Bil Browning

Comment of the Week: DennisNYC

Filed By Bil Browning | January 09, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: Cindy Sheehan, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, unjust war

From my post "Cindy Sheehan on DADT Repeal":commentofweek1.png

Sorry, Cindy... things are not always as black and white as that. There are wars that are just and yes... some that are not.

My dad and his generation went to war to protect The United States and the rest of the free world from the tyranny of a few "rogue" nations, led by pathological madmen.

They went to war only after we were first attacked on our own soil at Pearl Harbor, by the official military armed forces of Imperial Japan. At the same time, on the other side of the world, our allies and in many cases our own personal relatives still living in the nations of many of our origins, were under attack by the official military armed forces of Nazi Germany, led my Adolf Hitler and his evil henchman.

Both of these were enemy nations which, in every measurable way, were led by morally inferior leaders. Leaders, who were intent on using assembly-line genocide to rid the world of certain entire groups of completely innocent, scapegoated peoples, who they saw as inferior (i.e.; those who were more intelligent, successful and far more civilized than themselves.)

That, IMHO, from the standpoint of the United States was an irrefutably just and necessary war.

My generation, on the other hand, was being forced to fight in what I considered to be an unnecessary, unjust war... one in which we were clearly the aggressor, and for reasons other than our direct national defense.

Some of you younger folks may not know that during the years of the Vietnam war, college students were exempt from the draft... a whole separate subject of gross injustice in itself.

Much, much more after the jump.

In 1964 at the age of 19, having only weeks earlier dropped out of college, I received a draft notice in the mail. However, being gay, I used my homosexuality to my great advantage and against the best efforts of The United States government.

When called up for the draft, one was required to show up at an induction center at a specific time and place.

Upon arrival at the center, one was required to strip to one's "tighty-whities" and be put through an extensive physical exam (which I must confess, to me, was kinda hot!). ;)

Immediately after completing the physical and still only wearing our underwear, we were required to fill out a form on which we were required to tell them some (what they considered to be) pertinent personal information.

When I got to the infamous question asking, "Do you now or how you ever engaged in homosexual behavior", just as I had previously planned to do, I checked the "Yes" box.

All who did this, were told to grab our clothes and were quickly ushered into a separate room where we were ordered sit down and wait to be interviewed by an officer.

When my turn came, I was told to get up and knock on the closed door across from the bench on which I'd been sitting. Having done so, I heard a loud voice shout "Enter". I entered and took the seat next to the desk which was occupied by a very large hunk of a man with a crew cut and a forced-looking stern look on his face.

He looked at my paper work, then looked up at me and barked, "how do I know that you're really a cock sucker?" I looked at him and, without skipping a beat, I loudly answered, "would you like a demonstration, sir?"

Looking somewhat taken a back, he grabbed a red pen, quickly scribbled a large 4-F on the front page of my paperwork and I was out the door back in the waiting room, sitting next to my pile of clothes.

Within 10 minutes, I was dressed and on the bus... waiting to be driven back to my home town on Long Island, some 30 miles away!

I actually didn't mean to go through this entire story but hey, it's 4:45 A.M., I'm sitting here at the keyboard sipping a cocktail and, well, you know...

Meanwhile, here we are in 2011, involved in another very controversial war.

The difference is, now, there is no draft and if one of our brothers or sisters chooses to do the bidding of our sometimes misguided, sometimes overly aggressive nation in the name of protecting the safety rest of us... they are, for better or worse, free to do so.

Personally, I'm extremely comfortable with my choice, lo, those many years ago, to use the system against itself to serve my principles, and at the same time... save my ass.

However, I refuse to judge those who, today, choose a different path. I applaud the fact that they now have the right to make whatever choice they feel best suits their needs and/or principles, of their own free will...

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Arguments of WWII being a matter of just countries fighting to stop evil tyrants who were horrible to people always seemed to fall flat to me. One of the Allies who were largely responsible for defeating the Nazis was Stalin's USSR and he certainly killed enough people before and after the war.

