The second day at Benning,
I met the Miracle Man
We approached the coffee urn at once
With empty cups in hand
We paused as we saw each other
We stood silent, in our wait
A challenge, unsaid, but answered
Put a halt to our gait
He ceded, I filled my cup
And stood as he drew his own
I introduced myself to him
He asked if I was alone.
I told him I was, he joined me
I knew that in joy and pain
It would be my lot to be at his back,
I’d not be alone again.
Side by side we jumped.
Side by side we trained
We crawled in the dust when it’s dry
And crawled in the mud when it rained.
We got our wings on a Wednesday
He came to my home for furlough.
He had no mother, nor father
And no family, where to go
We went for the Ranger training
It was easy with him at my side.
The fact that he trusted me was to me,
A source of enduring pride.
From the Rangers, we went a step further
To the training that won’t go away
And when we completed that time in hell,
We donned the Green Beret
We were in Berlin when the wall went up
In October, ‘twas Cuba we watched
And we left for Southeast Asia
When the Viet Nam war was botched.
We were up north, in March
The other side, determined we die
Four thousand came at us one day
And death rained down from the sky
One hundred and twelve we stood our ground
No surrender will we give
We will not be here to see defeat
It’s not the way that we live.
We are the men who do what they say,
No matter the cost to our lives
We will fight for each other, and if we must
We’ll die so the other survives.
At the north fence, I was fighting,
I was surrounded by death
But, determined to pull my trigger
So long as I contained breath.
The Miracle Man called to me
Amidst the din and the pain
That we evacuate, now while we can
To live to fight again
He took Frank, who was terribly wounded
On his back to get him away
Then came back for me, I was running
To leave behind me, this fray
We met at a canal in the compound
An explosion blew me to the ditch
I counted my fingers and toes
And muttered “Son of a bitch”
I crawled out of the muck and the stench
To the top of the berm, he was there
He grabbed me by my shirt collar,
With one strong hand in my hair.
We ran side by side as we lived.
Then a flash, and not a sound
But the Miracle Man and I were both
Thrown to the trembling ground
I made it back up, and I grabbed him
As he had pulled me before
And into the helicopter we went
Sprawling across the floor
I was covered in blood, I was sweating
He lay face down at my knees
I thought a prayer, in silence
“Oh my God, I ask of Thee, PLEASE”
I turned him over to see him
His face was most nearly gone
And his chest was open, no bleeding
Said his soul was beyond.
I screamed a horrible scream, in a daze
I threw him out of the door
And I tried to jump out to join him
On the dark, lonely jungle floor
They caught me, and held me in
They would not let me go
I belonged with the Miracle Man
In death, and the jungle below
I was wounded in legs and my back
I had not the strength to fight
But I still die with the Miracle Man
At the middle of every damned night.
I'll not mention his name, most are not worthy to utter it. He was KIA 22 March 1964, five days after his twenty first birthday. He was killed by a man he never saw, in a place he had never heard of, where he had been sent by a government for which he was not old enough to vote.
He died trying to live, I spent the next many years living trying to die.
The fact is simply that freedom is not free. If you agree with the current conflicts, or the one in which my friend died, or not, Pause and thank any God you may observe for men like him.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2008 11:56AM by Merc.
The story is tragic.
underneath this story is a story of another journey. you've come full circle on that journey and so i embrace this poem as proof that you've come to tell us a story of a great man and a story about forgiveness and humanity and freedom. freedom is not free and as your story shares -the journey towards freedom often takes a life, often takes a lifetime. i can't imagine what it took to write this, but perhaps i can imagine what happened after you did.
Beautifully painful. Beautiful ending!
Ah, the road dog, such an exquisite thing. Like a wife, only useful. Haven't had one in quite some time, though I intend to remedy this problem soon.
I doubt my ever thanking any deity, so, despite my many qualms with the moral ambiguity present in more recent military actions, you will have to accept it on his/her/their/it's behalf.
Well said, Terry. Often soldiers are blamed for governmental decisions. Thanks for reminding us of that.
An adage I was once told: Old men start wars, young men fight them.
Tell me, if you would be so kind Merc, what the opinion on your side is of the psychological collapse of soldiers. Does the military attempt to prepare them for the traumas in any manner other than screaming loudly? I've seen approaches I find rather base, and find them insufficient. Crude conditioning, subtle and overt, to make one desire to kill, but not adequately cope with the moral confusion of having done so.
Of course I'm not counting events such as WWII here, as the cause was a righteous one requiring little thought. More the ambiguous ones wherein the government, not the nation as a whole, decided a war needed to be waged.
I can't answer for Terry, but in my own training 40+ years ago there was no attempt to prepare anyone for the psychological residue of war. I'd be surprised if the military concerned itself with such issues even now, especially during training. If soldiers in battle were encumbered with thoughts about the morality of what they were being trained to do, or the possible effect it might have on them in the future, a lot more of them would never make it home. I'd hate to be in a fire-fight next to a guy who hesitated even slightly about covering my ass because he was concerned about how he might feel twenty years from now. That kind of crap is for novel writers and film producers.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2009 10:00AM by hpesoj.
That was what I feared. Personally, I wouldn't be willing to ally myself with someone who didn't consider these things as they would be vulnerable to a variety of breakdowns. On top of that, they would be less motivated to action in general. I still don't understand the point of sending those with the least comprehension of the world into the trenches. Beyond of course the ease of enlisting them along with the physical robustness of youth.
the ease of enlisting them along with the physical robustness of youth.
I suppose people willing to die, foolishly or wisely, are in short supply. But given our current technologies and resources, it seems a few highly trained men would be preferable to large groups less trained. Course that would change given a.. Um.. Large scale war against a formidable force erupting.
Many people are willing to die. Witness the number of idiot speeders, smokers,and drunk drivers in the world. It just isn't going to heppen to me.
Youth is needed in war. Reflects, strength, recovery time, robustness as you say is the most important part.
