Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

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Slightly Off the Mark: A Gathering of Soldiers

My Memorial Day column:

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A gathering of soldiers:

“They say the people back home don’t know what we’re doing here.”

“What? We’re fighting the people who want to be able to terrorize and control us. What’s so hard to understand about that?”

“All I know is, according to the papers support for the war is at only 33%. Nobody thought it would go on this long, or that so many soldiers would die.”

“Ain’t that something? The fair weather patriots are fading into the woodwork now that the job’s gotten hard.”

“Well, it does seem like we haven’t been winning too many battles.”

“Don’t worry about that. The trick is to stay the course. We’re good fighters, when the cause is just – maybe the people who think we shouldn’t be here just aren’t getting the right information. If we lose, it’ll be because they don’t realize freedom can be worth fighting for.”

“So it’s all up to the American people?”

“It always is. Now go get some sleep; General Washington says we’ll be going up against Cornwallis tomorrow.”

Another gathering of soldiers:

“This is the second time we’ve gone through this. We won last time, but it doesn’t look like we’re doing so well this time.”

“Don’t be a fool; we’ll win because we have to.”

“A lot of people are saying we never should have gone to war for such foolish reasons.”

“Maybe they’re right, or maybe if we hadn’t gone to war things would have just gotten worse. But it’s too late to do anything else.”

“But all the people who died – the damage that’s been done – shouldn’t we just quit, walk away?”

“And spit in the face of the people who got us this far? Shut up and eat your hardtack. You need to keep your strength up, in case the British attack Fort McHenry tomorrow.”

Still another gathering of soldiers:

“Have you ever wondered if we should have just left them alone?”

“Oh, I’ve thought about it.”

“They just wanted to go their own way.”

“That’s what they said, all right.”

“I mean … do we have the right to tell them what to do?”

“Good question.”

“They’re just people, like us.”

“That they are.”

“Of course, they did refuse to give their minorities any rights. Split up their families, killed them if they complained.”


“Do you think people have a responsibility to fight for the freedom of others?”

“Course I do. Joined Lincoln’s army, didn’t I?”

Yet another gathering of soldiers:

“I don’t see what we’re doing over here.”

“They bombed America, dummy.”

“No they didn’t – someone else did. Just because this country has the same kind of government
and believes in the same kind of things doesn’t mean they’re connected to the people from the other country who attacked us.”

“Maybe not. But they believe it’s their destiny to eventually overthrow nations that believe in freedom. They attacked other countries. They built up their military at the expense of their own people. They were experimenting with ways to carry big weapons long distances. Do you really think, if we left them alone, they’d just sit there and never threaten us?”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Jeez, Hitler stinks.”

Again, a gathering of soldiers:

“I never even heard of this country. I couldn’t find it on a map.”

“Guess it’s real, though, or we wouldn’t be here.”

“Yeah. But should we be in the middle of a civil war? I mean, isn’t it just them trying to kill them?”

“You got it wrong, bub. They’re being used. There are all sorts of fighters from other countries coming in, saying they’re supporting these guys when they’re really trying to spread their form of dictatorship – and kill Americans.”

“Well, why don’t we just leave, then, so they can’t kill Americans?”



“Yeah. These are bad guys, guys who want to take over other countries and kill anyone who doesn’t tow their line. You let bullies like that get away with beating up the neighbor, sooner or later they’ll come and beat you up.”

“So that’s why we’re in Korea?”

“It’s not for the weather.”

Another generation of soldiers:

“What if we just left?”


“Yeah. You know, come to an agreement and leave. Peace with dignity.”

“Might as well; the people back home don’t seem to want to let us win.”

“Well, maybe with us gone, the people here will stop fighting each other. Maybe they won’t have a reason to fight, and everything will be peaceful.”

“Sure. Or maybe the winners will come in and kill a bunch of the losers, and take away everyone’s freedoms, and try to continue spreading their hate and dictatorship to the rest of the region. Maybe the whole country will be thrown back to the Stone Age.”

“Huh. I guess it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Vietnam.”

And one more gathering of soldiers:

“Says here in the paper that the American people don’t support what we’re doing in Iraq anymore.”

“Don’t believe everything you see in the papers.”

“Says all we’re causing is death and destruction.”

“I thought the terrorists who are blowing up the people they claim to be helping had something to do with that.”

“Says there’s nothing worth fighting a war for. Says the people were better off before, and Iraq was never a threat to us, anyway, and the war’s unwinnable.”

“Look, put the paper down, and read this instead. It should put everything into perspective for you.”

“What is it?”

“A history book.”
Tags: slightly off the mark, weekly column

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