Sunday, October 31, 2010

I've begun my first novel

hello all

I've been writing my tail off...between 1,500-2,000
words a day for my novel.

I got out of the US Marine Corps on 11 May 1970,
and it took more than 2 1/2 years to get off
booze that i used to anesthetize myself from what
happened in Vietnam. But, somehow I survived.

In the spring of 1973 I was accepted into the
flexible admissions program at Boston State
College for veterans, and other adults to see
if we had the writing, analyitical or other
abilities necessary for college.

I got in, and my English teacher, a very nice woman,
told me that I wrote very well, and should write, but
I was still numb inside...dead from Vietnam, and
lacked not just the confidence, but was in so much
pain that I was just trying survive each day. As the
saying goes 'I felt like an old man in a young man's
body.'...i felt older than I do today at 60. That's
where I was at.

Then, something happened and I was more like i was in
high school...or I don't know what. And, at 25, 30, 40,
to now I acted/act more like the boy who always messed
around and made people laugh, or looked for a laugh.

But the two sides are always with me.

I left the school in 1977 without graduating. My
veterans educational benefits were cut more than a
year after I was in a takeover of the Statue of Liberty
as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).
June 1976.

I highly recommend it...taking the place over was a great
way to see the Statue. There are over 150 stairs in the
Statue, so it's really great to explore it by yourself,
or with just one or two other fellas;-)

But, during my time at BSC as we called Boston State College
a few teachers mentioned that I wrote well, but it was lost
on me. It was Vietnam, and I was trying to find my way in life,
and to make sense of my life and what I had been through in
Vietnam...what I had seen, experienced and did.

In May of 1979 I went to work at the Boston Post Office.
There were loads of Vietnam veterans working there, and by
1983 the term 'Going Postal' started to become used in US
society, and was embedded in US society by the 1990s. It
referred to outbursts of rage and violence against supervisors
and co-workers. It was primarily associated with ex-Marines
who were Vietnam veterans, though I don't know if we (i'm an
ex Marine) were in more of these incidents.

The US Postal Service had a very authoritarian style of
management. Those who wanted to rise through the ranks of
supervisors handed out more disciplinary notices. My friend,
Joe O'Leary, also joked that there seemed to be a minimum
weight requirement to be a General Supervisor(herein GS). Some
seemed...beefy? Joe was brilliant, and witty. He once saw three
GS's standing in our unit (known as 'The Carrier Station'). One
of them, Butch must've weighed about 240-280, the other were know, about 220-250. Joe went over and said to
them 'You know, I was giving some consideration to becoming a
supervisor, but I from the looks of things there some kind of
minimum weight requirement? I probably couldn't make it.'

They didn't think that that was too funny.

I've nothing against people who are weight challenged.
I have been at times; beer. One of the nicest guys at the
Post Office, and whom I had and to this day have great
respect for was 'Big Al.' It was 'Big Al' who introduced me
to middle eastern food, in particular, Lebanese as 'Big Al' was.
It has been a life long love! He told me some history of Boston
neighbourhoods, especially South End where he grew up. And the
supervisors wouldn't fuck with 'Big Al.' His temper was legendary;
but nor as bad as the stories. He'll definitely be in the novel.

If not for 'Big Al' I never would have heard of, nor ventured
into 'The Red Fez', nor been a regular, for a time and enjoyed
their Tabbouleh, Couscous, Hummus, Shish Kebab (mmmm-almost enough
to make me go off being veggie for the lamb), Kibbey, Baba Ghanouj
(a favourite), Khayer bi laben, Greek or Oriental salad(?), and
Turkish coffee with desserts. God Bless 'Big Al' for that alone,
and take him into heaven. The food will be better:-)

It was an explosive mix. Ordinary men, many of whom had not
been in combat being very bossy to the workforce, of which a
number consisted of Vietnam veterans. There was no need of it.

I became a union stweard in 1981; I was tired of the shitty union
stewards that we had, and of people being afraid of management.
And, I got ticked off at a few other Marine Vietnam veterans, and
other Nam vets, who were worried about these supervisors.

On my first night I went to my General Supervisor, Cy Dumas,
the one who terrorized people the most, and I told him 'Your
days of throwing your weight around here are over, fat boy.'
When he recovered from my insolence, he told me that he could
make my job easy or hard. I told him that if he didn't stop
trying to bully people that I would put a forward stop to his career,
and that he would never make Postmaster in Boston. He never did. And,
I told him that there was nothing that he could do that would scare
me because while he was busy stuffing his mouth with hamburgers and
milkshakes I went to Vietnam twice in the Marines, so he best change
his behavior!

I learned at the Post Office that I could write well, and had
some brilliance in coming up with arguments to defeat disciplinary
notices. I was especially good at taking their disciplinary notices,
and poking holes through their arrguments. It was fun to me.

Some I didn't deserve to win, but to me, winning and beating a
suspension for someone was everything. One that I felt a twinge of
guilt about is when I had Bobby F's 10 day suspension overturned.
It was for 'foul and abusive language.' He got into an argument with
a female clerk...and 'allegedly' used the C-word.

It looked like they had him dead to right...but I look around corners,
for every angle. I finally asked the supervisor on duty that night 'who
was the closest' to the incident. He told me, but said 'He said it, and
it wasn't nice.'

The person who was closest, was a member of our craft; Mail handlers.
And, I got the supervisor to write out the distance of the various
witnesses. Ed (let's call him that) was three to four feet closer
than anyone. Ed liked me because management was afraid of me, and
I wasn't afraid of them. And, I had helped him on some matter once- insurance or the like.

So, I asked Ed if it's true as Supervisor DG said that 'You were
the closest to the two of them when it happened?'

Ed said 'Ya.' Then, I asked Ed if he 'would write out a statement
as to what you heard and saw.'

Ed said, 'but Paul, You know i'm practically deaf?' I just said 'Ed
you were the closest, and it would help because we're trying to get
all the witnesses' statements, so management will have as much as
possible to make a decision.'

Ed said sure, but repeated again that he 'was practically deaf, that's
why I didn't hear anything...not a word.' The hardest part for me was
keeping a straight face, but I'm good at that. Inside I was saying to
myself...'That will be perfect.'

I said 'Ed, that will do just fine. You don't need to put that in the
statement. You have a right to privacy with respect to medical matters.
Just a simple and truthful statement of what you heard and saw.'
Again, Ed said, 'But I didn't hear anything.' That's okay.

Management relied on Ed's statement in overturning the suspension,
because, he was well, in his fifties, a mature man...who would not
lie. And he didn't:-) and he was much closer than anyone. Ed wrote
that he 'did not hear Bobby say anything, nor the word in question.
And, I was practically next to them.'

Bingo! Suspension overturned. Bobby, got his ten days pay reimbursed,
and the letter of suspension removed from his personnel folder. I told
him not to say that word again.

But, I did something else. I buried them in safety, fire, and
other hazard reports. I gave Mr. Dumas a few that night. I cost them...
near the end, six figures a year in hazard reports alone. The place was
a mess. So, while they went around trying to harass people I whacked them
with 'PS Form 1767 Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice.' And,
I bought the Boston Fire Code book. I terrorized(?) them with it! I was
just helping them to do their job:-)

I was suspended three times for threatening supervivors. The first
time I hired a lawyer and won the case in the fourth step of the
grievance procedure-Arbitration. After that, I handled the letters
of suspension myself. Can you imagine it. They said that I threatened
them with what would be more than GBH. Me. Why, I wouldn't hurt a fly;-)

I was 3-0. They were 0-3. I also got other suspensions. One was because I
put in a leave request to observe the 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception-
December 8th.' They lost. And, I was suspended two, or three more times
for excessive absenteeism. One was that I had been absent about 40 out of
sixty days. Does that sound excessive to you? Of course not; that's why
they lost.

I also represented people in the filing of race, sex and disabilty
complaints with their in-house Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office.

I wasn't a thorn in their side; I was a spear, and was out at the end
of 1985 with 40% of my pay.

But, I knew then that I had good writing and analytical abilities.

But, there was always a numbness from Vietnam; and what happened
on a jungle ridge in the A Shau valley, and some other places.
Those things have always loomed large in my life. I know that
my children have no idea...and to top it off some very ugly &
untrue things were said about me as our marriage went kaput,
separation, and divorce. I'll correct that in my novel.

But, it is Vietnam that has always been inside. The one good
thing that came from the war is that I have felt a responsibility
to 'Speak Truth To Power' no matter what the consequences. I did
less when my children were growing until the first Gulf War which I
oppossed, and spoke out against.

But, I did not use my writing talents in the way I needed to.

In 2001 I was accepted into the BCL law program at the University
College Cork, and one of the two interviewing professors told
me that I was accepted on the strength of my essay. He liked it.

I got two law degrees, almost a third, and hope to finish
the last one.

During my LLB I did an essay in Administrative law that received
a very high grade (82.5) from a tough, but fair marker. I later
heard that he had only given out a higher grade about 2-4 times before.
What he did not know, was the the essay-about 'The Regulation of the
Funeral Industry'-was good because I wrote it as a very interesting
story first, I did lots of research, and then concentrated on telling
a make it compelling. But, it had very little case law in it.

I was completing the essay, at an internet cafe, and I called my
then, good friend Billy Wolohan. He had read a copy that I had emailed
him and said it was great, but that there wasn't much case law cited
in it...and did I know that? No shit.