However, the last hostile action I saw, the youngest soldier there was over thirty. In combat, no one is going to consider, "Now if I shoot this guy, am I ever going to sleep again?" A batch of us ran to Canada back during Viet Nam, they claimed that they would not kill for the cause at hand. I firmly believe that the majority were more afraid of being killed for any reason.
There is no training for the pyscological aspect of those actions. But, strong battlefield training lessens the remorse aspect of the aftermath because a better trained warrior has more chance for control over his situation.
In Viet Nam, one day, four of us were attacked on the streets of Da Nang, by a very young woman holding a boy of about four against her body. She fired at us with a US made model 1911 .45ACP. (an army gun). She killed one of our number, and wounded two of us. (Me amongst the two) Just before I was hit in the lower right leg, I shot the boy in the throat, that put a round in her chest. The Miracle Man opened up on her and the kid. Both were dead before I hit the ground. I have no regrets.
Another time, I fired one barrel of a double barrel shotgun, from hiding, into the legs of an enemy uniform. He went down, spotted me and started to raise his rifle to kill me. I have never known such hatred could exist as I saw in his eyes. I fired the other barrel into his face. I have had nightmares about this guy. He didn't have to die. I killed him. She had to die. She put the boy into the situation where he had to die also. Not my doing, this guy was.
The PTSD, shell shock, battle fatigue, what ever the name they give it today, is almost EXACTLY what rape victims experience. It is because of a terrible stiuation where terrible things happen, and you have a total loss of control. It is not the gore, it is not having killed someone, it is not watching the Miracle Man die, it is the TOTAL loss of control of the situation.
The military is concerned with such stuff. But, how do you train a woman to be raped? How do you train Al Haymes to kill 112 people one afternoon? How do you train a FDNY guy to run up the stairs in a building that he knows is going to fall? More to the point, how do you convince the FDNY guy who arrived just as the building fell and his friends were killed, that it wasn't his fault he wasn't in it when it fell? You teach the job. You send them out to do the job. Then you deal with the results. The military is much better at that now than it was.
I'd'a maybe hit you in the mouth for that comment about the just cause in WWII. Ever seen a tv show where there are actual vets? "Band of Brothers" "Utah Man" ect. Those "Just Cause" vets are as hurt as we were. The scariest thing I ever saw was a tv special on the Normandy invation thirty year anniversary in 1974. When the vets talked, I realized, it was NEVER going to go away. I watched a German vet and a US vet hug each other. The commentator said something stupid about how thirty years ago they were trying to kill each other and the German said, "Yes, and that gives me something in comman with this man that you will never be smart enough to understand." Ever notice that one thing in common was always said about granddad? "He doesn't talk about it much...." Shows a complete lack of understanding. When a Vet wipes his eyes as the flag goes by, or doesn't want to see "Flags of Our Fathers", or watch Band of Brothers, or stands quietly when someone sings the Star Bangled Banner, it is not ALL love of country right or wrong. It is because he remembers the Miracle Man in his life. He remembers that he put a bullet into the living breathing body of an 18 year old boy. It is because he knows the horrible cost of that flag being flown, and, he would do it again. Just cause?? The only cause in war is the guy in the mud next to you. I would have to respect the opinion of the long haired freak who called me a baby killing puppet to care what he said about me. But, this worthless piece of human feces was calling the Miracle Man that by extention. This dredge on society, who has the right to say that ONLY because of people like him. There is a special place in hell for that breed of garbage.'
got off subject a little.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2009 11:27AM by Merc.
Aye.. I have a feeling, however, that battlefield trauma would be worse than being raped... but I suppose that would be in the manner in which one was raped. Control, certainly, but seeing how animal entire races of people can become, and what horrible things they can do, in my opinion, outweighs being fleshed by one or even a few dudes. Course I haven't taken part in either so what do I know?
I've known rape victims, they mixed our groups on a couple of occations. It is very close to the same. I'd'a absolutely hit you in the mouth for "being fleshed by one or even a few dudes" As you DO say, what do you know? Very little appearently.
Relax. I knowingly admit my ignorance. I'm telling you this to say that I would not act on these estimations as if they were fact. I'm looking, not touching. You're going to be in the wrong very soon if you refuse to discuss things civilly in hopes of finding a solution. Wasn't it Colin Powell who said, "War is the politics of last resort."? Granted, I may not be discussing these things with the gravity you might feel they need be addressed. But I am completely insulted to the point of being sickened by the manner in which you address a variety of things. I don't say anything because it's not constructive to get at each others throats.
As to WWII, I am in no way saying they weren't effected, I'm saying that due to being on the moral high ground in that situation, less, percentage wise, were effected due to the ultimate goal, the eradication of a genocidal enemy, being a righteous one. Again, I don't treat my thoughts as absolute fact. So please, rather than take a final tone, correct me with as much evidence as you can bring to bear against my ideas.
Em, but preparing people.. Well. I have an answer for that. Unfortunately, it's not one that many can relate to. I devote myself to self understanding, self control, self moderation. There are methods of self control that render those dangers nonexistent. Unfortunately, should one get the fancy, those same disciplines can create horrible monsters. I'm sure you're familiar with escalation, same principle. By my current estimations, it is possible to instill these qualities in people young enough for service, but would take focused tutoring through out their youth.
There were very many German soldiers who would claim the moral highground in WWII. As for removing a genocidal enemy, that is exactly what we have been stomped on for doing in Iraq. If one genocide "dude" is evil and we are the good guys for removing him, when did it become ok for another one to be genocidal and we are the evil twin for removing him? The Japanese were convinced that all the people they killed were less than human. So a whole lot of moral highground was claimed in WWII. We just didn't have Jane Fonda etal telling us how wrong we were.
