Category Archives: Military

We few. We happy few. We band of brothers


Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Predominantly draft era veterans end up at VA hospitals I’ve observed.  And we’ve got all the warts and scars to suggest we were a flawed segment of humanity.  Truth is, watching the mannerisms and behaviors we still are.  Flawed, certainly, many also pathetic as individual personalities.  Needy.  Obnoxious.

But strangely enough, there’s a constant undercurrent of moments cutting through the lies on top of lies and BS revealing something I’m ashamed to admit I suspect is a sort of brotherhood.  A smile and wink in an elevator from a guy in a wheelchair with more problems than me.  Thumbs up signs when someone gets called to see one of the sawbones or other ‘team’ members.

Granted, most of the conversations going on are lies about things that happened when in the military.  But when I brought up the subject of the Afghan/Iraq vets suicides the lies stopped and were replaced by frowning thought.  A momentary pause to try to understand.

It’s there to be recognized.  And it can also be found in the mention of the guys on ‘the 10th floor’.  The guys who are ‘still in Vietnam’.  Everyone knows about those guys and they only get mentioned in muted tones, phrases expressing horror and awe.

We few.  We happy few.  We band of brothers who aren’t on the 10th floor.

Old Jules


Draft era Vets ponder all-volunteer era vet suicides in VA Med Center waiting rooms

This guy died last year.  He'd have been 20 in 1948.  The pic on the headstone shows him wearing Sgt. stripes.  The stone says Lt. Col. Okay.  Also says he was a 'left' gunner.  Presumably a waist gunner on a B24?  Did B17s have a machine gun blister on the waist?  Anyway, 59 combat missions by a guy who didn't turn 17 until 1945?  And decorated with a bronze star.  Claims WWII, Korea and Vietnam as his own.   Anything happen in his life afterward, you suppose?  Something factual, for instance and worth remembering him for?

This guy died last year. He’d have been 20 in 1948. The pic on the headstone shows him wearing Sgt. stripes. The stone says Lt. Col.
Okay. Also says he was a ‘left’ gunner. Presumably a waist gunner on a B24? Did B17s have a machine gun blister on the waist? Anyway, 59 combat missions by a guy who didn’t turn 17 until 1945? And decorated with a bronze star. Claims WWII, Korea and Vietnam as his own.
Anything happen in his life afterward, you suppose? Something factual, for instance and worth remembering him for?

Lieutenant Colonel Smith in traditional reality.

Lieutenant Colonel Smith in traditional reality.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Hanging around the waiting rooms at the VA Medical Center today I got talking with other draft-era vets about these all volunteer military vets suiciding so frequently.  All of them I broached the subject with were anxious to talk about it.

Generally one possibility all expressed is that these modern-day vets are a bunch of woosies.  Nobody’s ruling that out early in the ponderings.  But digging into it, all agreed there must have been something in their expectations far removed from the reality they experienced.

What the hell could that be?  They joined knowing the US engages in all manner of protracted, meaningless wars.  They must have known they’d stand an excellent chance of ending up in one or another of them.

Well, okay.  A lot of them got to kill people who didn’t need killing.  Maybe more than back in earlier times.  And they got accused of being heroes when every last one of them knows THAT is a lie.

But what else?  They joined for the high pay, the benefits, house loan, educational and maybe  health benefits.  They got all that, plus 30 days vacation and 30 days sick leave per year.  They got the Dollar Tree stores and that ilk asking customers to give a dollar to support their kids with school supplies all in the same breath.  Which is to say, they became beggars by proxy.  Victims by virtue of some of the most bizarre reasoning of which the human mind is capable of indulging.

Unanimous about all this, we draft-era veterans.  Pondered it, I did, all the way back to Olathe discussing it with the transport driver who was a pre-Gulf War I veteran [never left Fort Blizz, Texas].  He agreed, too.

It took Jeanne, who doesn’t know pork from venison about military service, to add what might be the answer:

How,” Jeanne asked me, “do you know they haven’t been killing themselves after every war since the Civil War?  How would you have heard about it without the Internet?”

In fact, probably nobody was even paying attention to the matter back then   Certainly not the sort of information the government would be waving around in recruiting offices.  “I WANT YOU!”, says Uncle Sam pointing, “And you’ll hate yourself in the morning.”

Old Jules

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans need to toughen up

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Evidently these people who volunteered for the most recent Presidential Wars seem to be coming home and offing themselves at a rate of 22 per day. Probably there’s a hidden message in there somewhere.

But the big problem is they’re whining and crying about it beforehand, trying through their, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization to get new special treatment and benefits for themselves and hire professionals to talk them out of it.

IAVA’s efforts have made an impact, as Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), the first Iraq war veteran to serve in the senate, introduced comprehensive legislation that would increase mental health professionals at VA, enhance collaboration with the Pentagon, and review cases of soldiers who may have been wrongly discharged for “invisible wounds.”

