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Hero Whiplash: Abusing Soldiers, Misusing Honor

| May 29, 2012

U.S. Army paratroopers move their observation post higher on a hill during combat operations in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, May 19, 2012. (U.S. Army / Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

U.S. Army paratroopers move their observation post higher on a hill during combat operations in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, May 19, 2012. (U.S. Army / Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

By Mary Jo Melone

When it comes to talking about the troops who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, hero is the most overused word.

It’s not that the word, when used to describe those who fight for us, is wrong. Lord, no.

Hailing them as heroes is also a form of apology for the abuse soldiers suffered when they came home from the Vietnam War to a divided, angry country. American soldiers will always die in war, but they will never again be so mistreated at home.

That’s the way it should be.

The problem, however, is this: when soldiers are declared heroes, those who have sent them to Iraq and Afghanistan let themselves off the hook.

In the middle of Memorial Day weekend, the Associated Press reported that 45 percent of vets are seeking disability benefits for the injuries they suffered in war. Amputations. PTSD. Disfigurement. The aftereffects of repeated concussions from IEDs. Nearly half of the two wars’ veterans are in this sorry boat. That’s an-all time record.

President Obama, like every official somebody at every Memorial Day ceremony in every town and city across the country, proclaimed that we will always provide for the care of these men and women. Of course, we will. No matter the cost.

The numbers may be so high because more and more wounded soldiers can be saved now; when battlefield medicine was not so sophisticated, many of these soldiers would have died on the battlefield. And, as the AP reported, veterans groups are pushing mightily for the wounded to get care.

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It is impossible not to wonder, though, whether these numbers are so high because so many soldiers went back and back to the war zone in multiple tours of duty. We have a lean, mean fighting machine now, right? We also have an all-volunteer army, which means that we lack the men and women who could properly relieve these troops who are rightfully called heroes.

Like honoring these vets as heroes, this too is a legacy of Vietnam. The draft was ended because it helped divide the country. The existence of the draft added to the pressure on elected officials who often had never gone to war and were interested in their own political survival—never mind the survival of those who did the fighting for them. Exhibit A was President Lyndon Johnson, whose political career was destroyed by the conflict at home. So the draft was ended.

Fewer than one percent of Americans have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Except for the dollars and cents bled from the budget that we now so rail over, we are curiously divorced from these wars and their tragedy and passion. So are the politicians who sent these men and women into war. These troops have paid with their limbs and lives, but the president, this one and the last, and Congress, this past decade, have rolled merrily along.

This fact is as shameful as the abuse Vietnam vets took when they returned. This fact belies the declarations made by presidents, senators and representatives who call Iraq and Afghanistan vets heroes and who promise to care for their wounds. You bet these soldiers are heroic, but they are also being used, and that is the very definition of immoral.

Mary Jo Melone, former columnist with the Tampa Bay Times, is a writer in Tampa.

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30 Responses for “Hero Whiplash: Abusing Soldiers, Misusing Honor”

  1. Prescient33 says:

    The author is ether very young, or lived in a sheltered cocoon during her formative years. Recognizing our veterans as “heroes” did not start with the Vietnam War returnees, as loyal Americans have cheered their returning heroes since the war of 1812 with celebratory parades. NYC’s lower Broadway was known as the “Canyon of Heroes” long before Vietnam, and served as a platform for triumphant returnees for many, many years. Similar parades were held in most, if not all cities (even in San Francisco and Seattle, believe it or not.)
    Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, honored the fallen military since shortly after the Civil War, although not in the South. Southerners considered that a “Yankee” holiday, and chose instead to have their “Jefferson Davis Day” as their special day.
    Armistice Day honored the Veterans and fallen of the war to end all wars, the 1st and thank them for their service. World War, and was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 in an law signed by President Eisenhower to pay tribute to our veterans. When I last looked, that was well before the Vietnam era, and all veterans were considered “heroes.”
    The Draft was around since the Civil War, with the Confederacy enacting it in 1862, and the Union enacting one in 1863. Bot died out after the war ended. It was revived for WW I, and ended in 1920. With the looming crisis in Europe, Roosevelt’s Congress reinstated it for what turned out to be the duration of WW II, when it expired in 1947, but reinstated in 1948 in the midst of the cold war,and remained in effect until 1973 when a Democrat Congress and Republican president let it expire in favor of the present all volunteer army.
    Since 2001, when the war against terror started, neither party has sought the reinstatement of the draft, not even during the present regime’s super majority in 2009 and 2010. Rather, Congress has cut Defense Department budgets, or so controlled them as to require successive deployments of both active duty and reserve forces by not suppling sufficient funds for a larger standing army.
    Our veterans of all wars and conflicts, including Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and The Mid East were, are, and will be honored in the hearts and minds of all loyal Americans as true Heroes in every sense of the word.

