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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:22 PM
Original message
An Old Man Died Last Night -
An old man died in his sleep last night. Ninety-three years old, he made all the newspapers, all over the world. He lived to that fine old age in comfort and ease, with children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren. I dont know. I didnt read any of his obituaries. I dont care what he had.

I only know that he had what Bobby never had.

Bobby and I grew up together, joined together by the fact that our mothers worked side-by-side at a dress factory. We werent rich, not at all, but we lived in a place where we were safe and we could go anywhere, play in the high hills surrounding our little town, romp in the parks that bracketed the place, walk unafraid on any of the streets, even after dark.

We learned to smoke cigarettes together, cadging Chesterfields and Pall Malls from any open pocketbook my aunts happened to leave within our reach. We lifted a couple of smokes and took off for the Injun Rock, an old concrete foundation on the west end of town, not far from our houses, but up in the hills, where no one could see us. We learned to hunker over to shield the matches as we lit up our newfound treasures.

At nine years of age.

We rode our bikes in the summer, and Bobby had the job of fastening baseball cards to our wheels, somehow enabling us to make what we thought were motorcycle sounds as we rode all over, stopping for lunch at my house or his, where our Moms always had something for us when they were at home on their break from work.

My family was better off that Bobbys, because my Dad had a good job with the government, but Bobbys Dad was a coal miner, and the mines had begun to die. His Mom was the breadwinner and they struggled. I remember stopping at his house once, after school, ravenous, and all we found in the kitchen was a half-empty box of Saltines. The refrigerator was empty. Id never seen anything like that before.

We gobbled down the Saltines.

As we got older, we found other best friends, but we still bumped into and off of each other. Years later, after it was all over, I asked his mother why we hadnt continued to be best friends after third or fourth grade, and her answer was simple and wise and sad.

You turned into a boy and a girl, she said.

We tried to sit near each other in class, whenever we could, and wed giggle as we passed a piece of paper back and forth, writing silly notes, sometimes filthy notes or what we thought was filthy. I recall using the word blow a whole lot more than was warranted.

Then I had a boyfriend, a college boy, and an after school job, and Bobby had a car and a job of his own. He smoked out in the open, while I still hid my habit, doing it only in the hangout near the high school, where my friends and I hung out. Bobby wasnt a regular there, but he was always good for a big hmmmm among my girlfriends when he showed up. Blonde and blue-eyed, Bobby was cute, very, very cute, and he knew it.

He wore a black leather motorcycle jacket, although he didnt ride a motorcycle. Jeans and a t-shirt and motorcycle boots. He had the hood look down cold, although he was anything but.

He found me one day and said we had to talk. We went for a ride in his car, AM radio playing the songs we loved, and then we parked in a pull-out that overlooked our town. He told me that hed done it the night before. He didnt say it with any braggadocio it was just a flat statement.

I was surprised at my jealousy, but then I realized, This is Bobby. And I snapped out of it. When I asked who the girl was, he told me, and there was some relief for me, because she was a girl who went to the Catholic high school in our town not one of my girlfriends.

Whew.

But, he felt awful about it. He wondered if shed gotten pregnant and did he have to marry her. I knew as little about it as he did, my own virginity preciously defended against my frustrated college boyfriend, and I told him that I knew about a doctor in a nearby town who could take care of it.

Bobby nodded, and he looked as sad as Ive ever seen anybody look.

When I asked him if they were gonna do it again, he smiled and said, Oh, yeah, they sure were, and I knew my old best buddy was all right.

As it turned out, she wasnt pregnant, but she was the first of a slew of girls who fell prey to Bobbys charms. He always told me about it, until one day, in a fit of adolescent pique, I told him I didnt want to hear it any more. I wasnt his priest, and this wasnt confession.

After that, we didnt see each other all that much.

Prom time came, and Bobby passed. Hed gotten himself caught up in a marathon necking session with the class lesbian one night in our hangout both of them very, very drunk and they had somehow become a strange, but obviously happy, couple. They were together through graduation, when I was scheduled to go off to college, and Bobby, with the draft hanging over him, went to work somewhere in Jersey, someplace where his uncle got him a job.

Wed see each other on some weekends, when we were both home at the same time. Christmas, my first year in college, he came to my house, bringing me a small gift, a pretty jade pendant on a gold chain. I had by then ditched my college boyfriend for all the new boys I was meeting in a big-city university, and the gift made me wonder. Bobby and I went out that night, going to a bar where all the kids went, where being underage didnt matter, and he told me about his life, his place in the rooming house, the Jersey girls who did things hed never even dreamed of, how hed joined the union, and he was making good money.

His hands now looked like I remembered his fathers hands, big and rough. Bobby had grown up, become a man, while I was still a flighty wisp of a girl, with no responsibilities beyond getting to class on time. I was the kind of girl who decided to wash her long hair when it was announced that her date had arrived to pick her up. He was a man who belonged to a union and who had sex with lots of girls. In his bed.

I was not surprised when I got a letter from my Mom and she told me that Bobby had been drafted. He knew it was only a matter of time, but still, his Mother was upset. He was her only son, her baby, and she was so worried about him.

The next time I saw him, he was in uniform, thinner, but somehow bulkier, and he seemed taller. Everything about him was shiny. I couldnt get over it. His hands, though, were still rough. And he was tanned, with a crewcut the likes of which Id never seen. Bobby had a nice head, I discovered, as I teased him and wore his cap while we had dinner, an invitation hed extended, which had surprised me, because it was so grown-up. Wed never had dinner together, in a restaurant, when people deferred to him, and where I finally felt like a woman with a man.

We had grown up together, I decided.

We were not quite twenty years old.