I told a great story, and that's why I called him. I asked if he
could bring an Administrative law 'Nutshell' book (used to cram for
exams) to the internet cafe. I needed to insert some case law. Billy
was there within 30 minutes. And I put the case law into the essay
just like I was sticking lettuce, bacon or tomatoes into a BLT. I'd
say to Billy, see right here I need something to fit in here, to back
it up with some case law. One was McCauley v. Minister for Posts and
Telegraphs. Billy already had most of the sections and needed case
law highlited. So, It took maybe twenty minutes. He deserved something
for the 82.5 I got from Professor David Gwynn Morgan. In basketball we
call that 'an assist.'

Later, I joked that if Professor Morgan knew that I got 80% of the
case law for the essay from a 'Nutshell' book he probably would've
taken five or ten points off the grade.

Later, when my thesis advisor had read my LLB thesis he told me that
I should be writing books. He was one of many. Thank You Shane; I have
begun now. In wrote my LLB thesis in a similar way... on a compelling
narritive story, but I didn't use a 'Nutshell' book for the case law.
I researched my ass off. Research is my area.

The story I am writing is true, about growing up, and what things have
happened, and that I've survived on my life's journey, but it is also
the story about the impact of Vietnam, of war on those sent to fight,
and mostly friends from Vietnam who, like me were struggling to make
sense of their lives after Vietnam as they had families, deaths and
more. And, it is funny.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So, now we've heard it from the horse's mouth,
so to speak. Mr. Lenihan has said to the Dáil
that the Irish people will not be like the Greek
people, and will accept massive cuts in public services,
and tax help get us out of this economic crisis.

He means cut's in public services, from health, dental, to
denial of dole benefits to those returning to Ireland, and
the scaling down of benefits to the neediest of our society...
until we get out of this economic mess.

What our politicians are proposing and doing is creating an
economic nightmare for the majority of Irish people and Irish
society in general. Conversely, they are making the wealthiest
banking, and corporate families, and speculators dreams come
true. It's a stick-up by these people, and they are having the
politicians pull the trigger!!

It is class warfare being waged by the wealthiest against the
the rest of society.

But, what is criminal is that our government is instituting these
cuts without going before the people and presenting them with the
results of a thorough and detailed investigation that would answer
the folowing questions:

Are we in an economic mess? Or are the bankers, developers,
speculators, and corporations in financial trouble, and want
the people to bail them out?

Who is responsible for this?

How did it begin, and how did it develop?

What did those responsible do to cause such a problem?

Were any laws broken?

Have they been charged with any offences in this regard?

What were the regulators and accountants doing while this
was going on. They have responsibilities, and duties to report.
And, they can be sanctioned, or charged in court for failure to
perform their duties, especially if they helped to 'cook the books.'

Who is being brought to court for this?

Are we paying for the greed of the banking system in the US, and
other countries?

Congressman Brad Sherman dropped this bombshell during the debates
on what was appropriately called the 'Banker-bailout bill' in the
US Congress:

''Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted
against this bill, on Monday, that the sky would fall, the market
would drop two or three thousand points the first day, another
couple of thousand the second day, and a and a few members were
even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted NO''

Congressman Sherman has tried to downplay what he said after, but
watch him on you tube. It's called Extotrion. IT IS A STICK-UP.

If so, why should we put up a penny?

That is, why should we go poor, have our pockets, pensions et al
picked by these people.

China, Canada, Brazil and almost all Islamic banks and financial
institutions are not affected by this crisies. Islamic banks do
not allow the greed that is in the US and Western banking systems.

In China the state owns the banks, but in the US, and the so-called
western democracies the banks own the state. that is one difference.

Will the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) of Ireland be chasing down
the culprits and seizing their assets as they would if they were
not 'White Collar' criminals?

If not, Why not?

And, how can they, or why should they expect the people to be driven
into a modern form of serfdom.

I speak as a war veteran (Vietnam), so I have the experience of once
completely trusting my government, and never thinking that governments
would lie to their people, and then learning, that lying to the people
is one of the main jobs of political leaders. A political leader's main
job is a selling on behalf of the banks, corporations, developers et al.

And, governments lie to their people as a matter of course.

Now, I have ridden, groomed and fed horses, and as bad as their breath
is it smells like mints compared to what is coming from the mouth of
Mr. Lenihan and Brian Cowen in regard to these issues.

Secondly, telling the Irish people that we have no choice, but to accept
drastic cuts in public services, like health, dental, cuts on the dole,
and possibly pensions (soon) while being porked, or buggered (fill in
your own name if you prefer) with higher taxes just so that we 'the people'
can stuff the coffers of the banks with cash, and insure their profitability
is nothing short of criminal. The rest of us are supposed to hang in there
with a life preserver around our necks. That is, until the government realizes
that they could give the banks more money by selling the life preservers as

When Mr. Lenihan talks about reassuring investors he is talking about very
rich people who gambled with their money, took a risk, and lost big time...
just as surely as you or I might if we went into one of the local casinos or
bought a lotto ticket.

And there was loads of uncovered corruption. Why was Goldman Sachs taking
bailout money whilst betting that the recovery would fail. These firms made
billions on the economic chaos, See:'How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions
Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America In Four Easy Steps.'

Or: 'Goldman Sachs: Betting Against American Taxpayers – Betting on TARP

Why are we giving a penny to these creeps; they should be sitting in front
of interrogators.

What's worse, is that while sticking it to the rest of society Mr. Lenihan,
and Fianna Fáil is doing is worse. They are telling the corporations not to
worry...they'll not face any tax increases. Good God, you can't expect those
poor people to suffer any more...why that would traumatize them.

When I go online to a newspaper I do as I did from the 1970s-2000 before I
had acces to a computer. I almost always go straight to the letters to the
editor. They give a feel for the way society, or the people are at. Although,
this has changed sionce the 1970s, in that newspapers allow certain topics to
be discussed, and limit or keep other topics off the pages. They were more
open to democratic discussion in the 1970s.

Another thing, newspapers like The Irish Times et al do not, I repeat DO NOT
do investigative reporting on such things like did/is the CIA using Ireland
like a landing strip in the middle of the ocean to refuel, or set down with
persons bound, and gagged in torture jets? No, they do not. Shame on them!!
They have NO interest in getting to the bottom...the truth.

I was living in the Netherlands (a very nice place) when this economic 9/11
(a Bank Robbery in reverse) was pulled on the people. When word was leaked
about Mr. Lenihan's illness the theme of the most op-ed letters was one of
outrage and righteous indignation about what was happening at what the
bankers had pulled (it's a scam), and what our government was proposing to
do to help the banks.

Instead there was an endless stream of letters praising Mr. Lenihan's courage
on his handling of his illness, and support for him. And, that is good, as it
would be for anyone going through cancer or any other serious illness. But,
the leak, also served the banking interests, and Fianna Fáil, the party who
is giving the axe and screw to the Irish people. It muted the righteous
indignation, anger and rage into praise and concern for the man who was giving
the axe to the people.

I hope for nothing but the best for Mr. Lenihan; a full and complete recovery
and healing. I have sat with friends who were dying (my best friend of Agent
Orange at 37), and also my mother. But, Mr. Lenihan will receive the best
medical care in the world as possible. The rest of, or most of the Irish
people will receive the medical care available from a health care system
run by Mary Harney TD., after it has been ravaged. And there are enough
problems with it as is. We are not all in this together!

When the rich start a major robbery of the people they create diversions,
that will divert and diffuse the anger of the people.

Then, we have Mr. Brian-give me one more pint before the next interview.
His pay is outrageous, as is that of the political class.

I moved here in 1997, and was in the Netherlands between 2006-2010.
I believe that their politicians are less corrupt as a whole. What I
witnessed here was an education in corruption that would make the
hair stand, on Mayor Curley of Boston. I learned new terms 'No favours
asked none given.' You don't have to ask; the bag of cash from Frank
Dunlop et al does not need a written question, or answer.

One year after I was here a history teacher from the West Cork came up
to me and went on about prominent Irish-American families and politicians.
Then, he asked me if I knew what contributions the Irish made to America?
I had three grandparents born in Ireland (Blarney, Carraroe, and Kilroe
near Spiddal), and I told this man 'Yes, political corruption, control of
some police departments in large cities, and taking kickbacks.' The ones
in Ireland make them look like small timers.

During all the years of Tribunals, that were absolutely necessary because
our politicians were not frank and candid...except with their developer
friends the health services were not taken care of in the way they could,
and should have been. They didn't seem to be a priority.

When the British were here as occupiers' the enemy was clear. Democracy
hides the enemy. But, clearly the leading banking families of the world,
arms dealers, oil and gas companies have assests that would dwarf most
countries. But, it is the major banks of the world that control the
destinies of countries, and we must take it back from them.

When Mr. Lenihan, or Mr. Cowen et al say to the banking community,
speculators, and corporations that the Irish people won't be like the Greek
people, and know how to take tough medicine what they are really saying is
that the Irish people will lay down and roll over and do as told.

Successive generations of our leaders turned a blind eye to the evil being
committed by the Catholic Church against the children of this country.
Our leaders are too willing to hand over money to the banks, corporations,
and speculators, but they stiff poor those women who toiled in virtual
slavery in the Magdalene laundries.

Innocent people capture by real terrorist-the CIA (Criminals In Action, or
Cocaine Importers of America (take your pick) were brough to Ireland, drugged,
gagged, and bound for torture, and our leaders kept repeating that this was
not so. But, they did land in Ireland, and nothing was done.

They abetted criminal conduct of the most heinous kind.