  2. NortonSmitty says:

    P33, I beg to differ. The word Hero was never used in regard to all who served in any war since the written history of war. From the Romans to recent times, the term for those who were called by their country serve it in uniform, whether defending it from invaders or expanding the empire for the benefit of all at home, was Citizen/Soldiers. To a man they all knew they were only doing their duty. They historically considered the sacrifice they made to be the price that all men must pay to not only protect their families, but to serve the land that they felt was their legacy. Passed to them by their forefathers, and fulfilling their obligation to the homeland they would pass on to their children’s children. What any normal citizen would do. Your duty.

    But some rose above duty. Some of your fellow warriors gave more. And it was usually not for God, Country, duty or politics, but to take a risk or make a sacrifice for your fellow serviceman or any human being that all of us would like to think we would make, but we all know only a special few actually will. Those are the ones we should call heroes. To use this term for all who served is to cheapen it and strip it of the honor it deserves.

    So, if you dive on a grenade to save your brothers in arms, you are a Hero. You wear a uniform and tune up Humvees, thanks for your service, but you are not a Hero. If you land your Huey in front of out of control troops at My Lai, you’re a Hero. Your a General William Westmorland and decide to fight a war of attrition against an enemy defending their country that will trade off 55,000 American lives, not so much.

    That may be a little too political for you, but I would like to make my point: If you run into a real life Audi Murphy dove-on-the grenade type actual Hero, he will be embarrassed if you call him by that name. He will tell you the real heroes are his buddies that never made it home. If he tells you about his wartime exploits, good chance he’s full of shit. And will smile and puff up when you call him Hero.

    PS, In the last decade, the Pentagon budget has increased an average of 10% per year while everything else has been cut. That’s double from the 2001 budget. And the reason the troops are worn out is that there is way less profit in increasing the number of people in the services as compared to building one $3.5 Billion dollar F33 fighter or hundreds of $6.5 Million dollar drones with Cessna engines.

  3. Jim N says:

    When the United States declares war and then invades a sovereign nation, I suggest that we begin with drafting and rotating member of Congress through tours in the War Zone first. Let them do 3 months at a time. One Democrat, One Republican, and an Independent registered official also.

    Once everyone has been through, then start over again, and continue it until the war is concluded and our troops are once again back home. During the time that the Congress and Senate are actually in session, they can vote by email and satellite phone.

    When those elected officials have to then put themselves in harms way for a change, so will the attitudes about going in the first place.

  4. JL says:

    Norton – I disagree loudly with you, but you can’t hear how loud I am right now. Heroes are not just the ones who gave their lives, literally. Many gave their lives, but their bodies are still here to walk the earth. I will give you just one example – Sean, fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was blown up, sent to a hospital, patched up, and sent back to fight more. This time he was shot and blown up again. The guy standing next to him was killed. Sean was sent back to the states. He has been out of the military a couple of years now. He continues to endure surgeries. There was shrapnel that they couldn’t get, so it stays in his body. Every now and then a piece moves and slices an organ in his body, requiring more surgery. He will have to remain living next to a VA hospital, because he never knows when he will need more surgery. Not to mention the post traumatic stress that he endures. The nightmares he suffers from. The fear he feels when he hears fireworks or a car backfire.
    Now, Norton – you want to tell me this man is NOT a hero?? I disagree with you. Just because a servicemember did not die, does not make him any less a hero.