I asked him about the class lesbian, and he laughed and said he didnt know where she was. He said he didnt drink like that any more, but the way he put away the beer with dinner belied his words, and he chain-smoked.

We talked about his being shipped overseas. He was infantry, he told me, but that didnt mean much to me. He said he was ready to go He said he liked the Army, and he thought he might re-enlist when his tour was over. He could imagine making it his career, he said.

I still didnt know what I wanted to be, but I knew wife and mother was in my future. That was about all I could see. I told Bobby I wanted him to be godfather to my first baby, and he smiled at that. He said hed be honored, and we were very serious about that, because, you see, we were grownups.

When my Mom called me that sunny Spring day and told me Bobby was dead, I didnt quite understand. He had been sent to a country wed read about in Geography class in eighth grade, but I hadnt really paid much attention to it. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia they were all lumped together. And Bobby had died in Vietnam.

His third day there, hed stepped on a land mine.

Come home, my Mom told me. Hes being buried from home.

In his coffin, with the military men standing there, Bobby didnt look as big as he had the last time Id seen him. He looked shiny, though, and calm, like death was all right for him, nothing to furrow his brow or make him scowl. No smiles, either. He was smooth, sort of flattened. When I looked at him, at all of him, lying there, I realized there wasnt much of Bobby left, that landmines are terrible things.

Black gloves covered what had once been his hands. The soft small hands of the little boy who passed me that cigarette as we squatted in the Injun Rock, the gawky hands of a boy who was learning how to work on cars, the rough, rugged hands of a man, the man he had become.

Now, his hands were gone.

An old man died last night in Washington. He lived to be ninety-three, and he was the man who sent my best childhood friend to his useless death in a country thousands of miles away, dying for a false belief that drove the old man when he was still a young man.

Robert McNamara lived seventy-three years longer than Bobby. I wonder if he ever stopped to look at Bobbys name on the Vietnam Wall, the place I still go to when I miss him, where his name is something I can touch, something to which I can whisper I love you, a place where McNamara can no longer hurt him.

When a friend told me this morning that McNamara had died, my first thought was, Good. He wont kill any more young men any more. An irrational thought, for he was gone, so was the Vietnam War, for so long. But, for some of us, it never went on, we never got older, nothing ever changed, I am still looking down at Bobbys hands in those black gloves, and tonight I am thinking of my oldest best friend who never got to be old, who is forever young, forever twenty years old, and I am glad that McNamara is finally dead.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. a wonderful, poignant read
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you for that!
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DainBramaged Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
3. You made me cry my friend, I am sorry for your loss
One of my best friends from High School is on the wall. He along with tens of thousands of others who do not belong there. And the mad man who sent them to their deaths got to live a very long and prosperous life.

It ain't fair.
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SCantiGOP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
113. my best friend from high school also
When I returned from my freshman year at college my mother met me at the door in tears and told me he had been killed. My only son is named for him.
A beautiful piece of writing; very cathartic.
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DainBramaged Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #113
143. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel 4 West. Causality number 54575
And then there was my brother who was severely wounded there and came home to eventually become like so so many, lost and homeless, without any help from the Government that sent him to fight. 25 years after my Dad's death, (which was the last time we saw him), he is still missing.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
4. I hear you.
He lived far too long.. and all the confessions and late apologies never undid the damage that man did.
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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
34. This may sound wrong but ...
... I'm glad he lived long enough to regret what he had done, even though the damage could never be undone.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #34
137. No, it doesn't sound wrong. Not at all.
Edited on Tue Jul-07-09 03:07 PM by calimary
At least he DID find his way to regret. We'll never see that journey taken by the likes of bush or cheney or rummy, or ANY of those other bastards surrounding them, perpetually making excuses, giving them constant cover, and showing NO remorse. GUARANTEED.
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medeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #34
145. McNamara better at confessing than explaining
I lost childhood friends as well..but have empathy for McNamara..

Assessing McNamara through today's lens
Posted by: Economist.com | NEW YORK
Categories:ObituaryPentagon
ROBERT MCNAMARA is better at confessing than explaining

That was our description of Mr McNamara's book, "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam", which we reviewed in 1995. We were not kind to the former defence secretary, whose writing we said is "singularly devoid of precision, introspection or convincing analysis". But I was most struck by the way we ended the review, lamenting Mr McNamara's failure to tackle one key issue in particular: "how America's leaders could recognise the futility of the military struggle in Vietnam yet blind themselves to the necessary conclusion that the alternative was defeat."

Considering the lessons we've learned over the past seven years, I think we were too harsh in condemning Mr McNamara on this count. It is easy in hindsight to say that America should've ended its war in Vietnam at some or another point short of 1975, as the mission became hopeless. But many said the same about Iraq in 2005 and 2006, only to see things turn around a bit in 2008. Wars tend to be much more accurately assessed when they're over.

Having said that, let's also give Mr McNamara at least a scrap of credit for eventually recognising that his own policies were failing. As my colleague said yesterday, there will be parallels drawn between Mr McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld, but the two differ considerably in this area. Mr Rumsfeld and his neoconservative colleagues were set in their ways, obstinate to the end. As David Rieff tells Greg Djerejian, "Like the Trotskyists of yore, these people are never wrong if only they had been listened to and allowed to follow their mad utopian schemes to their limit." Even today they continue to give counsel, as if our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us nothing, least of all that they are not to be trusted. Mr McNamara, on the other hand, made efforts to learn (and have us learn) from his mistakes. It's a favourable comparison for him. He need not be exalted for his admissions of failure, but let's at least recognise this character trait as a useful example for future government employees.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. what an honor to bobby
thank you for the story. tears and chills.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'd comment, but
I'm having trouble seeing the keys through the tears.
Thanks for a wonderful read. I'm so sorry for your loss...
:hug::hug::hug:
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
7. K&R
Thanks.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. He got my best friend's cousin, Jimmy Boy, killed over there and my college friend, George
I was listening to the radio in the wee hours this morning when I heard the news. I said to myself, "Good", and got up to make a pot of coffee and think it over.