That and the countries who entered into the war seeming to have much more concerns about political issues then social justice, war crimes committed on the side of the Allies as well, and bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki being 'morally dubious' to put it extremely politely.

I mean yey for stopping the Nazis and other good things that came out of the war, good things can often come out of the terrible, but there is a lot of romanticizing of the whole ordeal. Whether it is the idea of the US winning the war, ignoring everything all the other Allies did, or that it was good vs evil.

"Both of these were enemy nations which, in every measurable way, were led by morally inferior leaders" Of course, not like our morally superior leaders who were fine old segregationists, who rounded up Japanese Americans and put them into internment camps, who allowed slaughter of prisoners of war, who nuked civilians, who put gay concentration camp prisoners in jail, etc. "That, IMHO, from the standpoint of the United States was an irrefutably just and necessary war." Nope, not at all. I would ask you to read some of the writings of black activists of the 40s in regards to the WW2 draft, and read about the US's actions towards our ally (for a good 80 years before this) Japan before speaking here. Threatening to hit a nation struggling with decades of economic depression to the point of starving that is desperately trying to industrialize with an oil embargo if it does not give up the land which it uses to get steel (land it has owned for 30-50 years by that point) in order to goad it into attacking as an excuse to attack a completely different country?

"Leaders, who were intent on using assembly-line genocide to rid the world of certain entire groups of completely innocent, scapegoated peoples, who they saw as inferior (i.e.; those who were more intelligent, successful and far more civilized than themselves.)" I am guessing you are white and are also able bodied, given your utter ignorance about the massive eugenics movement in US history. May I suggest reading Buck v Bell as a starting point here? Or looking at photos taken by consciencious objectors during WW2 of American mental institutions? My grandmother grew up on a Cherokee reservation. She could have told you plenty about genocide.

In regards to the current wars, it does matter that there is no draft, because a draft is a huge issue in and of itself. However, a lack of a draft does not change the fact that a quarter of million people have been murdered here. It also does not change the fact that we die as money is funneled away from social programs to fund war. It does not change the fact that communities have to deal with injured and damaged people who have been trained to be violent. " they are, for better or worse, free to do so" So, am I 'free to do so' if I want to go an shoot up a school down the block? Why is murder a matter of personal choice if it is across an ocean by an inhuman tragedy down the street?

Nicole... I started out my comment by saying, "things are not always as black and white as that."

Over the years if I've learned nothing else, it's that almost all truths that exist in the world, lie somewhere in the gray areas.

I won't take issue with anything you said. It's all true. But, as I said, nothing is as black and white as we would like to believe.

How we got into the war in the Pacific is obvious... we were directly attacked.

Clearly, The U.S. knew exactly what was going on in western Europe. But, as we all know, unless our leaders flat out lie to us (i.e. Bushco), it's not an easy task to get U.S. citizens to willingly give up their treasure, both human and monetary, to go to war.

They need to have powerful reasons to allow their children to be sent head first into a grizzly war machine, especially one being run by a maniac... the likes of Adolf Hitler.

The United States of America has had a long history of anti-semitism. With a little help from an element within our own German population, it was especially active during the thirties... during the reign of Hitlers Third Reich.

It was gonna take far more then a few million Jews being murdered, to serve as the inspiration to get the U.S. citizenry involved in such a pesky situation on the other side of the Atlantic. But once we were pulled into the war by Japan... and Germany and Japan being close allies, it was inevitable that we'd have to fight Hitler, as well.

Being a lifelong admirer and political disciple of FDR, I must believe that this was the chance he'd been waiting for. The chance to get us over there and do what obviously needed to be done. (Besides, had he not, my true hero, Eleanor, probably would've broken his goddamned crutches over his head!)

Yes... Stalin was, indeed, an evil tyrant... IMHO, not quite as diabolical as Hitler but, as one of Jewish decent, I hope you'll allow me to split a few hairs on that.

Who knows how many of his own people Stalin murdered both before and after the war... millions, I'm sure.

