thing in war.

On night after Mike 3/9 was gone we had our own
sapper attacks; they must start about 2:30 am
because i'm always awake then and till later...
daylight. Chief and I had the bunker on the
extreme flank. One night the darkness was
pierced by the screams of the two men from
the next bunker. They came running towards
us screaming hysterically ‘The gooks are all
around us ...we’re gonna get killed.’

Chief and I each grabbed one,(I was following
Chief's lead from the first night)and covered
their mouths. I put the flat handle of my K-Bar
against the back of the neck of my man so he
couldn't move. Then I put my K-Bar to his throat.
In his eyes I saw sheer terror that I remember to
this day. I kept looking over my man's shoulder,
and all around me.

Chief whispered 'Shut the fuck up. Get back into
your hole. Keep your head down, and your eyes
and ears open.' And, for good measure, Chief
added 'and don't bring them over here.'

I had also run my knife down the man's throat
to his chest and I gave him a look that was
meant to scare him as much as what had just
terrorized him. I was scared too, but knew
that panic is deadly.

They ran back. We evacuated our bunker;
everyone knew it by then, and Chief said
something to the effect that we could only
use our knives and hand grenades from here
on in. The flash of a rifle would give our
position away.

After a few minutes a sapper made it into
their bunker and began knifing them to keep
them there until his satchel detonated. We
listened to them scream and scream in agony
and terror of their last seconds (6-7) of
their lives…They were fifty feet away…begging
and one cried aloud ‘Oh God’ just before the
explosion. It was awful.

I got over their deaths in a sense. A single tear
rolled down the right side of my face, and both
eyes were wet. But, I shut down every human
emotion and feeling. I was worried that the
sounds might mask someone approaching us. And,
I needed all my instincts unclouded. I was 110%
adrenalin. All they had to do was get within
hand grenade range.

Later that morning my platoon Sgt. said ‘we
got two new men coming in on the copter, and
we don’t want them seeing it (the bunker) like
that. I nodded and took the rags, and went in
to clean it up. My training hadn't taught me
how to clean up the exploded remains of marines...
it was all blood, bits of flesh, bone and whatever.
I almost cracked. It was horrible.

Most of all, God, I didn’t want another Marine
to see me crying…so I stuffed it. At one point
I said to myself 'You can't do this. You can't do
this(cry). So, I stuffed way down, but have cried
many times since leaving that hill.

I have since felt that on the Judgement Day even
if Allah-God himself, and those two men come over
to me and smile and say it's okay now...I feel like
I will always feel like shit for eternity for what
happened that night. I looked at my man so coldly...
as if there was no human emotion within me. And I
know that we had no other choice...and would do it
again in the same circumstances.

The rags were too small, and their blood and
whatever got on my hands, and I ran out of the
bunker and wiped my hands in the dirt. War can
make someone superstitious. Stuff got on my
clothes, hair, and then the rags were soaked...
that's when it got to me, plus it seemed like
I didn't know how to do it...and I just wanted
to be done.

The medivac copter that took me out set down
at another firebase for 10 minutes...and in an
'Irish mist' I sat there counting body bags
stacked like cordwood on the tarmac. I stopped
at 240.

The screams of those two men, and the terror
and pain are with me every day. It never leaves.

I am just giving you this so you know what I
experienced, and why I was not the ordinary
guy with a 9-5, and got down. War is horrible
and criminal. It scars deeply within as surely
as it does on the outside.

But my real purpose is also to tell you of an
incident that preceded all the terror and death
(even before I touched a rifle)...and humanized
my heart and soul. I am speaking of...

'The Girl I met on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968
I landed in Da Nang early on Christmas morning...2-3am.
Later I would fly north to Dong Ha, and then by truck
to Quang Tri to join the 3rd Marines.

We were taken into Da Nang city briefly after being
warned that begging children might steal. We came
upon a group of 30-40 such children.. I had some
money to give and sweets.

At first it felt good to give to people in need,
but I felt bad that they had to beg...why? And
why aren't they being fed by the military (my
first awaking that things weren't right).

Almost all were under 10, but some had
amputations, shrapnel damage and more. Most
were okay, but this was what this hard marine
so eager for combat saw on his first day in
Viet Nam .

