The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Monday, May 24, 2010

James Carroll Hits the Mark

I think Columnist James Carroll gets it right about Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who falsified his Service Record during the Viet-nam war period (and also the record of former Harvard student Adam Wheeler).  Often I find Mr Carroll to be way off course, but here he nails it.

Thank you Mr Carroll.

Regards  —  Cliff


ncrossland said...

I am the last person to denigrate the wearer of SVN ribbons...the ONLY true mark of those who served "in country"...but I am also cynical about their wear and what it means to the rest of us "who served." In two tours in the Pacific during SEA, I witnessed the obscene practice of getting a space A seat on aircraft "transiting" VN airspace for the purposes of receiving an Air Medal and collecting combat pay. I am also sickeningly aware of the thousands of folks who, while were undeniably "in country" managed through their own skill and cunning to singularly avoid even the most tentative contact with an actual combat area...we called them REMFs and they were legion. In short, there are plenty of disgusting folks who are "products" of that war..but who "legally" got all their tickets punched. I believe in my heart that Scary Kerry was one of them.

And then we have the whole issue of those whose involvement in SEA was heart rending and in its own way traumatic almost beyond words. They didn't get the "salad" that accompanies being actually "in country" because they actually were not. However, they were exposed in many cases continuously to the horrors of that war...and their experience should not be marginalized by what has in many respects become a exclusionary club who reserve for themselves "special honor."

As a medic, one assigned to a tactical hospital (read that..."fly-away" bare-base support medic) we trained non-stop for an eventual deployment, to include weapons training, Jungle survival school, airborne rescue techniques (ala, PJ support), and aeromedical evacuation. While none of the gritty stuff of REAL combat, our duties and experiences had their own special flavor of wartime horror. I worked with aeromedical evac crews who literally never got off of the round robin that was our medical air bridge. You'd pick up a load of casualties in Saigon, or at Cam Ranh, or at DangNang...and you'd fly them to Clark or Tachi for an offload and if you were on the short circuit, you'd clean up the plane and restock it and head back in country. Sometimes you'd take rounds on approach or departure...and that wasn't the was doing your job for men who suddenly had no leg or arm or face....and in some cases...spending much of the flight fighting to keep a guy alive long enough to get to a hospital. don't get Silver stars, or LoMs, or air medals, and sure as hell will never even see an MoH...but you pay each day with a piece of your that "others may live." There was never a question among my comrades in the 656th or 657th that we'd sacrifice our own life to save a soldier's life. It was what we did....why we did what we did. And there is little doubt that we'd kill a bad guy in a heartbeat if it would save one of ours. That is why PJ's rode the penetrator into the tree canopy below with a weapon strapped to them.

I was "priviledged" to serve in a very unusual that is seared into my memory banks as no combat could ever exceed. I was, because of my dental background, part of a small ID team. When a soldier or sailor was mangled beyond quick recognition, we gave them back their identity. Gazing into a bag of what was once a whole person, who loved, who had family, hopes, dreams.....was at once a sobering, tender, angering moment....repeated over, and over, and over. It got to the point that I looked forward to trauma surgery or ER duty (all part of our training regimen) just because "these people were still alive."

So...these discussions about who "qualified" and who is "good" out of the VN era are hugely contextual and relative to what each individual experienced and how. The only BAD thing would be to have done NONE of it...and claimed that you did.

Jack Mitchell said...

As a grunt, I have to tip my hat to the medical folks.

Combat for any unit, is likely sporadic. If you multiply all the units by what combat they see and then funnel it back to a few triage units and hospitals, all that horror passes before a select few.

REMFs are REMFs and ground pounders don't normally respect them. Though we certainly needed them.

But those triage people, I can only imagine....

On the Blumenthal guy, I'm glad I don't have to hold my nose and vote for him. But I won't lie, I would.

ncrossland said...

OMG for Blumenthal....his post VN record is really quite stellar....and I'd guess...pretty much anchored in "integrity." But then....the very best I can do is guess in the dark.'s CT's problem....or is it??

BTW Jack....almost 100% of the folks I saw and "treated" were grunts.....the guys who put everything on the line and shook the dice........God loves nobody more than He loves the grunts.....I know.

Any man who has ever held an M1 Garand or an M-16 (of any variant) in combat......has my absolute......unqualified....respect and gratitude.....

The New Englander said...

D'oh! My much longer comment just got accidentally wiped out by Google.

Too lazy to retype, but here are bullet points:

* Neal, thanks for sharing your story about your service in 'Nam.

* A person can be in a REMFy or FOBbit-y situation but not by his own choice. To me, REMFiness is a mentality more than anything else...yes, I've seen it...and yes, it sucks.

* To lie outright about service *in country* shows you're either delusional or so arrogant as not to care about the disrespect it shows those who did.