Saturday, September 01, 2007

Never, Ever, Go To War With Republicans

The way the Republican leadership and rank and file have turned on Larry Craig sent my head back to Viet Nam for a moment.

My team and I had been out in the boonies (the far boonies) roaming around the various spots on the famed Ho Chi Minh Trail where they would cache fuel, ammo, and food. We'd find stuff like that and try to boobytrap it, or simply render what we could unusable. We were mainly seeking targets of opportunity, things like mountain passes we could choke off, bridges that were built a few inches below the surface of the water to avoid being visible from the air. Clever stuff like that. We were not seeking enemy contact of any kind.

Contact came anyway. That can happen when you have various groups of scouts and recon all sneaking around out in the back of beyond. It was a brief contact, but for me it was devastating. I caught a rifle round high on the hip. It blew off a chunk of my iliac crest and cracked my pelvis. Because we knew that they had help they could call for and we didn't we figured our best option was to light a shuck the hell out of there as fast as we could. We knew they had called for help because they were keeping near enough to fix our position, but never closing for another fight. Our only hope was to outrun the bastards.

After some very rudimentary first aid I was being carried on an improvised stretcher made out of rain ponchos and some bamboo. I was in hellish pain. Every step that was being taken jarred my pelvis. Being shot hurts bad enough. It's like being hit with a red hot cast iron cooking pan. There is not only the impact trauma, all the area around and into the wound is burned. My team was stalwart though. By switching off on the carrying chores they were managing to not only hump me through the bush, they were making pretty good time. We figured that we had about twenty five miles to go before we could reasonably expect any air cover or chance of an extraction. Even that would be dicey as hell if we couldn't manage to lose the folks behind us.

There were many times out there that our superior conditioning and nutrition carried the day. We were all marathon quality runners who could keep up a murderous pace all day and all night. What made us even more dangerous is that we were totally capable of running a marathon under pack and then turning to fight in decent shape. It turned more than one tide of folks that thought they had us.

In my pain and fear, and also my shame at being a weak link I began to pester my guys to leave me at a decent vantage point with an M-60, a couple belts and some grenades. I told them that I would hold the bad guys up long enough for the rest of them to get away. Part of it was my wanting to get the team out safely but a big part of it was I really, really wanted to quit bouncing the fuck up and down on those goddamned ponchos. The pain was really unimaginable. It wasn't a question of endurance, they weren't putting me down.

Finally, I thought I had gotten through to one of my buddies. A big huge guy whose given name was Bear. He and I had been together in boot camp in San Diego, BUDS at the Strand, Jump School, all of it side by side. I figured if anybody would understand where I was coming from it would be the Bear.

He called a halt. But instead of setting me up and leaving me to save themselves the team started to dig in all around me. I said "Hey, wait a second, you guys are supposed to go on and get the fuck outta here."

Bear just looked at me like I was the dumbest fuckwad that ever drew a breath and calmly said "If you die, everybody dies."

Those are the type of men that I went into battle with.

The Republicans not only desert each other at light speed, they are capable of eating the wounded raw. They are all up on the TV today talking about what a great leader and statesman Larry Craig is. If he's such a great guy, why didn't they try to help him get through his trouble? Huh? If Mitch McConnell had been in my unit they never would have bothered to pick me up in the first place. They would have all just run as fast as they could.

It shows the shallowness of their character, their total lack of a core belief in anything but their own little fiefdoms.

I didn't think it was something remotely possible but I respect them even less today.

They are not only hypocrites, they are cowards.

Fuck. Them. All.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are not only hypocrites, they are cowards.

This is the unavoidable consequence of being a politician in thrall to those who hold themselves to a standard of conduct to which you've never subscribed.

- oddjob (who realizes most of those who hold to that standard of conduct may well themselves not measure up to it, but also knows enough to know those folks actually do care about that standard, whether they themselves succeed or not - and therefore intimately understands that the Repub. politicians who only pay lip service to that standard place themselves on very, very politically perilous ground, and more than deserve to be hoisted on their own petards!)

If the Gospels demonstrate one thing above all others it is this:






3:39 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

they are so damn afraid of losing the far right, crazed fundamentalists that they'd sacrafice their own mothers. the crazies are all they have left to them but the crazies always vote and they'll leave bills unpaid to send money to campaigns.

you, tho, well, thanks. thank you for everything.

4:34 PM  
Blogger litbrit said...

I'm in awe, yet again. Excellent tale, excellent parallels (and contrasts, of course); mostly, an excellent setting of the moral bar--for everyone. The rethugs won't respect it, not yet, but that moral bar is there nonetheless, showing them up for who they really are, one after the other.

Thank you for this, MB, and for what you did, and for what you do.


7:25 AM  
Anonymous amish451 said...

"..for what you did, and for what you do..."
Thanks too.

9:07 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i learned many tough lessons on the battlefield. and yet, there were so many examples of complete and beautiful nobility. later, when he was visiting me in the hospital before they sent me stateside to recover from that wounding the bear, in total sincerety told me sometimes you have to give the rest of us a chance to be the hero.

i told him that anytime i had shown that degree of courage it was because i was trying to live up to their examples, and be worthy to stand beside them.

still, there are many times and examples where i fall so short of the goal. when the weather changes rapidly and my hip gets creaky and hurts, or the leg tingles and goes numb i still take a perverse satisfaction in knowing that i killed the motherfucker that did this to me.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He probably would have taken the same satisfaction if things had turned out the reverse. Hell, it isn't as if that war was the first to occur in that part of the world!

- oddjob (who wonders if MB has ever read "The Word for World is Forest", by Ursula K. Le Guin, and highly recommends it to him if he hasn't - it's a short sci-fi read (five or six hours if nothing else is done besides reading - a novella or novelette (or whatever)), but it stays with you LONG, LONG after (like, YEARS after))

12:20 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i love it when people who recommend a book leave a link. thanks for the tip oddjob. it's on the way. . .i like a little break after a spell of heavy reading. . .

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like a little break after a spell of heavy reading. . .


- oddjob (who recognizes the signs of someone most likely unfamiliar with Le Guin; I might be making an ass of myself here, but we'll see; if I am it would hardly be the first time)

1:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What men. Thank you.

Truly a band of brothers, vs. the band of scheming, backstabbing brigands as populates the inner sanctum of our government at the moment.

2:44 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home