But, I felt someone's presence at the back of
the group. I knew she was looking at me, and
when I looked up I saw a lovely girl of between
11-13. She looked right into my eyes (softly)
for a bit, then lowered (bowed) her head. But,
by then she had torn my heart out.

She did not hold her hand out like the others.
I think she felt different...not as young as
the others)...and marred

She raised her head again, made eye contact...
kept it for a bit and lowered her head again.
I waded through the crowd till I stood in front
of her and she raised her head again and we
looked at each other. I took her hand and gave
her whatever money I could get, and disguised
it to seem like I was just giving her sweets.
I didn’t care if I had any money left after
giving to her.

We both nodded to each other, and I know I was
holding back tears. We shared a special and
poignant moment in space and time that I will
never forget.

You see this beautiful Vietnamese girl had no
right eye and, had minimal treatment because
she didn't wear an American uniform! But she
was a beautiful young girl. And, it is that
young girl, and her soulful look, and her
situation that has been with me ever since.

I know she appreciated whatever I gave her,
but it felt inadequate to me.

She was marred; not even a patch, but I could
see the whole her, and my heart ached(s) for
her. Ive' always wondered what became of her?
I would have food, water, medical care, but she?

It is those things-what happens to children,
old people, and especially (young girls and
women, homes, families, villes, cultures,
societies, and also, to other Marines blown
to bits, maimed, traumatized for a fucking
medal that hurts and causes pain most every
day of my life.

Those of us who survived had to fight our
own government for recognition that their
wounds/conditions merited treatment. But,
the children of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq
or any country America wages war upon...
have to fend for theirselves.

But she is 'The Girl I Met on Christmas Day 1968’ '
or 'The Christmas Girl' and she can make me cry
easy...when I think of her.

War is a criminal enterprise!Or, as Major-General
Smedley D. Butler said, 'War is a Racket'.

Vietnam is over there, but the war is truly still
inside, and will be all the days of my life. All
of the hurt you see or feel and suppress at the feel later when you are home...and

This is a long overdue tribute to my personal hero...a very good
and kind man with a great sense of humor and my teacher. He
was known to me as 'Chief', but his name is Paul Bowers, Sr.

I have always had the greatest respect for him, and instinctively
knew upon meeting him that he was the best in the platoon, if not
the company or battalion...I grew up in a rough environment, and
had to have sharp instincts to survive my childhood. I played in
swamps as a boy too... But, I would've been dead if not for Chief,
and not written this.

I'm so used to thinking of 'him as 'Chief'. I was in his fire team with
Golf 2/3 for a bit. Chief/Paul saved mine and many lives...more than
once, and I not only wish to thank him,(how do you thank a man for
saving your life multiple times?) but to tell everyone how much he
meant to this FNG(guy).

I was walking point once when Chief stopped me to point something
out and I think to remind me of the dangers as I was coming over the
top of a hill (ambush territory-I had a bad feeling about the layout of
the place-this part is new- the hill was flat and had chest high
grass, and was ringed by trees
). But, I really think that it was for
Chief to take a look for himself. He saved many lives by doing so.

I was waiting for Chief to get back into his spot when I was told to
'freeze', or words to that effect. Chief came back, and motioned me to
step back. He carefully went through the bushes I’d been pushing through,
and showed me a green vine that was flat against my chest. It was a trip
wire. My next half-step and I’d been blown to bits by an anti-tank mine
on one side of me and an anti-personnel mine on the other side.

It could've taken 8-12 men dead and wounded; that would have bothered
me more than my own death! If we were ambushed as well, then much of
the platoon could be gone. That’s how sharp, or aware of everything around
him he was. He had seen something and came back. I and others are alive

I learned from everything that he did...and tried not to 'piss him off'
as I didn't want to see his anger;-)

Chief was important to the platoon. It was a special to see him laugh
or smile.

I was with him for a bit on FSB Cunningham in the A Shau valley, and he
saved many lives...(Chief do you remember our first LP there-for the
reader an LP is
a listening post...the most forward and exposed
just outside the perimeter wire)? Others
got blown away, but Chief/Paul had a plan...and we survived! We almost
got blown away by our own men as we came back into the perimeter.

Paul you may not have been keeping count, but I sure did. I felt so
bad leaving Chief and our platoon that I volunteered again, but was
sent to 3/1.