    And this country did not welcome back the Vietnam Vets as heros. In fact, if it wasn’t for the reservists that were called up after 9-1-1, most wouldn’t care less about the military. I know, my husband served in the US Navy until 1995. No one cared about us. We didn’t get parades when we came home. It was the reservists that got the military the attention they so deserved. No one was calling them heroes. No one came up and shook his hand and said thank you. They do now. And that’s as it should be.

    These men and women are willing to give their life for their country. I stand up and applaud each and every one of them. And say thank you. You are MY hero.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      JL, for Christs sake, read my post. Of course Sean is a Hero. My point was that to call the Yeoman who sat in Headquarters and cut paychecks his whole career a Hero because he wears the same Navy uniform is an insult to the sacrifice Shaun made. THAT is my point.

      I also had shrapnel that took a few decades to find a home it was comfortable at in my spine. I also have been told that I would be a good candidate if they ever were in need of a Post-Traumatic Poster Child. But I am in no way a fucking hero. Wrong place, wrong time, got lucky, came back. The real heroes were either exceptional or didn’t have the luck. Did you ever hear Shaun refer to himself as a Hero? Ask him, I’m betting on No.

      And on another point, I am really sick and tired of the bullshit fantasy that so many Chickenhawk wannabe’s tell about how Hippies spit on them at the San Francisco airport getting off the plane from Vietnam. It’s bullshit. Nobody landed at San Francisco airport, you landed at Travis Air Force base about 30 miles north of San Francisco, where you were checked for tropical diseases, searched for smuggling drugs or weapons, out- processed and discharged. And I guarantee you they did not let any Hippies on base as a welcome home committee. I have heard this story from dozens of REMFs
      over the years and have called a lot of them out on it and not one of them would stand by it under pressure. But they all heard about it and were told it was true.

  5. JL says:

    Jim, I was too upset over Norton’s reply to this article, I didn’t read yours. Now that I have, I have a better suggestion. How about anyone running for President must have Military experience. After all, they will become Commander in Chief. Actually, I feel all Senators should have military experience, as well. That would probably put a whole new light on what they do to our servicemen and women.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Good idea. It would have saved us from Bush II, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ronald Reagan and all the other NeoCon ChickenHawks who could be counted on to tell us who our enemies are, but were never the ones to fight or die*. Clinton too. And it must frost all of your Conservative balls to know that Jimmy Carter was a highly regarded Naval Officer.

      * Lives In the Balance, Jackson Browne. Google it, about the Iran/Contra days.