“Returning home from combat does not erase what happened there, and yet red tape and government dysfunction have blocked access to the care that saves lives,” Walsh said in a statement to Business Insider. “It is our duty to come together for real solutions for our heroes.”

Just my opinion here, but there’s a really money-saving way to prevent all that. Veterans speaking out noisily to potential enlistees telling them all the reasons they are going to hate themselves for volunteering to serve in a Presidential War might be a good beginning. Then quitting accusing themselves of being heroes next breath after rolling ’round on the floor weeping about not enough sympathy.  Recognizing there are concomitant sacrifices that come with the financial and other benefits for joining a military force.  Abdicating personal moral and ethical choices to politicians and soldiers where the information’s already out there about the brushfire wars the nation loves to submerge itself in.

Hell, these people offing themselves know best whether their lives are worth living. But if they want a shoulder to cry on there’s plenty of help available already through the VA, and it’s easily accessible. Just take a look on the right sidebar:;MHV_JSESSIONID=slK7T6vZ49t4TLd81GkdytND025vBpWx4msqx0qJplMXny1WpT0B!-1419889142?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=mhvHome

What almost certainly won’t help is  S.2182,  the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act to liven things up.  It would save a lot of money and effort, not to mention veterans hating themselves afterward, if we’d just stay the hell out of Presidential Wars.  See if that doesn’t clear the problem up without any mindless legislation.

Old Jules

Ex Post Facto: The retroactive waltz of point-men and snipers

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I finally got to see a primary care physician in that KC VA Medical Center.

KC VA Med Ctr

I arrived early and put my defibrillator to the test carrying a 20# daypack 150 yards across that parking lot, up the hill to the entrance, and a quarter-mile of heroesque hallways.  Registered and waited around a comfy area filled with old vets.

At which point life became a hoot.

Jeeze we veterans are a bunch of liars!  And we all know it, but remain silent on the issue so’s when our turn comes all the the others will nod sagely and pretend we aren’t just blowing pure unmitigated horse manure back and forth at one another.

So here in this Hero Hall you’ve got close to a hundred of us, maybe a third wearing VIETNAM VET, or some other VETERAN nuanced headgear.  And roughly a third of those are talking in loudmouthed indignation about something a first sergeant did or said forty years ago in a different country.

Meanwhile the other 2/3 wearing the Veteran caps nod and wait patiently for that vocally active third to finish or pause for a breath so’s they can cut in and tell what some first sergeant did or said to THEM forty years ago in some foreign land.

Those of us not wearing Veteran headgear listen deadpan, saying nothing, doing nothing to break the spell of dramatic fantasies, of young men who never existed prowling through the jungles of our imaginary youths doing and saying courageous things for the betterment of mankind and Freedom.

“Hell man,” I muttered to the guy sitting next to me, “I must be the only person here who wandered Asia trying to get a dose of clap, never met a hero.  Never sacrificed a damned thing in the service of this country.  I can’t recall a first sergeant ever knowing I was alive.”

The guy smiled at me.  “Not me.  I was an Air Force Sniper working out of the finance office in Danang.  Spent the whole time killing zipperheads except when I was in an office doing payrolls.”

About then a nurse called my name and I trekked breathlessly back to see a physician.  He hadn’t received all my med records from the recent hospital stay, so we’re starting all over.  Got an EKG, Lab [blood] work, complete stomach sonogram, and XRays to get out of the way brand spanking new before I can be seen by a VA cardiologist.  He says they can’t get the records from the Olathe Medical Center work because the VA computer is connected to the National Defense computer system, which might be compromised if they allowed outside data to be transmitted into it.

So they’ll just have to do it all again.  Though if I go over to Olathe Med Ctr. and get them to photocopy everything and carry it along when I see the cardiologist he figures the specialist might look through it if I provide it that method and that context.  Maybe.

So at least I’ve got some things I can do to improve my health this week, picking up those records at Olathe Med, going over to KC MO VA for all that expensive medical testing I’ve donealready had, getting it again so’s to be able to see a cardiologist.

Confidence raising, being able to do something uncharacteristically positive.

Somehow it’s vaguely reminescent of back when I was an infantry point man and sniper in the US Army in a country I never had the pleasure to visit.

Old Jules

Too much non-military spending is the problem

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The cats and I were trying to understand what all those useless eaters were fighting about in Washington DC.  Decided it must be unhappiness about the way the money was spent in 2013, so I went for a look.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn't spent on National Defense in 2013.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn’t spent on National Defense in 2013.

Turns out there are two types of spending going on.  Mandatory spending is one, discretionary is the other.  The chart above depicts where they spend the money coming out of taxes and they can tweak.