Also, let us remember that more died on the streets of NYC on 11 Sep, a day that will live in infamy... oh, wait, that's the other time we were handed our heads... than died at Pearl Harbor 7 Dec. And, NO, So Damn Insane did not attack us. So why are we in Iraq, Neither did Hitler. Why were we in Germany. (actually Hitler declared that a state of war existed between the US and Germnay, but he did not attack aforehand) Both were friends with those who did. Also, during WWII we killed more civilians than the bubonic plague. For crying out loud, we nuked two cities. 6 Aug in about five seconds, we killed more Japanese civilians than the men we lost in 16 years of Viet Nam. We burned Dresden to the very ashy ground. In Iraq, we are so surgical that we have not killed 1% of the civilians their former leader killed. But, WWII had the moral high ground? I question that.
I'm not sure that the percentage is higher now than then. I think it's like many crimes, just reported at a greater rate now, and, reported further. If some vet from WWII went bezerk and killed a bunch of people, his home town knew it. Now, a Viet vet trees a town, the whole world knows it. After WWII, if you lived near a vet's hospitial, you saw the cost of war. Now, Fox, CNN and many others are far too happy to bring the cost into your home every evening.
In the case of rape, the "dude" does not suggest that the girl lay down, relax and enjoy it. Then when he's done, she is disgusted because she didn't know him and he saw her naked, and he hadn't showered. It is a very violent crime in which the victim is pretty sure she may be dying. It is a horrible stiuation during which she loses any sembalence of control over her own life. Disease is a fear for months afterward. I knew one guy who left his rape victim wife because he couldn't stand the thought that "she had made it with another man" She was in ICU for about three weeks after she "made it" with another man. I actually worked with this low life.
Any time I say something that makes you ill, please feel free to puke. I will admit that not knowing you from a kumquat, I may have taken you too seriously with that very stupid comment. But, that was like calling a kidnapper a "baby sitter". I do take crime very seriously. A lot of people are still insulted that mere drunks are arrested, body cavity searched and tossed in jail for driving in that condition. A lot of people are dead because of that condition. A lot of rape victims die also. Some at the time of the crime and some much later at their own hand.
I can't begin to imagine the magnitude of the experiences you describe, Terry, and the people with whom you've experienced them. Thanks for your courage to write this, and for your courage, period.
Indeed. But do I have a gun pointed at you as I say these things? Will you be more likely to convince me of your side of the argument if I suspect an unreasonable attitude? Remember that I know the different from being right and feeling right. I comprehend to some degree how dire these subjects are to you, and how driven you must be to correct any flaws you see in my opinions. But taking the tone of the men you've devoted your life to wrangling will not further either of our goals.
Personally, I feel peace cannot be obtained through war. Only that war can be delayed for sometime longer. I recognize without hesitation that there are situations where the fist must come down, but used in excess, such only creates more animosity. People cannot be conquered, only suppressed, tamed for a time, before things change, and their hatred is freed to consume their captors. The only way to avoid this is complete eradication, but the use of this method is to become those corrupt men.
Why do people start wars Merc? I am of the opinion, and correct me should you see any flaws, that it is due to a lack of self understanding. Esoteric, I know. But how many content people wage wars? What does a person need to be content? Food, shelter, self control. It is certainly far more complex than I presented it to be, and requires specification. So please, in the air of a man who pursues peace, correct me.
The very fact that Oppie made e=mc2 16 Jul 45 proves that the bomb will be used again. It's like prostate cancer for a male human. If he lives long enough, he will get it. The bomb will go off again.
Some wars have been started because someone has something that the other wants. Land, money, food.
Now, this is only experience, not a study of history, I firmly believe that most people killed in action since Cain slew Abel, have died in the name of God.
I am the most religious mercenary that I've ever known and was even called that sometimes. However, I have never shot anyone who wasn't willing to become a Christian, at least not for that reason.
The several hundred year struggle in Ireland has religious overtones. Croppy and Prods. Croppy was a land renter, (read Catholic as they couldn't own land) and Prods were prodestants.
In Gaza today, the Gazans would not be tossing missles into Palistine. If the Jews would convert to Islam, the fight would be over. And that is what it would take. Our current enemy, and make no mistake, we have a duzzie of an enemy, will put your head on the floor, either in prayer, or after decapatation because you won't convert.
The nineteen hijackers did not attack an Islamic nation. They refer to us as "Satan" They will tolerate no jokes about the Prophet Mohammad. In fairness, they make no jokes about Christ. Religion to them is not a sabbath day event. It is the prime driver in their lives. And they are firmly convinced as only a religious zealot can be, that they must convert the world. They are equally convinced that anything they do in this endeavor is just ducky by their God. These missionary acts include such things as killing women and children. Their scripture has a passage about protecting the innocent, and to many of them that means you don't hurt anyone who is not trying to hurt you. To others that means that you don't hurt muslims.
In older history, (before 1940's) we did not have an enemy capable of following us home and killing us. This comment bars the indians, ok? They were home. But England tried twice to whup us and couldn't get the job done. Just too far from home to be effective. In the 40's, we got the Japanese as an enemy. Had we lost that war, there would have been wholesale slaughter in the street of Boise Idaho. The Germans would have occupied us, but death to civilians would have been minimal. To the Japanese, anyone who did not fight to the death deserved to die, and would at their hands.
We have another enemy who will follow us home and kill us. This enemies regard for human life is lower than our WWII counterparts. Your sister spends the night with a man to whom she is not married, quick fix for that indescretion. A two handed broadsword will remove the crainial portion in one fell swoop. They do that to their own. Be a reporter in their country,, They will post your beheading on the www.
In short, Jehovah Witness' send out people to convince others that the JW's are correct and you should join them. My own church has a missionary program second to none in this world. We are in 120 nations. The sole purpose is to spread the word of Christ as we hear it. Basptists, Methodists, etc have missionarys doing wonderful things all over the world. They are not there to tell the heathen that he has heaven made.
Islam sends out missionarys also, but these men of God carry backpacks with comp C in them. To a Christian, it's convert or go to hell, to a muslim, it's convert or go to hell right now.