To those who still do not think that we are being fleeced I offer these

The first is the concern expressed by Thomas Jefferson the third
President of the United States about the growth and power of the
banking institutions in the early years of the new republic:

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties
than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to
control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation,
the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive
the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the
continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from
the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.'

How prophetic.

The second quote is by Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the Rothschild
banking dynasty:

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the
laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

The third quote is by Earl Warren, former Governor, Attorney General of
California, and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1954-1968:

"I hate banks. They do nothing positive for anybody except take care of
"They're first in with their fees and first out when there's trouble."

Sounds familiar.

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin.

"The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them
the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will
create enough deposits to buy it back again.

"However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine
will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier
and better world to live in.

"But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of
your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits."

So said Josiah Stamp (1880-1941) president of the Bank of England in
the 1920s, the second richest man in Britain during that time.

Financial interests are the greatest threat to democracy. We must stop
our politicians from giving away the assets and future of this country.

If our politicians get away with this the founders of the Irish Republic
will roll over and over in their graves and wonder what happened.

We must say NO to the criminal conduct by the banks and our politicians who
abet them. If not, our grandchildren will bury this generation, and
deservedly so, and spit on the graves for being traitors, and for doing
nothing at a time of grave crisis, and letting those who got us there,
and used and directed our politicians to rob us and drive us down into
a form of modern serfdom.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

some thoughts on turning 60 on 28 October 2010

Tomorrow I will be 60. It's hard to believe. I don't
feel anywhere near it.

When I was 18 I did not know if I would survive
the night(more than one) in the A Shau valley,
in Vietnam.

I have had to live with something that happened there.
And, I've felt the pain of that night ever since.

I survived nightly sapper attacks-suicide bombers. They
were freedom fighters. During one of those attacks two Marines
came running towards our bunker in the dark of the jungle night
screaming ‘the gooks(I don’t use such words; it's what they said)
are all around us…we’re gonna die’. They were terrified. My team
leader, Chief, (a Seminole Indian who once saved my life, and thus
his own:-) and I covered their mouths, and drew our knives to silence
them. I looked 360 degrees every few seconds. I put my K-Bar
(combat knife) to my man’s throat while Chief whispered, “Shut the
F*ck up. Get back to your bunker. Keep your head down and eyes and
ears open…and don’t bring them over here!”

They ran back afraid of us. I had given my man a look meant to
scare him far worse than what had just terrified him. It was a
stone cold look. He wasn't seeing a human being, but someone scary. It wasn’t that
I had no fear, but panic is deadly at those times. Somehow, I was
always able to suppress the fear, because I had to be alert...or
I'd be dead.

We only had seconds. It wasn’t the first time that we had drawn knives
to quiet Marines in panic on that hill. We evacuated our bunker; it was
unsafe by then, and went uphill a bit, and hid behind a large tree with
bushes. Within minutes those two Marines were screaming in the agony of
their last seconds of life. An NVA (North Vietnamese Army regular) sapper
was knifing them in their bunker to prevent their escape before his satchel detonated killing all three.

It was horrible to listen to. They were begging, and one cried aloud ‘Oh God’
just as the satchel detonated. His scream pierced the whole night...A loud explosion…an eerie silence, and the night was just beginning. This is a bit of
what I did, experienced and saw when I was 18; just a boy. War is not noble;
it is horrible and criminal. It leaves civilians and combatants traumatized
for life...and trying to make sense out of their lives.

Those Marines were 50 feet away; then we were 100 feet from the nearest bunker.
We were at one extreme flank of the ridge, and survived that night with a K-Bar
in one hand, and a grenade in the other. Much of that and other nights are completely blacked out.

In the morning my Plt. Sgt gave me some rags and asked me to clean the bunker.
He said 'We got two new men coming in on the copter, and we don’t want them to
see it like that.’ I was his radioman. There were three in the 4-5 months before
I humped(carried) it. dead, wounded, and dead; radiomen are a snipers favourite target. I survived many.

I entered the bunker with too few rags to wipe up blood, bits of bone, flesh
and insides…from top to bottom, and on every wall and crevice. I started to
break down before I was half ways done. I told myself 'You can't do this.' I
said it twice, and stopped the tears. I didn't want to break down like i'd
seen others. But, to me, what was worse was that another Marine might see that
I was or had been crying. what a thing to worry about.

In boot camp, and infintry training they don't teach, or tell you that you
might have to put a knife to another man's throat when he's in panic, or
breaking down from the terror. Had I been there longer...i don't like to
think about it. In training they also don't have classes on how to wipe up
human remains. To tell Marines in training those two things...would sort of
put a damper on their eagerness for combat.

But, those two men, and everything that happened on that ridge-Fire Support
Base (FSB-twas LZ[landing zone] to me) Cinnungham is with me every day and
night. We sent them back; we had no choice. I survived, but others died.

During my medevac to the Third Medical (Med) Battalion (Batt) in Quang Tri
our copter set down at a distant fire base for 10 minutes. While waiting in
a mist I saw body bags stacked up like cordwood four to five rows high
awaiting their final journey home. They were laid out on the tarmac maybe
20 yards long. I stopped counting at 240. I felt numb and completely dead

I got out of the Marines on 11 May 1970, and no amount of alcohol would
obliterate what I had seen, done and experienced. A measure of the effects
of Vietnam on me is that I have almost always carried a backpack for most
of the 40 years since I came home. My bed blanket is a green and black
sleeping bag; camaflauge colours. I put it away when with a woman.

My government treated combat trauma in and after WWII and the Korean War,
and in subsequent wars. Vietnam veterans were left on our own. There are
over 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington,
D. C. But, over 100,000 have taken their own life since returning from
Vietnam. And, since 2004 or 06(?) at least 18 veterans commit suicide
each and every day. The VA (Veterans Administration) doesn’t factor in
those who died in car accidents while speeding, or other forms of suicidal behaviour. I call 18 deaths a day an epidemic.

Yet, God has blessed me. I survived. I know that there is a God, and in
Vietnam there was 'Chief' (Paul) for when God was too busy to save

When I came home I felt like (as someone said) 'an old man in a young man's
body.' Like in my 50's at 19, 20, and 21...somehow it changed and, since
then I've always felt and acted younger than my age. Some women think I'm 48
50...until I tell them.

I have been blessed by God to have gone to war twice, and not hurt, or be
mean to a civilian. But, I was part of a brutal occupation force.

I have been blessed to have been married(there were as many bad as good
times-and i'm glad to be divorced...and will meet the right person).

I am blessed to have had two wonderful children, Kyle and Nora. I almost
delivered my daughter with a male nurse, but thankfully Doctor Vivian
Hernandez(?) came in just in time.

I have been blessed to be born in Boston (what better accent?
Cork:-) To have lived in Vermont, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

To have visited Nova Scotia (birthplace of my paternal grandfather),
and Ireland (I had three Irish grandparents).

To have visited España (Barcelona (three times), Granada ( la Alhambra, Ronda,
Girona, Cadiz,(Playa de Cadiz, Catedral de Cadiz, Plaza de Mina),
Sevilla and Sitges. Me encanta Barcelona y Granada; No sé que me
gusta más

To have lived in and visited Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zaandam,
and have been to Leiden, Den Haag, Utrecht (love them), Rotterdam,
Arnhem,and Nijmegen.

To have visited Antwerp, Leige and Bruxelles (Brussels).

To have seen the beauty of Paris, the Seine, the Musée d'Orsay,
The Louvre, the Ile de la Cité(and a lovely Tunisian cookie shop),
Notre Dame (the Catholic Church sold postcard inside that I could
get much cheaper on the street-the Church is a business), the Eiffel
Tower, and much much more.

I loved Nîmes, and Carcassonne, and also saw a bit of Montpellier.

I was blessed to visit Köln Cologne-a favourite city of mine),
and Düsseldorf Koblenz, and stood at the place where the Rhine
and the Moselle river merge(it was at night)

And I hope to see much more

I have been blessed with good health (mostly) and good friends,
and a wicked sense of humour...sometimes that has gotten me into
trouble (I apologize to all those Marines who I woke up between
3-6 am, when I came in and deliberately turned on the lights to
wake every poor fella up; except for those dead drunk[I was pissed
drunk] and then said that I had a message from the LT (Lieutenant)...
and that they only had one, two or three hours till wake go
back and get some sleep while they had a chance:-)

To Dave O'C i'm sorry...I apologize and I'll never that again...I
doubt that we'll ever be in the same class, but I wouldn't do it.

And I've endless curiosity.

And, when I've felt down and at my lowest I know that I'll feel
better when I have a cup of coffee. The best place now is 'Cork
Coffee Roasters.'

So, if I awake tomorrow I will thank God, or inshaallah,
and pray that I get my novel out this year....and give thanks
for what I have seen, experienced and survived.

Some of the pivotal things that happened to me in war
are on my blog under these two titles.

These two below are on my blog
‘The Girl I Met on Christmas Day 1968-Da Nang’

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

Bless you all

Saturday, October 23, 2010

USMC boot camp...and my 1st time

From the craziness of what I experienced in the Vietnam war
I find solace in music, and humour-Richard Pryor was the
greatest. Live in Long Beach may be the best stand-up
performance in history!

I'm reading and absorbing the data-war crimes, crimes
against humanity, crimes against the peace....torture,
genocide(for what else do you call the use of weapons
like Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorous[WP or Willy Peter
were the terms used in Vietnam-a sexual connotation] ...
even uranium residue is showing up in Fallujah. WP and DU,
and napalm were used in Fallujah. I will write more
separately on this.

But, for now, I am writing a bit about my boot camp experiences...
and my first time with a woman...that is all the way.