Fact is, Hitler invaded The Soviet Union and that nation is said to have lost approx. 26,000,000 people as a, direct or indirect, result of that invasion. Had it not been for Stalin pushing back and then defeating the Germans on the eastern front, we could never have succeeded in our victories on the western front... at least not without it having taken far more time and countless more casualties both militarily and civilian.

Now, for the matter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki... It was obvious to all, including the Japanese Military that the war was all but lost for Japan. Any sane leader would have conceded that and surrendered. But not the Imperial Emperor of Japan. He chose to fight down to the last man, woman and child... for the "honor" of his (once) great nation. Had that war gone on, we would have had to land our troops on the mainland of Japan. That would have made Normandy look like a church picnic.

Let's not forget... Japan's soldiers were renown for being particularly vicious! In addition, similar to the Jihadists we face today, Japan had Kamikaze pilots (murderers) who were willing to commit suicide in order to kill Americans.

So, to forsake who knows how many hundreds of thousands more deaths of our men, and their civilian population, it was decided to once and for all end the war. It was calculated that the number of civilian deaths in those two doomed cities, would be far less than the unimaginable number of the deaths suffered, had the war continued.

By demonstrating to the world that, hence forth, there would be catastrophic consequences if any other nation ever had thoughts of invading us, no nation has ever had the nerve to do it again.

That is, until the fanatical Muslim extremist Jihadists. Since they're not a nation with universally accepted defined borders, we're in entirely new, uncharted territory now...

Was dropping the Atomic Bomb the right decision? I think it was. But that's just one aging NY fag's opinion...

As a foot note, there's one more thing of huge importance that I wish to point out...

At the conclusion of WWII, unlike any other victorious nation in history, instead of plundering and destroying those who tried to destroy us, we rebuilt both Germany and Japan.

We brought them both into the world of free, democratic, civilized, prosperous nations. So much so that both of those nations, once our worst enemies, are now beating our asses on myriad fronts... both socially and economically!

It IS black and white.

Simply put, if human kind cannot purge its need to go to war, the entire planet, and everything on it, WILL be destroyed. This is is a mathematical certainty.

Bil, I just noticed that "Much, much more after the jump" thingy. If you think my comments are long, ya oughta catch me in person! LOL!

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 10, 2011 7:09 AM

Bil, you most eloquently sum up the feelings of many concerning this issue. Collectively as human beings we should detest war. But our thoughts and own individual actions of several billion people who live on the same rather small planet are far from collective. There IS such a thing as objective evil, and sometimes it must be countered. But the process by which decisions are made as to where, when, and how has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity.

I can't take credit, Don. That's all DennisNYC & not me!

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 10, 2011 11:40 AM you elequently quoted Denniss' eloquent comment to what the opening line of your post which referred to it as "from MY [my emphasis] post".

(It's getting so that an old fart like me can't even uneloquently nit-pick links, headlines, and references any more.....oh, well....all in a day's reading.) (:

"Leaders, who were intent on using assembly-line genocide to rid the world of certain entire groups of completely innocent, scapegoated peoples, who they saw as inferior..."

And now, the Religious Right. Perhaps we need to return the favor of declaration of "war" on them. They certainly have declared war on us!

Yes, let's not romanticize the U.S. Our country and leadership is just as corrupt, self-serving and evil as any other (in general, I'm not pointing only to the Obama admin). We just clothe it in our egotistic morality.

Regan DuCasse | January 10, 2011 1:58 PM

During WW2, my father served in a segregated army in the Pacific.
My uncle, who subsequently was an effective and strong civil rights advocate, refused to serve.
He refused on the grounds that it was an outrage to serve in segregated ranks, and for blacks, whose sacrifices and responsibilities were the same as any other citizen, still confronted Jim Crow and other systemic bigotry in this country.

He went to jail for three years for refusing to serve. His decision and commitment was VERY brave.
Gay men and women who refused to serve or disclosed their orientation in order not to, is very different.
They didn't face incarceration if they didn't.

As for what is or isn't an unjust war. Vietnam, like the Korean war, represented the incursion of Communistic despotism on vulnerable peoples everywhere, where Nazism otherwise was thwarted.
But Communists still were an identifiable and collective situation and eventually, the ruling governments of North Korea, China, the Eastern Bloc of Europe. Quite a swath of influence.