Tommy Smothers, who never wrote a word of scripture in his life made a very astute comment one night. He said: If everyone ever killed in the name of God were stood in one long row, they would all fall over, because they are dead.
This is my opinion, based on 48 years of military and combat experience.
I absolutely hate this opinion, and I absolutety hate adverbs.
The opinion. War and peace is like heat and cold. Cold is the natural state and is an absense of heat. War is the natural state and is the absense of peace.
By that I mean peace must be worked for. War happens. Peace must be continued. Or you have war. Peace takes a lot of late nights, and hard work. World peace forever is not possible. World war to oblivion is.
Then we agree. Don't mistake me for a person who is against the current war, should we call it that. I agree with it, I only feel a deep hole was dug when we went in before acquiring U.N. support. This single mistake, in my opinion, has at the least made things far more difficult then they had to be. Allowing the twin towers to fall unanswered would indeed "embolden" those psychos, but this half hazard cluster fuck that things have become has done far worse than the delay of acquiring support would have.
As you've heard me ramble, I am against religion. Not because it is inherently flawed, which can be argued, but because the current state of religion is nothing more than a leash on consciousness. Life is an unknown, it is supposed to be unknown, people who act otherwise are driven to madness without exception. Without true consciousness, people can never understand themselves, without understanding themselves they will be driven by our primitive inheritance. Their fears and hungers unleashed, they will behave as animals and kill everything near them for fear of the same. For a simple example of this, it is the countries with limited natural resources that cause the most problems. People are struggling to get by, so they take rather than share. This leads to war. Granted, there are many other reasons that people are driven to such madness.
Also, I cannot be certain that people with the type of self control I pursue will be a peaceful breed. But I know they can easily maintain it, should they choose. It's a matter of logic. Cooperation helps all, any other path leads to destruction. Some see this and want to destroy, which I can understand why, life is damn infuriating, but that's not how I do things.
As dangerous as these fools can be, they are still fools. Fools can only win through numbers. The world is growing more and more connected, information and resources are growing more and more abundant, easier to acquire. This will make people less willing to follow some pathetic perception of reality, they will be freer to live their own lives as they choose. The psychopaths causing trouble will become less and less and eventually die off completely, with the exception of random occurrence. Natural law will destroy them. Only severely unnatural occurrences, common enough in religious nations, will see more of them spawned. I'm not saying we should take a break, just noting that conditions are favorable.
With all due respect, I would like to correct some of the beliefs present in your post. I understand how you might have acquired them, but I feel I must present you with a version that is not based on sweeping generalizations from personal experiences upon encountering individuals.
You say the following:
"If the Jews would convert to Islam, the fight would be over. And that is what it would take. Our current enemy, and make no mistake, we have a duzzie of an enemy, will put your head on the floor, either in prayer, or after decapatation because you won't convert."
Firstly, moderate majority Islam respects and aknoweledges other heavenly religions and orders Muslims to treat them humanely.
Secondly, not all Gazans are Muslim, and the Palestinian problem is not about Hammas or Gazans alone; it is about a right of a people to their homeland. It has been ongoing and what is happening today is Gaza is but an extension of combating this injustice. In 2003, there was a masacre in Jineen, another Palestinian town and it had nothing to do with Hammas or Muslims as much as it had to do with Palestinian struggle to regain rights to their homeland.
Thirdly, although I am not a religious person, I agree that politicised religion can turn out to be brutal when conflict is present. However, I also believe that any people, religious or not, when deprived of means to live with dignity realize that they have nothing more to lose. Hence, desperation is another factor that can set loose the beast in people.
I would like to conclude that I too speak of personal experience among which is knowing you. I learn a lot from that, most importantly empathy and respect.
I highly doubt Merc speaks of the civilized in this situation. Though now that you bring it up, it's curious to me why the reasonable people over there haven't put an end to this long ago? Or do they simply leave the country?
I bow in respect for what you have been through, and for your healthy ability to transcend the trauma (to some extent) by transforming your experiences into poetry.
Your empathy with non-self-pitying characters who put themselves at risk also shines through your cowboy poetry, which is so much enjoyed by Emulers.
There's no value in me adding to this thread by saying which of your strongly held pragmatic opinions expressed in it I agree with and which I'd be inclined to qualify, even though the former probably outnumber the latter.
Let me revert to the poem that began the thread, and ask a question. Is there something beyond what is recounted in the poem that led you to dub your co-hero the "Miracle Man" as early as the second day at Benning (i.e. in line 2), or is that simply an honorific he bears in retrospect because of the selfless way he saved you from almost certain death?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2009 08:18AM by IanAKB.
I'll be back. I had answered two comments, and my computer ate it. Don't have the energy right now to do it again.
OK I'll give it another shot.
You get an unqualified CORRECT on your statement that most Muslims are peace loving respectful people. I alluded to that, but didn't carry it out enough to make it clear that is what I know.
I have spent a lot of time in the mid east, since Gulf War I. Very little of that time in the employ of the US government. Some time with Blackwater on US contracts, but most of the time with other enities. The reason I am willing to work there, is that I believe that what we were doing is in the best interest of the local people. I have a great deal of respect for the faith, and many of the people who profess it.
I am aware that "infidels" do not include "people of the book". Christians and even Jews are people of the book.
I know the problem in Gaza is about a homeland. I know that in 1948 the Jews decided that they were "going home" since they did not have a homeland...and negotiated their arrival with rifles. I understand that Palestine was pretty happy until they showed up. OK.. an argument can be made that the Jews have the right to a homeland also. They were there, maybe not first, but they were there until they were tossed out on their ears the way they tossed back. What came first, the chicken or the frying pan? I don't know. I do know that the Jew is determined to stay in Isreal.
I know that they are the most persacuted people ever in history. I also know that the determination they have now is a force to be reconed with. All members of the Isreali military travels to Masada, takes up a handful of the dirt and swears "Never Again".