:hug:
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
9. What a beautiful tribute to Bobby
Isn't it odd how those who lead others to their graves live for ages.
Good riddance McNamara - I lost so many friends - my boss's brother in law - so young and full of life; my Brooklyn landlord's four year old son who was laughing with the other kids one Saturday afternoon back in 1973 when their neighbour, a Vietnam vet who couldn't bear to hear children laughing or crying, and burnt him with acid from head to toe.
Lovely post sis.
K & R
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rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
10. Well said...
I had a similar, tho less eloquent, response when I heard the news.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
11. Yes I'm glad McNamara is gone too
some of my friends he killed just as sure as if he had held the gun himself.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. Thanks TL
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
13. That is beautiful...
Thank you for sharing.
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
14. I type through my tears...
What a beautiful, poignant story you've told us today...

Blessings on you...

And on Bobby.


K&R

:cry:

:pals:

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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
15. That needs to be read by everyone who votes in favor of useless wars
Please send this out to Keith, Rachel, Ed - to whoever might read it on the air for millions to hear it. It is so powerful and should speak to everyone.

:hug: :cry:
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R
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angrycarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. k+r
You made a grown man cry, thank you.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
18. :) :(
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
19. Tommy
He was my sisters bobby,
She was never the same when he was killed by mcnamara and the dick.
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greenbriar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
20. that was awesome
thank you
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
21. An instant classic.
Can't recommend it enough.
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blaze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
22. Dang T la B
:cry:

Thank you for sharing Bobby with us.



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Moondog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
23. I lost several friends to this man's vanity.
Quite a few more were never again quite the same.

If there is a hell I sincerely hope that McNamara is in it.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
24. Breathtaking read.
Echoed in hundreds of thousands of broken hearts

who will always mourn

the 58,159 dead

and the 2,000 missing

All gone because of that scumbag......


Thank you for one of the finest truths of war I have ever read.


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Possumpoint Donating Member (937 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
25. The Good Die Young
The other linger. It is so sad that even as he was in charge he knew what he was doing was wrong.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
26. I don't think people who didn't live though it will ever understand that time.
The only good thing that ever came out of that war was the knowledge that the Establishment couldn't pour piss out of a boot if you wrote the instructions on the heel. I wonder how much that knowledge fed into women's liberation and the gay liberation movement.
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malmapus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
27. What a tribute to your friend.

There are a few flags that my dad and I put out on graves for Memorial Day that were friends of my dad in school, all there because of that man too. Young lives lost while he got to live to that ripe old age and pass away peacefully.

In a way, I owe my existence to him though. When my dad was in college, he got his notice for the draft. But turned out he has Scoliosis and was "lucky" enough to not be selected. It was when he got that letter giving him the news, and showed it to his friend, my mom, that she realized she loved him. But still the one life that came from that relationship, compared to the untold amount that were lost, doesn't even make a mark.
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lordsummerisle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
28. Very moving, thank you n/t
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
29. What a tribute this is to someone
Who probably reminds every other person reading this of someone they know.

Thank you very much, and wish (with all my heart) you still had your friend.


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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
30. Thank you for an extraordinary post. So much pain caused by so much stubborn ideology.
I hope McNamara died haunted and tormented to the last by the enormous evil he abetted.

sw
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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
31. I only wish that sonuvabitch had died in prison...
war criminal!
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
32. Such a moving tribute. I remember those days well. n/t
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madamesilverspurs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
33. All of our "Bobbys"
are ever and always held in our hearts. May they rest a little easier, now.



I don't know what to say to the newest generation of "Bobbys."
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blue sky at night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
35. thanks....
what a good writer you are...the first person is very well done. I am upset by your loss, I am upset when we loose young people, I lost three Friends before I was twenty in a car accident. I am upset when people die because of thinking that sends them to a war that should not be fought...my brother is a wing-nut and that is what separates us, he is ok with the death, but I cannot tolerate that kind of thinking without protest. Kent State happened in my very formative years, years when I was straight-A kind of guy, but after that things changed....I feel they took something from me that day, something I could never get back, and in a way it ruined my life...made me hate my country, my government, my president, my governor, my own mother was on their side! Thanks again for giving me someone I feel close to, that I have empathy with.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
36. Strange its always old men that send young men to die in war.
Edited on Mon Jul-06-09 08:17 PM by Historic NY
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #36
129. Yes, and it's another instance of a poor boy dying in a rich man's war.
That's also archetypal. :cry:
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misanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
37. Very well written!**nm
**
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Atticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
38. That had the feel---
of something that "just flowed" when you touched the keyboard but went straight as an arrow into the soul of all who read it.

Thank you.
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
39. thank you
from "my Bobby" to "your Bobby"
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
40. Tangerine LaBamba thank you for sharing your memories of
your friend Bobby!
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
41. Looking at the news this morning, four things came to mind.
The men who never got to be old that I knew as boys.

The old man who was to blame, and I prayed that every one of his days since then was filled with ghosts and hell for him.

The Chad Mitchell Trio version of the Sinking of the Ruben James,
particularly the last lines:

Many years have passed
and still I wonder why
The worst of men must fight
and the best of men must die


And you, knowing you would be somewhere far in the past today, hoping you were coping well with any demons born of hate or sorrow.

