Tag Archives: Vietnam War

Do you really support this moron?

Memo to my MAGA friends, acquaintances and those I see with bumper stickers on their pickups ….

Do you really and truly want to support an individual who has labeled those of us who have worn our country’s military uniform “suckers” and “losers”?

The former POTUS launched an unhinged, incompetent rant against judges, legal foes, jurors and the very judicial system as his way of paying tribute to those who died in service to the country. Memorial Day is a special day for the former Moron in Chief.

He denigrated the late Sen. John McCain’s service during the Vietnam War because he “got caught” and spent all those years as a POW. He has smeared the character of a Gold Star Family whose son died an Army hero in the Iraq War. He once told his former fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen that those who went to war in Vietnam were “stupid.”

Here he is. He is competing for the presidency yet again. How does the MAGA movement, comprising individuals I will presume support those who fight for our country, react to their hero’s rants? They give him an unfettered pass.

I have to ask: Does he speak for you, or does he speak only for himself?

I know the answer. He speaks for the cult followers. The good news as I interpret it is that the cult base isn’t growing. It well could be shrinking. Distressing, though, is that their volume remains full-throated.

I will go to my grave wondering how in the world the MAGA movement can possibly support an individual who is incapable of paying appropriate tribute to those who serve our great country.

I mean, to “make America great” requires a faithful commitment to public service.

Nothing ‘happy’ about this holiday

A good friend of mine this week posted a message that resonates loudly with me, as it should with all Americans.

Don’t wish David Norris a “happy Memorial Day,” he admonishes us. It is a holiday of commemoration, of honoring those who gave their lives in service to this country.

Norris told the story of a fellow Marine who died while serving the rest of us. They were good friends and every Memorial Day, he remembers his friend’s sacrifice.

We should remember and honor all who paid the ultimate price in service to the great nation.

I served a tour of duty in Vietnam while employed by the U.S. Army for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Every Memorial Day I recall the sacrifice of a young man who was slated to go home after he had extended his ‘Nam tour a couple of times. Jose de La Torre served in the same aviation battalion that I did; he was assigned to a Huey helicopter company and I served in a Mohawk company.

He took off one day on a mission to drop sone troops off in a landing zone. It was “routine,” or so they thought. The LZ was hot and the enemy was waiting for our ships, De La Torre died that day.

I’ve seen his name on The Wall. It still fills me with sadness to recall the exuberance of the then-young man who was going home.

So … let us honor all the men and women who paid the steepest of prices.

And as my buddy David Norris said, don’t wish anyone a happy Memorial Day.

GOP channels Democrats

Yep, it’s true. What passes today for a once-great political party is channeling the backbiting, backstabbing, in-your-face accusations of another great political party.

The Republican Party today is mirroring, more or less, the shenanigans of Democrats in the 1960s and 1970s. There is a big difference, though, in the context of these struggles.

In the 1960s, Democrats were at war with themselves over the conduct of an actual war, in Vietnam. Today’s Republicans are at war over something far less grim, but equally significant. They are feuding over how to govern this great country.

You had Hawks vs. Doves in the 1960s. The Hawks in Congress supported our involvement in the Vietnam War; the Doves wanted us to get out of there sooner rather than later. It was policy, man, that drove that internecine fight.

The policy this time is driving by those on the far right, the MAGA crowd, is throwing obstacles in front of mainstream Republicans who cling to the notion that they need to work with Democrats to enact meaningful public policy. The MAGA crowd — led by The Former Guy — obstruct efforts at, say, immigration and border security reform. They tie border security to funding the Ukraine war against the Russian invaders. They also tie the border to our continuing aid to Israel, which has declared war on Hamas over the terrorists’ hideous attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, 2023.

What’s TFG doing about it? He’s cheering on the MAGA followers, encouraging them to stop our government from doing its job.

Just as Republicans were virtually unified in their efforts in the ’60s and ’70s to wage war in Vietnam, Democrats today lock arms and don’t lift a finger to stop the battle that’s underway across the great political divide.

Wow! I think I’ll continue to hold on with both hands.

Not understanding this … at all!

I will go to my grave likely never coming to grips with the political phenomenon that continues to play out as the 2024 presidential campaign starts to ramp up.

We have an incumbent president, Joe Biden, sitting on one of the healthiest economies in nearly a generation. Yet he stands in danger of losing his re-election bid.

To whom? Possibly his immediate predecessor who was impeached twice by the House, who has been indicted four times by state and federal grand juries, who continues to defame his foes and who is preparing to stand trial for felony counts brought against him.

The confusion? I cannot fathom in my wildest dreams how this ex-POTUS continues to hold sway with Americans.

