History has an interesting habit of repeating itself. No matter how bizarre the event, be it the beginning or the end of a war, there will always be one-or in the instant case- two macabre facts that nobody wants to own. That may change in the ensuing days although we pray it doesn’t. I don’t have a morbid imagination but I remember trying to make sure I wasn’t ‘it’ during my two tours in sunny Southeast Asia.
Here, history and its inevitable finality reign supreme. The image that was seared into my brain back then was the immortal scene of an Air Am Huey grossly overloaded trying to pull pitch off the roof of the Air America Hostel several blocks down from the U.S. Embassy. Very few of you will remember the souls clinging to the skids who fell back on the roof. On that very same April 29, 1975, a mere 8 days before we would officially call in the dogs and piss on the fire of RVN, two Marines were struck and killed by a B 40 out at Tan Son Nhut. They will always be known as the the last servicemen to die for their country in Vietnam. Meet Corporal Charles McMahon Jr. and Lance Corporal Darwin Lee Judge. They share the unenviable perch in history of being tied for first place as the last to die-but at that point- for what, really? Another country’s Civil War?
It’s thus disturbing to me to see the same history being replayed out in Kabul yesterday. I was taught to pronounce it Ka-bool. Trust someone important to change it to Cobble. Sound like the same folks who came out with the recent revisions of the English language of ‘birth person’ and ‘chestfeeding’ to replace perfectly good existing terms. Of course, if this will save even one gender-disphoriated person lacking lactatable mammary glands from suffering PTSD henceforth, then it was well worth it. Right?
Fast forward 44 years. Same Batshit war mentality. Different Bat Country full of Batshit-crazy prehistoric Stone Age Sand Ranchers. As it stands now, the last two to die, again, on the same day -February 8th, 2020 in this latest shitshow-were Sergeants 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez and Antonio R. Rodriguez…
As for the déjà vu moment of Chinooks landing on the roof of the U.S. Embassy, it could not have been more a propos had it been a contrived photo op for the occasion. I’m sure this isn’t lost on any of my Vietnam brethren. It merely affirms the ages-old observation of George Santayana about being condemned to repeat history every 50 or so years in order to remember how stupid we are. In the instant case, it recurred in only 46 years. That still beats the 21-year difference between World War One and Two or the five years from WW II until Korea so we have that going for us.
As we don’t do politics here, I leave it to my readership to try to comprehend the enormity of how inept we appear to the rest of the world. Our English cousins across the pond showed far more aplomb at Dunkirk. We left the Montagnards behind. We left the Hmong behind. Now we leave the Pashtun interpreters and their families to the wrath of the taliban. It makes no difference in the end how we arrived at today. It makes no difference who is responsible or who will (or should) shoulder the blame. The tragedy is we have all been here before. We know better than to try to convert other countries into mirror images of ourselves and our politics. Everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer. This should have been a Grenada/Panama Canal Zone dry cleaners caper-in by ten and out by three.
Considering the likes of no less than Alexander the Great, the British (twice), the Russians and finally America that have broken our spears against these goat herders, it stands to reason we probably should have stood off at Angels 35 and carpet bombed them with CBUs, Willie Peter and Nape. Here, a mere 2,371 brave Americans were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. I suppose that’s a vast improvement over the 58,220 who bought the farm in ‘Nam. Gold Star mothers don’t see it that way. They no more wanted their sons and daughters to be Wikipedia statistics in 1975 than they do now-and most certainly not the last ones this time around.
The downstream effect after the bad press, as we all know, will be the ungodly number of brand new disabled American Veterans we will have to take care of in the aftermath. I severely doubt the VA will be spending anywhere close to a trillion dollars on their needs. How many times must a cannon ball fly before they’re forever banned?
And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
It is with great sorrow I write, on August 26, that more US servicemen were killed while guarding the Kabul airport. The actual number is uncertain but that is irrelevant.