Know you touched many, and that such a gift is a fitting tribute to an old friend, even one who never got old.

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Third Doctor Donating Member (213 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
42. It's sad
That certain draft dodgers didn't learn from the mistakes of the vietnam era. Then again they approved of it as long as they didn't have to fight for their beliefs themselves.
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sce56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #42
48. I take that to be a refference to 5 deferments Dick Cheney and his trained Monkey CMDR AWOL n/t
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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
43. This is the most beautiful post I have ever read here at DU.
Thank you.

:cry:
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
44. VietNam...the gift that keeps on giving to all of us with loved ones involved. Dreadful.
Sorry for your sadness Tam, its about the best any of us can offer. Your tribute to him is beautiful.
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Mira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
45. Thank you for telling us, Tangerine, and allowing us to feel with you.
I know this was hard to write, yet cathartic.
M
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
46. This post is a respectful silence
Edited on Mon Jul-06-09 08:46 PM by Gman
for you, and for Bobby.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
47. Thank you, Tangerine LaBamba. It's been 40 years since I came home and I still can't
Edited on Mon Jul-06-09 09:10 PM by bertman
make myself go to that black wall to see how many more of my friends and fellow soldiers died for that awful mistake.

In '69, Melvin Laird, the Secretary of Defense, made a trip to Vietnam to "see the war for himself".

The day Secretary Laird came to IV Corps to "see the war" the grunts, chopper pilots, flyboys, Riverines, and even the ARVN's got the day off.

By "got the day off" I mean that they got to PLAY WAR instead of actually doing war.

Despite the fact that we were having pitched, bloody encounters with the NVA and the VC every single day, the military STAGED an operation in the safest area they could find so our Secretary of Defense would not be exposed to the possibility of getting his lackey ass blown away.

This wasn't just any fake operation either. It was full-bore, straight out of D-Day movies kind of shit, with battalions of AirCav and Airmobile and infantry units advancing in perfect, unmolested, gun runs, flights and tactical formations toward the target de jour. Meanwhile, the Riverines ran their patrol boats and LTD's up on the shoreline chasing phantom VC as the Navy and AirForce fighter pilots made theatrical assaults on our invisible faux enemy.

We troopies smoked, joked, got high, and ate C's and had the first in-country day off many of us had ever enjoyed. Carnival atmosphere prevailed. Gallows humor was so thick you could cut it with a dull K-bar.

Then, the next day, with our brave, patriotic Secretary of Defense safely bound for another rendezvous with warfare-as-only-the-elites-know-it, the real warriors went back to work fighting, killing, and dying for America.

I don't believe in heaven or hell, but if there is a hell, I hope that asswipes like McNamara, Laird, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Dubya, Poppy, Clinton, and Bush get to spend some quality time there.

Recommend without qualification.


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phillysuse Donating Member (683 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
49. Phil Ochs said the same thing - it's always the old to lead us to war
I Aint Marching Anymore

Oh I marched to the battle of new orleans
At the end of the early british war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I aint marchin anymore

For Ive killed my share of indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the little big horn
I heard many men lying
I saw many more dying
But I aint marchin anymore

Its always the old to lead us to the war
Its always the young to fall
Now look at all weve won with the sabre and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole california from the mexican land
Fought in the bloody civil war
Yes I even killed my brother
And so many others
And I aint marchin anymore

For I marched to the battles of the german trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I aint marchin anymore

(chorus)

For I flew the final mission in the japanese sky
Set off the mighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning
I knew that I was learning
That I aint marchin anymore

Now the labor leaders screamin when they close the missile plants,
United fruit screams at the cuban shore,
Call it "peace" or call it "treason,"
Call it "love" or call it "reason,"
But I aint marchin any more.

Thank you for telling us about Bobby.

May he and Phil Ochs and all the many many other victims of that time, both American and Vietnamese rest in peace.

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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
50. :'(
:cry:
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Honeycombe8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
51. Wow. That really personalizes the Vietnam War. I was a young teen during that war, but I remember.
That takes me back. Thanks.

McNamara, ultimately and finally, though, came to the realization that he and the others had been wrong to engage in that war. Most people don't ever recognize their errors, or if they do, don't say so.

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NBachers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
52. This is your own Memorial
And one that we can all touch.

As it has touched us.

Thank you.
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sce56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
53. A shame thanks for sharing your loss
I'm only way to glad my son did not share Bobby's fate he did two tours of duty in Iraq for for what to enrich the pockets of the Bush Family and their criminal buddies like Dick Cheney and Halliburton.
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BanzaiBonnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
54. War is such a senseless thing
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
55. Very poignant and beautifully written post, Tangerine, Reminds me a bit of a Molly Ivins piece,
which brought me to tears, about her visit to the Vietnam Memorial and finding the name there of her lover, and what a terrible waste his death was. (her essay was written in the third person, but sure seemed autobiographical. It appears in one of her books.)
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Unrepentant Fenian Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
56. That was beautiful! Thank you.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
57. And Bobby will always be your best friend ... on that rock having a smoke
Wonderful writing ... you should be proud


When I heard that McNamara passed I went and checked on a childhood memory who is now on the wall.

JAMES EARL R***


PFC - E2 - Marine Corps - Regular

Length of service 1 years
His tour began on May 7, 1968
Casualty was on Aug 6, 1968
In QUANG TRI, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
OTHER EXPLOSIVE DEVICE
Body was recovered

Panel 49W - Line 20

********************

That awful day in August all those years ago .... I was just a boy and I saw a marine officer and priest coming from friend's house.

I too learned to fish, hunt, canoe, and hang w/ the older boys from Jim.