I think that one of the only noble things that happen in war
(Vietnam-for me) was the willingness to lay down your life for
another (I would've done it for 'Chief'[Paul] without a thought.
I respected him greatly, but also knew that he was more valuable
to the platoon-he'd saved my life once from being 'blown to bits'
-and his own as well:-) As for the good things, I would say the
friendships that were formed, some under the most horrendous
circumstances; others during the hell raising-getting-drunk and
into during my stay at Yokosuka, Naval hospital,

But, more so, for me, was the education that I received from the
Vietnamese people, and from being there. There was a certain
Vietnamese woman who sold Coca Cola when I was at Fire Support
Base (FSB) Charlie Three...when it was deconstructed, and I would
sit there with another fella overlooking the road. A sniper could
have taken us out anytime; we were sitting on top of a hill. This
woman was also at places I was at just over the Cam Lo river...on
the north side, and always accompanied by a couple of smaller
children (6-10 years?). What it did for me was to humanize the
people we were taught to hate. Many years later I realized that
she was doing political education on me, or educating me.

I didn't have hatred towards the Vietnamese, or hate in me, but
my training was rascist towards the Vietnamese, and taught hate,
and then, you run into all the things you hear from others, and
in Vietnam I met people with hardened attitudes towards the
Vietnamese people; they were there much longer than I. 'There but
for the grace of God go I'

This woman once asked me 'Why you come to Vietnam?' I didn't know
what to say, but I said 'Your President asked for our help. And, she
replied, 'He not our President; your President make him our President.'
Slowly, the few times we met...she worked on me;-) One of the worst
feelings I had was the realization that 'we aren't the good guys.'
There is more..later.

I did not feel normal when I came home, and I went back to Vietnam. I
felt guilty for leaving my team leader 'Chief' (Paul, and my squad,
and Platoon. But, I did not feel normal at home-back in America, or on
my street, or town...nor did I feel really alive (except when drunk and
going crazy-fights etc). I felt numbed and dead inside.

But this post one is a baring of me. My first time. You
see, one great thing that I remember about being in the Marines
during the war, or for that period of my life-in the Marines-
1968-1970 was the sex...and the craziness...getting drunk and into

It's something about war i think. I never had sex in Vietnam.
I didn't feel right about that. I felt that I was there to help
them. That was propaganda put into my head. But, I felt that to
have sex with someone there...didn't feel right. I also thought
that it could be dangerous. I didn't want to be in bed with a woman,
and hear someone rushing in, and see my rifle off in the corner...
and say to myself...oops. I f*cked up.

But, first...

As a boy of 17 I joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and was in boot
camp at Parris Island, South Carolina two weeks after my last
class(June 1968). Boot camp was very much as shown in the movie
‘Full Metal Jacket’, and worse. I was trained as a Marine Corps
rifleman (a ‘grunt’).

Marine Corps boot camp is really about human degredation, cruel
and inhumane treatment... but, mostly human degredation. We
graduated-that is I made it out alive-on 31 August 1968. That day
I went to Infintry Training Regiment(ITR) for Advanced Infintry
training (AIT) at Camp Lejeune. Most likely we were at Camp Geiger.
We were there between six and eight weeks.

I was blessed by God to have Eddy 'Frenchy' Merlet as my bunkmate
during both boot camp and AIT. French was from Montreal. He was
Black and spoke French. That blew my mind. Twas the first time
that I had met a black man who spoke French. And, it sounded nice.
My grandfather was French from Nova Scotia, but he sounded like he
was barking at you when he talked. I had lived in a housing project
(estate) with one black family, and it was in our U shaped quad? And,
my father had a black friend from work, Pete Fields(?) who came to play
chess. But, it was English, and accented of the area, outside of Boston.

But, 'Frenchy' was much, much, more mature even if not much older. God,
I don't know how he put up with me:-) I know that I probably seemed like
an immature...peckerhead? to him. Was. Frenchy was married, suave...a lady
killer, but only talked of his wife, not other women. and I learned to try
and act(if not be) more mature. Took a long while...years. Hello Frenchy.
I've searched for you without luck.

I also met Jim Nance, from New Jersey at AIT and we became good friends.
I'll always remember my 18th birthday thanks to Jim. When he found out
it was my birthday he told the others, and I got my Marine Corps Birthday
greeting: 18 punches by each man on each arm-triceps? So each man got 36
whacks. I think that Jim took full advantage to say 'Happy Birthday.';-)
I've searched for you, too without luck. Jim Nance was a Boston football player.

I could not have survived the whole platoon, or was usually a
certain amount of men. I regret that I wasn't able to say 'Happy Birthday'
to him:-) Jim and I met up again at Camp Pendleton in 'staging battalion.
I also met Daryll Ondo, from Canton Ohio, Nix, ?

I made PFC (Private First Class) at Camp Pendleton, and I was lucky that
I wasn't busted. One night I came back from my cousin, Bernadette's home
in Burbank. I went into a shop that sold militaty insignia in Oceanside,
the base town of Camp Pendleton, and I bought Brigadeer stars. A Brigadeer
General is a one star general. I gave myself an instant promotion.

I was in my civvies (civilian clothes), and put them on my shirt lapel and
boarded the bus back to return to the base. I had, by then consumed most of
a bottle of Tequila. You might say that I was quite Tequilerized:-) Before
the bus left for the base two MPs (Military Police) came aboard to check IDs.

There was some laughter because of me; I like to make people laugh:-)
When the MPs got to me they asked me for my ID and told me to take the
Brigadeer stars off. I told them that I didn't have my ID, and wasn't
in the habit of having corporals asking me for my ID, and that they had
forgotten to salute me. I asked them if they were in the habit of not
saluting Brigadeer Generals?

Everyone broke out laughing. Except those two MPs.

I told them that I like to be close to the troops, and that's why I always
take the bus. When they repeated what they had said I told them that they
should know who I was. I was the youngest Brigadeer General in the history
of the United States Marine Corps at 18.

Everyone on the bus was laughing their asses off, and even those two MPs
were trying to keep a straight face, but got exasperated...and I knew from
the first day of primary school if not earlier when to stop pushing it.

I gave them my ID (PFC), and said that I haven't received my new (Brigadeer)
ID, as I had received an 'instant promotion.' But would report this incident.
I decided not to report them:-)

After 'staging battalion' I went to Camp Hansen in Okinawa. It was the last
place before I landed in Da Nang Vietnam early on Christmas morning 1968.
Actually, it was Kadena Air Force Base (AFB) on Okinawa from which we flew
to Vietnam. It wasn't training, but getting shots...gamma globulin...and
tropical shots. We were there for maybe a week at most?

Outside of Camp Hansen was Kin Town, or Kin Ville...and loads of brothels.
We were not given liberty to go. The military was probably afraid that some
would go AWOL or desert to avoid going to Vietnam...and if they saw Kin Town...
they might decide to go AWOL and stay in Kin Town for a bit. Some would think
why go to vietnam?

We were allowed a good measure of free time to got to a place that I'll
never forget- 'The Animal Pit.' It was a very large bar-hall with cheap
beer,and champagne for a $1 a bottle. They just wanted us to get as drunk
as be passive, and stay on base. But, I had other ideas.

I was at a table with three other Marines, and I brought up the idea of
sneaking off base and going into Kin Ville as we called it. The man to my
left was already awaiting a Court Martial and going to the brig (military
prison) in Marine Corps, or Navy terms. He was afraid of getting caught,
and having a longer stay. He kept singing the same song over and over again:
'Simple Simon Says' by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and I couldn't take too
much after an hour of that. He was moving his body around to the song...he
was cuckoo I thought.

His friend was no better.

I was there with a friend that I had only met on Okinawa, or maybe at Camp
Pendleton . In the military you sometimes make friends fast and loose. I
pressed him. If your going to chance getting busted, well better to have
some company. But, he said 'No.We're going to Vietnam. If they catch us
they'll throw us in the brig.'

I said something to the effect that 'We're going to Vietnam in two days
or less. We could be dead in 3-4 days!' I thought that I didn't want to
end up on the ground dying, and think 'I shoulda gone to....ahhh...dead!'

But, he wouldn't. I wasn't too drunk, and didn't want too drink anymore.
I would need my senses. So I started my way to the bathroom. I just saw men
puking at the bathrooms and walked out. I went back to my barracks- a small
quonset hut that maybe housed 24? Marines. It was empty,I showered, and I
changed into my civvies(civilian clothes), and then went outside. I figured
that if I couldn't sneak off base and get back unnoticed, then my training
was useless, or I was f*cked; I would be in Nam in days.

I saw that the main gate was about 50+ yards to my right. There was a small
road to cross in front of me; about 15 yards from where I stood was the grass.
I went back inside waited till I heard the MP truck go by. There was a small
culvert-drainige ditch, that was about four feet down from the road...a gradual slope down. There was grass about knee-high at most,then a hill rose from up.
It was about 15 feet up from the culvert in a sharp rise.

At the top was a 9 foot chain link fence with concertina wire (barbed or razor
wire) coils about knee-high that was meant to discourage people like me. But,
I was determined to get out and see a woman...before I went to Vietnam. And, I considered it a personal challenge to outsmart those who whose job it was too
keep us inside.

After I surveyed all that was in front, and on both sides of me I waited again
until the MPs had driven by and out of sight. Then, I casually crossed the
street, and walked down into the culvert ditch, and got into a push-up position
and waited. I could see the lights and hear the truck as it came from behind. I
lowered myself like I was doing a pushup, and held that position until the
truck was way past me. Then, pushed up a bit.

