my dad was a korean war vet. the only time he mentions the war was to get pissed at the rich boys who got off. he said that the farmboys all went while the richer boys got off. he was against a lot of these wars from vietnam on. iraq made him the most angry. ' we're there because saddam tried to kill w's daddy.' that's about the size of it. he caught on pretty quickly.
he volunteered and was a sargent with the engineers. those were the days when they would offer criminals the option of prison or military service. he ended up with a lot of those and had to seriously put the hammer down.
he also said korea was the coldest place he had ever been. he's wake up thinking that someone had let the fire go out and turn over and the stove would be glowing red. he did a great job and they offered to send him to officer school. he declined. he did not want them to find out that he could barely read.
Shannon, The rich getting deferred from military service is nothing new. During the Civil War, you could buy a deferment for $300. NYC-born Mehippie (my feisty literary persona during the ‘60s) would have said: “Hey, wait a minute. Let me get this straight. I gotta stand in file with this lethal toy in my hands, march up Cemetery Hill wearing this skanky uniform that doesn’t even fit me, watch my friends get mowed down by canisters of pellets shot from cannons, but if I have enough money to pay off venal politicians I don’t have to go. Sure, that’s fair. Pardon me while I break into some Park Avenue mansion to get the money.”
Are you familiar with Marine General Smedley Butler, the only person to earn two Congressional Medals of Honor during two different wars? After he retired, he realized the folly of warfare and became an active peacenik during the FDR administration, lecturing in colleges and writing a monograph, War Is a Racket. In the book, he states that WWI created 21,000 millionaires but not one of them got as much as a scratch. Meanwhile the world lost 35 million as the U.S. suffered 116,000 dead and 208,000 wounded. All were sacrificed for the economic interests of the ruling classes and imperialism, according to Butler.
(If you’d like to read the adventures of Mehippie, my essay “My Religious Experience” is still on the Internet as I wrote it in 1970. Fun read. It’s a prophetic work in that I warned how computers are divorcing people from nature and Artificial Intelligence is a threat to become the planet’s next dominant life form. It’s on Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard’s website and it was first published in the company of ten other essays by Carl Sagan, Allen Ginsberg and Louis Armstrong—all gone now. If you’d like to read more, though Mehippie isn’t in it, just click on the Atheist Novel ad to the right of this post.)