Reykjavik Revisited

All Americans were hoping something good would come out of the meetings between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It was understood that China was holding a leash on Kim Jong Un and that he was very limited in what he could agree to, but we hoped. Holding the summit in North Vietnam was a stoke of genius–the message it sent was ‘your country can have this kind of prosperity if you behave well.’ Unfortunately the talks ended without an end to North Korea’s nuclear policy and with no relief in sight for the starving, abused people of North Korea.

Fox News posted an article about the talks.

The article reports:

President Trump abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea in Vietnam and headed back to Washington on Thursday afternoon, saying the U.S. is unwilling to meet Kim Jong Un’s demand of lifting all sanctions on the rogue regime without first securing its meaningful commitment to denuclearization.

Trump, speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, told reporters he had asked Kim to do more regarding his intentions to denuclearize, and “he was unprepared to do that.”

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a solo press conference following the summit.

Trump specifically said negotiations fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn’t willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon, as well as its missile and warheads program.

Removing sanctions without denuclearization would have been reminiscent of the Iran deal, which did not go well. Walking away was reminiscent of Reykjavik, which actually went very well (although it did not appear to go well at the time).

Let’s take a look at Reykjavik for a moment. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and American President Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavik on October 11 and 12, 1986. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of limiting each country’s strategic nuclear weapons to create momentum in ongoing arms-control negotiations. The two leaders failed to come to an agreement because President Reagan insisted on America having the freedom to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, mockingly known as ‘Star Wars’). SDI was still in the infant stages of its development at that point, but President Reagan wanted the freedom to develop it (and was willing to share the technology with Russia in order to create a situation where nuclear weapons owned by rogue nation states would be useless). Gorbachev refused to allow America to develop SDI, and President Reagan left the summit. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 26, 1991. The strong stand taken by President Reagan against the Soviet Union played a part in the end of the Soviet Union.

Hopefully the strong stand taken regarding North Korea’s nuclear program will also result in the dissolution of the tyrannical government currently in control of that country.

From A Friend On Facebook

This was posted by a friend on Facebook. I am sure it has been all over the internet, but I wanted to post it here as a reminder. Many of our Vietnam vets never really came home. When they got back to America, they were not treated well. If you read the history of the war, you realize that it was lost due to a broken promise on the part of America. Sometimes we need to remember that although America is a great country, we have made some mistakes and some of those mistakes have involved the way we have treated our soldiers who were drafted and loved their country enough to serve.

Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam, other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margaret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to Sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o’clock for the 7:30 signing.

When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot, and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those
shows meant to lonely GI’s so far from home.. Ann Margaret came out looking as
beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard’s turn.

He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, “I understand. I just wanted her to see it.”

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for ‘my gentlemen.” With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren’t too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there.

That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I’ll never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he’d like to talk about it, my big, strong husband broke down in tears.. ”That’s the first time anyone ever thanked
me for my time in the Army,” he said.

I now make it a point to say ‘Thank you’ to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

If you’d like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

Memorial Day

This post was written by a friend of mine who is retired from the Marine Corps. She is an Iraqi war veteran, and I wanted to share her thoughts on Memorial Day.

 

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State in the 1850s, said “If the country is worth dying for in a time of war, let us ensure that it is worth living for in a time of peace.”

 
I grew up in an affluent neighborhood in the Bay Area in California–the type of place where people speak of being proud to be Americans, but only because it is a place where they are allowed to live their accustomed lifestyle. But then again, it was also in the 1980s, a time of peace and prosperity when it was easy to say you love this place. Time had healed the bitter sentiments surrounding Vietnam, and we could all be happy dancing in a ring around the sun, so to speak.

 
I have now seen life further from the Utopian suburbia of my youth than just about anyone there cares to know. The reality, now, is that we are not a country experiencing peace and prosperity. But that shouldn’t make us any less proud.

 
I am back in my childhood home this weekend, and it got me thinking about what Memorial Day is. I was here to attend my sister’s Bridal Shower–a gathering of women, most of whom I have known from childhood. As the token neighborhood veteran, I always get quite a few “thank you for your service” niceties.
While the sentiments are always appreciated, I am not ultimately the one who should be thanked. It’s the one who didn’t come home–the one who never got to hear a “thank you for your service.” The one who never got to see a yellow ribbon tied around a tree. They found this country worth dying for, so, in their honor make this country worth living for.

 
We are engaged in what has been called “The Long War.” It may be a long time before we can agree to call our country “at peace.” So make it worth living for now. Honor those who have giving all by living and drinking in the freedoms of this land. Go exercise your right to freedom of speech and religious practice. Be proud of what makes you unique. Speak for the war, against the war, be gay or straight, worship your god. And do in a way worth living — because thanks to those who have died, you can do it freely. Drink this freedom in. And through living life, we can make this country feel at peace.

 
As for me, right now I’m going for a run. Because that is what my dear friend the late Maj Megan McClung would want to do today.