All this serves to prove my point that war is the natural state and peace must be worked for constantly if it to exist at all.
You and I would probably vote opposite on who gets to occupy what the map calls Isreal as a homeland. I don't see it being a joint effort in peace. That guess is based on me thinking I remember you to be Jordanian. Is that correct?
Now, as to conversion. Hamas, Al Queda, etc have hijacked Islam the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Arian Nations has hijacked Christianity. I know that teh 19 who killed 3,000 in our streets in the name of their God did not speak for many million muslims the world over. But, speak they did and loudly. And if we let our guard down, which we are going to do because we have the attention span of a dog with alhezimers, we are going to be handed another batch of deaths.
OK,, peace loveing muslims the world over detest these kinds of actions.
Yet in Iran the chant is "Death to Isreal and the US" The sons of Ishmel and the sons of Issac shall do battle.
I did not name him anything until I sat down to write this. He and I were very good friends. We were repremanded for, but not limited to, skinny dipping with two female officers in the pool at the Gene Autry hotel in Hollywood. Swimming in the shark tank at sea world. Stealing and transporting by US Air Force airplane, a concrete lion from the steps of the Burgermeister's home in Soren, Germany to Edwards Air Force Base California.
I have seen, and helped him set up an ambush that killed probably a hundred VC with one twist of the wrist. He never batted an eye. I considered him to be the most cold blooded killer the world has ever known. But when the chips went down he was only interested in saving lives. Under intense fire he kept helping wounded guys out.
I wrote the poem using his name. Then to me that seemed balsphemous. I changed it to the psuedonym.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I truly appreciate it. Two points I want to comment on and then refrain from any further comments.
Your conclusion stating that "war is the natural state" is one I disagree with. Call me a naive dreamer, but I see nothing natural in war. On the contrary, I believe it to oppose human nature. As for the rest of your statement, I do agrre that "peace must be worked for constantly" as should anything we value in life.
You say "You and I would probably vote opposite on who gets to occupy what the map calls Isreal as a homeland."; I would rather put in joint effort in changing that choice to a more constructive one that aims at including all in a progressive civilized process of co-existance that is based on justice, which once was present in that community. There are always more than two extreme choices to pick from, but we need eyes with insight, hope, and bravery to bring those option out to the light.
Proof that even the most mentalily defecient can be taught. I now log in before writing anything that may be long and the page may expire.
My statement that war is the natural situation is based on 44 years of mecenary work. I don't know, but I doubt that there is a peaceful solution with the current mindsets. Wish.
Also, as I reread a lot of what was posted above, I ran into something that sounds like I have done everything and know everyone... rape vicitms.. now how does a merc know a bunch of rape victims? Well, while I was in school in Reno after my stint in Viet Nam, I did a group theropy thing. It helped me a lot. So I sponsered several other sessions. There was a big vet's hospitial in Reno and we had no lack of visitors. A female doctor who oversaw our "hen partys" (as we called them) asked one day if she could bring another group she was doing and mix with us. She said they had a lot in common with us. We agreed. The next several sessions included rape vicitims. It was amazing how closely we were related. Innocent girls who had been walking along the streets of their hometowns, and well trained combat vets who had killed young men who could have been these girl's brothers in another life. We helped each other alot.
One of these god damned days, I'll be in the majority. Control. Be control good control, go control to control heaven control. Control. Control. Control. Act on assumptions and fail. Basic mother fucking math.
Thank you Terry, for sharing your enlightening reflection!
Outside of the fact that you don't have the vocabulary to express yourself without that kind of language, exactly what are you trying to say?
See, no lines crossed beyond feelings hurt. Though I suppose enough people get defensive even at that to make it a delicate method. Point! I disliked being overlooked in your last reply, so I yelled. I apologize beforehand for how brash I'm about to be.
What I'm trying to say is my ideas on the reason for the existence of religion. As you noted earlier, it is a lack of control people fear. How do we conquer the perception of infinity and it's infinite dangers? We say the universe is finite, not enough so for us to understand, but enough for something greater than us to. Something conveniently sympathetic to our plights.
"He's one of the old Gods! He demands sacrifice!"
Enough of the point, onto the purpose. A rare opportunity has presented itself in this conversation. I perceive you as someone both religious and someone who intimately knows the need to be rid of delusion. So, in essence, I want to see what happens when I poke you with this particular philosophic stick. I realize most would consider this bad form, but it's not as if you have to reply. So, will you take the path of most, and stonewall me? Will you tell me you've been telling everyone you're religious for the nuts of it? Or perhaps say that your version of god differs from that of most? Or will you completely surprise me, and provide something rare and beautiful? Something that will shed light on the mysteries in my own life?
There is an old saying that two things you cannot talk someone out of are getting married and buying a used car. You can also not convince anyone with a different point of view to change religions or politics.
One thing I will do is ignore you any time I wish. I owe you nothing that I do not choose to give.
However, I will answer your question. I don't know how my version of God differs, because I don't question other people's version of God. My God is not a vengeful, hateful power which rules with an iron fist. My God is a forgiving, loving Father. I spend every possible sabbath in church, and somewhat like Islam, my religion is a way of life, not a Sunday morning occupier. I read scriptures, which to us is the King James Version of the bible, and the Book of Mormon. I attempt to learn from them. I firmly believe it makes my life better. I firmly believe it makes me a better person.
I am a physiscist, big bang theory and all that. vs creation of the universe. I do not see a conflict. I am very good at math. And I find it very unlikely that two species would evolve an optic nerve, let alone the multitudes of species that do have them. Life could exist just fine with a different number of arms or legs, we do not need opposable thumbs to work machines made for people without opposable thumbs.
To consider that every form of life came from a single celled thing just does not meet with any math I can do. My God does not deny evolution. To deny evolution is like denying gravity.
I gotta run, so I am going to cut this off. I am not done and not running out on you, so don't swear, that only shows ignorance of language.