I counted from the time when the truck turned onto the road behind me until
it passed me, and turned out of my line of vision, and came from behind again. Several minutes. I chuckled to myself that I was just using my training, and I wanted to get out and back unseen. And, I thought that we should have
been taughted stuff like this.

I waited for two more passes. After the third time that the truck
passed by me, and was out of the way I got up; looked around. No one
was around, and the guards at the gate were too far away to notice me.
The only hitch was going up the fence. The guards could just happen to
notice me. but the biggest problem was separating the coils of wire without
getting cut to bits.

I scaled the fence in probably about 10 seconds; I had been drinking.
When I got to the top I took a quick look at the guard shack, and knew that
they hadn't seen me. Somehow I just parted the wire carefully, and jumped
down...9 feet. I was fine; my left knee got muddied and I wiped it off with
my hands and some leaves. Then went down the hill. If I was completely sober
I would've been more nervous, and maybe cut.

My next problem was that there would be MPs in the town checking IDs. I had
reasoned that I couldn't spend time checking out the town. I looked both
ways from a corner, and saw no MPs. Then calmy crossed the street. There
was a woman approaching me, not to come to me but there was a street a
side street on her right.

She was probably about my age, and she was very lovely, brown shoulder length
hair with golden streaks, and she looked like a very nice woman. It's the
eyes that tell But, she had an infant in her arms (and I've felt guilty about
that to this day). I asked her (it's called Boom Boom No.1 in the Marines;
romantic eh); I offered money, but I don't know what I said. She rubbed her
stomach, and I realized she meant the baby. She probably had the child weeks before(Ouch!! people are gonna hate me:-)

I doubled the money; I felt that if she did not want to then i should go, and
was about to, when she said 'wait.' She looked at me. She was looking to see
if I was okay(I realized later)., and said 'You come with me.' We went to the
end of the street, and into a large house- a brothel.

There seemed to be 6-8 women and they were saying hellos, hugging, and there
were several small children there..a day care in the brothel. Then, the woman
took me upstairs, and into a very large room. There was a large (King size)
bed at one corner, and she said to me "You get ready; I be right back."

As this was my first time...I didn't exactly know what 'get ready' meant. Do I
take all my clothes off and get into bed? Or, my shirt off, and sit on the edge
of the bed? Or what? I was in the room about 12 feet from the door. The bed was
on my right about three feet away. And, I started to undress. I was a bit shy and left my underwear on. I had been through training for almost six months in the Marines...and was used to taking orders. But, I was also shy. So, I was waiting
for her to come back and say what to do. (I have never in my life asked a kooker
to perform any sexual act).

She came up the stairs, opened the door and saw me standing there in my
underwear, and she turned her head slightly sideways and seemed to smile
a bit...and she said "You Cherry?" It was a question. I felt embarrassed,
and surprised( like God, how does she know?), and said in a much, much
deeper voice as I pointed to my clothes on the floor "No, No, I just didn't
know where you wanted me to put these."

She smiled, and said "You cherry boy?" I started to say no, but she was
smiling, and said "It's okay. You Cherry?" I finally nodded my head; I thought...she knows. And, she broke out into a big smile, and said "You wait
here I be right back." Then she ran downstairs. I realized that I wasn't
standing at 'attention'(well part of me was at attention:-) but I wasn't
relaxed. I was my first time.

I took off my underwear, and all of a sudden I heard the sound of many feet in
wooden shoes running up the stairs. As the door opened I put my underwear in
front of front of 'Mr. Horny'-for want of a better word. I was like whoa shit! There were six or so very lovely and nice women, who came into the room,
all smiling, and they all asked me "Are you cherry boy?" When I nodded they
oohed and aahhed, and said 'you nice.'-(I was in best shape of my life). One after another they said things like "You come back tomorow I see you for free. I teach you...we have nice, nice time"...and 'long time'(a term- short or long)I was embarrassed. That never happened to me before or after.

I was blushing...and pointed to the woman I was about to see and said 'but I'm seeing her' (like I would be cheating on her to say yes to what they said:-)
They all laughed, and said 'She no come back we have good time.' And,
the woman I was about to see was laughing too. I told them that I was going to Vietnam, and they told me to come back tomorrow. If only I had gone AWOL for a week....what a time I would've had:-)

Then, they went downstairs, and truthfully I don't remember what happened as
much from that point until we were in bed. Except, that she took my hand, and
drew me closer, and smiled while she undid her top. She put my hand on her
breast, and touched me. I didn't want to do anything...unless i knew it was okay...and I kissed her cheek...

The bed was a king size, and had a huge white quilt with a hole in the middle
cut in the shape of a heart. I didn't want to be a 'get-on-top-get-it-over-with-
quick-...jumping jack flash:-). When she got under the quilt I was looking
at her from her breasts to under her crotch...

To me, the human body is wonderous, sensual, and more than pleasurable. Words,
or mine, cannot do justice to what the Almighty has created.

I mostly touched, caressed, kissed and more, and I did not care about myself.
I wanted to be good for her; I put my head where you are not suppossed to with
a prostitute, and was there until her whole body began shaking, and she soon
pulled my up.

My drinking got in the way of my experiencing the same, but I didn't care.
Just being with her, and having that experience was one of the greatest pleasures
of my life. And, believe me, I spent a lot of time trying to duplicate what
happened that night. But, I realized that it was unique, and never to be
experienced like that again. It was hours of exploring and more.

We spent more time in bed, kissing, and talking, and she showed me how to hold,
and hug her. we both slept for a bit. Then she got up after awhile and went down stairs, and after a while she came back..., and later a few women came up too. They said that I was nice...and reminded me about tomorrow...which was today by then.

When I saw the time I realized that it had been over six hours since I stepped
out the door and ran to the grass to get off base. I knew that I had just over
two hours till reveille- wake up. Where did the time go?

I ran back to the fence, and watched for the MP truck, but I really didn't give
a f*ck if they caught me then. But, when the truck went by I scaled the fence.
It was harder because the was not much of a flat space, so I had to turn around
and climb down. I was unseen, and made my way to the barracks.

I like to be a wise we called it where I grew up. And when I entered the
quonset hut everyone was snoring and in I turned on the switch and
all the lights went on. I was 'walking on air.' Some people, well all, but me, weren't happy with that. So, I did something that I was known for at some places during my stay in the Marine Corps. I said that 'I just want to tell you all that's it's 2 hours till reveille, so go back and get some sleep.'

I think that Dave O'C could appreciate that one:-)

All the guys (except those who were really dead drunk) were yelling 'turn off the f*cking lights you a**hole' or words to that effect. It just made me smile;-)
So, I said 'Oh i'm sorry i'm disturbing your beauty sleep...oh, oh we go to bed
at 10pm or like the Sgt tells us. We have to be in bed by 10pm.'

I called them a bunch of p*ssies. Sorry fellas but I had to go out and get laid,
i'm not jumping into bed at 10pm. They were yelling...You f*cker, turn off the
lights. And, I did a shortened version of the above calling them a bad name,
and saying I got more important things to do. 'I had to go out and get laid like
a man.' I was taking off my clothess, and it was at that point that one of the married guys that I knew from the opposite end of the hut said 'Hey fellas, he
just broke his cherry.' 'How was it? did you like it?'...'How did it feel?'...
'Tell us about it.'

Someone said 'please turn the lights off you a**hole' But, it was the other man,
who then said 'Hey tell us all what it was like. Come on tell us what it what was like to break your cherry?' I shut the lights off quickly and got in bed so I wouldn't be identified:-) And, at first, I said 'f*ck you guys; I'm out there
every night getting laid.' But the other guy pushed it again, and I turned over
and made like I was snoring, because they were saying 'which bunk is he in...come
on, tell us.'

They shut me up:-) The next day one of the married fellas asked me 'was that you
who broke your cherry last night?' But, I said something like 'what was all that
racket about last night? Somebody woke everyone up.'

He just smiled knowingly. I played dumb...and thought of that beautiful woman.
Forty-eight hours later I was on my way to Da Nang, Vietnam, and I saw the reality
of war even before I had touched a rifle. I saw child victims of the war. I wrote
about it under the heading: 'The Girl I met on Christmas Day 1968-Dan Nang. '

That's me, the little fecker holding his pecker;-) age?
the second one is of me with my cousin Bernadette in July
1969. Twas on my way back to Vietnam. After the first time...
I didn't feel normal in the US (at home) anymore

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Great robbery is being committed

As an imperfect human being I reserve the right to change my
opinion, or I learn more:-) Each and every day,
hopefully, is an education.

But, for now, here are my thoughts. We are living through an extraordinary
time for the human race, and many may not see the next two, three or five
years. We are living in a period just before another great war...WWIII.

A Question? What do you call a soldier who works for the interests of a
foreign government.

I believe that 'Traitor' is the appropriate word. And what they do is 'treason.'

Question? What do you call/ or should call group of politicians who
are elected by the people to work in their and the national interests,
but who work for the interests of a foreign government.

They are traitors, and they commit treason.

Now, What do you call/ or should call group of politicians who are
elected by the people to run the country in their (the people's) and
the national interests, but who secretly give their allegiance to and
work to further the interests of a group of either domestic or foreign
bankers, oil companies, insurance companies...the CIA, or another country?

They are traitors of the worst kind! They sell out the national interests,
and their main job is a selling job.

What is happening is a big f*cking robbery by one class of people, and shoving
the rest of the people into a modern form of serfdom.