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DrZeeLit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
58. My brother-in-law served in Vietnam, a decorated Marine. He threw his medals out the window on the
ride away from the airport.

And he plotted, for a long time, how to kill Robert McNamara.

He'd seen a lot of action, never talked about it. My sister told me that his best friend was blown up right next to him. Once my b-i-l tried to talk to high schoolers about war, but he told me that he couldn't seem to get across to them that it wasn't a lot of "cool ass kicking."

When the Iraq War started, he finally had major flashbacks -- the shock and awe did him a number. He ended up in therapy. Finally talking about it. But he was so angry about the Iraq War. Began thinking again about killing another SOD.... Rumsfeld.

My brother-in-law is a hero. He served his country, worked hard, raised a family. He is a very intelligent man -- works with computers and is well paid for his skills. But he looks so much older than he is -- worn down by life and a stupid, senseless war that NOBODY should have been sent t fight.

When I go to that Wall .... all I can see is a list of heroes, but what I cannot see is... Whatever did they die for? What? Just tell me what?

And the same thing is going to happen with the Iraq War -- for what?

All for nothing.
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ebdarcy Donating Member (654 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
59. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
You write beautifully.
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blossomstar Donating Member (772 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 09:54 PM
Response to Original message
60. I feel your loss, thank you for sharing.
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Bryn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
61. Thank you for your story of Bobby
I lost my brother to Vietnam war. Not only was he my brother ... he was my best friend. He was also 20 years old. I was 19.

For your Bobby and all of Bobbys
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. For your brother
:grouphug:
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
63. Reminds me of a mournful tune from my Army days...
"In the early morning rain,
another soldier died today,
each must go his own way,
In the early morning rain."


Too often, those who do not go to war, send the young to die, often for little more than pride. We had McNarama, thodays youth have bush and his evil cabal of satan's minions. The early morning rain comes down, soldiers die, we shed a tear and speak with resolve, "never again"...until the next time...:(

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Morning Dew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
64. Thank you for letting me see Bobby . . . thank you.
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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
65. What a beautiful, soul stirring memorial to Bobby... thank you, Tang..
Recommended without further comment...

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
66. Wow.
More should read this.

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Not Sure Donating Member (334 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
67. I'm speechless. Outstanding.
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proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
68. Thank you for sharing.
It reminded me of my parents. My mother had several of her high school friends die in Vietnam and my dad went there himself. My mom and dad fell in love when they were both teenagers. Then just as my mom was graduating from HS, my dad got kicked out of college and drafted. He broke up with her because he was actually sure he was going to die there. Well obviously he didn't but when he came back he stayed away from my mom for a few years. When they did meet up she was shocked.

In her words, "He wasn't the beautiful boy I fell in love with, that boy died in Vietnam." They had a long hard road ahead of them. But now they have 3 children, 3 grandchildren and they have been married for 35 years. My dad's experiences affected us all in some ways. Your post has me thinking of him. I'll call him tomorrow and see what he thinks of McNamara's death. But I'll mostly call him to tell him I love him.
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Iwillnevergiveup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
69. Tangerine, you've taken many of us back
through a vivid trip in time that will always remain with us. You do the memory of Bobby proud in your most moving tribute to his all-too-brief life. Bobby was very lucky you were and are his friend.

K&R
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
70. Young forever ....... yeah.
This makes me cry. And it still pisses me off.

Rest Well, Bobby.

Fuck you, Robert. Rot in hell.



Tange ...... :hug:
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
71. And Kissinger is still alive...
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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
72. Wow...
:cry:
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Oldtimeralso Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
73. Dear TLB
Thank you for your story. It was also the war of my generation (HS Class of 67). I lost 7 classmates and this tore me up. I recently retired from a job that brought me to DC often and I cannot go to "the Wall" I don't know if I ever will. It is just too damn hard. I hope McNamara burns in HELL!
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ebayfool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
74. .
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Autonomy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
75. This seems a bit too harsh on McNamara
who advised Johnson against the war less than halfway in. Otherwise, it is excellently written.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
76. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
islandmkl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. as an aside, without comment on your own post...
do you have any friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc...who have been killed in any of the wars conducted by our government IN YOUR LIFETIME?

if so, please reveal your feelings about the nature of those events...

if not, then just ponder the story of the OP...and learn to administer your 'criticism' where you have a valid forum...

...or, most likely, you cannot help but be an asshat and go out of your way to reinforce that observation....
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #76
79. You really shouldn't post all drunk like that. n/t
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FailureToCommunicate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 11:34 PM
Response to Original message
77. Amen. Beautifully written tribute to all that we lost because of that man, that war,
that insatiable military industrial complex, feeding the Cold War -that wasn't cold for those who fought there.
I join you in mourning those on the wall - my friends Charlie and Blue- and so many many others of our generation who came back wounded in body or spirit.
Thank you T La B, for expressing your feelings so well.
Our dear friends are forever young.
Forever.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
80. Thank you, TL.
Some of us won't ever forget.
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nolabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
81. Amazing. I'm sorry. nt.
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vietnam_war_vet Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:48 AM
Response to Original message
82. In this case.....
....a thank you simply seems inadequate for what you shared.

Many years ago, I waded through McNamara's "confessional" (In Retrospect...). When that book was released, I remembered how the inside-the-beltway crowd did their concerted best to discredit many of the things that McNamara revealed in that book about the real nuts and bolts behind that war's policies...mostly built upon deceptions within deceptions that McNamara and his government and military colleagues deliberately foisted upon the American public in general and politicians alike. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was just an early version of Bush/Cheney's Iraqi WMDs. I can remember political pundits discussing McNamara's alleged mental health problems, including his allegedly suffering dementia from Alzheimer's.