But to sum up chapter one, my religion does not control me. I choose to live by it's standards.
What fun you are. You will forgive my becoming increasingly reckless as this conversation moves forward. It's rare that I find such enjoyable company, and it gets me in a playful mood. Ignore me as you will, that's perfectly perfect, just be kind enough to tell me off so I'm not waiting like an eager child. Naturally I will return the favor.
Do not mistake me for a person who attempts to persuade anyone. It is my view that our perspectives are exactly the same, only used differently. You see the unlikelihood of similar lifeforms, I see the reasons for that similarity. I'm not going to try to force any ideas on you. I'm going to build an empirical monolith of things we can agree are fact, piece by piece, small at first, until we come to agree on larger things. Is my goal to bring you to my side of things? No. Remember, I pursue truth, not comfort. In doing so, I've learned the folly of chasing absolutes. You could be right. And I don't care if you are. I don't care what reality is, I only want to know reality. So, if we come to agree that your version of reality is the true reality, so be it. As long as we can prove it, I'll be happy as a calm. Infact, if we end up able to prove anything, I will be in your debt. The math, as you say, I'm not trying to force a solution. I'm trying to collect all the numbers, see if they add up. You have numbers that I don't.
Anyhoo, your religion does not control you, you say? How can this be possible? Is it not our past experiences which form our present thoughts, and is it not these present thoughts which determine our future actions? Is your religion not deeply entwined, nay, the heart of your definition of reality? And thus, you make your judgments and choices based on this perception? Further, is your religion, which is your perception of reality, not inseparable from what you are, as it determines your actions? These actions leading to experiences, these experiences closing the cycle? Perhaps a sloppy definition, this paragraph, but as you're not a dumb man, I'm going to relax a bit.
As to not questioning other people's gods. Why not? This would seem a necessary thought when questioning one's own god. For surely you question more than most, as a man who knows the dangers of chaos, you must be driven to comprehend all unknowns. Or do you follow that part about being unquestioning in faith? Or have you seen too much war based on arguments of religion? If that's the case, I certainly see the need for caution.
Ha! Just read back and saw this. I should pop you one in the jaw for this Merc!
"a Viet vet trees a town"
I like this poem, and find the discussion that followed most enlightening. However, I have one thing to say to all of you. What we speak of; what is happening in Palestine right now is a delicate matter in which the lines between right and wrong have blurred significantly.
The right to a homeland is one all of us deserve. Peaceful co-existence is a matter that is filled with confusion and dissatisfaction for all sides included. But in Gaza, the struggle is not about defense, it is not about taking control, or protecting homeland. It is doing nothing, nothing at all. There is no result to this but the killing of innocent people.It is an offensive attack where the powerful annihlate the weakest, an attack in which hundreds of blameless civilians have died in the past twelve days. Children, women and men. Who has the right to take a life? No one. All the blood we have spilled, it is on our hands, our fault as human beings for being so inhumane, so callous.
We call for change and rights and peace. Peace is about compromise, and it seems no one understands this. War is not logical, it is not natural, it is a result of discrimination and greed and power and wanting to prove power.It is a result of selfishness, of fear of lack of control. I agree we need to work for peace. This day and age, it is not going to happen easily. However, we must also ensure that peace is peace for everyone. It shouldn't be biased or selfish. It can't be.
We are human beings above all, first and foremost. Why are we unable to remember that? Why does a soldier kill millions without thinking those could have been my family in another situation? The blood of innocent people is on my hands. The government decress the army goes to war. Then what? Are we as human beings unable to think for ourselves? Unable to refuse to take lives for no justified reason? We're powerful lets gain more power? This goes far back than what is happening in Gaza. It is about other countless incidents where people did nothing only to be attacked.
As I read the discussion, particularly the part where you spoke about the belief that one was doing what was right for the local people? What gives one the right to decide on a matter which does not directly affect them. Interference because one thinks they know better. They don't. At the end of the day, these people go back to their own situation leaving those with whom they interfered to bear the consequences.
The children of Gaza were sitting in their homes when an Israeli rocket blew their houses off of the earth.Everyday the newspapers are filled wth pictures of bloodied, lifeless bodies,mostly civilians. What was their fault? Their existence as palestinians? The fact that they were born into a struggle of no meaning?
It is not about Islam or Christianity or Judism. It was never about that. Its about how people who have been wronged before seek revenge against all the wrong that has been done against them. I ask you, what better are they with their killing and murders that the people who did the Holocaust? No better.
"Never again." Oh no. The injustice that befalls the Gazan people is a repeat of the tragedy of killing, of genocide, only by the hands of those who were originally wronged. Those who say "Never again".
War is unnatural, you say? Well, before I disagree with you, I would like to note that one way, that I, measure a person is by how easily they are influenced by anger. And how able they are to differentiate talk from action. For, in my world, talk is utilized to determine the best course of action, and while action is a necessity, haste leads to failure. So, when I put what little of my reputation is on the line by disagreeing, I hope you have what, in my view, is the strength of character to respond not with anger, or fear, or any of the many baser human traits, and instead reply with a calm intent to truly find a solution.
Perhaps, when you say that war is unnatural, you do so out of a poor familiarity with history. You and I have been fortunate enough to be born in a time of civilization, so we have little personal experience with the savageries of life. If you are one to subscribe to evolution, rather than creationism, you will likely agree that we were not always so civilized. You will recognize that our past is one of savagery, of animalistic instinct, of need and sacrifice, not ideals. That the survival of our species was not due to how cooperative we were with our environment, but how good we were at taking as much as we possibly could, so that we would be strong enough, come hell or high water, to survive the day, year, century, aeon.