In Ireland, Brian Buy Me Another Pint Cowen was against an investigation into
the banking crisis, much as George Bush was against an investigation in 9/11.

Whose interests does that serve? Not the people of Ireland.
It serves the interests of the bankers. I'm not talking about
the president of your local bank...but those who are robbing us.
The leading banking families. The rich who are profiting from human

We live in a world run by the most utterly corrupt people. The top politicians
of almost every country are absolute traitors to their peoples and their
country, and the welfare and interests of the people.

They are traitors because they run the country for the interests of those
who actually own the country...private individuals. Most people either do
not believe that their country is owned lock stck and barrel by a hand full
of wealthy, but consider what John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US
Supreme Court said when discussing the form of government that the new country
should have, and how to elect people. He said that he thought that

'Those who own the country ought to govern it.'

And, many of America's hallowed founding fathers were slave owners, or like
the Hancock family profited in the slave trade.

America is run by and for the leading families. At the top are several names:
The Rockerfeller, Morgan Du Ponts, Fords, Standard Oil, Exxon BP and other oil families.

It was put into perspective with crystal clarity by a former military man.
Major-General Smedley Darlington Butler USMC in a speech in 1933

'War Is A Racket'

Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933 by General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC. General Butler was the recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor -- the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. He is one of only 19 recipients of two Medals of Honor, and one of only three to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.

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. . . .

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. . . .

This robbery being committed could not be done so without the assistance of
politicians at the very top of each country.

It is the right of the people to alter or abolish their form of government
when it becomes repressive, or oppressive to them and their needs.

That time has come

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fallujah: A testing Ground for Genocide

This is a title, but I will develop this
over the next several days, and, and maybe
a week.

I knew that Fallujah would be a centre of resistance
in 3002.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Hello All,

I had a very bad injury in April, and was lucky i didn't
lose the tip of my finger. I have been writing and doing
things related to that, but am about done. will start posting
things that are more important.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The CIA, KKK, & USA By Sherwood Ross

When I saw this article a few moments ago-
Sherwood-I take it to my morning coffee;-)
in a few minutes...the first thing i realized was
that the KKK was perhaps America's first terrorist
organization. It was certainly a 'state sanctioned
terrorist organization by the US


By Sherwood Ross

By assigning covert action roles to the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA), it is as if the White House and Congress had legitimized the Ku Klux Klan to operate globally. That's because the CIA today resembles nothing so much as the “Invisible Empire” of the KKK that once spread terror across the South and Midwest. Fiery crosses aside, this is what the CIA literally is doing globally.

The CIA today is committing many of the same sort of gruesome crimes against foreigners that the KKK once inflicted on Americans of color. The principal difference is that the old KKK consisted of self-appointed vigilantes who regarded themselves as both outside and above the law when they perpetrated their crimes. By contrast, the CIA acts as the agent of the American government, often at the highest levels, and at times at the direction of the White House. Its crimes typically are committed in contravention of the highest established international law such as the Charter of the United Nations as well as the U.S. Constitution. What's more, the “Agency,” as it is known, derives its funding largely from an imperialist-minded Congress; additionally, it has no qualms about fattening its budget from drug money and other illegal sources. It is a mirror-image of the lawless entity the U.S. has become since achieving superpower status. And it is incredible that the White House grants license to this violent Agency to commit its crimes with no accountability. The Ku Klux Klan was founded shortly after the end of the U.S. Civil War. Klansman concealed their identities behind flowing white robes and white hoods as they terrorized the newly emancipated blacks to keep them from voting or to drive them from their property.

Allowing it to operate in secret literally gives the CIA the mythical Ring of Gyges. In Plato's Republic, the owner of the ring had the power to become invisible at will. As Wikipedia puts it, Plato “discusses whether a typical person would be moral if he did not have to fear the consequences of his actions.” The ancient Greeks made the argument, Wikipedia says, that “No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men.” The CIA, like Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's NKVD before it, has provided modern man the answer to this question. Its actions illuminate why all criminal entities, from rapists and bank robbers, to Ponzi scheme swindlers and murderers, cloak themselves in secrecy.

There are innumerable examples of how American presidents have authorized criminal acts without public discussion that the preponderant majority of Americans would find reprehensible. Example: it was President Lyndon Johnson who ordered the CIA to meddle in Chile's election to help Eduardo Frei become president. If they had known, U.S. taxpayers might have objected to such a use of their hard-earned money to influence the outcome of another country's elections. But the public is rarely let in on such illegal foreign policy decisions. Where the KKK after the Civil War terrorized blacks to keep them from voting, the CIA has worked to influence the outcome of elections all over the world through bribery and vote-buying, dirty tricks, and worse. According to investigative reporter William Blum in “Rogue State”(Common Courage Press), the CIA has perverted elections in Italy, Lebanon, Indonesia, The Philippines, Japan, Nepal, Laos, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Portugal, Australia, Jamaica, Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, among other countries. If they had known, taxpayers might also object to the CIA's numerous overthrows of foreign governments by force and violence---such as was done in Iran in 1953 by President Eisenhower and Chile in 1973 by President Nixon. Both overthrows precipitated bloodbaths that cost tens of thousands of innocent civilians their lives. Blum also lists the countries the CIA has attempted to overthrow or has actually overthrown. His list includes Greece, The Philippines, East Germany, Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Viet Nam, Laos, Ecuador, The Congo, France, Cuba, Ghana, Chile, South Africa, Bolivia, Portugal, and Nicaragua, to cite a few. As I write, today, October 11th, 2010, Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina called on President Obama to revise U.S. (imperialist)policies toward Latin America. He questioned why the U.S. continues to plant its military bases across the region. That's an excellent question. If the U.S. is a peace-loving nation, why does it need 800 bases the world over in addition to 1,000 on its own soil? Americans might recoil in disgust if they knew of the CIA's numerous assassinations of the elected officials of other nations. Is it any wonder Americans so often ask the question, “Why do they hate us?” As historian Arnold Toynbee wrote in 1961, “America is today the leader of a world-wide anti-revolutionary movement in the defence of vested interests. She now stands for what Rome stood for. Rome consistently supported the rich against the poor in all foreign communities that fell under her sway; and, since the poor, so far, have always and everywhere been more numerous than the rich, Rome's policy made for inequality, for injustice, and for the least happiness of the greatest number.”

The CIA's protective secrecy resembles nothing so much as the KKK, which proudly proclaimed itself “the Invisible Empire” and whose thugs killed citizens having the courage to identify hooded Klansmen to law enforcement officials. Today, it is our highest public officials that protect this criminal force, said to number about 25,000 employees. It is actually a Federal offense to reveal the identity of a CIA undercover agent---unless, of course, you happen to be I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and are employed by Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to punish her husband Joseph Wilson for publishing a report that undercut the White House lie that Saddam Hussein had purchased “yellowcake” from Niger to fuel WMD. Today, high public officials direct the CIA's criminal policies and protect its agents' identities the better to enable them to commit their crimes.

According to journalist Fred Cook in his book “Ku Klux Klan: America's Recurring Nightmare”(Messner), “The Klan was inherently a vigilante organization. It could commit the most atrocious acts under the guise of high principle and perpetrators of those acts would be hidden behind white masks and protected by Klan secrecy... (The Klan) set itself up as judge, jury and executioner”---a policy adopted by the CIA today. CIA spies have conducted their criminal operations masquerading as officials of U.S. aid programs, business executives, or journalists. Example: The San Diego-based Copley News Service's staff of foreign correspondents allegedly was created to provide cover to CIA spies, compromising legitimate American journalists trying to do their jobs. While the murders committed by the KKK likely ran into the many thousands, the CIA has killed on a far grander scale and managed to keep its role largely secret. As Tim Weiner, who covered the CIA for the New York Times noted in his book “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (Anchor): “In Guatemala, 200,000 civilians had died during forty years of struggle following the agency's(CIA) 1954 coup against an elected president.” Weiner adds, “the CIA's officers in Guatemala still went to great lengths to conceal the nature of their close relations with the military and to suppress reports that Guatemalan officers on its payroll were murderers, torturers, and thieves.” When it comes to murder, the CIA makes the KKK look like Boy Scouts.

Like the KKK, CIA terrorists operate above the law. KKK members committed thousands of lynchings yet rarely were its members punished for them. In 2009 at a speech at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, President Obama revealed he was not intent on punishing CIA agents for their crimes but would rather “look forward.” This seemingly charitable philosophy may be driven by the fact that Obama worked for Business International Corporation, a CIA front, at least in 1983 and perhaps longer, and allegedly is the son of a mother and father both of whom also worked for the CIA, as did Obama's grandmother! I could find none of this in Obama's biography when he ran for the presidency, when a gullible American public elected a CIA “mole” to the White House. Consider this, too: an agency President Truman feared would become “an American Gestapo” when he signed the enabling legislation into law in 1947 has become just that, and it casts a lengthy shadow over the White House. Ominously, it has in Barack Obama one of its own former employees sitting in the Oval Office---a man who, according to news reports, has vastly expanded the frequency of the CIA's assassinations by drone aircraft in Pakistan and who illegally claims the “right” to assassinate any American citizen abroad as well. What's more, from 1989 to 1993 George Bush Sr., the CIA's own former Director, sat in the White House. Additionally, from 2001 to 2009, the CIA had that Director's son, George W. Bush, in the Oval Office giving the CIA a blank check after the 9/11 massacre. Bush Jr., according to The New York Times, in the summer of 1974 worked for Alaska International Industries, which did contract work for the CIA. The Times noted that this job did not appear in his biography when he ran for the White House in 2000, terming it “The Missing Chapter in the Bush Bio.” Thus, two presidential candidates with CIA ties---Bush Jr. and Obama---both neglected to mention them. And in Bill Clinton, who presided from 1993 to 2001, the CIA had a go-along president who satisfied the Agency's blood-lust when he authorized the first illegal “rendition,” a euphemism for what KKK thugs once knew as kidnapping and torture. Is there any question that the Agency has not played an influential, behind-the-scenes or even a direct role in the operations of the U.S. government at its highest level? It may indeed be a stretch to argue that the CIA is running the country but it is no stretch to say that year after year our presidents reflect the criminal philosophy of the Agency.

