Thursday, July 06, 2006

If War Is The Answer, What Is The Question?

Knowledge Is Power

Sondra K, a PNW blogger of great power (and many good friends) posted a seven-minute YouTube video yesterday, depicting American Troops and Iraqi Children.

This video is work-safe, and kid-safe, so disregard the 'warnings'. It's a pleasant surprise, and a lovely film for people who see children as a better, more innocent "us".

Go, watch it. No, don't wait to read the rest of the article. You need these images in your head to understand what follows. Click on the link above. We can wait.


Done? Good.

On the other hand, here is a contrary viewpoint.

Vietnam War draft dodgers reunite in Canada

CASTLEGAR, British Columbia (Reuters) - Three decades after they fled the United States to avoid the Vietnam War, a small group of former draft dodgers gathered in Canada on Thursday, more convinced than ever that their anti-war stand was right.

Peace activist Isaac Romano, who moved to Canada from the United States in 2001, said he helped organize the conference to honor both the Americans who opposed the war and Canadians who helped them establish new lives.

I have some baggage when it comes to people who leave their country to evade the draft during time of war, and even more regarding those who have volunteered for military service and then refuse their movement orders because, they say, this is not the "right" war.

As a Vietnam veteran, I faced the same decision in 1968. When was drafted, I took the pledge at my induction without reservation.

And I decided not to criticize other should-have-been draftees who evaded the draft by taking up residence in Canada. I figured they were aware of the down-side to their decision, and if they were willing to pay it ... it was their decision.

I wasn't pleased when, in1977, then-president Carter granted amnesty to "Canadian Draft-Resistors". It seemed to me that they had lived when better, more honorable men had died for them. It seemed unfair to allow them to return to the country which they had betrayed.

Now these same ... people ... are celebrating their decision, in public, without shame.

Craig Wiester, who moved to Montreal in 1968 after being drafted into the military, said Americans have amnesia about the men who left their families rather than fight in a war that even some U.S. officials now say was wrong.

"Why are we still dishonored in American society ... those of us who said (the war was wrong) and knew it, and acted out our feelings on that," said Wiester, 59, who now lives in Minneapolis, Minn.

He said although his father, a World War Two veteran, personally hated the Vietnam War, he nonetheless reported his own son to the FBI after learning he was planning to refuse military service.

A personal note to the Wusster person: you are being dishonored because your actions did little to further the anti-war movement. What you did was to save your own precious self. You dishonored yourself. Instead of thanking God for saving you, and Carter for accepting you back to the bosom of your family, you continue to protest in your delusional concept that you acted out of honorable intent.

I hope you, and others of these physical and moral cowards, see that film clip if only to learn how men who are truly honorable conduct themselves.

It's probably too late for you to acknowledge how you have shamed your families, but perhaps a few of you will at least admit your own secret shame, if only to yourselves.

You have not redeemed yourself even as much as had Henry Fleming in Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage.

You have not payed enough.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Buyer's Remorse

I bought another car this weekend.

Had to do it. The Geek Jeep was so decrepit, it would cost more to repair it than I could get in trade-in value.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI wasn't a smart shopper, though; the next day when I reviewed the paperwork, I found I had purchased a $2000 "extended warranty" (maintenance support contract) thingy, and I doubt I'll be able to get out of it. I didn't want it, don't need it, can't afford it. I just had an expensive Senior Moment, I guess.

Worse, I bought a [choke] Ford, after all these years of badmouthing Fords.

It could be worse.

While cleaning out the Geek Jeep for trade-in, I found an ISMI 170mm replacement magazine spring, three ISMI 140mm replacement magazine springs, four pounds of Vihta Vourhi, 300 rounds of reloaded .45acp ammunition with 200gr swc bullets and a case of Montana Gold .40/10mm jacketted bullets ... all of which I had stored in the Geek Jeep and forgotten about. So there is one more up-side to changing vehicles; it was the first reason I'd had to clean out the cargo area of the Jeep for a month.

Combined with the need for providing birthday gifts to my two children and one daughter-in-law this month, chances are good that my cash-flow concerns won't allow me to pay match fees for the 2006 SingleStack Tournament at ARPC next weekend.

But the value of the "found items" go a long way toward paying for the (hopefully unneccesary) extended warranty.

I'm thinking of having bumper stickers made up, reading:

Last Year I couldn't spell "Ford Driver", and now I are one!
Unless I'm unable to re-negotiate the financing on the new Geekish Land Yacht, if you're wandering around on foot in an Oregon IPSC range parking lot about a half hour before the next CCS Club Match starts, I want to warn you:

I have a working muffler now.

You won't even hear me before I run over your foot.


Surprisingly, when I phoned the dealer Monday Morning, he agreed immediately to cancel the maintenance support contract and re-write the loan papers ... which he had not yet submitted to my credit union.

I went back to the dealership, where the finance manager had all but completed the new paperwork. We voided the maintenance support contract and the old financing paperwork (with my credit union) and activated the new one. Then, as frosting on the cake, he helped me find the key-pad-entry factory default code numbers so I could enter my own, personal code. In the end, he spent about an hour of his time to help me, at no cost to me at all. They didn't even charge me a fee for processing the extra paperwork, which I would have gladly paid.

I told him how much I appreciated his efforts to make me happy with the deal. I said I'd be back in a few years, and I would send everybody I know who was looking for a car to talk to him.

If you're in my area, looking to buy a car, look up G&J Auto Sales. Ask for Jeremy.