The “Social Security & Unemployment” and “Medicare & Health” take on a major fraction of the federal spending, amounting to about 58% of the total outlays, whereas “Military” spending appears to amount to just 18%. The problem with this representation is that the Social Security & Medicare are parts of the mandatory spending directly financed by the dedicated revenue raised from payroll taxes, as imposed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), not through the Federal income tax and thus represents a different Treasury account.

If we separate the mandatory spending and look only at the discretionary spending component appropriated by Congress on an annual basis and for which all the federal programs compete, a very different picture arises.

Probably that enormous portion of the budget being frittered away on non-defense spending is what has those people upset and shutting down the government.  Each one of those non-defense slices could be halved or quartered easily so’s to provide a means of continuing and even increasing defense spending without anyone feeling the pinch.

There's no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren't even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

There’s no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren’t even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

The US isn’t even spending half as much on national defense as the rest of the world combined is spending on theirs.  It’s no wonder those elected representives and senators are digging in their heels.  They’re scared.

Congress knows their primary responsibility is to protect the citizenry from foreign invaders and likely they won’t give an inch until they know they’re doing it.

Old Jules

US government shutdown of military operations crisis – Chinese quick-fix for US patriots: GI Joe dolls

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

GI Joe doll s

We’ve all been concerned, world wide, about the tensions the shutdown of military operations as a result of the budget thing would cause US patriots.  Thankfully, the Chinese have rushed to provide a solution.  Factories in China will begin working three shifts immediately in hopes of preventing catastrophic nervious conditions among US patriots by prioritizing shipping container shiploads of GI Joe Dolls as soon as possible.

GI Joe doll 2

In addition to these, a new line of target action figures wearing robes, turbans and burnooses, with butcherknives clinched in their teeth will be available.  Village life scene settings will be offered as well, both pre-drone attack, and afterward.

Chinese psychologists believe that, properly used at home by US patriots, these action figures and settings can reduce road rage and shopping mall shootings likely to occur as a result of frustration tensions when military operations overseas aren’t happening.

Old Jules

A century of bloodshed – Look what those lowdown stinking Muslims did!

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

You never-forgetters have something to remember and celebrate not forgetting it.

This time a century ago the sneaky lowdown stinking Muslim Ottoman Empire was withdrawing from the Balkans.  Territory ripe for the taking by devil-take-the-hindmost.

Naturally the web of inbred monarch cousins ruling Europe, Russia and Britain wanted a piece of what those Muslims were leaving behind.  And by 1913 they’d all decided which cousins were friends this time around, and which were enemies.

Those cousins had plenty of cannon fodder and they were all waiting for a spark to set them off so’s they’d have an excuse for their patriotic homeland worship-ridden peasantry to cut one another down with artillery, machine guns and bayonettes.

A few months down the road they got their excuse when their Austrian cousin got offed by a Serbian as he drove by in a motorcade on the way to laying down the law the Austrians were about to provide for the Serbians to march to.

Thoroughly pissed off the cousins running France, the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire, the German Empire, the British Empire, and scattered cousins elsewhere.  Eventually even the cousins running the United States.

So naturally they sent their peasants out to slaughter one another for the homeland, protecting their motherlands from all the damned foreigners taking the ownership of the land, food, wealth and power from the cousins who were providing them their weaponry and telling them to “CHARGE!  Fight to the death!”

Gave us one hell of a 20th Century.  After that the Russian peasants on the front lines starving to death fighting Germans and Austrians decided, “Screw this shit!”.  Went home and chopped their ruling cousins to death instead of going after the intended target.

Damned British cousins were having distractions in Ireland where they were starving everyone to death, and Wales with the coal miners wanting to get paid and have safety standards in their mines where so many were getting killed in mine accidents.  Had to call in the cousins from the US to bail them out.

As if that weren’t enough, the cheeky bastard Turks whipped the socks off the British Navy and all the Australian and Indian peasants the British cousins sent to invade Turkey!

French cousins had some difficulties because the damned German cousins kept telling their peasants in the trenches to shoot the French peasants, and the French cousins having to shoot their own peasants when they tried to get the hell out of Dodge.

And all because of the damned Turks.  Those damned sneaky-assed Ottoman Muslim Turks.  They caused it all.  The end of the Russian cousins, the Austrian cousins having to hide a longish time, the British cousins having to let go their stranglehold on Ireland and pay their damned miners in Wales, give them air down in the holes and ways to fight fires.

Damned Muslim bastards caused the WWII and Cold War.  Civilization hasn’t recovered yet.   30-40 million people killed in that one war and all because of those lowdown sneaking no-go0d-for-nothing Moslems.

Not to mention all the damage it did all over the world by opening up the Pandora’s Box of unions springing up all over the place keeping factory and industry owners from making an honest living by having to pay wages, have safety enough on jobs to keep a lot of injured workers from drawing attention to themselves.