  6. Prescient33 says:

    Heroism has many facets. Watch “Mr. Roberts” for one example. Beneath the humor was a strong message, that heroes can be found in performing the mundane, boring or tedious tasks necessary to support a war effort. The letter from Mr. Roberts at the end captures the message. It does not require an act of bravery to be a hero.
    I, for one, consider the young men and women serving overseas, venturing out in armored vehicles on missions and patrols as heroes, although some may be terrified while performing these tasks. If an IED explodes and kills them without a chance to retaliate, are they lesser than heroes? According to NortonSmitty it would appear so, who apparently considers them only as victims. They are overseas prosecuting their country’s interests, and do so honorably, despite the naysayers of the left. Similarly, when the Japs caught us flatfooted in Pearl Harbor, don’t you consider the victims that day as heroes? most never even fired a shot, but went down with their ships. Or do you consider them victims who died serving the imperialistic interests of the USA as is being taught in our colleges and universities?
    (Speaking of the left, I am old enough to remember WW II times, when they protested the USA getting involved in the European conflict following Stalin’s treaty with Germany, and watched them do a 180 when Hitler broke his pact with the USSR and invaded Russia.)
    Individual acts of bravery do make heroes, but so does selfless service for one’s country. The Nation has erected monuments to those who serve, and speeches were given on holidays extolling the brave young people who served our country for as long as I can remember. The subjects of the laudatory oratory were not confined to the Audie Murphy’s only, but to the people who served with those exceptional heroes as heroes, as well, albeit minor and unsung.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Prescient, you’re a little off on your history of the left and World War II. Opponents of entry into the war were right-wingers led by the likes of Father Coughlin, the Catholic and alleged priest, a fascist sympathizer and cloaked anti-Semite, Sen. William Borah, the Idaho Republican and isolationist (also, an opponent of federal anti-lynching laws) who nevertheless loved the Soviet Union, and of course Charles Lindbergh, though his opposition was more principled and pacifist-leaning than ideological.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      P33, this is where we just disagree. I believe you do have to perform an act of bravery to be a hero. Performing your duty under danger makes you a good man or woman, and a good soldier. The men and women driving convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan, knowing that it is only a roll of the dice whether the IUD or Magic BeeBee finds them, show a level of ‘nads (and I guess Fallopian’s?) that few have and even fewer would choose to do if refusal would not result in a court-martial. Those are good, no, Great soldiers. But the ones that get the opportunity to run into the burning vehicles under fire are the ones worthy of the term hero in my book.

      The reason I am so protective of the Word is that I see the term being used as a cheap political tool by the same bastards that always have exploited it throughout history to garner popular support for the sad sacrifice necessary to fight the Godless enemy DuJour. If you want to see how they really value the sacrifices of the Heroes, you need to look no further than the current budget for the Veterans Administration.

      Now that the VA is being overwhelmed by returning Iraq and Afghan veterans returning with everything from PTSD to traumatic brain injuries, suddenly we just can'[t afford to increase their budget in these tough times. Not to mention the puzzling and unexplained Gulf War Syndrome that everybody knows is basic radiation poisoning from the depleted uranium munitions that we know are poison to our boys and civilians, but darn it, they work so well!

      It’s always been thus. We all remember the Civil War anthem “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, at least the first part. But you never hear the last stanza’s about how when their darling boy finally comes into view, he only has one leg and is wounded in more ways than you ever dreamed of. Same today, they are heroes, but many are the Legless, the Armless, the Blind and Insane*, but unlike the people of that era, we are conditioned to just call them Heroes and never question whether its really worth it. After all, to question the mission is to demean our heroes, right?

      * Waltzing Matilda by The Pogues, about the Galipoli vets return to Australia. Good to Google.

  7. Jim R. says:

    Let’s go back in time.
    We are on Iwo Jima and a group of marines are getting ready to charge a Jap machine gun nest, suddenly a stranger appears, he has a magical device that shows the marines the future.
    They gather around and watch the year 2012 appear, Americans driving Honda, Toyota , Suzuki cars and Motorcycles are everywhere and there are millions of them.The same japanese manufacturers of the weapons being used to kill marines.
    The stranger disappears and the commanding officer gives the order to charge the machine guns.
    What would you do?

  8. Prescient33 says:

    The fact is the Russians and Nazi Germany entered into a pact in 1939-this from

    “The CPUSA supported the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 without reservations, and shifted from avid support for Roosevelt’s foreign policies to savage rejection. Communists opposed Roosevelt’s reelection in 1940 and organized the American Peace Mobilization to agitate against President Roosevelt’s policy of providing American military and economic aid to nations fighting Nazi Germany. CPUSA abandonment of the antifascist cause prompted most liberals to turn against cooperation with communists. In reaction to CPUSA support for the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the Roosevelt administration imprisoned communist chief Earl Browder for passport fraud. To avoid threatened U.S. government regulation, the CPUSA dropped formal affiliation with the Communist International in 1940.