Before civilization, what did humanity have? Rocks, sticks, hunger, pain. You seem to be unaware as to how very close we remain to that state. Evolution is not something that happens overnight, it is a process that takes millions of years. How old is civilization? I'm no scholar, so correct me if I'm wrong, but perhaps 10,000 years, depending on how you define civilization? What makes you think that, in that short period of time, we have shaken the instincts which kept us alive for, in one form or another, millions of years? I certainly hope it's not a desire for a cuddly world, rather than fact, which brings you to this conclusion, for it is a staple of my arguments that any who seek to feel right, rather than truly be right, are incapable of finding anything remotely resembling truth.
Or do you intend to say that war is merely illogical, that anyone with common sense would cooperate as opposed to fueling the cycle of destruction? On that, I can certainly agree. But how can you expect us, who have only recently crawled out of the sea, who have only recently had time to truly consider life without the constant danger of immediate and random death, to be logical at all times? Have you perhaps lived a privileged life? And thus are unfamiliar with how powerful instinct can be, how it can cause us to do horribly stupid things, not matter how obviously self destructive those things may be? It is my theory that we more often than not overstate our abilities, that we assume we know more about the world that we actually do. And in doing so, we make mistakes. Some mistakes being small, some killing millions with the press of a button.
Why would we do this? Overestimate ourself, despite that doing this leads to self destruction? Because we have only recently become more than animals. And the evolution is incomplete.
First of all, thanks for your opinion. I appreciate the honest, if somewhat rough, reply.
Secondly, I respectfully disagree with you on most of what you have said. War is indeed unnatural, in the sense that war against each other, against human beings is fueled by the more basic traits of humans (the ones which you have spoken of; anger and fear). Ones we have easily learned to repress on a daily rate if not on a n international level. We were not born to fight with each other so viciously, so savagely and over what? Not food, not shelter and not water. But more power, more control.So that type of war is indeed unnatural.
Why do we do so; sentinent human beings. We have evolved and if not to the utmost level, we are able to communicate with words and phrases before we take action. As you also pointed out. War is unnatural in the sense that is hasty action with losses on both sides and no gain. There is no gain.
We live in a world of civilisation. You are of course correct. Yet it is in this world, that children are being murdered purposelessly. Innocent people are being killed, starved and taken out of their homes. We are not talking about the past where savages and barbarians existed. I do believe we have grown past that, past that need. We have the tools to stop these wars. At least partially. One would think that as we become more evolved we would lessen these struggles, but they have only increased, taking other more useless, much crueler forms.
Are you married? If so, you would understand that couples often have fights, misunderstandings and while many of them may react unbecomingly towards each other many, who have passed their fiftieth anniversary and the hurdles of life and so on. Whose love is eternal and inspiring and hopeful have certainly had those fights and came out of them whole and better, with a little compromise and understanding.Or are you a teenager? if so, do you not reach a compromise with your parents on your curfew, for example? Do you not reach an understanding after discussion? isn't that what we are doing here, right now?
If you believe that talk is utilized to determine the best course of action, then why are you incapable of the belief that war, certainly not a result of the proper utilization of talk and certainly not the best course of action, is unnatural and can be avoided.
We are imperfect, full of flaws even. However, we must not give up the quest for humanity, for evolution into peaceful, realistic human beings with foresight. A defeatist attitude is one that will bring us all down, stop our process of evolution.
So yes, I do say war is unnatural, because by saying so I am telling myself and the rest of the world that something is wrong, we have not done what we are supposed to do, we still have a lot to do, much more to grow and complete our evolution. We can't give up.
On a final, more personal note, as a human being I am not unfamiliar with war or instinct. I have indeed lived a good life, however, that does not mean I am unfamiliar with the power of instinct. It is strong, overwhelming but evolution states that we can control instinct, utilize it to survive as a whole race, and not become endangered (at least by no one's hands but our own). We must have been able to, or our world would have been much worse off than it is now (though I don't believe it can handle much more). There is a balance in the world between good insticts and bad. It is not my desire for a cuddly world that drives me, for I have seen the worst this world has to offer, only mere hours away from my home. I know, and yet I believe. We must prove that we are indeed as 'humane' as we claim to be, as the UN, Human Rights, Freedom movements all over the world and throughout histroy have claimed to be.
We do not overestimate ourselves, we ask more of ourselves and this leads to evolution.
Well then, you must now tell me why it is that humanity yet fights pointlessly, if not due to, as I theorized, a primitive nature. For in revealing your knowledge on this subject, a solution seems likely to be divined.
I second your spirit, Startle!
You have theorized that war is a result of primitive nature and incomplete evolution. I have theorized that humanity and our quest for peace is a result of the same incomplete evolution, and stated as well that a balance of instinct and our will to continue our quest for 'complete evolution' and humanity is a result of the evolving we have done thus far, and our need to continue doing so.
A solution is indeed available, we do not quit seeking peace, we do not quit rejecting war, violence and the spilling of blood and accept it as human nature. And finally we hope that good change will come, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in the next century, or aeon. Perhaps that change is you or me. Perhaps this conversation will inspire someone to take action ...
I know one thing though for sure; we must not give up.
Ah, I see. So it's not that we disagree on the point of our instinctive inheritance causing strife, but on our separate definitions of "natural". When I say natural, I do not mean acceptable. I mean it is reality. I am not saying it cannot be fixed, I'm saying that without accepting reality, and thus understanding it, things cannot be changed. Now, what do we agree on, that being stated?
When I say unnatural, I mean should not be happening. It is happening of course, but should not be. The world is not right with it, it is not balanced. Acceptance fits into this only partially. It is all about balance really, human nature does not decree that we fight each other purposelessly, which is what war is.
What do we agree on then, in your opinion?
It seems we agree that our primitive inheritance is the cause of this strife, if I am correct? But I would like to clarify, again, that I am not "accepting" this, war and other such conflicts, to be unchangeable eventualities. I am looking at it with as cold an eye as possible, looking at even the things I don't want to see, so as to find the proper arrangement of pieces required of peace. That is, while the fighting is indeed foolish, there is a reason, if not a purpose, for it.
