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November 7, 2001

    The taking of human life is a terrible and tragic thing. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, regardless of the validity, and at times righteous need, for that taking of human life. To exalt and celebrate in any manner, the extinguishing of any human life is horribly wrong. Sometimes, humans being what they are, it is necessary but never to the extent of glorifying in the causation of it. If you are one, and the endless heavens above know that at any given moment there are millions upon millions walking the earth that do, who believes that glory and honor are the rightful inheritance of war and battle, then you need to take some very quiet time for yourself and re-evaluate the ideals imposed upon you by society at large.

    Honor and glory. You see these terms linked with war throughout the course of human history, be it pictured in hieroglyphs, rock wall paintings or the printed word and generationally passed down stories. Yet, if you ever get the chance to actually share true time with a combat veteran, most especially an enlisted combat veteran you will not find honor and glory the subject of their focus. An uncle or great uncle of a highly esteemed Native American Wiseman named Lame Deer, when asked about the glory of Custers Last Stand, spoke: I was there and all I remember is a lot of noise and a lot of dust.

    Honor and Glory fly above marching warriors and their armies like vultures to a feast of death, and like the vulture are never around when the fighting and killing starts, reappearing only when it is time to gloat amid the steam of violently revealed life force lifting from the carnage left behind at battles end, like early morning fog from a mountain lake.

    Honor and Glory in war is verbal coinage invented for several reasons that have nothing to do with the reality of war, and those usually by individuals who are related to those who speak out as to how their heart aches so, and their eyes fill with tears at the plight of the poor and down trodden. This, while they themselves, call for another can of caviar and their idea of being horrible deprived is when they have to wait 45 minutes until the maid or other servant can run to the next door mansion and borrow a can.

    In short, those that espouse the glory and honor in war are majorally comprised of individuals who stand behind, far behind, the lines of battle. And while there are rare exceptions, those are (not exclusively and not necessarily in order) military officers major and above; intelligentsia; the rich and powerful or those that strive to become so; those that know that when the war begins they will not have to go; and most assuredly, politicians.

    You cannot, possibly convince me that there are not other ways to solve situations that would not involve the mass loss of lives and carnage that war between nations brings upon the globe and the humans who dwell there.

    Even if the worlds nations would agree to having only say, 100 man armies that met on a deserted island with one boat to sail off it, and whoever sailed the boat won that particular war would be better than what has occurred and is happening now. Yes, sounds a bit on the ridiculous sidethen again, perhaps not.

    I also think that if the top three or four levels of any given governments at impasse with one another were locked in a room and whoever walked out was the winner of that particular impasse there would be a whole lot less war and more humanity working together. Certainly the majority of the worlds civilian population would be a heck of a lot happier.

    We, the world, have gone from clubs and stones to weapons of destruction so huge and horrible that even their inventors can not say what their actual activation would cause to the ones on the receiving end, nor for that matter, to the very world they live on.

    We have gone from fire rockets in the night sky, to weapons that are described in certain ancient writings as: rolling back the sky.

    We have gone from a lightly buried land mine that when triggered leaps 3 feet into the air and the explodes. Purpose, well apparently it was not enough just to blow a persons legs off, so you should be well able to imagine what the Bouncing Betty did.

    We have gone from throwing hand grenades out of bi-wing aircraft to dropping a bomb that weighs 15,000 pounds! As well, this thing is so huge it cannot be dropped, it has to be manually pushed out of the aircraft and it is one per plane, if you please. It explodes, get thissound familiar?three feet above ground. And, it is named of all things, most innocently, The Daisy Cutter. Thats a name for a cow, not a bomb!

    We have gone from conquering killing diseases to bringing them back in mutated form so that they will kill far more people than they ever did in their natural state of things.

    We are so humane and progressive we have invented bombs that will kill all the people, buthey, who cares, the buildings will still be there.