Whenever people have asked me how I survived I have always told
them this:

First, I know that there is a God, because I can't explain the times
I was almost killed...and Chief wasn't around:-)

Secondly, there was Chief who handled everything else when God
was too busy with everyone else!

Thirdly, I was lucky.

Fourth, and again, there was Chief.

And then my own instincts...and Chief again to correct and hone
those skills.

On this holiday there are those who can walk, talk, laugh, see
children and grandchildren, enjoy life...because of one man
Paul Bowers Sr.,

To me he is and will always be
My Chief.

Paul Meuse...the FNG radioman

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How many more must die for a lie?

Where have all the young men...and
women gone? They're dying in Afghanistan,
Iraq, and dozens of countries to maintain the
US empire that will surely collapse as all
others have since the beginning of time.

For me, it is very personal. Tears are often close
to the surface from what I saw and did during my
time in the Marines 1968-1970.

Marine Corps boot camp, and advanced infantry
training and more did not teach me one thing.

I was taught how to react to an ambush, or to set
one up, hand to hand combat etc.. But, what was not
mentioned was something that happened my very first
day in Nam (Da Nang-Christmas Day 1968).

I went into Da Nang city briefly and was warned to watch
out for the children who might steal. But, I will always
remember a lovely young girl of about 12(only because
I much later had a daughter...and could guess her age)...
she had no right eye and stood back of the children asking
for money, or food or anything. She did not have the benefit
of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery...she didn't wear
an American uniform!!!

I felt awful. I saw others who missing arms, legs...
burn marks...napalm (Nape)...begging for food...or
a young boy 12? askingif you wanted to have Boom
Boom No. 1...with their oldersister(s) or mother.

But, it is that young girl and the look she had that is
always with me...(she didn't ask for anything; I think
she felt different...not as young as the others...and marred)
Anybody who knows me knows i'm a good tipper. I
didn't have much that day (I got paid an average of
$0.50 per hour for my time in Vietnam--war is fecking
criminal!!), but I looked at her and made my way through
the crowd to give her more than i would others. (She
ripped at my heart...I could tell she wouldn't ask...i've
always wondered what became of her?

It is those things-what happened to children,
to other Marines blown to bits,(for a fucking medal),
maimed, traumatized that hurts and causes pain most
every day of my life. Those who died or were wounded
among us returned and had to fight their own government
for recognition that their wounds/conditions merited
treatment...the children of Vietnam or any country
America wages war upon...has to fend for themsleves.

Our leaders are killing generations of young whilst the
corporations profit enormously. They are fecking criminals
who deserve to be walked up to the dock with the scaffolding!

This is what a hero of mine (and most Marines) had to say about war:

Smedley Butler on Interventionism

-- Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General

Smedley Butler, USMC. War is just a racket. A racket is best

described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to

the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what

it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the

expense of the masses.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy

investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should

fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill

of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is

blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle

men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations,

and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison.

Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four

months in active military service as a member of this country's most

agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned

ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period,

I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business,

for Wall Street and for the Bankers.. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster

for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it.

Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought

of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in

suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This

is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico , especially Tampico , safe for American oil interests

in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank

boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American

republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped

purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912

(where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for

American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went

its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket.

Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best

he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving to Ireland and Some Irish Wisdom

I spent nine years in Cork,Ireland.
That meant taking a strong and distinct
Boston accent and grinding and merging
it with a Cork accent...'what the F?

There were times after I first moved there
that I thought...this sure as hell aint English;-)
But, at least it's not a Glasgow accent

Our family had moved from a lovely
place-Jeffersonville/Cambridge, Vermont...
just trees, dirt roads, deer,moose,bears, cows, sheep
...and even more when you got off the highway;-)

I went to Ireland with my children in June, 1997
and my wife(divorced now) followed in September
after assisting with sending over belongings etc.

Being a Marine grunt(rifleman, or if you prefer...
'bullet stopper') in the Viet Nam War i knew,
instinctively how to orient myself(no, like most
Marines I was lost with a feckin compass-just instinct).
We first moved to a place at the corner of Rutland
and Douglas Street.

To help give a sense of direction of our location
relative to city centre to our children, Kyle, 15
and Nora, 12 (at the time)...and not get lost... I
told them that if they were confused to just follow the
puke marks on the sidewalk any Friday, Saturday or
Sunday morning;-)

What I didn't/don't like about the city, or any city
after living in the country for 10 years...was that I
always had to find an 'appropriate place' to piss:-)
i will when i log off.