In an earlier era, Republican voters and political leaders never would have tolerated the behavior of an individual who they are poised to nominate for a second run as POTUS. He admits to cheating on his wives; he said he could date his daughter, who he described as being “hot.” He called John McCain a hero “only because he was captured (during the Vietnam War); I like people who aren’t captured.” He denigrated a physically challenged reporter and said he could grab women by their private parts because he’s a “celebrity.”

Nope. I’ll never understand what bounces around in the noggins of those who suggest that their guy can fix this nation.

Somewhere there must be a political sanity god who can guide this nation away from the madness that this guy represents.

Happy Veterans Day everyone!

Occasionally I feel a little strange paying tribute to veterans, given I am one myself. I mean, it’s a bit embarrassing to offer thanks to veterans, implying that I am thanking myself for the tiny bit of military service I gave to the nation I love.

But … what the heck. I’m going to do so again today.

You’ve heard me go on and on about my favorite veteran, my Dad, the late Pete Kanelis, a sailor who saw combat in World War II. He went to the armed forces recruiting office on the very Sunday the Japanese hit our military installations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He intended to join the Marine Corps, but the USMC office was closed, so he walked across the hall to enlist in the Navy.

Those men served “for the duration” of the war effort. In late 1941, they had no way of knowing when — or if — they would return home. Dad knew the risk, but he was angry enough to follow his gut instinct. Dad wanted to get into the fight, and he did … along with 16 million other Americans.

These veterans are dying steadily these days. The last count I heard of the living World War II generation of veterans was fewer than 400,000.

The nation these days is bending over backward to thank veterans. Given that I am one of them, I accept the nation’s gratitude with humility. My own service in another war was insignificant, but it surely never lessened my own love of country, nor my commitment to serve my country honorably.

Millions of men and women have donned the uniform of all the services we deploy in time of war and peace. And at the risk of sounding a bit self-serving, I extend my heartfelt thanks — not just to the Greatest Generation that included my Dad — but to all the vets who did their duty with honor.

Gesture speaks of nation’s maturity

Americans of a certain age or older remember how it used to be in this nation when it came to our military veterans.

We were treated like, well, the spawn of Satan. Folks scorned veterans during the Vietnam War even though we were merely following lawful orders, which were the policies of politicians. The war was unpopular. Americans were rioting and veterans bore the brunt of the criticism.

This is my kinda strange way of telling you about a gesture I received this morning when I walked into a cafe to have breakfast after dropping Toby the Puppy off at the doctor’s office, where he is being treated for cancer.

I walked into Norma’s Cafe in Dallas. I sat down and a young cafe staffer noticed I was wearing one of my Vietnam vet gimme caps. He placed a Veterans Day weekend menu in front of me and said, “All vets eat for free this weekend.”

OK. I know it’s a gesture being repeated by businesses all across this great land. It seems routine, right? Yes. It should be routine and veterans everywhere no doubt appreciate gestures such as the one I received this morning.

I mention this only because it was just a couple of generations ago that Americans were unable or unwilling to exhibit any level of appreciation to those who donned a uniform and served to defend the nation we all love.

We have come a long way, indeed.

Nice going, America … and thank you.

Mind-boggling revisiting of issues

It simply boggles my noggin that the media have begun revisiting the issues that turned so many Americans off about Donald Trump when he ran for POTUS the first time.

Take his utter disdain for those who served this nation in uniform, who went to war to defend Americans, who were captured by the enemy or those who died in service to the country.

The issue has returned to the front burner in the wake of revelations that Trump said that retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley should be “executed” for committing an act of “treason.”

Can this clown, Trump, be any more despicable than that? Oh, probably.

Milley told an interviewer that he served this country while wearing an Army uniform for more than 44 years. He said Trump’s attack on him was in reality an attack on all the men and women who serve. He is too much of a gentleman to respond specifically to the idiocy that poured out of Trump’s mouth.

This latest example simply adds to the litany of insults he has heaped on those of us who served our nation in uniform. He called the late Sen. John McCain a “loser” because he was captured by the enemy after being shot down during the Vietnam War. He denigrated a Gold Star family whose son died in combat in Iraq.

Trump has never served “the public” in any capacity — even while sitting in the Oval Office for four years. So, for this guy to denigrate a decorated Army general by suggesting he should be executed for treason simply goes beyond all that is sane.

Donald Trump has lost his mind.

End of era: end of division

We all know this about this so-called Era of Donald Trump: It will end eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later.

When it does, it is my sincere hope to see friendships rekindled and rebuilt, even among family members who have split between two camps: the MAGA cult and the Never Trumpers.

