Tag Archives: POW

Losers and Suckers

I have a lot of losers and suckers in my family. According to my president, my commander-in-chief, the leader of the free world and all around god -on -Earth, anyone who was in the military or dies in war is a loser or a sucker.

My uncle Casey, who I never knew, was a loser. Born to an immigrant mother, Casimir Wagner was the only son in the family. In WW2 he went into the US armed forces to fight the Nazis. Being small in stature and, I am surmising, fairly smart, he was assigned top turret and engineer on a Flying Fortress.

When he was in the war the bombers were regularly attacking the industrial and military sites inside Germany. It was a war of attrition. On average about 20-25% of the bombers would not make it home. Once you strapped yourself into the bomber, you had a 1 in 4 chance of not coming back. Do the math. Still, off they flew, all the suckers.

On his fourth or fifth mission they unloaded their bombs somewhere near Berlin and headed back to England. Attacked by German fighters the plane was severely damaged. The crew bailed out. All these suckers were captured and sent to a POW camp. Except for one. One loser.

The written reports I have read from his comrades tell us that after Casimir Wagner parachuted from the burning plane, he was shot by a fighter pilot and was probably dead before he hit the ground. What a loser.

My late father-in-law , on the other hand, was a sucker. He volunteered as a pilot in WW2 before the US entered the war. He was not good enough (according to him) to fly combat, but served behind the lines flying in supplies, etc. He volunteered. To fight Nazis. Well before Pearl Harbor. But, since he survived the war, I guess he was just a sucker , and not a loser.

Why did he do that? Why did this sucker go to a foreign nation and help in the fight against fascism? Was it any of his business? In his wallet he kept a handwritten line from a poem by John Donne.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”

My niece is married to a sucker. He has served his entire life in the Marine corps. Working his way up through the ranks. Commanding military bases in Okinawa and Germany. Still alive , so he’s no loser, just a sucker.

And his son is a bigger sucker. His son wanted to be a Marine but the doctors said,”No”. A physical condition, not likely to change, meant he could never join the corps. Instead of looking for an alternative, he would not give up. Eventually, the Marines relented and decided his condition had changed enough so he could join. Some day , maybe, he could put his life on the line for Donald J Trump. Now there’s a real sucker.

I have had other relatives in the military and my wife has cousins, distant, that can trace back to the Revolutionary War. A long history of suckers. and losers, at least according to our commander-in-chief.

I have some relatives who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will vote for him again in 2020. I wonder what he calls them in the privacy of the White House?

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Filed under government, nazi, Politics, president, Trump, United States

From Hero to Traitor…A How To guide

Some people are heroes. Some people are traitors. And in the fantasy world of the right wing “media” there is no middle ground.  You, too, can become a hero…or a traitor. It is all about timing. Three easy steps.

Step One. Becoming a hero.

Volunteer to go to war. Does not matter which war. Does not matter if the cause is just. Or if there is any cause at all. War, in and of itself, is a hero maker. If you join you become a hero.

Nothing the TV “news” likes better than a good old fashioned war. Reporters make careers. Officers make careers. Soldiers …well, they try to survive. Bad guys are killed. Everyone is happy.

As a volunteer soldier your congressman may have his picture taken with you. You will be honored for your courage and bravery and patriotism. You will be in the campaign ads. Next to the flag. Papa is proud. Mama is worried proud. And you will be a great hero.

Until you come home. Then, well, you are on your own. Papa is still proud. Mama is relieved. Your congressman doesn’t recognize you. Now you need help. Of course, you can always join again.

Step 2 . Becoming a superhero.

Get captured. Does not matter how. Wander off of base. Go AWOL. Get trapped by the enemy. There are a thousand strategies you can use. But get captured and your hero status will rise exponentially.

Look at John McCain. From a playboy, flyboy , wise guy pilot to hero status just by being captured. So what if he gave military information to the enemy (His words in a 1973 US news and World Report first person account). I don’t blame him. Who wants to be tortured ?

So, a hero captured and held as a POW is a double hero. Congress demands that the president bring you home. At any cost. We don’t leave our men behind…blah…blah…blah. A weak president leaves troops behind. A cowardly president. Do anything …but bring them home. We will swap enemy prisoners to get our boys back.

Like 1973. When John McCain and other US POWs were swapped for Vietnamese POWs. Vietnamese POWs who would undoubtedly return to battle to kill other Americans. But that was okay. John was okay with that. A risk worth taking. We got our boys back. Heroes all. Especially John.

Step 3. Becoming a traitor.

The hard part. How do you change from being a superhero POW  into a traitor. It is all about timing. Ask Bowe Bergdahl.

Let’s say Barack Obama is president and he manages to negotiate your release. Well. Bad news for Bowe. You may have been a hero when you risked your life in Afghanistan. You may have been a super hero when you were taken prisoner and endured 5 years of captivity at the hands of the Taliban. Endured isolation. Endured torture. Endured.

Instead of coming home to bands and parades and embraces, you will come home to anger and nastiness and cowardly accusations. Instead of inspirational stories about enduring captivity, the armchair generals of Fox will label you a collaborator. The same folks who praised Cliven Bundy will vilify the POW. But don’t take it personally. It really is NOT about you.

It is all about that other guy. The wrong guy was responsible for your release.  Poor Bowe. Should have been born 40 years sooner. Then maybe someday he could have been a hero. And a US Senator.

 

 

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