In Vermont I just had to walk into the tree line, or behind
a big in Viet Nam. Sometimes, I want/or try to
cheat on the 'appropriate place thing';-) It's in my nature
to go against the grain...stretch the rules...'if you don't get
caught you didn't do anything' as a Marine buddy once
said:-) But, in the Marines I also knew that even if caught...
deny, deny, was me...and it was like i didn't get

I almost got caught when studying law at UCC, but I sure
as hell didn't want to explain myself to the Dean...CF(much
less be seen doing it...but believe me I would come up with an
inventive 'I wasn't doing that. Oh no, not me...
I was just adjusting my zipper...hadn't know it was open...
till someone just pointed it out and I was '). No cheating!
Damn...hey dogs can!!!

There was a spot behind the law faculty building with
a dumpster of some sort, and some small brush and a
tree or two. I always wanted to do it there...just because
it was there...and to get away with it....there's an 'imp'
inside me;-) And, i'm good at watching all around me...the
buildings, their windows, passing people, and anyone unexpected.
It's the game.

Most of the people I grew up with in the States were either
Irish, or Italian-American...mostly Irish-American and there
was a similarity to the humour. Also surviving Viet Nam and
being a Marine...the humour gets a little twisted.

And being mostly Irish(3/4)...alcohol was used to celebrate
every event in life. Hey, you didn't even need an event...why
if you felt happy, or sad...that was reason enough:-) I remember
being at the graveyard after my (maternal) grandfather died
(from Spiddal). The priest was droning on about whatever, and
I heard my uncle Bill (a Boston cop-and great guy) whisper to his
son...'Is the beer on ice'?... you're it cold enough?...etc and
something about did he buy the extra case(s)'?

Serious drinkers like my relatives like to toast each other,
but even as a boy I knew that they watched each other's
consumption...they didn't want their generosity being taken
abused;-) they wanted more for themselves. Blood may be
thicker than water...but it's a terrible mixer for drinks;-))

I always like events(picnics, barbecues etc) because you
could be sure that my uncles would have many beer bottles
and glasses half full on tables...and at some point they would
go to the bathroom, and that's how I got my beer for years:-)
...aged 5-6 to 12 or so.

My father was a Marine Corps veteran of WWII, and saw
things that haunted him till his end...I know what that can be like,
but I was in combat much less...but there was 'night terror'-
Sapper attacks in the A Shau valley (the valley of death) on
LZ (or Fire Support Base [FSB])Cunningham.

As my father's drinking problem grew into alcoholism I
wasn't like other kids. I had to be sharper. My dad used to
smell my breath when I came home on a weekend night.
So, I had to drink during the day if I wanted know,

In the winter I hid my nips(baby bottles-Irish) in the snowbank
behind the local supermarket. It wouldn't freeze, but I was caught
drinking a nip of Chivas Regal by my chemistry teacher. All he
actually said was 'Mr. Meuse, I can't see that'. I understood that,
but that was it. If it wasn't for my dealing the weekly football cards
(illegal gambling) some teachers(hey, it sure helps when you don't
have a fecking clue about math or chemistry!!)...he might have
sent me to the principal:-)

I will to the end of days owe a certain Dave O'C an apology.
We were studying for an Administrative law exam as part of
our L.L.B. Dave studied.

I didn't really know how to study. I studied at the Cork city
library because I could look out the window at the women...or
anything that would distract me from studying...god it's
boring...and probably having PTSD affects concentration.

So when really bored I think of things. And, I do remember
my drill instructor (DI) at Parris Island, Marine Corps Recruit
Depot saying that it was dangerous for us to think, and we had
to have permission to do so(combat, an exception)... so I text
Dave to ask if he got the message yet from our teacher DGM...
that due to family or other circummstances the exams had
to be rescheduled-set back two weeks.

Who wouldn't think that it was great news??? And, it
felt great giving someone good news. Doesn't it??