 
Happy Memorial Day, God Bless all who have gone, and all who are yet to come.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Cost Of Ignoring The Lessons Of History

I am part of the generation that graduated from high school during the ramp up of the war in Vietnam. The boys in my high school graduating class went to college or Vietnam. There were no other choices. That was a time in the history of this country where everyone was not expected to go to college. My husband served in the Navy during that time. We lost friends in Vietnam, and we have friends who physically came home but never mentally came home. Vietnam was a striking example of what happens when politicians take over a war. The military wins wars when they are allowed to do so. Politicians fight with one hand tied behind their backs so that they don’t risk offending anyone. That is the place we have come to (again) in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Washington Times posted an article about the increase in casualties in the war in Afghanistan. Although it is difficult to prove statistically, the author of the article believes that the increase in casualties is directly related to the rule of engagement set by the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

“In Afghanistan, the [rules of engagement] that were put in place in 2009 and 2010 have created hesitation and confusion for our war fighters,” said Wayne Simmons, a retired U.S. intelligence officer who worked in NATO headquarters in Kabul as the rules took effect, first under Army Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal, then Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

As President Obama’s troop surge began in 2009, so did new rules of engagement demanded by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was responding to local elders angry over the deaths of civilians from NATO airstrikes and ground operations.

Please read the entire article to get the full picture. I posted it simply to bring up the concept. We need to allow our young men to fight, or take them out of harm’s way. What we are doing now is slowly killing off the future leaders of our country for no apparent reason. We made that mistake in Vietnam. Let’s not make it again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Welcome Home

Yesterday the Navy Times posted a number of pictures taken at Arlington National Cemetery taken during the burial of Michael Judd. Michael was a Navy Corpsman who was killed in Vietnam.

The article reports:

The 21-year-old Cleveland man was aboard a helicopter that crashed June 30, 1967. He had gone to Vietnam in 1966 and was killed less than two months before he was scheduled to return home.

Judd was with a Marine reconnaissance team when the aircraft was shot down.

Please follow the link above to the article to see the pictures. Welcome Home, Michael.

Enhanced by Zemanta

For Your Consideration…

On July 10, the Daily Kos (yes, you read that right) reported that the trial began in Manhattan this week for fourteen veterans who were arrested for reading the names of American soldiers killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan at New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The soldiers had not finished reading the list when the police asked them to leave, and when they continued reading, they were arrested. One of those arrested was an 85-year-old Word War II Army combat veteran.

I have very mixed emotions about this. Yes, it is within their First Amendment rights to assemble and read the names (this was part of a gathering to ask that all troops be immediately withdrawn from Afghanistan), but if there is a valid curfew, they are also required to respect that.

The article reports:

The defendants are being represented by attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild-NYC, who argue in a brief that “the memorial is in constant use by pedestrians, dog walkers and other people after 10 p.m.,” and that the veterans “were in fact singled out for arrest precisely because of their First Amendment-protected activities.”  

Defense attorney Martin R. Stolar characterized the police behavior as “morally outrageous” and has stated, “Legally, we believe [the defendants’ actions] will be protected by the First Amendment.” Another lawyer for the defendants, Jonathan Wallace, called the event at the veterans memorial “the core of what the First Amendment was designed to protect.”

I think it would have been nice if they had left when asked and continued reading the names when the park opened the next day. There may be more to this story than is immediately obvious.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We Have Forgotten

I belong to the generation that fought the war in Vietnam. My high school graduating class went to college or Vietnam. If you weren’t taking enough college credits, you went to Vietnam. You didn’t have a choice–there was a draft. Our generation lost some good people in Vietnam. Some of them came home physically, but not mentally or emotionally. Whether or not you believed the war was the right thing to do, it left a huge scar on the sixties generation. I was deeply offended when John Kerry was named Secretary of State. The lies he told to advance his political career dishonored all Vietnam veterans and made it harder for those veterans to get jobs. He changed the perception of the returning veteran from good citizen fighting for his country to out-of-control criminal. Now CBS television is picking up where Secretary of State Kerry left off.

On Thursday, Fox News posted an article about an episode of “The Amazing Race.”

The article reports:

The popular CBS reality show “The Amazing Race” is under fire for featuring an episode set in Hanoi, Vietnam, where contestants go to a B-52 Memorial, which is the wreckage of an American bomber plane shot down during the Vietnam War, to find the next clue in their televised round-the-world journey.

In the episode, the twisted metal of the downed plane is treated as any other prop, with a bright ‘Amazing Race’ ‘Double-U-Turn’ signed planted in front of it, signifying to contestants the next phase of their scavenger hunt.

Would they have done the same thing with the marine barracks in Lebanon? Unfortunately, the insult does not stop there–the contestants also learn a song young children sing that praises communism.

The article reports one viewer’s online comment about the show:

“So, did anyone but me find the ‘Amazing Race’ going to Hanoi and extolling the greatness of Hanoi offensive?” a viewer remarked online. “Especially the part where the contestants had a ‘clue’ box at a Hanoi monument of a downed B-52? And none of them even slowed down to look at it or reflect on what it meant?”

I really have no idea what the creators of the show were thinking. Many of the Vietnam veterans are still with us, and many have serious health issues related to the time they spent there. A little sensitivity might be a really good thing.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Disturbing Path That John Kerry Took To Become The Secretary Of State

I am not happy about John Kerry becoming Secretary of State. As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, his nomination is disturbing to me. Front Page Magazine posted an article today that clearly states many of my concerns.