The ironic part was that due to what I did during that war and where I did it....I knew firsthand that more than a few of McNamara's disclosures in that book were factual and true. As for the rest of his disclosures, I'd wager that they were also true.

Sadly, way too many Americans back then -- and still now -- either didn't believe what McNamara revealed in his book or simply didn't care.

No wonder we (a collective "we") repeatedly fail to learn from our past and our past mistakes. Since Vietnam, we have continued to be lead by our collective noses into one needless, immoral, illegal war after another after another....

Off rant....Michael
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National Steel 27 Donating Member (91 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:55 AM
Response to Original message
83. Damn, TLB....
I just wish I had enough posts to make it count.

Much love...

National Steel
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:57 AM
Response to Original message
84. Thanks, Tangerine LaBamba
Bobby was lucky to have such a wonderful friend.

I remember the guy that was on my POW/MIA bracelet. I never met him, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't remember him.

1st Lieutenant Clive Jeffs.

I'll bet Mr. MacNamara didn't think about him, either.
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Vektor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 01:40 AM
Response to Original message
85. Beautiful, amazing, and very, very sad.
Thank you for introducing us to Bobby. Thank you for this beautifully written piece.

:hug:
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 02:02 AM
Response to Original message
86. I wish I could give this more than 58,000 rec's and 58,000 thank you's
... for the more than 58,000 stories like this one. And all the hundreds of thousands of injuries and nightmares, too.

Each and every one of the names on the wall has a history as vivid as this one behind it. Thank you for making Bobby's name so real to the rest of us.
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vietnam_war_vet Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #86
121. RE the "58,000 plus" American military KIA'd in the Vietnam War
It's just another lie. The real figure was far, far beyond that. McNamara discussed in his book how the number of American killed and wounded had to be kept down, managed so the American public would tolerate the war longer.....meaning the war profits would continue.

You can also find this "keep the numbers down" policy within the Pentagon Papers.

What lead me to learning about this was when I went to The Wall in 1987. During an enemy attack at Nakhon Phanom Air Base in 1973, two K-9 military police friends of mine were caught outside and an incoming round turned them into human hamburger. I was close by and after the klaxon sounded the all-clear, I assisted in helping put their remains into body bags. When I tried to find their names on The Wall in 1987, they simply weren't there. Finally, one of the park rangers informed me that NONE of our American KIAs who died in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia -- i.e. not within the borders of Vietnam proper -- were included in the "official," so-called "final" 58,000 plus total. It was the same friggin' war.

Back in the mid-90s when I lived in northern New Mexico, an former Vietnam F-4 combat pilot told me a similar story. He had gone to The Wall and wanted to find some of his combat pilot friends who had been shot down and killed during that war. He couldn't find them and again, a park official informed him that if those pilots were flying off a carrier that was outside the nautical 12 mile limit....they weren't included in that bogus 58,000 plus total. Yes, he and his KIA'd friends were on such a carrier.

I can go on about this, but I just wanted to make my point that our government -- McNamara, et al -- lied their asses off to everyone, even the loved ones of KIA'd Vietnam War veterans.

I have no doubt that similar "keep the numbers down" bullchit has been in place concerning our KIA and injured totals for the Iraqi and Afghani wars. -- Michael
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 02:26 AM
Response to Original message
87. .
"In his coffin, with the military men standing there, Bobby didnt look as big as he had the last time Id seen him. He looked shiny, though, and calm, like death was all right for him, nothing to furrow his brow or make him scowl. No smiles, either. He was smooth, sort of flattened. When I looked at him, at all of him, lying there, I realized there wasnt much of Bobby left, that landmines are terrible things."





















:cry:
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
88. K and R. And thank you for making it real. eom.
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 02:48 AM
Response to Original message
89. Excellent piece
:hug: for your loss :cry:
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Chipper Chat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 04:29 AM
Response to Original message
90.  You just made DU a bit classier.
Thanks for taking the time to send that beautiful story to our hearts.
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democrank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 04:42 AM
Response to Original message
91. A moving, heartrending tribute, Tangerine LaBamba
I smiled and nodded right on through the empty refrigerator part because it was all so familiar. My small town didn`t have a coal mine or a dress factory but we did have a paper mill, Injun Rock, playing cards in our bicycle spokes and more than a few Lucky Strikes stubs.

When I realized where you were going, I started to cry. "His third day there, he`d stepped on a land mine."

The Vietnam War and its blue collar draft will live in the pit of my stomach forever.

Rest in peace, Bobby.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:05 AM
Response to Original message
92. For The Fallen
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
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change_notfinetuning Donating Member (750 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:26 AM
Response to Original message
93. Beautifully said, Tangerine. Yet, today, Vietnam is a big trading partner with
us, and we've learned nothing from that mistake. Our "change" president and Democratically controlled Congress, are as wrong today as McNamara was back then. There may not be a draft, but far too many enlist due to lack of jobs and, but for that dangled carrot, there'd be no way to go to college. Then we keep rotating them in and out, like it's a basketball game.

Ultimately, we are as responsible for today's "Bobbys" as McNamara was back then. We voted for change in 2006. We voted for CHANGE in 2008. We need to pressure those we elected to act as if they represent us. Today's wars are no more winnable with weapons than Vietnam was. With better old-fashioned intelligence, diplomacy and foreign aid, maybe we'd have a chance.

Sending more people to die so that others didn't die in vain was stupid back then and stupid now. President Obama was right when he said, early in his campaign, that the lives of the Americans killed in Iraq were wasted. Almost immediately, Axelrod made him apologize for saying what needed to be said. That weaselness set the tone for the campaign and this presidency.

