Friday, May 21, 2010

My Service, Like, IN Vietnam

-- USMC General Smedley Butler

The Cool Justice Report
Wed., May, 21, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Believe it or not, selected portions of this narrative are true. This column is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report,

So, you think Limp Dick, Needle Dick, Big Daddy Dick Blumenthal has problems?

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  • Boy, have I got problems.

    This Vietnam thing is really getting me down.

    I recounted my service IN Vietnam today with a Marine buddy, who reacted by saying, "Boy, you really have some war stories ... At least some of yours are true."

    Actually, as I told my friend Ron Winter, most of my Vietnam era service involved sitting on steps or on sidewalks blocking Marine recruiters from entering offices at my alma mater, Boston University. The tough parts followed, getting clubbed by Boston cops and spending most of a day in a couple jail cells.

    Hey, let me say this about that:

    I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.

    That's just in case I misplace any words. Things like that can happen, you know. The other day, in fact, I misplaced a few words on my back porch. I don't think I'll ever get them back.

    Still, I will not, I will not … what-ever!

    So, OK, I wasn't in the Marines - not for long, anyway. But, that's only because I flunked making beds at Parris Island.

    It was pretty funny the way that blockhead jarhead chowderhead dude screamed at me when his dime didn't bounce. I didn't even mind when he jumped on my back while I did pushups. Shit, he couldn't even find the dime, even after calling in reinforcements. The only rough part was when they beat the crap out of me. They don't even care if they leave bruises or cuts.

    After moaning and whimpering a few hours on the floor, I knew I was ready for the SEALS. These guys sleep in the mud or worse and love it. Definitely my kind of guys.

    My first stop after SEAL summer camp was Dang Bang. You probably heard about it. The SEALS r totally cool as they have a better time than Marines on leave.

    First, though, a bunch of us had to swim out of torpedo tubes from a submarine and take out some tribal chieftans. The other guys were jealous of me because I had my Carlson's Raider knife. Hey dude, that's a Marine knife from WWII. I use it now to cut down 200-year-old silver maple trees.

    By the way, Joe Bentivegna, the eye surgeon, novelist and former U.S. Senate candidate, asked me to mention that he was a Marine when he was 12.

    When SEAL life got boring, I hooked up with some Army guys in the Phoenix program. I was sort of a one-man OSHA unit, ensuring the safety of certain helicopter as long as I could hold off the Army guys.

    Then I was ready for recon work. The Army guys liked me so much I was loaned to a two-man crew. The other guy was a pilot who liked to turn off his engines and drop to about 500 feet over the jungle. Usually, he remembered to turn the engines back on.

    I was supposed to take pictures of villages and various People's Liberation Armed Forces personnel, also known as Viet Cong. One time we saw a couple huts and the huts saw us. The roof looked a little different second-by-second. Then we saw this giant anit-aircraft gun where the roof used to be, and we decided to take the weekend off.

    I hung out with some LA cops who had the weekend off, too. We stayed clear of the New York guys who were always looking to score loads of smack.

    Then, back in the states, it really got rough. When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn't wear our uniforms. You should have seen some of those loogies. One, the size of tennis ball, actually bounced three times before striking me in the chest and splattering.

    I wore the uniform in Vietnam, well, actually, lots of times I didn't really have to being a SEAL guy and then on loan to the Army guys. But, many fellow Marines came back to all kinds of disrespect. Whatever we think of war, we owe the men and women of the armed forces our unconditional support.

    Well, that's enough about my Vietnam experience.

    It turns out I'm really at least two people - Vietnam Guy and Vietnam / Not Guy. Just call me Sybil - or, Dick.

    As Vietnam / Not Guy, my draft number was 55. Then, the draft ended.

    Everyone had choices to make. I didn't shoot my toe off or go to Canada. I did think jail might be a good option.

    Along the way, I was inspired by Muhammad Ali, who said: "I ain't got nuthin against no Viet Congs."

    My generation and Dick's had a choice to make. Over the years -- especially after I became close friends with a former special forces sergeant -- I felt conflicted. Blumenthal, by his own admission, obviously was conflicted in the years leading up to his reserve service. But, for me, Muhammad Ali said it the best:

  • Muhammad Ali Speaks Out Against The Vietnam War

  • This part - or a lot of it - really happened.