After being discharged from the Navy in early 1970, Kerry joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and became a major figure in the so-called “peace” movement, whose hallmarks were a deep wellspring of hatred for the United States coupled with sympathy for America’s Communist enemy. In May 1970, Kerry, without government authorization, met personally with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations in Paris to discuss a list of “peace” proposals enumerated by Nguyen Thi Madame Binh, the top Viet Cong delegate to the Paris Peace talks. In the aftermath of that illegal meeting, Kerry strongly advised the U.S. Senate to accept Binh’s proposals.

At that time, Kerry himself acknowledged that his visit to Paris was “on the borderline” of legality. Actually, it extended far beyond that “borderline.” A federal law known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice prescribed severe punishment (including, in some cases, the death penalty) for any person who “without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”

…Army reports that were unearthed decades later resoundingly discredited the claims of Kerry and his fellow VVAW members, proving those claims to be essentially a pack of lies. When Kerry was running for U.S. President in 2004, the publication U.S. Veteran Dispatch noted that Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony had “occurred while some of his fellow Vietnam veterans were known by the world to be enduring terrible suffering as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons.” Similarly, retired General George S. Patton III charged that Kerry’s actions had given “aid and comfort to the enemy.” And the organization Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry stated:

“As a national leader of VVAW, Kerry campaigned against the effort of the United States to contain the spread of Communism. He used the blood of servicemen still in the field for his own political advancement by claiming that their blood was being shed unnecessarily or in vain…. Under Kerry’s leadership, VVAW members mocked the uniform of United States soldiers by wearing tattered fatigues marked with pro-communist graffiti. They dishonored America by marching in demonstrations under the flag of the Viet Cong enemy.”

There was a time in America when John Kerry’s actions would have landed him in jail–not in Congress.

I know that was a long time ago, and that people change. But I don’t remember ever hearing Senator Kerry apologize or express regret about his actions. I live in Massachusetts, and knowing what I know about Massachusetts politics, I can understand John Kerry’s being elected to Congress. I just don’t understand why he would even be considered for Secretary of State.

My heart goes out to all of the Vietnam veterans and Vietnam-era veterans who are watching Senator Kerry become Secretary of State. It is a shame that your country has spit on you again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Breakfast With Santa

This past weekend my husband and I were visiting one of our daughters on Long Island. We had the pleasure of attending a Breakfast with Santa sponsored by the Long Island Chapter of US Veterans MC (USVMCLI), a fraternity of motorcycle riders who have all served honorably in one of the branches of the United States military. The USVMCLI was serving breakfast and collecting care packages and food for veterans in the Long Island area. They were also collecting toys and clothes for children of hospitalized veterans.

As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, the event was almost overwhelming. The USVMCLI included veterans from Vietnam, the more recent wars, and I suspect that one of the veterans I saw may have served in Korea. It is incredibly encouraging to me that the Vietnam veterans, who were treated so badly when they returned home, have worked hard to make sure that today’s veterans are cared for and helped with some of their basic needs.

The food was great and Santa arrived, but the inspiring part of the breakfast was the sea of motorcycle jackets dedicated to helping their fellow veterans.

Thank you, USVMCLI, for the work that you do.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Exactly What Does ‘Swiftboating’ Mean ?

People who understand the way the political game is played will tell you that the person who controls the vocabulary controls the debate. That is why conservatives talk about politicians who are “Pro-Life” and liberals describe the same people as “Anti-Abortion.” There are other examples, but that is one of the more obvious.

The media has used the term ‘switfboating’ to describe attacks on Senator John Kerry‘s military record when Senator Kerry ran for President in 2004. The implication is that the attacks are false. An examination of the facts shows that the attacks were valid. Now the media is using the term ‘swiftboating’ to describe the attacks on President Obama regarding the leaking of national security information. Again, the media would like to convince the public that the attacks are false. They are not.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at PowerLIne posted an article with some interesting insights into the claim that President Obama is being swiftboated.

The article reports:

There are also differences, though. The dispute about Kerry’s Vietnam service was entirely about the past. The issue had nothing to do with policy or national security. It was relevant only because it pertained to Kerry’s character and because Kerry had made his service a talking point in the campaign.

Obama’s “dishonorable disclosures” are another matter. The current critics contend that Obama is jeopardizing our national security and the lives of our operatives by talking about U.S. operations in order to enhance his image. This constitutes a potentially more explosive charge than any leveled by the Swift Vets.

It is also important to remember that Senator Kerry, after he got back from Vietnam, was part of a dishonest smear campaign to tar all Vietnam veterans as brutal, uncivilized soldiers. There are many of us with close ties to people who served in that war who truly resent that implication. The way the Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home is still a national disgrace, and Senator Kerry added to that disgrace.

Meanwhile, back to the matter at hand. I posted the video of the military people who have spoken out against the security leaks on Thursday at (rightwinggranny.com).

Please watch the video and decide for yourself.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta