A clean, well-lit place to vent
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I'm a very liberal professor at a small liberal arts college. Ten years ago I taught a class that focused on development of critical thinking skills by using current and historical events. I invited my fellow employees, from all areas of the college, who were veterans to come into my class and talk to my students about how they had served and why they had served, and what it meant to them, then and now. On the ninth of this month, I will offer the program again. We have moved the program my 30-person classroom to the auditorium, and to a time when other classes can attend.
We fill the room with quiet, respectful, students, faculty and staff, who listen to students, faculty, and staff tell their stories about being a member of the armed forces. The number of panelists who participate has risen, but the stories are real and raw and we all leave the room with enhanced respect for the sacrifice our service members and their families make. We hand out cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program and fill a good size box with signed cards and good wishes. I started this because I'm a brat; my dad and his dad and my mom's dad all served. My nephew is currently serving. It's how I and, I'm proud to say, several hundred members of my college community, choose to honor those of us who served or are serving. Oh, and we'll take every vet we can get; great students, focused and disciplined.
Go, B.D.! A nice way to bring some attention to the scandal -- in the true meaning of the word. Not just the latest politician with an uncontrolled libido, but the devastating fact that veterans seem to be forgotten once they return to this country.
I don't agree with the Blowbacker's "swath of devastation" characterization. I have been over there twice, and I was part of a massive swath of stopping people on the wrong side of the gun from getting massacred.
While I, too, am concerned that my government chose to borrow from China instead of asking the 99% of the citizens not in the military to accept a tax increase to pay for the wars, I am more concerned about the 1% of the American populace which has been most directly affected by this giant mis-step: the troops who are fighting these wars, and their families. And that 1%, as opposed to the 1%-ers referred to in the OWS rhetoric, also pays taxes at a higher rate with no substantial tax shelters. They're paying taxes to help support the wars they've been commanded to fight! While hindsight can inform what we do in the future, it can't change the past. Go Hightower!
Great cartoon today. I had thought of many cheesier ways it could've ended, but this one surprises and delights. It's also a neat counterpoint to the "support the troops" mode that Doonesbury started with this thread. I hope your plans for Hightower are good. His guilt from killing people plus guilt from knowing he contributed to a massive swath of devastation would be too much for anyone, in my opinion.
Re today's strip: As a 30-year Navy vet whose son served two tours in Iraq, I supported the war in Afghanistan from the begining and opposed the Iraq war at the same time. The true believers who still think that the Iraq war was justified by the vague threats and unsubstantiated rumors of the imminent danger of the so-called "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that Saddam supposedly had hidden somewhere in his country will never be convinced that the tyrant was a paper tiger. To get an idea how badly our intelligence was misled in the run-up to the war, just Google "Curveball" to see how an unemployed Baghdad tavxi driver managed to hornswoggle the Germans, the Brits and us into believing what the neocons wanted to believe. It was a pitiful exercise in futility.
Maybe some college professors are radical liberals who would never join the military, but most are just thoughtful, well-educated people who try to make their decisions based on the real information at hand. Seems you can't judge a book by its cover, nor a college professor by his tweed coat.
"...A view shared by many in my command.." Five days to set us up for this punch line! Well done GBT. Yet again you make your point through the complexities of the American experience. I am a college professor who, as a student, chose to protest the war in Vietnam in the sixties while four of my cousins chose to serve. My nephew served two tours in Iraq. I am ashamed that my government chose to borrow money from China to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq instead of asking the 99% of the citizens not in the military to accept a tax increase to pay for the wars.
With all due respect, I remember it differently. I opposed the war and pointed out that Powell's speech was riddled with errors if not outright lies. I wasn't alone in that. I also remember the largest protests in history marching in the cities of the world against the invasion. In real time, each of the Bush administrations excuses for going to war were debunked. If it's only in hindsight that people realize the invasion was wrong; it's because they weren't paying attention at the time.