I try not to lie, so when dave text back to ask if it was
true...i said he may not have gotten the notice yet.
Dave gave himself a two day holiday so to speak(from
the books). It made me feel good to make someone else
feel good:-))

I, however, was still studying, because for me, 8 hours in
the library meant looking at ass(of course, I mean the donkeys
walking by on market day...I hope you didn't think???...God, no,
I'm Catholic;-) for several hours....playing other pranks and coming
out with 2-3 hours total.

Once I saw a local politician put the handicap sign in the window
of his car, and called the Evening Echo. I thought that it was was
great!! Hey it was a distraction, but they did nothing...anything
but study.

Two days later I got a text from Dave that said something
about me being some kind of a 'fecker'?..and 'that sh-t wasn't
funny'. I wasn't sure which thing he meant because he wasn't
the only one:-) well...i did I guess.

I also liked to call people's (Dave's et al) cell phone whilst
in class to watch them scramble. I'm a bad student. I like fun.

For me, growing up in an alcoholic family, school was an escape
and a place to fool around.

In Catholic primary school outside of Boston(I had an 8
year sentence as we used to say) once the nuns had a meeting
with my parents and told them that they didn't know if
I was smart, dumb or what because when I was in class
I just fooled around, looked out the window(daydreaming...
cuz the sh-t was boring), didn't complete many assignments
...but barely passed.

But i believed in further education and did try to obtain
materials beyond the classroom that helped my
understanding of the subject.

When a priest was sent to teach us the 'Facts of Life' in the
8th grade...I sat at the back of the class and had my own
educational materials to explain what he was saying. Then,
the nun (who I think was listening too from the cloak room)
opened the door next to me, pulled my ear,(and me out of
my seat and into the cloak room with her and the priest...Oh Oh)
and took the Playboy magazine from me(Thank God it wasn't
'Hustler'...this had Real articles;-) and scolded me;-) The priest
was more forgiving, and he just said that he would have to take it.
(I always wondered if that magazine was added to a secret collection
for new one might say to a new one 'This is
vintage 1963).

It wasn't mine, and I wouldn't offer up any names:-) Name, rank
and serial number...that's all. 'I said I just found it in my desk and
didn't know how it got there. Smack. same answer, and an 'honest'
for good measure. Smack, smack. They weren't going to call my father...
they knew he was a drinker...and I had looked all over the house to
no avail. Alcoholism and Catholic school were good preparation for
Marine Corps boot camp.

So as I've shot myself a bit in the foot...I leave the reader with some
nice quotes by Irish writers and wits.

“I saw a notice which said, 'Drink Canada Dry' and I've just started.”
Brendan Behan

Notice on a Cork building site:'The shovels haven't arrived, and until
they do, you'll have to lean on each other'. (I love this one)

''When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold''. James Joyce
('Portrait of the artist as a Young Man' p.1).

Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains me
through temporary periods of joy.W.B. Yeats (brilliant)

My way of joking is to tell the truth. it's the funniest joke in the world."
George Bernard Shaw.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows
everything. That points clearly to a political career.
George Bernard Shaw

Bigamy is having one wife too many.
Marriage is the same.Oscar Wilde

That's the Irish people all over - they treat a joke
as a serious thing, and a serious thing as a joke.
Sean O'Casey

And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light,
but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait
until Thursday to be connected.Spike Milligan

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior
to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw.

Again, sorry Dave. seriously:-)

And Owen, I it was me who called your boss from the
Library and told him to check your breathe and eyes cuz
I saw you walking into the park on your break to get stoned:-)
he-Hassan just laughed...uncooperative.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Ft. Hood shootings: What really happened?

I learned not to trust my government as a young

So, I ask myself how did one or even two men
walk into a center with over 100 combat veterans
and begin shooting and not be stopped by men
who would, in combat jump on a hand grenade
to prevent others from being killed.

Now, we hear that there was another shooter.

It is also not routine that outside security
guards would be inside the building.

This is what SFC Donald Buswell had to say to CLG:

CLG Exclusive: SFC Donald Buswell (R), who spent ten years at Fort Hood, comments: I spent 10 yrs at Ft Hood. There is no way this 'official' story is legitimate. No way would a room full of Combat vets allow this one shooter to get off over 100 rds! And, it is not normal for the outside security guards to be there. They are at the MP station, and at the main gates. This means the room full of soldiers processing must have ... Read Morebeen pinned down; multiple shooters is the only plausible scenario. This story stinks to high heaven, this sounds like MAJ Hassan has been used, and perhaps is a patsy. --SFC Donald Buswell (R)

see at:

just thinking....