I lo.ng ago lost count of the number of times people have told me how they avoid certain friends or family members because of their political differences. Specifically, these friends of mine tell me it has to do with their loyalty to Trump.

“I just can’t stand to be around them,” these folks say with more than a slight air of frustration and sadness. To be truthful, I don’t hang out with the MAGA cultists, so I generally only have heard from the anti-Trump side. So, forgive me for not having a more complete picture of the great divide that has split the nation.

This divide among friends and family is worse than anything I’ve ever witnessed in real time. I am 73 years of age. I came of age during the Vietnam War. I went there for a time to serve my country. There were those in families who supported the war and those who opposed it. I do not recall ever discussing with anyone whether they should talk to their family members because of policy differences relating to the war.

Not long after Vietnam came Watergate. A team of numbskull burglars got caught breaking into the Democratic Party’s office complex in DC. Then came the coverup. President Nixon abused the power of his office to obstruct justice. He was on the road to impeachment when he resigned the presidency in 1974. Again, do I recall family members becoming estranged over that? No.

You are free to correct me if you experienced such a thing. I merely am saying I did not see it first hand.

This time it’s different. A former president has been indicted twice for crimes. The House of Reps impeached him twice, only to see that effort fail to obtain a conviction because of a lack of courage in the U.S. Senate.

And there has been plenty of wreckage spread along the way, even as Trump has sought to overturn the results of a legitimate presidential election.

When the Trump Era ends is anyone’s guess. It could end with the Republican Party primary season in 2024. It could end with a conviction perhaps at the end of this year on one of those indictments. It could end with — dare I say it? — Trump’s demise.

I just know it will end eventually. I hope the damage this demagogue has inflicted on families and friendships isn’t permanent.


Happy birthday, USA!

I am a flag-waving patriot, for which I make no apology. Indeed, it seems odd that I even feel the need to offer that ridiculous qualifier, but I do feel compelled to say as much.

Old Glory flies over the front porch of my Princeton, Texas home. It comes down if the weather threatens to get too windy; I don’t want the wind to rip the flag off the holder my son bolted into the brick and mortar for my wife and me.

Where am I going with this? The nation celebrates its 247th birthday on Tuesday. So-called phony patriots have been in the news over the past recent years, proclaiming themselves to love our country while standing under the Stars and Bars banner, the symbol of the Confederate States of America, the organization that declared war against the government in 1861.

Enough about them.

I stand by my flag and my nation because I was taught, primarily by my father, to honor the country and to serve the country if it calls your name. Dad served his nation with honor and heroism when, on Dec. 7, 1941, we were attacked by a foreign power. He enlisted that day in the Navy and in about a month was on his way into the fight of his life — and the fight of the nation’s life.

A generation later, my country called on me to don the uniform. I joined the Army and served with far less heroism than Dad did. However, the lessons I learned as a boy carried me through a couple years of active duty, including a stint in Vietnam.

I grew weary long ago of the faux patriotism of those who literally wrap themselves in the flag of our great nation. Our pride in our country isn’t about a piece of cloth. It is about the principles on which the founders created the nation.

They founded a nation on one principle in particular, which is the freedom to dissent, to protest government policy. We do so peacefully — most of the time! I am OK with that. Hell, I have protested my government’s policy at times myself.

It doesn’t make me love my country any less. It makes me love it even more. It also enables me to wish my country a heartfelt happy birthday as it approaches one more Independence Day.

Happy birthday, America. I love you more than I can express.


‘Law and order’ party? A mirage!

Whatever happened to what we once called the “Law and Order Party”?

I think I have solved the mystery. The Law and Order Party never existed in the first place. It became a catchphrase coined in the 1960s for Republicans to get tough with (a) anti-Vietnam War hippies, (b) Blacks who were angry at the illegal and immoral indignities they were suffering and (c) anyone else who sided with them.

Many of us, me included, have been wringing our hands over the Law and Order Republicans who suddenly now want to “defund the FBI,” who accuse the Justice Department of “weaponizing” itself” and who — in the words of the dimwit GOP U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, believe we now are a “communist country” because a former POTUS has been indicted for criminal charges.

An actual Law and Order Republican would never stand still for the behavior that the ex-POTUS has done during his time in office and the period after he lost re-election.

I have concluded that the term “Law and Order Republican” is a fabrication. It meant nothing when they coined it in the late 1960s and it means even less than that now that the nation’s leading Republican pol is under indictment for crimes he allegedly committed after he got drummed out of the White House in 2020.

The former POTUS’s GOP pals are making a mockery of law and order — and the insistence at DOJ that every American is subject to the same standards and the same laws.

It is yet another slimy, stinking and sickening example of the hypocrisy that has infected a once-great political party.