    “The Nazi attack on the USSR in June 1941 prompted the CPUSA to resurrect its Popular Front tactics, embrace Roosevelt’s policies, and reach out for liberal allies. As a gesture to the Soviet alliance, President Roosevelt in 1942 released Browder from prison. Believing that the Soviet-American wartime alliance would continue after the war, Browder decided that the Popular Front stance was a permanent strategy.”

    I witnessed the rallies in NY’s Union Square, and the banners carried in the 1940 May Day CPUSA parades. The newsreels of the time were filled with the images of the throngs marching in our streets under the auspices of the CPUSA. True, there was opposition to the war on the right by isolationists, even Charles Lindbergh, but the difference was that most persisted in their opposition through 1941. On the other hand, the CPUSA and its fellow travelers did a 180 and began to support the war ONLY after Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and attacked Russia in February 1941, about 9 months before Pearl Harbor.
    Try as it might, the left can’t escape its flagrant duplicity in this period.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Uh, well, they WERE Communists P33. That was back when you really did have a Left Wing. Not like today when anything Left of Atilla the Hun makes you a Commie Pinko Socialist Atheist Hippy Fag. Or as I call it The Good Old Days.

  9. Prescient33 says:

    According to the main stream media, MSNBC, and CNN (and many commenters herein), there is no “left” anymore, only “progressives.” Even the Democrats have succeeded in purging the Blue Dog Democrats from its national ranks (or relegating them so far to the back bench they are never heard of again.) At the same time they welcome the extremist Sanders, an avowed Socialist to their caucus, while treating Joe Lieberman as a traitor. All that disagree with their progressive statist secularist agenda are branded as Right Wing fanatics, fascists, extremists, etc., so that there is no more center in politics, only the extreme progressives and the extreme Conservatives. A “moderate” Republican is someone like the “Bobsey Twins” from Maine (Snow & Collins), who can always be counted on to vote the progressives’ party line when asked. When a Republican stands up against their agenda, the hateful invective rains down from their propaganda mills.
    To paraphrase the late Pat Moynihan, no ultra progressive himself, “they are defining socialism down” in their programs to a point where the old left, the card carrying communists, are dinosaurs, are content to blend in with their herd of “useful Idiots,” and allow the Obama progressivism carry their water.
    (I’m not sure Attila the Hun was right wing, he behaved more like Stalin or Mayo or the Hero of North Korea in his conquest of the peoples in his path.)

  10. NortonSmitty says:

    According to the highest rated news media, Fox News and Rush (and many commenters herein), there is no “Fascism” anymore, only “Conservatives.” Even the Republicans have succeeded in purging the Compomising RINO’s from its national ranks (or relegating them so far to the back bench they are never heard of again.) At the same time they welcome the extremist Tea Party candidates like the bought and paid for Corporate stooge Eric Cantor to lead them, while defeating Republican statesmen like Bob Benett and Orin Hatch are branded as traitors. All that disagree with their Corporate Koch brothers anti-worker Fascist and Godless agenda are branded as Left Wing fanatics, Commie, Socialist and extremists, etc., so that there is no more center in politics, only the extreme progressives and the extreme Conservatives.

    A “moderate” Democrat is someone like the Blue Dog sellouts who can always be counted on to vote the 1% corporatist party line when asked. When a Democrat stands up against their agenda, the hateful invective rains down from their propaganda mills.
    To paraphrase the late Ronald Reagan, no ultra progressive himself ” A bus driver should not have to pay at least 10% of his salary in income taxes while billionaires and multi-national corporations pay nothing” where the old Fascists, the water carrying corporate toady’s, are dinosaurs, are content to blend in with their herd of “useful Idiots,” and allow the gutless social-climbing future lobbyists sell out the American people to carry the water for the global elite.

    Funny, isn’t it?

    Are any of you tired of being divided into Left/Right, rich/poor, Democrat/Republican Fox/MSNBC cheering fools and whipped into a hateful frenzy against the unpatriotic fools on the other team as I am? While the Global Corporations and Banks steal our blood and treasure and leave us all powerless? Owning both parties in a two party system and assigning their Media lapdogs to divide and distract us against our felllow citizens while they rob us blind? MSNBC is owned by General Electric, the worlds largest defense contractor. They put Reagan in office, why did they go in the tank for Obama, the only socialist in the world supported by more money from Wall Street than McCain?