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Support War Resisters; do you?

For those who have not heard
the Wars of Terror launched by
the rogue elements of the United States
intelligence-military black ops etc in the
deliberate 'False Flag attacks on 9/11 just
claimed 11 more lives.

I am referring to the killing of 11 soldiers and
wounding of 31 more at Fort Hood, Texas. Army
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist walked
into base Soldier Readiness Center (SRS). This is where
soldiers who are to deploy to war zones or are returning
for medical screening.

Like death in war or any tragic death it is hard to make
sense of, and one can only be a lifetime of grief for those
left behind.

But, above all it is a call for mass resistance.
These wars will end when the soldiers refuse to
engage in combat, and some will start
turning their guns on their officers. That's what
stopped the Viet Nam War.

To me, what our military and civilian leaders are doing to
a generation of men and women is absolutely criminal.
Afraid to initiate a draft for an unpopular war our leaders
keep sending these men and women back for repeated
tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

When there is a surge...there is also a surge in
the children of military personnel seeking mental
health help. Divorce rates for those in the war shoot
off the charts.

And the mental trauma is always there.

If these wars are so noble then why are no Bush family
members rushing to enlist?

Why do most politicians children escape this too?

It is not just time for resistance but rebellion. Our
leaders are traitors and work for the financial interest
who actually own America.

For me war in Viet Nam means listening to the screams
of men in the daark as they are being knifed to death...
and then being exploded(sappers)...and then having to
clean up their remains the next morning.

Stop this war and hold those criminals accountable.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Right From Jump Street

Right From Jump Street is the
title name that I used for my opinion/
commentary articles as a co-editor of
Lookout newspaper circa 1973-76(or 77)
at Boston State College(BSC). We were a
'Collective' :-)

BSC was a college and primarily for working
class dorms...just commute.

In addition, after National Guard troops opened
fire on Kent State(Ohio) students (killing four and
wounding nine) who were protesting the invasion of
Cambodia BSC had a noble distinction of being one of
only four (4) colleges and universities in America to
vote to expel the Reserve Officers' Training Corps(ROTC)
from the campus.

But, it was only the fall of 1973 that the student newspaper
'Outlook' finally caame out against the Viet Nam war...1973!!!

It was promptly closed and we Mark, Bonnie, Jim, Leslie, Lou, Tom,
Chuck(Charlene), Neil(photographer)Debbie,and a revolving cast of
characters like myself (who called themsleves either revolutionaries
or radicals) joined together with John a former editor of 'Outlook' to
form 'Lookout' a new campus newspaper. We are indebted to Tom's desire
to get a newspaper out, and he was big enough to put that concern above
political differences.

The school immediately threatened us with expulsion for passing out
an 'unsanctioned' newspaper. John and I (I think-definitely John)
went to the ACLU, and the school backed off...and we had a good
run printing an anti-imperialist paper(much to the horror of the
administration that had closed the other paper. We had great
graphics from Liberation News Service (LNS)...
and put our own mark all over that paper.

No computers...type writers and the layout was done by hand.
I wasn't the best at that.

BSC was a good ground for anti-war, anti-Apartheid and other
protests. It made going to school a pleasure for this ex-marine
looking to get involved.

Many have never heard of another massacre of students
'The Jackson State killings' that occurred on the campus of
Jackson State College, Jackson, Mississippi. JSC was primarily
an African American college and the city and state police fired
upon unarmed students protesting the war and racial discrimination
and harassment killing two(2) and wounding twelve(12).
This received less coverage than the Kent State shootings.

At the time of the Kent State shootings I had one week (exactly 7 days)
left in the Marine Corps...and many, many of us were not going to obey
any orders to deploy on the streets of Washington D. C. or anywhere!

Right From Jump Street;-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Random thought...Dick Cheney and Waterboarding

Since Dick Cheney keeps insisting that 'Waterboarding'
is not torture...and praises it as a '"well done" technique '


am I the only one who wonders what information
he would spit out about his role in the 9/11
False Flag attacks if he were subject to the

just a random thought;-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thought of the Day 1 Nov. 2009

Feck off! Think of your own...haven't you got anything beter to do? ;-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

first post

This is my first blog.
It will take several days
or so to fill it out the rest of my site.