    This may sound uncaring or somehow unpatriotic, but I hope the reader will not see it thusly. But, at times, I think that the brevity and basic ease that America went through the Persian Gulf War is one of the worse things that could have happened to this nation. For it has opened the doors for Honor and Glory to come marching through again, capturing the minds, hearts and imaginations of this nations youth. And once again, it will be too late when this generation learns the lessons that any Viet Nam Combat Vet will teach the populace, if you ask them. Then again, the populace and government did not listen to them then and they surely will not hear their voices now.

    Ask any vet, who is missing an arm, a leg, an eye, or all the abovehow much glory and honor they felt as they lay on the ground of the field of battle. I can assure you that it was not glory nor honor that they felt. Patriotism? I can also assure you that the same people were not saying to the feverously working corpsman, Gee, I am so proud to be able to spill my guts out onto this filthy muddy ground for My Country, even though I have no idea what I am fighting for. Because I tell you this, when the shooting starts and the bees of disharmony begin buzzing around ones head, the idealism of youth disappears into the ancient and vacant Eyes of Death staring you in the face.

    Now, with what is coming next, it might seem to some of you that I am back-tracking, so to speak, but I am not. There is a kind of Honor and Glory on the battlefield. It is, in fact, just about the only armor and shield, that the individual who finds himself on the Warriors Path, has to protect him/her from the doubts, questions, fears that surely assails any individual treading this Path. It is called Pride. This Cloak of Pride, in a way, is a manufactured shield, if you will, that allows an individual to go about doing his duty for, as the saying goes, God and Country.

    Down through the Ages, it has ever been a truism that Directed Ignorance by Those In The Know, Allows Control of the Masses; and this is just as true for the majority of any army as it is for the civilian populaces.

    So, the soldier needs to invent or create his own reasoning for being where he finds himself at, doing what he finds himself doing and not simply just dropping his weapons and walking home. Which, come to think on it, would not be a bad idea, if we could be assured that all the worlds armies would do the same thing at the same time.

    Thus, through the Ages, the soldier time after time and war after war, creates the Cloak of Pride: Pride in himself, in his friends, his platoon, his company. You will notice, I stopped at company level. There is a reason. To a lesser extent the higher divisional nomenclatures can have a degree of Pride, as it were. However, sometimes/many times/most timestake your pick at these levels The Cloak of Pride is but served with lip service to cover other things, but that is another story for another time.

    There are individual exceptions, of course, but you will find that when this occurs the high ranker has himself, been down in the mud with his men. And you will find, that the more modern warfare and its children get, the rarer this type of individual is.

    The Cloak of Pride is woven of the threads of: staying alive. Then, keeping his friends alive. Sometimes, this gets turned around and this is what is known as bravery by ones fellow combatants and is what the term hero is truly. In other words, focus on the immediate and do not let your mind wander down the Road of Why, or you will discover that this road is a Dead End, and you will find yourself and your friends, Dead at the End.

    All armies of the Ages had this combat man mentality or Cloak of Pride. The Spartans for instance said: Return with your shield, or on it.

    Rangers in World War II basically lived with: Leave no man behind. So, the combat man could take some measure of protection from knowing that, no matter what, even if dead, he would not become an unknown pile of bones in an unknown part of the world that very possibly would never feel the tread of man upon it for centuries to come, if ever. Thus, the Cloak of Pride continued and continues to be woven, for while the individual knows that he will be look after in this manner, deep inside his Pride is growing for he knows that in turn, he too will not leave any of his friends to be alone.

    It is difficult for most of the civilian populace to understand this mentality. And for sure, many marriages have broken apart because of the warrior having survived his tenure in the Field of the Destroyer, simply MUST return. The Cloak of Pride, you see, can be very difficult to remove and hang up in a closet. Save, perhaps, from time to time a bond between an individual and his G*d, there simply is no closer bonding or connection that between individuals who have shared some of the worse things a human being can endure, for any length of time. I say this, although it is quite true, that if enough time can pass, the bond between a couple can ease the memories of the Past and change the mental movie from death, to a vision of life, and the promise of it.