    Wake up sheeple! We’re being played!

  11. Jim R. says:

    When election day rolls around the sheep will go to the polls thinking it makes a difference which corporate owned politician wins, They will do their duty and vote, and no matter who wins, the corporate warfare state will continue.
    Voting and fighting the Empires wars to make the world safe for free market capitalism, doesn’t mean you are a good citizen or hero. It means you have been swindled and duped.

  12. Dorothea says:

    @Norton Smitty, thanks for setting the record straight on the myth of hippies spitting on returning soldiers. It never happened.

    However, I can’t see how you and Jim R. can equate the fascist takeover of the Republican Party by its extremes with anything that President Obama and the Democrats have done or will do. Obama may not be your ideal candidate, but he recognizes that he cannot defeat these extremists without enlisting the support of the business community and that is thanks to a SCOTUS decision allowing unlimited contributions. This fascist takeover by Republicans will destroy our democracy and our Constitution as we know it. Dividing the left from the ranks of Obama supporters, will only assist this destruction, and achieve nothing good for our country. Save your vitriol for after the election. If Weasel Mitt Romney wins, your going to need it.

  13. Dorothea says:

    @ Prescient33

    Now I’ve seen it all in the comment sections of FlaglerLive. Not only do I have to repeatedly read the regurgitation of Fox News as a source here, but now you are using the old MovieTone news as a source for your information. I guess that makes you about 90 years old and still basing your political views on a MovieTone news clip from before 1940. My recollections only go back to goose-stepping Nazi soldiers on MovieTone news, but then my parents couldn’t afford a baby-sitter.

  14. Jim R. says:

    Obamas great accomplishment was silencing the progressives and liberal Democrats as he continued the neocon agenda. He has in his drone attacks violated the sovereignty of at least 6 countries, taken upon himself to assassinate without a trail, American citizens, and anyone considered a threat to the aims of the U.S.. One of those American citizens was a 16 year old boy, just one of many children killed by our drones
    and Obama calls the kill shots and brags about it.
    He goes about the country with his snow job about jobs and then signs 4 free trade deals with slave labor countries, and the brainwashed Democrats applaud.
    He piously condemns the treatment of other countries dissenters and has not a word to say about the treatment of protesters here ( NY Oakland and Chicago) as they are brutally sprayed with pepper spray and beat with clubs.
    He is a con man without equal
    If this is the lesser of two evils, let me have the evil.

  15. Dorothea says:

    @Jim R.

    I haven’t noticed any progressives and liberal Democrats being silenced about anything. To the contrary. But if you equate Obama’s policies with that of the radical right’s policies against minorities, women, and the middle class, I obviously can’t convince you otherwise no matter how misguided I think you are.

  16. Jim R. says:

    The progressives and liberal democrats were not silenced, they silenced themselves. The loyalty to party overcomes any facts. An example of this is what I posted above and you either condone the actions I stated , or choose to ignore them.

  17. Dorothea says:

    Jim R.

    Who is silent? Bill Clinton, Newark mayor Cory Booker, former governor of PA, Ed Rendell, MA governor, Duval Patrick and the list of Democrats who are lately in the news for not being silent, goes on. Whether I condone the actions of President Obama is not the point. Most actions I condone, others I don’t. However, I find the prospect of a far right government, whose economic policies, appointments to the Supreme Court, and destruction of our social fabric far more dangerous. In fact, almost as dangerous as the whiners from the left who would hand a spineless, convictionless Mitt Romney, controlled by his multi-million dollar contributors and the tea party, a victory..

