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DDD Op-ed in the Times.

Interesting and touching op-ed peice by Douglas Duncan in todays paper:

by [a former member] at 2005-07-25 15:30:08 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

yes, this is quite a beautiful piece and he;s touched on a point that i’ve been thinking about for a while: eloquence.  bush speaks of the civilised world but then disregards the primary foundation of civilisation: language.  example: fdr.  (remember, a liberal, who got the us out of a depression and presided over the largest war mankind has ever waged—i wish the democrats would remember that instead of cowering everytime someone critisises them.)  when he spoke to rouse (and soothe) a nation in his fireside chats he did not bang his chest and pump up the country by merely saying they’re wrong, we’re right, good will triumph over evil etc., words out of a christinan pulp fiction novel designed to soothe the louth mouthed viewers of bill o’riley.  when he spoke he was full of indigination which means that he understood the perils of war.  he also spoke with firm commitment knowing that to fight a war was the only way to survive.  there is one striking part of his speech to the united states after pearl harbour was bombed, it is full of  of ambiguity, reflection, and humanity so far from the stunts of today when a president takes a joy ride on a bomber jet and makes a gloating ill timed speech on an aircraft carrier.  fdr:

So far, the news has been all bad. We have suffered a serious setback in Hawaii. Our forces in the Philippines, which include the brave people of that Commonwealth, are taking punishment, but are defending themselves vigorously. The reports from Guam and Wake and Midway Islands are still confused, but we must be prepared for the announcement that all these three outposts have been seized.

The casualty lists of these first few days will undoubtedly be large. I deeply feel the anxiety of all of the families of the men in our armed forces and the relatives of people in cities which have been bombed. I can only give them my solemn promise that they will get news just as quickly as possible.

its a far cry from "bring them on," an impeachable offence if there ever was one.

the full text of fdr’s chat can be read at: http://www.mhric.org/fdr/chat19.html

by [former member] | 25 Jul 2005 17:07 | rome, Italy | | Report spam→
Duncan writes of the Korean War. I am reading now, “WAR TRASH” by Ha Jin, which I recommend highly. It details, in fiction, the forgotten experiences of the Chinese soldiers who fought the Americans, were captured by them, and then went through hells of ambiguiety and struggle in the POW camps as factions formed that defected to Taiwan and the “Free World,” and others, who wanted to repatriate to Communist China.

It brought back to me the stories of my childhood, the fathers of friends and the friends of my father, who were of that generation and went through this. How, in the waning days of Nationalist China in 1949, Nationalist units would be surrounded by the Communists and asked to surrender wholesale, as intact organizations rather than just as individual soldiers. How they did this, and how they were rewarded with a quick order to the front in Korea against the Americans, as they were not fully trusted by the Communists. How they then fought bravely and often successfully, as Duncan recounts, but were shot to pieces by US firepower and suffered enormous casualties. I remember playing chess often in the summer of 1982 or 1983 with a boy whose father had been one of those who was taken prisoner, then chose Taiwan and then the US, leaving his family and home behind.

that was also about the time that i discovered duncan’s photographs, from “This Is War,” at the Museum of Modern Art, those images of retreating Marines on the frozen Chosin resevoir.

back to the more immediate topic, it is appropriate that Jake quotes FDR. I would also like to evoke LBJ, who, wrong-headed and tragic as his leadership into the Vietnam War may have been, was man enough to come before the nation, and announce that he would not seek re-election in 1968, about as naked an admission of responsibility, of guilt, as was possible. He also spoke, later, of how the anti-war protestors in Lafayette Park kept him up at night, haunted, with their drums and their chants of “LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Well, today, Lafayette Park is essentially a blast-walled, barricaded, grey zone of emptiness controlled by the security forces as part of the White House perimeter. I am extremely doubtful if George W. Bush ever notices any protestors, who are not allowed to get anywhere close enough to be heard.

what is wrong with this Administration is not the war or why we are fighting, for which one might make a legitimate argument one way or the other, but the fear of honesty, the lack of accountability, and the loss of the ancient values of honor and fair play.

by [former member] | 25 Jul 2005 22:07 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
i just finished reading war trash about a month ago, the best book by far that i’ve read recently, so here’s a second reccomendation……now i’m reading guns germs and steel it’s essentially about how humanity spread across the globe and gives a reason why some societies succeded to spread while others didn’t and goes a long way in tearing apart the argument that societies are stupid or smart and gets to the center of the matter with a lot of intelligence, refrences  and first hand observations s to why societies succeeded or didn’t.  a good read.

by [former member] | 25 Jul 2005 23:07 | rome, Italy | | Report spam→

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