Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The impermanence of war

Happy New Year, comrades!

As I rattle around town in my dog tags and preach fiery rhetoric about the Revolution and overthrowing, a funny thought is dawning on me. With the use of the internet, the Revolution is starting to go international. And with the area that I live in, too, diversity is one of the main attributes, and one of my favorite parts of the DC area. In addition to talking to lots of different people, I read quite a few news stories and historical accounts.

The strange thought is this - how both utterly devastating and life altering war is, and how strangely impermanent the causes of the conflicts are. In short, a total "not fair" for people caught in it's withering crossfire.

I've got a new buddy from Vietnam that I've met through my music. I've got an old buddy that I know through my music who fought in Vietnam. The new buddy was joking about the picture I have with the rocket launcher on my shoulder, asking where I got it. I quipped that Americans have a reputation for being heavily armed, but we typically stick to handguns. It then occurred to me how strange it was that our fathers could have fought each other. (My Dad was in the Coast Guard in 'Nam, but didn't see any combat. My other buddy, though, most certainly did.) Here we are joking about bazookas while chatting guitar. It's wild.

The second thing that made me think was this: Another comrade emailed me to set up a lunch. Our grandfathers were sworn enemies. His grandfather was an officer in the Japanese army during WWII, mine was in the US forces in the same conflict. Stationed in Europe, he was in charge of a German POW machine shop. He even had a secretary named Helga. It makes me think of Hogan's Heroes. I doubt his tenure was funny, though. War isn't kind - at least that's what they tell me.

My buddy told me an amazing story once. He said his grandfather was on a mission once, and, while crossing a footbridge, accidentally broke it. It was a grave error resulting in his demotion of one rank. Fortunately for him, though, shortly after that, all of the officers of his previous rank were ordered to commit suicide.

This buddy's mom (the officer's daughter) was the one who gave me my first teaching gig.

If it weren't for the mistake of an "enemy" soldier, I might not be a guitar teacher, and I certainly wouldn't know the fellow that I'll be plotting music with over lunch in a few days.

Remember the red menace? (The real one, not Santa.) What person over fifty would have thought I'd have a video called "Santa is a Communist" hosted on Russian-based

It's enough to make my head spin. Well, granted, it's USUALLY spinning, but make it spin even faster!

Cut to earlier today, when I was reading the story of how some Marines snapped in Iraq, and killed 24 unarmed civilians in their homes. I wonder if my kids will be on Skype with Taliban kids in fifty years, talking about how to play "Pumped up Kicks" - "you know, that old American classic rock song."

War is on my mind, and it's bloody confusing.

- Josh


Nancy said...

So what is the point of war?! Can't we just find a peaceful way to friendship? It seems war only serves people we can't identify in our own country's leadership and industries. I think the internet is the best globalization peace tool available!

John said...

Yes Josh; war is confusing, but sometimes necessary to stop less than sane leaders.
I too fought in Vietnam, but I think that war was not conducive to the goals of the United States