Over the decades and several Presidential administrations, we're confronted with dictators and despots relying on engaging America as their security force and breadbasket. Utilizing DUPLICITY to play the victim of other countries (like Iraq was with Iran and Kuwait with Iraq) in the Arab countries, as these dictators colluded with their own terror squads to keep their own populations in abject control.
It boiled down to exploiting the more compassionate aspects of American war engagement, while using their populations as terror cells against Jews, Americans and others in a more stealthy way.
We gave support to the Muslims in Kosovo and so on, but that didn't make an impression.
And in retrospect, were those Muslims imprisoned like they were to thwart terrorist stirrings?
Those camps and the violence was terrible against those Muslims. But if we had any ideas regarding going about dealing with them differently, would anyone listen? Did they after all?

We keep getting taunted and dared into action through violence on innocents and civilians.
We aren't never really given much choice.

When there are no rules or concepts of engaging in attacks against civilians, then NONE can be applied without it becoming a chaotic mess.
Suddam Hussein was on several occasions the beneficiary of our compassion, while he turned it into hurting his own people and using AMerica as a scapegoat in the meantime.
His agents played cat and mouse with the WMD issue, and pretended they had them, when they didn't.
Engaging us in ways we didn't expect and UNDERESTIMATED.
9/11 was carried out against civilians, by a handful of OTHER civilians, utilizing our own generosity of immigration and open education to do it. Living in this country for nearly two years planning that attack.
AND it was carried out by a majority of Saudi Muslims, who as a country and government have been generous to.
Saudis who themselves were not acting because of poverty or hardship they'd experienced, but from IDEOLOGICAL beliefs, similar to the intractable beliefs we encounter from Christians and other religious groups.

When terrorists carry no representation, wear no uniforms and who cannot be identified in a collective away from civilians, instead they integrate among every day and non governmental or military targets.
And our own compassion and reluctance to DELIBERATELY target civilians is exploited to the full by terrorists.

There really was little choice in responding to 9/11, but terrorists are cowardly and crafty and without conscious when it comes to civilian targets and how they use them.
We are befuddled and without organization.
The terrorists brought this, but this country and it's reps have been hard pressed to deal with them effectively because THEY DON'T want anything but to cause as much mayhem as possible.

They have less reason to commit their acts, than we have the means to respond to it.
And each of our Presidents since Truman, keep getting tested and tested more and more to that response.
Some little punk assed dictator will always want to shame the US or show it's weaknesses and they sure do it, more and more.

The Iraquis were under attack and under siege LONG before the US EVER showed up.
And every bombing in that country wasn't the work of America, but Iraquis tearing EACH other up.
Unjust war?
Sure is.
It's not America's fault that it is. It was unjust because of two faced, duplicitous dictators playing two sides against each other to their own ends.
Look at who is STILL in power, compared to how many different Presidents were forced to deal with them, to no avail that WE ever benefited from.
And with each failure of a country, that devolves and secedes to it's most violent denominator, the best we can do is develop a siege mentality and forget a 'global economy', because that globalization gives more economic strength and benefit to those who should least have it.
And learn to beat terrorist and THEIR OWN GAME.
And figure out who is loyal and who isn't, not just who is economically and politically expedient.

I was waiting for someone to point out that the US military was still segregated in WW-II. Thx, Regan!

In fact, it is my personal theory that WW-II was the single most important US event that eventually precipitated the US Civil Rights Movement in the 60's. It took awhile to get the ball rolling, but black soldiers who returned from Europe realized they were treated better in Europe than they were in the home country they were fighting for.

As for whether WW-II was just, I can say that I am thankful that I grew up in a world where Hitler lost, rather than an alternate world in which he won. Imagine Castro's Cuba, except it covers the entire Western hemisphere. Or worse. That's as pragmatic as I can be about it.

Beat the terrorist at their own game by targeting civilians? Wtf, to beat a terrorist you become a terrorist? Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant idea and fits perfectly with the huge load of bullshit that was your comment.