We need to make it clear to President Obama that we will support him when he does the right thing. We need to convince him to do the right thing and let the political chips fall where they may. We need to pressure him to pull out combat troops, which are only wasting lives and making new enemies. Actually, we need to demand it.

If for no other reason, let's do it for the memory of Bobby.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:41 AM
Response to Original message
94. How many other people lived through the era?
The one thing that astonishes me about MacNamara's death, are the articles that are being written about him in the paper. They are so incredibly derisive about him. I'm shocked because I never thought it would happen. We finally reached the point where the leaders responsible for Vietnam, are finally getting their due IN THE MAINSTREAM PAPER!

And it only took forty years!

If he had died sooner, do you think we would have been able to freely analyze the situation openly and reached a higher level of reflection, sooner? For example, if he had died before Bush II, is it possible that the invasion of Iraq could have been stopped?
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:44 AM
Response to Original message
95. This story shows the reality of who really fights these wars.
All our childhood friends who's parents don't have good jobs. I hope we can keep this in mind when this next war with Iran is being discusses as if it is the only solution. Let's let the next generations of Bobby's have an opportunity to a life before we tell them the only solution is war.
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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:48 AM
Response to Original message
96. Beautiful..just Beautiful. Thanks
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 06:14 AM
Response to Original message
97. What a treat: words...and not just for the sake of writing ~
K&R :kick:
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kedrys Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 06:33 AM
Response to Original message
98. Aw Jesus.
:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
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AwakeAtLast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 06:35 AM
Response to Original message
99. Oh, what a beautiful tribute
and so beautifully written. I sit here crying for you and also for an older cousin who never got to finish being the older sister to her younger brother. He was 19 when he was killed in Viet Nam. She was never the same. She still drinks too much to this day.

Thank you for sharing your story, and your pain.

:hug:
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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
100. Masters Of War
Masters Of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead



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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #100
119. I'd forgottenhow powerfully Dylan could write...
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:02 AM
Response to Original message
101. K+R
:hug:
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:04 AM
Response to Original message
102. MacNamara died and I remember my big brother who also died there
All those deaths were for the vanity of men like MacNamara. All the deaths in Iraq on both sides are for the vanity of the Bush and Cheney families.
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Mad_Dem_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
103. .
:cry: :hug:
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
104. Thank you. TLB
That was wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time.
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stlsaxman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
105. K & R #193! Beautifully written heart-wrenching piece, TL...
thank you.
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bluescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
106. Had to K&R
Anyone who isn't moved by this has no soul. I'm sorry for your loss, though it happened so many years ago.
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
107. Thank you for writing and sharing this
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K Gardner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
108. Best read I've had on DU, or anywhere for that matter, in a very long time. Thank you for sharing
Bobby with us, for sharing your pain and sorrow and remembrances of an age long past.. yet still so very present for many of us. K&R
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #108
131. The absolute truth n/t
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swilton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
109. But McNamara's legacy lives
in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the US of Amnesia. Very beautiful post - thank you for sharing.

:cry:
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Irishonly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
110. A beautiful tribute
I wish I could write more but my tears make it too difficult. My cousin was killed on his first day in Nam. They couldn't find his dog tags and my family was forced to say goodbye to a flag draped table.
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Lint Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
111. The really sad part is that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove,
Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice will probably die the same way, of 'old age' and without being prosecuted for the war crimes, the treason and the murders of innocents that they are responsible for.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
112. Thank you, TLaB.
This is a beautiful tribute
to Bobby and those who never came home.

:( :hug:

My brother did come home, but was never the same man.
How could he be?

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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
114. That's my generation... 58 thousand plus gone
... that you painted so well.

Yesterday I was listening to the replay of Terri Gross's Fresh Air interview with this so called brilliant man. You could hear it in his voice, just as spineless in admitting an apology when she pressed him then.

Like Colon Powell's folly in front of the UN, McNamara set the model to serve up something he didn't believe in, for what reason? to be a "good soldier?", as if he knew what that was all about.

McNamara was frozen in Gross's interview, trying to weasel his response, never stepped up to say anything to George Bush's war, as devoid in meaningful action as he was 40 years earlier.

I was disgusted this morning to find the Pittsburgh Post Gazette devoting a front page, above the fold to this self-admitted WAR CRIMINAL.

Shame.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #114
117. Yeah, that was one grim way to deal with us Boomers, wasn't it? Almost like a plan.
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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #117
150. Q: How do you control a generation of free thinkers?
A: Easy - full employment in the military industrial complex, or low income jobs with no possibility of social and economical progress. That, or go to jail.

I'm fucking pissed off and hoping everyone else is with the passing of this fucker.

What are we doing with Cheney, Rummy and Rice? Are we waiting for them to die to consider what we should have done after McNamara?
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
115. Stunning in its beauty and restraint. I was 19 in 1968; had friends who got the Lottery, one the
Edited on Tue Jul-07-09 09:52 AM by WinkyDink
first date drawn (in September, 1949).
He didn't go, though; like three other college friends, he got out on a medical deferment.

But the boy from my tiny PA. town, the high school grad, went.
And he died.

https://www.vetfriends.com/memorial/honoree.cfm?hindex=64761&user_ID=
From another site:
In 1966, Mike Romanchuk was with Alpha Company, 1st Anti-Tank Bn., 1st MarDiv, operating in I Corps. On December 22nd, he drove an Ontos over an antitank mine and was critically wounded. He died of his wounds on December 26th. He was a friend, a fine Marine, and his buddies have never forgotten him.
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
116. K & R


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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
118. Thank you for sharing Bobby with us TL.
:hug:
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AuntPatsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
120. Heart wrenching honesty written from the heart, I only wish it was loud enough
to be heard universaly not only read by so few here...