    We watched as the crowd built up on Bay State Road, home to Boston University, our school, and on this day, official host to U.S. Marine recruiters. Some of our friends were sitting on the steps to a university office, locking arms, blocking access, so the government could not do business as usual. There were 57 varieties of protesters among the group of several hundred. Some of them were funny. They had names like Revolutionary Communist Youth. This outfit had at least three members. They chanted quite well. "All Indochina, must go communist," they cried with cold and steely fervor.

    Our song became, "All RCY, must drop acid." These guys had almost as big a sense of humor as the Scientologists or Long John Silber, as we called the BU president.

    Silber was on the scene, as were a couple of his junior deans, William Bennett and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. Bennett played the odds even then: At a subsequent demonstration and occupation, he waited a couple days until the crowd dwindled down before calling the cops. Trachtenberg worked all sides of the street, a talent which would serve him well later on as a university president, aka fundraiser.

    Silber liked to wave it around that he was an expert on Kant, and he liked to wave around his stumpy arm, the result of a congenital birth defect. He liked to wave both these things in people's faces. When Silber tried to walk over students and failed, he waved and pointed and called in Boston's Tactical Police Force, the beloved TPF. Years later, Silber would achieve the virtually impossible at that time -- losing to a Republican as the Democratic nominee for governor in Massachusetts. He has a winning personality.

    The TPF had been on the scene for a while. They tuned up for us, in formation, waiting to be served by the Good Humor ice cream man. I guess they had to work off that ice cream pretty quickly: They came out swinging their clubs with vigor, as these things are done in Beantown. One thing led to another and I ended up in the fray. After a nice ride in the wagon and a few hours in a holding tank, we got our own cells.

    The day wore on. Cops told us what an asshole Martin Luther King was. As things happen, after a while, nature called me. Of course there was no toilet paper; cops told me to use my shirt. Fortune smiled on me as Eddie, the guy in the next cell, had a newspaper, a tabloid! I related my fate. "You can't use this," Eddie said, "it's a communist newspaper." I looked around. There were lots of guys in neighboring cells for whom this was not a new experience. I advised them of Eddie's policy and his allegiance. There were immediate shouts for Eddie's mother from the throng. Eddie relented.

    A frame in another friend's office on Broadway displays some sort of injunction against us and 31 others -- collectively known as The BU 33.

    After our stint as political prisoners we spent some time living in Algeria and partying with the Black Panthers.

    Everyone from the Vietnam era has their stories, and this is one of mine. So what if I made most of it up.

    A final note: My Marine pals tell me I should say I retired as 'Lance Colonel.' They tell me that's a special category.

    As for the Marines, most of the guys I met in real life really like the Bill of Rights. They like it even to the extent of safeguarding protest and never, never, firing on U.S. citizens. Among my favorite Marines: Gen. Smedley Butler, who wrote the book, "War Is A Racket."

    Oh yeah. As for the U.S. Senate race in Connecticut, I'm truly undecided.

    As human beings, there is something to like about all the candidates, even when they're not acting like human beings. I'll give extra points to those who admit they are flawed.

    I like a lot of what Blumenthal has done for regular folks against thieving and lying corporations. I respect the work of many - but not all - of his hard-working and talented staff members. I very much disdain the flunky assistant AGs who appear of behalf of state agencies trying to hide public records. They suck.

    As for his initially despicable treatment of the Wally Lamb writers at the Niantic jail, Blumenthal has since made some amends by supporting a law protecting them and their work.

    Blumenthal did back-flips on 60 Minutes
    and eventually did the right thing
    supporting new law on behalf of the Niantic writers:
    COMMENT: As with any politician, citizens need to nudge, shake, rattle and roll and push ...

  • Tear Down Those Liens, Mr. Blumenthal

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  • Despite his CIA background, Rob Simmons incredibly seems to be a `what you see is what you get' kind of guy. Linda McMahon is a good person for backup at a rumble, although I can't agree that business interests are so often the people's interests. Economics usually puts me to sleep, but I enjoy listening to Peter Schiff talk about Wall Street and the Federal Reserve - despite his sometimes messianic demeanor.

    Having seen all of these people in action, but not having the time to press certain questions in depth, I wonder how each of them would respond to the following:

    What is the proper role of government in connection with the dead West Virginia coal miners and the company's safety record?

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