With all the current Monday-morning quarterbacking and 20/20 hindsight, it might be helpful to remember what surrounded the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein and Iraq was a threat that needed to be eliminated -- the U.S., the British, the Germans, the French, everyone. The only real controversy at that time was what to do about it. I recall that the King of Jordan told Gen. Tommy Franks that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them. Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, stated that Saddam Hussein's clear goal was to get control of the Middle East oil fields, and was probably within five years of being able to do so. Saddam Hussein himself told our interrogators after his capture that he did not have weapons of mass destruction, but that he had kept the minds and the means to make them. The decision to invade Iraq was a drawn-out and complicated process, and the American people are ill-served by the simplistic Bush lied/Cheney lied/Rice lied/Powell lied reductionism that we now hear.
Love today's strip. Everyone I know who served in Iraq thinks it was a mistake for us to be there. I'm sure this isn't a representative sample, but the public perception seems to be that the military are always supportive of any war that we're in. Not true...
Loved the punchline to today's strip. I recall going to a college garden party in about 2006, and I fell into conversation with the college's bursar, a rather peppery retired major. Somehow the subject of the war came up. I was in my early twenties, so when the bursar demanded to know what I thought of the Iraq war, I was rather intimidated. However, I didn't wish to lie, so I said bluntly, "I think it was a hare-brained military adventure we went into under false pretences, and we really shouldn't have done so." To which he replied "Damn right!" and proceeded to tell us, at length, how disquieted much of the Army brass was by the whole thing. Moral: don't assume that all military men are gung-ho hawks -- and equally, don't assume that people who don't support particular wars therefore don't support the troops.
Oh, nice. Just plain nice: spin and counter-spin. Yesterday you remind us that it's painful for vets to face the many bitterly reactionary liberal profs who do, indeed, exist. Then spinning it back to a prof who's a vet himself, from "their" arena? Oh, so nice. I am looking forward to something complex, nuanced, and subtle. Unlike our mainstream media news....
For the past forty years this has been the only real way for Canadians to understand American current events -- and history. Thank you.
Revisionist history. I too, had a rude reality check. I was back, in college, hanging at the library. I saw a kid come in, pick up a glossy rag on Viet Nam, and start thumbing through it. I couldn't help myself. I said, "I was there, you know. Three years of everything from Shore Patrol to Public Affairs." He looked at me, kinda funny, like I had interrupted his train of thought, and said, "S'okay. I can get all I need from this book here." And I thought to myself, "You can lead a horse..." Excellent portrait of Ray and BD. Excellent point on the sitting duck. Been there, too.
It is nice to see Doonesbury admitting that some college professors are radical liberals who would never be in the military.
p.s. Alaska has more military personnel (active and Veterans) per capita than any other state, and as such are pro-military. Tomorrow in Anchorage the military is having a "stand down" where veterans who are street people can get help with their problems. This is supported by the state, the city, local businesses and the general population. I have volunteered to transport Veterans to various events.
Today's strip really hit me hard, as it peeled back the edge of the "cover" that fragile vets work with, trying to cope. We also see it in our beloved demented. This was a master touch of subtlety. I'm pretty tuned in to it, as my name is Ray and I lost my wife to dementia.
Let Ray pay the rent. He needs to feel entitled to respect as a valuable member of; society, veterans, family. So what if he's a little off on his math (and thereby, his reality) right now? He's back, he's alive, and he's trying. Go, Ray, go!
I just read the most recent comments about Toggle. PTSD (got mine in Nam) is a life-controlling disease. The best you can do is learn to live with it. Thanks for a sensitive and touching approach to it in both the younger (Toggle) and older (B.D. and Ray) vets. You've probably done more for us than all the drugs and shrinks at the VA (tho they really try).
Today's strip includes the infamous straw man that the Republicans and the right love to throw out to justify refusing any attempts at health care reform: the old "ER" excuse. Let's ignore the fact that ERs do charge people (often $1000 for something minor). And worse, if you go in and they find out that you have a serious medical condition that needs long term care, you are SOL in that they will only give you basic, bare minimum treatment and reject you if you need bone marrow or a new organ or have cancer that needs extensive treatment, such as chemo and surgery to remove said tumor. I know several people who refuse to go to the emergency room when sick because their financial situation is so dire that a trip to the ER can pretty much bring them to the brink of financial ruin, given how much hospital ERs charge people for treatment. And god help you if you are so sick that you have to spend 3-4 days in the hospital.