:cry:
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Diane R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
122. He killed my brother. May Robert McNamara not rest in peace.
Edited on Tue Jul-07-09 11:27 AM by Diane R
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Celtic Merlin Donating Member (377 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
123. Where will McNamara be buried?
My bladder is full...

***************************

Thank you for telling us about Bobby. And while their names are all different, many of us have a Bobby (or two...or more) in our lives. Now that you've told all of us his story, your Bobby lives with us, too - forever young. There were between 55,000 and 60,000 men just like Bobby who went off to Viet Nam (that's how it was spelled back then - as two words) and never came home to us. Carving their names into a wall isn't enough. But when we who knew them - knew the sound of their voices, how they laughed, what flavor of ice cream they liked - are gone, that is all there will be. And that is certainly better than the nothing that we got in return for them.

Celtic Merlin
Carlinist
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condoleeza Donating Member (464 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
124. Always enjoy your writing, but this is just beyond perfect
41 years ago - seems like yesterday - my fiance died there. He was a special security officer stationed in the Embassy in Saigon. There was a party for McNamara. He & 3 others were sent on a mission to a village to pick up "girls" for the party. The helicopter was shot down - no survivors - we didn't know those details until after a buddy of his came back and went to see his parents. I still miss him every day. This brought back a lot of memories, thank you, I think. This is one of those times I wish I believed in hell.
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virgdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
125. Beautiful, touching and poignant tribute..
to someone you loved dearly. I'm so sorry for your loss and the senseless loss of 58,000 other souls who died because of this man. There are simply no words to express the sorrow that all of us who lived through that awful time can say, but the memories shall remain forever.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
126. T......
I often avoid extremely popular threads---why? I guess for the same reason I never saw ET....

I'm glad I finally did read this.

Very powerful... my eyes feel a little watery, and it makes me want to hug my sweetheart, who survived Vietnam and is a tough, sensitive and gentle man. He is a wonder to me, as Bobby is to you.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
127. oh damn....
:cry:
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
128. There is some kind of a bug in my DU software
and the "Recommend" feature hasn't worked for me the last couple of times I've tried it. I believe it's too late to recommend this thread anyway, but I bookmarked it and will post it on other forums, including a couple where the Vietnam vets who frequent these forums are friends of mine.

This is one of the most moving things I've ever read, on DU or anywhere else.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
130. Too bad his pre "Fog of War" thinking is still running our foreign policies.
I just found out that one of my old marine-crotch buddies found his way to "The Wall" by way of Laos in 1970.

Not a "great" guy, just an average marine. Overly fond of booze, women, and poker. But, he did have a good sense of humor, and though a corporal, wasn't an asshole.
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lazyriver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
132. This is among the most touching pieces I've ever read. It caught
me completely by surprise and reduced me to tears for an hour. You have honored your friend most admirably with this piece and I thank you so much for sharing it.
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LiberalAndProud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
133. This is a truly fitting eulogy for two men.
You wrote so eloquently of the terrible, irreparable damage Robert M. and his partners in iniquity brought upon us all. If there be damned, he is among them.

I am weeping for your Bobby and mine too.

Thank you, Tangerine.
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shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
134. a beautiful touching tribute
thank you so much. :hug:
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vanbean Donating Member (957 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
135. Why did the class lesbian decide to neck with Bobby?
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
136. Perfect. Thank you. (nt)
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
138. That was beautifully written. nt
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
139. My significant other's fellow vet friend spent 7 years in a NVA tiger cage
finally coming "home" to find that his wife had spent all the money earned from his combat/MIA pay and married another guy.

Rummy, Cheney, Bush et al will follow in McNamara's footsteps. It's the American way.
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robdogbucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #139
142. Thank you, Tangerine
That was beautiful and I'm sure painful for you to remember.

I also had a friend from the neighborhood, Pierre, who was just 18 when he joined Special Forces and was the first fatality of that ugly war from my home town a short time later. My older sister was in love with him, he had become one of my heroes. This was very early, '64 or so, and the US was still in the "advisor" phase. His death radicalized me and I refused to join up and resisted the draft was arrested several times protesting and trying to convince others not to join up and become just so much fodder like Pierre had.

He was from a military family and had spent most of his youth on bases in Europe. He was proud to do his part and for that I always respected him. He was merely trying to serve his country and make his father proud. His death broke many hearts, but also served to motivate many to oppose the war and maybe, who knows, prevented several others from joining up.

Just my dos centavos,

robdogbucky
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Joe Fields Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
140. I've just now gotten around to your post....
And I want to thank you. Robert McNamara got a goddam pass in life, while his bloodthirsty, completely skewed worldview ripped this country wide open in the 60's. Someone here needed to remind people just who he was and what he was responsible for. I may never have known your friend, but I prayed many a night for the hundreds of thousands just like him who were in 'Nam.

There are still too many Robert McNamara's in this world. War is big business. No profit in peace.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
141. That was beautiful.
Why oh why can't we stop the wars in the Middle East too? :cry:
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PatSeg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
144. Wow
What an incredible tribute to your friend.
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sellitman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
146. What a great tribute to your friend.
And a fitting reminder of the monster called McNamara.

This is why I come here.
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
147. What a stunningly beautiful tribute to your friend.
I am crying, it is so lovely, and so sad, and so very human.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories, and Bobby, with us.

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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
148. K&R. (nt)
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Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
149. Beautiful, thank you for this.
Sorry it's too late for me to give it yet another rec.
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ReadTomPaine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-08-09 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
151. Kick
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