Other parallels with the KKK are striking. As Richmond Flowers, the Attorney General of Alabama stated in 1966, “I've found the Klan more than just another secret society... It resembles a shadow government, making its own laws, manipulating local politics, burrowing into some of our local law-enforcement agencies...When a pitiable misfit puts on his $15 sheet, society can no longer ignore him.” Yet the descendants of those misfits have moved up today where they feel comfortable as operatives in the shadow government run by the White House. One of the CIA's illicit duties has been to serve as a conduit for funneling U.S. taxpayer dollars to corrupt dictators and strongmen bent on suppressing the popular will of their citizenry. As Noam Chomsky wrote in “Failed States”(Metropolitan/Owl), in Honduras, “military officers in charge of the battalion (3-16) were on the CIA payroll.” This elite unit, he says, “organized and trained by the United States and Argentine neo-Nazis,” was “the most barbaric of the Latin American killers that Washington had been supporting.”

Like the KKK, the CIA kidnaps many of its victims with no thought ever of legal procedure. It exhibits utter disdain for the rights of those individuals, the sovereignty of foreign nations, or respect for international law. At least hundreds of foreigners, mostly from the Middle East, have been the victims of “renditions” just as the KKK kidnapped and flogged and lynched blacks, labor leaders, Catholics, Jews, or wayward wives whom it felt to be morally lacking. In September, 1921, The New York World ran a series exposing the KKK. It pointed out that, among other things, the KKK was violating the Bill of Rights wholesale. This included the Fourth amendment against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” the Fifth and the Sixth amendments, guaranteeing that no one may be held without a grand jury indictment or punished without a fair trial. And these rights today are similarly trampled by the CIA against American citizens, not just foreigners. Apparently, only foreign courts care to rein in the CIA. The 23 CIA agents that it took to render one “suspect” in Italy are wanted there by the magistrates. (The spooks, by the way, ran up some fabulous bills in luxury hotels on taxpayers' dollars in that escapade.) Former President Jimmy Carter wrote in his book “Our Endangered Values”(Simon & Schuster), the CIA transferred some of those it kidnapped to countries that included Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Jordan, and Uzbekistan where “the techniques of torture are almost indescribably terrible, including, as a U.S. ambassador to one of the recipient countries reported, 'partial boiling of a hand or an arm,' with at least two prisoners boiled to death.” The KKK's methods of punishment were often as ugly: the brutal flogging of blacks in front of vicious crowds, followed by castration and burning their victims alive, and then lynching of the corpses. As for the CIA, “Why?” asks investigative reporter William Blum, “are these men rendered in the first place if not to be tortured? Does the United States not have any speakers in foreign languages to conduct interrogations?”

That the CIA is a terrorist organization was upheld in the famous “CIA On Trial” case in Northampton, Mass., in 1987, when a jury acquitted 14 protestors who tried to stop CIA recruitment on campus, according to Francis Boyle, the University of Illinois international law authority who defended the group. The defense charged the CIA was “an organized criminal conspiracy like the SS and the Gestapo.” Boyle said, “You would not let the SS or the Gestapo recruit on campus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, so you would not permit the CIA to recruit on campus either.”

Another shared characteristic of the KKK and CIA is greed, the desire to loot the hard-earned wealth of others. Often, Klansmen terrorized African-Americans who had amassed property to frighten them off their land. Law-abiding black citizens who had pulled themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps were cheated out of their homes and acreage by the night riders. Similarly, the CIA across Latin America has aligned itself with the well-to-do ruling class at every opportunity. It has cooperated with the elite to punish and murder labor leaders and clergy who espoused economic opportunity for the poor. The notion that allowing the poor to enrich themselves fairly will also create more wealth for an entire society generally, including the rich, has not permeated CIA thinking. I emphasize what historian Toynbee noted: “America is today the leader of a world-wide anti-revolutionary movement in the defence of vested interests. She now stands for what Rome stood for.”(Italics added.)

In sum, by adopting the terrorist philosophy of the KKK and elevating it to the operations of government at the highest level, the imperial Obama administration, like its predecessors, is showing the world the worst possible face of America. Foreigners do not see the goodness inherent in the American people---most of whom only want a good day's pay for a good day's work and to educate their children and live at peace with the world. Every adult American has a solemn obligation to demand that its government live up to international law, punish the CIA criminals in its midst, and become a respected citizen of the world. This will not come to pass until Congress abolishes the CIA, putting an end to its KKK-style terrorism which threatens Americans as well as humankind everywhere.. #

(Sherwood Ross is an American who has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News, a columnist for wire services and as the News Director of a national civil rights organization. He currently operates the Anti-War News Service from Miami, Florida. To contribute to his work or reach him, email

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Video:Whistleblower reveals ‘systematic’ humiliation of detainees

This is why they hate us

Whistleblower reveals ‘systematic’ humiliation of detainees

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 -- 1:12 pm

Videos suggest detainees were routinely subjected to emotional assaults

A former US soldier in Iraq has come forward with video of his fellow soldiers subjecting Iraqi detainees to what he describes as "mental, emotional, degrading" abuse.

US Army Specialist Ethan McCord was a member of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, the same unit that was involved in a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad shown in a leaked video released last April by WikiLeaks.

"I started to 'acquire' these videos and some pictures once I realized that what we are doing in Iraq is wrong," McCord wrote on Wednesday in a blog entry at "These videos are of detainee abuse. Not the type of abuse that’s physical, but the mental, emotional, degrading type."

In the three brief clips, soldiers are shown harassing a handcuffed and blindfolded detainee in a variety of ways. In one, a soldier repeatedly orders a detainee to hold his hands up and then put them down again -- a sequence which McCord says went on for 45 minutes.

Another shows a soldier asking a terrified detainee, "Are you militia" and telling him he is "going to go to prison for that," until being ordered to "stop talking to the detainees." In the third, a soldier sings loudly and mockingly into the ear of a man who was detained for having an AK-47 in his home.

The use of deliberate humiliation as a means of softening up detainees prior to questioning became particularly notorious in connection with the Abu Ghraib scandal and was examined in detail in Errol Morris's critically-acclaimed 2008 documentary Standard Operating Procedure.

"The MPs speak frankly, if not always lucidly, about conditions at the prison and the vague orders from higher-ups that allowed them to believe what they were doing was somehow OK," Slate's Dana Stevens wrote of the film. "They saw themselves as 'softening up' detainees for the real questioning that would take place later behind closed doors."

"My two cents worth of opinion," Morris told an interviewer, "is that this is not just a war of humiliation but a war of sexual humiliation at its core, and the entire foreign policy. I wouldn't even think it's fair to say that America has a foreign policy in the years since 9/11, but if it has had a foreign policy, the foreign policy is, show them whose [sic] boss, humiliate them like they have humiliated us."

Although the harassment shown in McCord's clips does not rise to the same level of sexual abuse as was present at Abu Ghraib, it appears to be similarly designed to "show them who's boss" and break down the detainees' will to resist.

"I’ve held on to these for three years now, debating on how to release them responsibly," McCord writes. "I want to point out, first hand, that these soldiers are doing EXACTLY as they have been trained. I’m not trying to excuse their behavior, but simply pointing out that this is a systematic problem. While your anger may initially be placed with the soldiers in the videos, I think your anger should be directed towards the system that trained them."

This is not the first time that McCord has spoken out since the release last April of the WikiLeaks "Collateral Murder" video. As summarized by Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post, that video shows "a U.S. Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 repeatedly opening fire on a group of men that included a Reuters photographer and his driver -- and then on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men. None of the members of the group were taking hostile action, contrary to the Pentagon's initial cover story."

According to Wired, on the day of the attack, McCord's platoon was battling insurgents when they "got orders to investigate a nearby street. When they arrived, they found a scene of fresh carnage -- the scattered remains of a group of men, believed to be armed, who had just been gunned down by Apache attack helicopters. They also found 10-year-old Sajad Mutashar and his five-year-old sister Doaha covered in blood in a van. Their 43-year-old father, Saleh, had been driving them to a class when he spotted one of the wounded men moving in the street and drove over to help him, only to become a victim of the Apache guns. McCord was captured in a video shot from one helicopter as he ran frantically to a military vehicle with Sajad in his arms seeking medical care."

"I was pretty distraught over the whole situation with the children," McCord told Wired. "So I went to a sergeant and asked to see [the mental health person], because I was having a hard time dealing with it. I was called a pussy and that I needed to suck it up and a lot of other horrible things. I was also told that there would be repercussions if I was to go to mental health. ... I was told that I needed to get the sand out of my vagina…. So I just sucked it up and tried to move on with everything."

"I’ve lived with seeing the children that way since the incident happened," McCord continued. "I’ve had nightmares. I was diagnosed with chronic, severe PTSD. [But] I was actually starting to get kind of better. … I wasn’t thinking about it as much. [Then I] took my children to school one day and I came home and sat down on the couch and turned on the TV with my coffee, and on the news I’m running across the screen with a child. The flood of emotions came back."