    It is not the civilians fault, or the wifes faultnor soon, I fear, the husbands fault, that they can not understand this driving force to return to the particular Land of Death.

     It is simply impossible for such a one to truly understand what happens, what is forged between individuals who share together at the same time: food that is more rainwater than food; frozen feet because some jackass in the far rear who apparently can not read, sends hot weather gear to Korea in the winter time; a general deems it necessary to take a hill losing many lives in the process while fully knowing that once taken, those that are left alive, will walk back down the hill the next day leaving it to the very ones they took it from; relieving oneself in their pants three inches from a buddy because that is the only way, for to attempt to do otherwise will absolutely ensure that the one will never have to relieve themselves again, ever; seeing the Light of Life fade from someones eyes whom it seems you have known since the Beginning of Time; sharing the notification that True Love Tess has run away with Johnny 4-F or Gas Station George.

    So, there is upon the Field of Battle, a form of Honor and Glory, but it is not the Honor and Glory that those who have never been there, will ever understand until war comes home, which, it appears may not be that far off.

    It is said that the population of various creatures increase in direct proportion to the degree of species threatening event, in order to hopefully grant some chance of continuation of said species. Well, the worlds population has reached the six billion mark. What does this say to you?

    All this may sound like I am incredibly sour on the subject of humanity, in general, and perhaps for this particular writing, I am. Yet, I wish the reader to know, as do already those that know me, that I only get this way now and then - usually when I contemplate the validity of the continued existence of the created species known as the human race when its strides toward positive and negative progress are compared.

    Certainly, there are some good things to be said upon the side of positive progress for the human race; however, these seem to pale when the negative progression is brought into the same stage lime light to stand next to its other half of the human coin.

    I hear people and individuals defiantly call out that they do not agree with various stances their respective world government leaders take, nor their actions. Well? Duh? Why are those leaders in power then? If they are elected, then elect them out. Oh, yeah, I forgotyou only have one vote. They that were not elected have guns. Oh, I forgot again, someone might get hurt; better to let some other country bomb the hell out of us, that way we can blame someone other than ourselves as sons, daughters, mothers and fathers go spiraling down the vortex of death.

    Oh yes, Our/My G*d says we are to go to war against the rest of humanity. Well, I got news for you. In this day and age, in the day and time regardless of the religion, if your G*d is telling you to wipe from the face of the earth any and all people who do not look like you, believe like you, think like you, dress like you, speak like you; regardless of the appellation you use for Him/Her, then you are not following G*d, you are following a demon.

    If you are not a believer in a Supreme Being, then use common sense. Of what use is war? Think about the worlds we could have discovered and stood upon by now, had we not been so hell-bent-for-leather to wipe one another off the face of the globe down through annuals of human history?

    Believe in the potentiality of the human brain via evolution? Esp and the like? Then consider, how far we might be now, if war had not very probably wiped out any emerging uses for the other what, 2/3 plus unused portion of the human brain?

    It is true that aggression is part of the human makeup. However, it is not true that this aggression needs to be let loose upon the world in its bloodthirsty fullness.

    Geeeez, people, I dont care if any nation wants to stand on its head and gargle as a national persona or have a national religion that worships the multiplicity of fleas on a dogs back as long as they do not cause: another childs death; to have someone explain to a child that his/her parent or parents will not be ever coming home to hug them again, because someone dropped a 100 story building on them; that their father/mother is dead in some country they never heard of for a reason that makes no sense to them much less to the armies in battle; or make sense of the fact that the mother or father died for their country while fighting in another country against even another country while both of those countries, in reality, have no particular fondness for America and Americans, in the first place.

Amazing, is it not, how far humanity has progressed upon the Road of Enlightenment.



High Desert Totem

Shiwatawa-Sonja Boekhorst

High Desert Totem

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