Now, as I see this conversation continuing for some time, you must tell me something of extreme importance. Is english your native language? If not, we have a large problem in that discussing things of such depth requires a highly trained understanding of language. If english is not your native, things must take a slower pace, so less misunderstandings occur.
I will leave that to your assertion, as you seem to believe yourself such a knowledgeable source on what level of skill is required in this language to continue this conversation.
So tell me, what do you think?
Are you asking if english is your native language? If that is the question, I would say no.
Very well then. First, I would like to say that your presumption is true. It is indeed not m native language. However, don't stop reading right there, because I have more to say in an understandable language.
English or any other language being one's native language does not necessarily mean that one has a high understanding of it. I say this with first-hand experience. Secondly, perhaps your reference to taking things at a slower pace is merely a result of your not being able to keep up .I mean no ill intent, merely coming to a logical conclusion. I have not yet had any trouble discerning your meaning, perhaps you have mine?
No, no. I merely feel doing something right the first time is preferable to repeatedly back-peddling to solve problems that could have been gotten out of the way earlier.
Don't worry. Then again, back-peddling often brings new things into focus and allows one to pursue something from a different, undiscovered aspect.
My assertion that what I was doing was the good for the locals is made because most of what I have done falls under humanitarian. We hauled medical supplies, food, clothes, etc to beseiged people. Also, we were doing what the local people wanted us to do. I was in Kuwait with a C-130 full of doctors, nurses, medical stuff clothes, food, all kinds of nice stuff BEFORE the Iraqi army was out of there.
Very seldom have I worked for one political side or another. I won't report, nor defend the times I have here, but when we left, life was usually better for those whom we tried to help.
You might be correct. However, those people were besieged by whom? Also, if they wanted it, they should've done it themselves. My belief is that one must allow others to work out their own problems so that they would not be dependent on that who had solved their problems. It is the only way one can survive.
No one fully knows the consequences of their interference. What made life better for one, might've made it a lot worse for someone else.
Nevertheless, I somewhat understand where you are coming from, even if I don't necessarily like it.
Indeed, chaos theory states that any event can lead to any phenomenon. But hypocrisy is the sign of a fool, or a liar. Were you to find yourself in a desert lost and near death due to having misread a map, would you accept help from a passing stranger?
No, the real question is, should the passing stranger help, because what if the one in need eventually becomes the next Hitler or Rachael Ray or something?
I am the original "Do it yourself" advocate, however it's hard to get food for yourself when you are starving to death. When there are bodies in the streets from hunger and disease. It is hard to do it for yourself when a tsunami has just leveled over half of your known world. It is hard to do for yourself when the guy with all the food has a bigger gun. Sometimes, somneone has to call the sherrif.
Taking people out of East Germany back in the day made life better for them by their judgement. I don't know who got the worse of that. I've never helped anyone who didn't want my help. I'll leave you in the street to die if that is what you prefer. You are nothing to me but an adrenilin rush and a damn good paycheck.
Making life better for some often makes it worse for others. I helped in a prison break on Madagascar once, it made life much better for about 120 Brits, and real bad for some indiginous folks. For several of the locals, it ended their lives that night. I make no appology.
Johnny, what if the one in need becomes Michalenglo? Not ours to question. We make the best judgement we can and act accordingly. Help or ignore. It's all the same to me. There are people on this board I'd die for and some I wouldn't. My judgement, because it's me who has to make the call to help or not to help.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2009 01:42AM by Merc.
"We make the best judgement we can and act accordingly."
I'll second that any day...that's just the way it is...no one has much foresight...just lots of hindsight. But you can't live your life looking through a rear-view mirror, unless you want to run off the road...frequently.
I hate this! I agree with you completely! Love that line about the mirror.
Oh lord, I thought I was alone in my hatred of Rachael Ray. Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me. She treats the bar of food standards like a limbo stick.
As to the mirror. How does that quote go? "He who masters the past commands the present."
The situation we are discussing is far from the cruelty of environmental factors, it falls in the category of the cruelty of human nature. That changes the situation, a lot.
Also, when I said that people can solve their own problems, the meaning was that the people along with their government and officials can help themselves. The should not require any outside help. Politically speaking. I mean as long as the Sheriff comes from the same town, he can and should interfere.
Even though it is universal for one to look for safe havens, it differs when that safe haven also poses a threat to their identity. Being taken out of the situation by the people who originally put them in that situation, not many would leave willingly, and not many would be happy about it.
But once more, I see what you mean and I see that you did what you believed was best in that situation.
Well then, let me rephrase the question. You are born into a living hell. Your society is one of madmen. You are beaten and raped daily, essentially a slave, this is allowed because it will "toughen" you. You are a child, you are physically and mentally incapable of changing your circumstances. Your life is hell. However, should you survive to adulthood you will be as your society, madmen bent on the destruction of everything but themselves. You will be this way because all you've seen of the world, even from your own kin, is savagery.
Before you are permanently corrupted, someone infiltrates your land, and offers escape. Do you deny that offer?
"Every time I look in my rear-view mirror, everything is left to right and right to left and racing away from me in the distance.'
Anyway, using the past as a paradigm for present action may be one of the reasons we keep repeating the mistakes of the past.
Remember the "Far Side" where the lady looks in the mirror and it says "objects in the mirror are closer than they appear" and all she can see is an eye?
Yes I do. (o).
Would you two stop flirting? Really grossing me out.
flirting is contrarily a most pleasing and invigorating activity, P. You should try it some time.
Ah, but I prefer merely stating my intentions of entering an animalistic fury and fucking my chosen female into a trance. Course this doesn't work on most women, but then, most women can't keep up.
Will someone give Senor Urine a slight overdose of cloroform?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2009 11:30AM by Merc.
That's just racist.
Please, then, stop spraying testosterone on our legs.
A good buddy of mine has published a Remembrance Day poem that once I have his permission I would like for you to see.
Good to see you're still kicking; guess you opted out of crab catching this year?