And now they’re trying to do it again.  Forcing the cousins in the United States into sending the peasants out with the new generation of weaponry.

Old Jules

Bobby’s over there squealing like a pig in the White House

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.  Apologies in advance to those of you who never saw or read Deliverance.

One of the problems that comes from ten generations of intermarried first cousins running the country is they all begin to think it’s about Dueling Banjos.  They start believing it’s perfectly natural Bobby’s over there squealing like a pig.  Nobody wants to rock the canoe.

But at the moment the reason Bobby’s over there in the White House squealing like a pig is that Saudi Arabia and their cousins in Israel are pressuring the hell out of him to bomb their other cousins in Syria.  Same as they’re doing over there in Congress where they understand all about squealing like pigs for the White House, Israel, Saudi Arabia, anyone with the money to buy a quickie.

It’s all become a habit.  Nobody 75 years ago would have dreamed there’d come a time when the President of the US could believe he could bomb the bejesus out of anyone he wanted to anytime he wanted to without anyone raising an eyebrow.  Nobody would have believed US Presidents could take the country into a series of endless wars without consulting Congress.  Nobody would have believed any president could believe he could do it and get by with it.

But that all changed with a lot of other things.  And now we’ve got a guy in the White House hysterical because he wants to give a war and nobody’s willing to come.  Standing on one leg, then the other saying he’s going to get permission from Congress, then saying he doesn’t have to.  Saying he’s the only one needs to pick the tune for all of us.

And all those hydrocephalic banjo players over in Congress listening to Israel lobbyists handing them nice stuff under the table, Saudi Arabian lobbyists giving them free trips to Tahiti and porn stars in their hotel rooms to help them remember where their loyalty belongs.

Meanwhile, the world’s died laughing and decided they’ve had enough of US Presidents and their big-headed advisors telling them who needs the bejesus bombed out of them.  Which puts Bobby into a hell of a fix.

Bobby knows if he doesn’t do what Israel and Saudi Arabia tell him to do, he’s got a Vice President who will.  He knows he can be LBJed same as Kennedy was.  LBJed and J. Edgar Hoovered by one of the packs of goons and snipers he’s helped put into place on all the rooftops.  He never figured he’d be the one in the crosshairs he helped create.

It’s no wonder he’s squealing like a pig.

Old Jules

Hey! How about them Rooskies?

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

This guy in the White House is evidently really really really determined to do a humanitarian air strike against the next-door-neighbor to Israel.  He wants to do it so badly he’s even planning to ASK THE US CONGRESS to approve him doing it.  How’s that for adding a new side of presidential behavior?

But now this Rambo/Charles Atlas/Arnold Schwartzneigger guy running Russia’s saying he has an itchy trigger finger, too.  Says he ain’t going to put up with any one-upsmanship from the US guy in the White House when it comes to bombing the bejesus out of unlikely places.

So the burning question is this:

Can we still kill more Russians than they can kill of us? 

Now that they’re just a pissant rat hole more in Asia than Europe run by gangs of thugs that aren’t even all from the same families the way they are in the US, I’m betting they can’t nuke more than thirty, forty US cities.  And I’m betting too, that we can destroy several hundred Rooskie cities if it comes to it. 

Our Popeye is one hell of a lot tougher than their Bluto nowadays.

If those damned Rooskies don’t want us humanitarian bombing the bejesus out of Israel’s next-door-neighbors, maybe it’s time to cut them down a few notches, saturate them with some H-bombs for their trouble.

We can afford to lose a few dozen cities to protect our right to humanitarian bomb backwoods places like Syria.  Israeli lobbyists will work three shifts telling these straight facts to the US Congress next week.

I’m betting that, too.  But I won’t get any takers.  Nobody bets against a sure thing.

Old Jules

You couldn’t make this crap up

  1. Guy in the US White House trying to come up with a time since the Revolutionary War when France wasn’t a liability for its allies,
  2. China prohibiting reincarnation without government permission,
  3. Circus Clown muscle man Putin, Poooootin, Russian Some-Damned-Thing-or-Other, flexing his muscles wanting to arm wrestle someone.  Threatening, I’m not BSing you, to bomb Saudi Arabia?
  4. Female women in the US seriously and with straight faces discussing Hillary Freaking Clinton as a candidate for US President????
  5. Some bunch of yokels comparing themselves to the Boston Tea Party doers, carrying signs and pretending to have read the US Constitution?  Wanting more of what the guy before this one gave International Bankers and Corporations, WMDs, and everyone else who flies First Class when they travel???
  6. Another bunch of kneejerks looking the other way every time another lie comes out of the mouth of this White House guy, then praising him?
  7. Did I mention Hillary Clinton?

It’s almost enough to make me question representative democracy.

Old Jules