First and foremost, I am a 'grunt'!
That is, I was a U S Marine Corps rifleman
in VietNam. I joined at 17 fully believing that
I was helping to liberate a country. I landed in
Da Nang early on Christmas morning 1968. I
was 18. I was naive and volunteered twice.

But, I learned (and soon felt) that we were
not welcome...anymore than the US troops
stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan or the dozens
upon dozens of countries occupied by 'Imperial'
troops of the American Empire.

As a veteran with a conscience it is a must to oppose
the tyranny, greed and evil being unleashed upon this
world by those that rule this world.

As a veteran I know what it's like to come back traumatized
and offered no help, and I feel for those who will be like me, but
much worse for their repeated deployments.

In Viet Nam I heard a saying about war:
''Rich man's war; poor man's fight''.

I speak mainly of the United States and Ireland(where I
lived for nine years), but it is going on everywhere. If I was
willing to die in combat for a lie, or many lies, then I am
as prepared to do the same against '“those same 'dark forces'
that are oppressing and crushing him(workers-mine) at every
step of his life”.

Lenin also said 'Fascism is capitalism in decay', and that is what
we are facing.

I believe that the US, UK et al are ruled by a triumverate of the
intelligence, military-industrial complex(the one secctor of the
economy that surprisingly seems to be thriving despite the
economic downturn) and the financial powers.

Politicians? They are the paid prostitutes of the financial interests.
I apologize unreservedly to any prostitute for comparing you to
politicians; for...on the whole many have more honor than most

In this world it's 'service to self' and 'service to others'
That says which is which....service to developers...
is 'service to self.'

Bankers, (I mean the richest who own the banks and direct
governmental policies); developers, et al--'service to self'

Nurses, health professionals, teachers et al--service to others.

To the people in Ireland or America who are being
told that they must suffer the consequences of
unparelleled greed by others ask yourself:

Will the leading banking families, and other interests
also suffer or share the pain as you and your friends
and families? You know the 'Golden circle'.


Will the politicians in Ireland go without coal or
turf this winter?


Will they have to make choices between food
or medicine, or such?


Ask yourself, if for decades the bankers among others
have been sticking it to you, and the country...inflating
property values, fees..everything...let's not forget the
developers,estate agents and others....AND the KNEW,
or should have known that they were building a house
of cards... They work with politicians hand-in-glove to
rule the country for their benefit.

Why should we the people roll over and let them
drive us into a modern form of serfdom, and pay for
their crimes?

We must resist. How?

Organized resistance in the streets to shut down business
as usual to make it clear to the political class and their owners
that 'We the people say no'.

Organize block by block and prevent ANY evictions.

Always remember that their are more of us than the forces
of tyranny--police, army etc. What is needed is courage and

There is much more i need to write on this and will.

Less than 100 years ago Ireland struck a great blow against
oppression and rid itself of foreign domination. But as often
happens others within seek to dominate the country for their

The same happened in America, and during the first 100+ of
the republic the political class reckoned that the main struggle
for the new country was between the new government and
the banks. As Thomas Jefferson once said:

''I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more
dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of
spending money to be paid by posterity... is but swindling
futurity on a large scale.''

Above all we must confiscate their ill-gotten wealth.
The people need their own Criminal Assets Bureau(CAB).

The choice is to accept--like sheep--the dictates of those
who drove us to this point and still will profit enormously,
or to rebel and make a new society.

It is easier to go along, but eventually there will be no other
choice. You owe it to yourself, your country, your family...all
to resist and initiate a new society.

Frederick Douglass, a former slave and a most powerful
voice in America's abolitionist once said this:

''Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did
and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly
submit to and you have found out the exact measure of
injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and
these will continue till they are resisted with either words
or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by
the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

What do you think the Blackwater and other mercenary

outfits are for? It is these ilk that will form the private armyies

of the wealthy, for ordinary soldiers will eventually rebel!

My joining the Marine Corps was not a courageous act.
It was easier than opposing the war. That takes far
more courage. But, I was young and looking to make a
difference in the world. I will.

To all here...thanks, dank u vel...en give em hell.

ps. When I return to Ireland I will test the blasphemy laws,
and will not pay a fine to do what is most natural to
call a politician what he is;'-)..and to label what they are doing