  18. Prescient33 says:

    @Dorethea-my sources were more than Movietone News, had you read my post. The fact of the CPUSA fighting to keep the USA out of WW II during the period between Stalin signing hi infamous pact in 1939, and the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941 are recorded history. The newsreels were full of their wild demonstrations and rallies during those turbulent times, which they would like to relegate to a “never mind” file, or bury deep in the dustbins of a revised history. This sorry record certainly would never be taught in the revisionist clap trap being taught today.I only cited them as they are part of the pictorial record of their duplicity.
    My age is immaterial; it is one’s memory that counts.

  19. Jim R. says:

    We already have a far right Govt and the job of the MSM is to convince the voters that it makes a difference which party is in power.
    They succeed by only discussing issues that appeal to narrow and mostly trivial or selfish interests , abortion, the economy, gay rights etc.
    The more important things never get discussed, like a president taking upon himself the right of Kings, (the right to kill his subjects.)
    Invading sovereign nations, in violation of international law.
    Bailing out criminal bankers and giving the criminals jobs in his administration.
    I could go on but what’s the use, a party animal is a party animal.

  20. Dorothea says:


    After WWI, almost no American citizen wanted to get involved in another European war. I don’t have any memories to go on, but I did know people who were involved in the anti-war movement prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Many of these same people that you criticize as being “Communists” immediately enlisted, some of them were my relatives. The Communist party was a fad at the time and many of its members and fellow travelers were reacting to the brutal suppression of labor unions and poverty in the United States, especially black poverty and truly believed that socialism and communism were the solution.

    As I see history repeating itself, I ask you to compare the two eras. Recently I watched a tea party US Congressman get up and denounce some 80 members of Congress as Communists. My immediate reaction was to remember Joe McCarthy waving his papers around accusing the people on his list of being Communists, a list no one ever got to see, but began the McCarthy era of finding Communists everywhere, destroying innocent lives and getting one supposed Communist to falsely accuse another person of being a Communist in order to preserve their own livelihood.

    I could go on and on with my history lesson. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time right now. But as I read Jim R.’s comments, I can only think of the naive citizens of that era who condemned their country, giving fodder to an extreme right wing to scare the hell out of all us folks in the middle and many of these middle of the roaders jumped on the anti-Communist band wagon. I do have traumatic memories of a group of good citizens trying to stone to death a group of left-wingers who went to a Paul Robeson concert. because Robeson was a Communist.

  21. Prescient33 says:

    @ Dorothea. Communism was not a “fad” but an international movement aimed at the overthrow of the USA in the 30’s. It was filled with radicals from all walks of life, all following the party line with blind obedience. Just read some of the literature about that period, such as Whitaker Chambers, “Witness,” or “I Led Three Lives ” by H. Philbrick. And pick up copies of “the Venona Papers,” released following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they should demonstrate it was not a “fad.” Communists were, are, and will be enemies of the United States, not faddists.
    The Venona Papers provide evidence of the size of the conspiracy in the USA, it’s insinuation into the highest levels of or government in FDR’s and Truman’s terms. Remember Alger Hiss? It turned out he was an agent. So too the Rosenbergs. No, Communism was definitely not a fad.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Communisim and Capitalism are both enemies of the US, except for the 1%

  23. Jim. R says:

    Looks like Communisim and Capitalism are both enemies of the US, except for the 1%

  24. Dorothea says:


    It was a fad to the majority of people who were accused, many falsely, and destroyed by Joe McCarthy. I did not say there were NO hard-core Communists, but the majority of Americans were peripherally involved and they were not spies, just Americans who naively believed that communism would solve the social ills of the time. There were also Fascist spies in the the US, many were Germans. Does that mean that all Germans were spies working on behalf of Hitler? Were Henry Ford or Joseph Kennedy spies? No, but they initially supported Germany and Hitler in particular. As for Communists in today’s world, get a grip. With the exception of Castro, I can’t think of one national leader, not in China and not in Russia, who is a true Communist. Communism is over, finished, so don’t worry about Communism. Instead worry about the extreme right fascists that have taken over the Republican party and driven it so far to the right that, in my opinion, they have become the real enemy of our country.

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