Immediately after the release of the WikiLeaks video, McCord and another former soldier issued "An Open Letter of Reconciliation & Responsibility to the Iraqi People" which stated, "We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses. ... What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused."

Last July, McCord spoke about the video to attendees at a United Nations Peace Conference. "If this video disgusts you, it should," he told the audience. "It happens daily in Iraq. ... The rules of engagement in 2007 when this happened was, 'If you feel threatened by anybody, you're able to engage that person.' Many soldiers felt threatened just by the fact that you were looking at them, so they fired their weapons at anybody who was looking at them, because 'I felt threatened.'"

"We were told that if we were to fire our weapons at people and we were to be investigated, officers would take care of you," McCord continued. "We were given orders for 360 degree rotational fire whenever we were hit with an IED. We were told by our battalion commander to kill every motherfucker on the street. ... If you didn't fire, the NCOs in your platoon would make your life hell."

These videos were uploaded to YouTube Oct. 12, 2010.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In the Case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Torture Apologists Are Everywhere-link2 article by Andy Worthington

In the Case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Torture Apologists Are Everywhere

By Andy Worthington

The below was taken from Huffington Post. Andy Worthington, is listed as
a British historian, journalist and a film director. But, he is also a voice of
conscience, and has raised...shouted to the world as it were...awareness
of what the government of my country is doing to detainees in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba. After my second time in Vietnam I was hoping to spend some time there;
it is nothing more than a of many spread across the globe by my
government. Everything he writes shold be read!

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison (Pluto Press), and the co-director, with Polly Nash, of the documentary film, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." He maintains a blog here, where a version of this article was first published.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanks to Sherwood Ross: Bonus Army Protest In 1932 Helped To Enact of GI Bill of Rights Years Later

I first read articles by Sherwood Ross at a great source
of information. He also writes for

I have just downloaded, and recommend this one highly 'U.S. Threat to Nuke Iran Termed "Criminal" by Legal Scholar

We are being walked into WWIII

Thank you Sherwood for letting me post this. I'm trying to get this
blog more regular and better developed. am typing something about an injury
for days

I first heard about the Bonus Armt from Jimmy Pettiford, a fellow ex-Marine grunt who brought me into Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).

The Bonus Army are a perfect example of what happens to war veterans. Jimmy
said they use us like a piece of toilet paper. Use once and throw away.

I hope that those that read this will research about the Bonus Army...and read 'War is a Racket' by Major-General Smedley D. Butler.

Bonus Army Protest In 1932 Helped To Enact of GI Bill of Rights Years Later

7 Oct, 2010 Author: Sherwood Ross

As the World War I “Bonus Army” veterans and their families scattered under clouds of vomiting gas fired by the U.S. Army to clear them out of their shantytowns near the U.S. Capitol that July day in 1932, they might well have thought that their protests were in vain. Not so. It led years later to enactment of the G.I. Bill of Rights.

Seventeen thousand veterans as well as their family members, friends, and supporters were routed from their tent city on the order of U.S. Attorney General William Mitchell. No less a figure than World War I hero General Douglas MacArthur led foot soldiers against them, backed by six tanks, with World War II hero-to-be Major George Patton astride his mount at the head of the cavalry. The squatting veterans were driven out and their shacks and tents and their possessions were torched on orders of a government defiantly opposed to their demand for early payment of “Service Certificates” for World War I duty issued by Congress in 1924 but not redeemable until 1944. A large segment of the U.S. population suffering the hardships of the Great Depression was sympathetic to the veterans, including the outspoken U.S. Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, shortly to become famous for his opinion “war is a racket.”

Seymour Langer, a suburban Chicago radiologist whose father may have served in the army during WWI, often spoke of the futile effort of the tear-gassed veterans to get paid and told his son, Adam, a writer, that he was considering writing a book on the subject. At one point, Seymour wrote historian Barbara Tuchman asking if she thought a book on the Bonus March was a good idea and she replied telling him, yes, to write the book. Years passed, though, and when Dr. Langer died in 2005 at age 80 he had never found time even to begin his project. Yet the very thought of it fascinated Adam, who had fantasized of accompanying his dad on research trips to mine information for the book. Adam, with the novels "Ellington Boulevard" and "Crossing California" to his credit, had never before written a work of nonfiction. Today, Langer told The Los Angeles Times, his new book, "My Father's Bonus March" "is the story of what we didn't do together, of the conversations we didn't have, of the projects we didn't finish, of the stories he left out, of the inner life, about which I knew so little, of what our relationship could have been but wasn't."

In a wide-ranging television interview with Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and host of the Comcast broadcast "Books of Our Times," broadcast nationally, Adam Langer said that some of his father's stories may have been made up or embellished, such as the one that grandfather Sam Langer served during the Great War. "Nobody I talked to---cousins, uncles, my father's broker or friends ever heard of him serving in the military (and when) I looked into that story I could find no verification for it." When he tried to verify that story at the National Archives Adam discovered many of the records from that period were burned and so he cannot be sure if Sam ever served or if his father contrived the tale to explain his interest in the Bonus March. Such ambiguities deepened the mystery and the challenge of writing the book.

Adam speculates that his father's interest was fueled by the fact he was the only member of his inner circle of friends that did not see service in World War II and "he thought that these veterans should be honored." In fact, the historic GI Bill of Rights enacted in July, 1944, was in significant part a nation's belated response to the failure of past administrations to do right by its veterans such as those who served in the horrific World War. Adam thought that the quest to discover his father's reasons for being interested in the Bonus March prompted him to "keep looking, keep searching for what's not being told." He goes on to say, "And that's what I got out of it. Whether he intended to give me that message or not, what I got out of it was 'Here's something left out of the history books and your job is to find out what's missing and to put together the pieces on your own,' and that's what the book was about for me." Adam said his father told him the Bonus March was "the most overlooked incident in American history." He added that he wanted to view his father's life "through the lens of the Bonus March, and to see what had been forgotten that he thought should be remembered, at the same time seeing what I thought might be forgotten about his life, and seeing what should be remembered about that."

Langer says the Bonus March was largely forgotten because, first, it reflects very poorly on some individuals Americans view as heroes, notably MacArthur and Patton, but also on Dwight Eisenhower, who was elected President in 1952 but then served as liaison officer for the Army with the District of Columbia police force. Second, Langer said, Americans, particularly Jewish Americans, see President Franklin Roosevelt as a heroic figure, but after taking office in 1933 he vetoed the bonus bill several times. The bill was finally enacted over his veto "so he doesn't come off so well in that story," Langer says. "It contradicts the story that Roosevelt comes along and saves the day." Third, "It's a story of American heroes fighting American (war) heroes, veterans against the Army." Fourth, the Bonus Army was integrated "and that was long before the racial integration of the Army, and that's a story that hasn't been told." "The Bonus March didn't fit the American history narrative," he said. “It was an ignominious incident in American history, in which veterans of World War I were essentially being smoked out by the current cavalry.” Adam said he learned from his father's interest in the Bonus March that "the little guy doesn't always make out so well, but you can't really throw up your hands about that." His father's message was to "keep moving, keep working, keep persevering. The Bonus March ended very poorly for a lot of people but the bonus bill eventually did pass, and it led to the passage of the GI Bill" (in 1944.)

Langer says to learn more about his father's fascination with the Bonus March he tried to interview "everyone from every step of the way of my father's life, from the people he knew in his childhood to a high school girlfriend. “The idea of solving anyone's history through anything, or defining a person through any sort of incident, is kind of a foolhardy mission, and one can never truly solve it.” Langer adds that he was inspired to write the book in part by the movie “Citizen Kane” which examined the inner life of a newspaper mogul whose last utterance on his death bed was “Rosebud”----`which turned out to be the brand name of the sled he used as a child. Trying to get at the reasons for his father's interest “led me into a lot of paths, and allowed me to find a way of talking to a lot of people who knew him and who knew about the history. (While) I feel that I know him a little bit better, he's still very much a puzzle.”

Doing his research, Langer says he discovered his father “liked putting on roles and playing a role” and also that he was “a very warm and generous person” who, even as a kid, “was a very strong guy with a forceful personality who knew what he wanted and didn't suffer fools gladly.” “If he was in a restaurant he didn't want to wait more than a minute (to be served) otherwise he was out the door. He liked to play the role of the gruff individual, comparing himself to (the actor) Lionel Barrymore.” He describes his father as a self-made man who was “quite satisfied with his life. He had a job that he liked, he had a family, he had a wife, he had a nice house in West Rogers Park. In some way, from the boy who'd grown up with a physical handicap (he overcame a crippling hip condition he was born with that required him to use crutches for much of his childhood) in kind of tough times on the West Side, I don't think he thought that was such a bad deal.”

Langer also discovered that his father had neglected to tell him much about his life on the old West Side of Chicago, a place he imagined where seltzer water was sold as “two cents plain” and boys played stickball in the streets, and families to escape the intense summer heat would sleep in the parks. “There was (also) a lot of pain in that story and my father didn't lead as much of an idyllic life” and had to work himself out of that area to move up, so “he studied, studied, studied and became a doctor and left that world behind.” “There was a lot of nuance there that didn't get told because it didn't fit the narrative,” Langer says, “just as the bonus march didn't fit the American history narrative.”

Whether the Bonus March fit into the American narrative or not, it indisputably set the stage for enactment of the GI Bill of Rights, widely regarded as the most positive and uplifting piece of legislation since President Lincoln emancipated the slaves.

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