Turning children into killers

I’m currently watching The Walking Dead, season three on DVD, and the main character’s son—Carl—who isn’t even a teenager, has become an efficient killing machine of both humans and zombies.

But that isn’t what this post is about because The Walking Dead is fiction.

In this post, I am writing nonfiction for someone who has no voice. We now know that many who grow up to be racists, criminals and killers were victims of parental neglect, but this post isn’t about that either. [Turning Children into Killers]

This post is about George Sandefur—a smoker who died from an aggressive form of lung cancer—and I have not forgotten one story he told me at lunch one day when we were alone in the staff lounge.

At the time, he taught math and I taught English at Giano Intermediate School in La Puente, California and it was the early 1980s. He had the classroom next to mine. George told me this story a few years before the lung cancer took him.

You see, George served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War [1950 – 1953]. He told me about one patrol on a cold day. The narrow trail they followed clung to the side of a steep mountain he didn’t know the name of.

George brought up the rear and from his vantage point saw several young Korean children coming their way. None of these kids could have been over ten. The rest of American patrol had gone around a fold in the mountain and couldn’t see the children.

George stopped. He sensed something was wrong, and when he saw the machine gun strapped to the back of a little girl, he knew that the other troops in his patrol were walking into a trap and certain death.

He was the only one who had a clear shot, so he pulled the trigger.

It turned out those kids were heavily armed with explosives and the machine gun. All that little girl had to do was lean over so the seven or eight-year-old boy standing behind her could pull the trigger to kill the US troops.

George took lives that day but also saved lives, and he was left with a mental scar that followed him the rest of his life.

That one defining moment changed who George was and how he saw the world.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

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Manipulating public opinion to wage war: Part 4/5

World War One (1917 – 1918) was deeply unpopular. “once public opinion polling did start appearing in the 1930’s, early surveys on World War One showed only 28% of the country thought entering the war was a good idea, while 64% opposed it.”

In the years after World War I Americans quickly reached the conclusion that their country’s participation in that war had been a disastrous mistake, one which should never be repeated again. During the 1920s and 1930s, therefore, they pursued a number of strategies aimed at preventing war. Source: neh.gov

And Support for World War II (1941 – 1945) was also not widely popular. Even as public opinion in favor of war increased after France fell to Nazi Germany during World War Two, only 42% of the country thought entry into the war was a good idea, while 39% of the country still considered it a mistake.

In fact, entering this war was unpopular until Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Then it was clear that the US couldn’t stay out of the Second World War.

Once the war began in earnest, America increased the flood of propaganda, utilizing especially the radio and visual media, most specifically posters. … Since American leaders realized that the best hope of winning the war was through increased production and labor, many posters were circulated urging increased labor and production as well as conservation of materials for the war effort.… During World War II, America produced some of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history. The pushes for increased production, labor, and conservation may well have won the war for America. Source: thinkquest.org

Next, the Korean War (1950 – 1953): When Americans were first asked (by Gallup), in August 1950, if deciding to defend South Korea was a mistake, only 20% thought it was, while 65% said it was not a mistake.

But by the following January, opinion had shifted dramatically, and 49% thought the decision was a mistake, while 38% said it was not—13% had no opinion.

Over several months, as Gallup asked the public if “going into war in Korea” was a mistake, opinion remained relatively stable, with more Americans saying it was than saying it was not. Six months later, as truce talks were being conducted at Kaesong, Americans were feeling more positive—42% felt the war was a mistake, while 47% said it wasn’t. But the numbers shifted again six months later in February 1952, when a majority said the war was a mistake for the United States, soon after a POW exchange proposal by the United Nations was rejected, and riots in the United Nations’ overcrowded Koje-do prison camp resulted in the deaths of many North Korean prisoners.

Soon after Eisenhower was elected president in 1953 and truce talks began again, the American opinion shifted yet again, with half of Americans saying the war was not a mistake, while a low of 36% said it was a mistake.

Continued on July 12, 2013 in Manipulating public opinion to wage wars: Part 5 or return to Part 3

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_______________________

 Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Blood Price – Part 4/4

Granted, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict were unavoidable, and it could be argued that the War in Afghanistan was justified. However, we did not need to send American troops to Vietnam or Iraq and both of these wars were based on lies.

One reason for these needless wars may be linked to corporate profits while keeping unemployment down.

The Great Depression originated in the U.S. and had its start around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).

The Great Depression devastated countries around the globe. In the United States, industrial production dropped by 46%; foreign trade dropped 70% and unemployment reached 25%—in some countries it was as high as 33%.

The wartime economic boom during World War II caused a dramatic increase in employment, which paralleled the expansion of industrial production. In 1944, unemployment dipped to 1.2 percent of the civilian labor force, a record low in American economic history.

In 1954, after the Korean Conflict unemployment in the United States went up to about 6%. Then the economy turned down in the summer of 1957 and reached a low point in the spring of 1958. Industrial production fell 14%, corporate profits dropped 25% and unemployment reached 7.5%

The US needed another war to stimulate the economy. The US had already unofficially been in Vietnam since 1953 and in 1964 the war became official with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

In 1960, unemployment in the US was 6.1%, but by 1964, unemployment dropped to 4.8% and then 3.4% by 1968. However, a year after the Vietnam War, unemployment was up again to 7.2%—a 212% increase since 1968.

It is now obvious that war is another option to keep Americans employed. Since the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953, the United States has been involved in thirty-two wars/conflicts. Source: List of wars involving the United States

I started to add up all the months and years US troops have been fighting somewhere in the world since 1953 and gave up—just Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (three of the thirty-two conflicts) add up to more than forty years of combat.

In fact, before World War II, the allocation of resources to military purposes was typically no more than 1 percent of GNP, except during actual warfare, which occurred infrequently. Wartime and peacetime were distinct, and during peacetime—that is, almost all the time—the societal opportunity cost of “guns” was nearly nil.

However, following the Korean Conflict, military purchases reached an unprecedented level for “peacetime” and, despite some fluctuations, remained at or above this elevated level permanently. During 1948-86, military purchases cumulated to $6.316 Trillion, averaging about $162 billion per year, or 7.6 percent of GNP. Source: Cato Institute

In conclusion, after the Korean Conflict, the US capitalist consumer economy added war to its financial formula, and the price has been decades of spilled blood all over the world. The last question is, “Who benefits the most?”

Return to The The Blood Price – Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Children as Weapons of Death

In this post, I am writing for someone who has no voice.

George Sandefur was a smoker who died from an aggressive form of lung cancer in the 1980s, but I have not forgotten what he told me.

At the time, he taught math and I taught English at Giano Intermediate School in La Puente, California. He had the classroom next door. George told me his story a few years before the cancer took him.

Thirty years earlier, George served in the U.S. Army in Korea. He told me about one patrol on a cold day. The narrow trail they followed clung to the side of a steep mountain he didn’t know the name of.

George brought up the rear and from his vantage point saw several young Korean children coming their way. None of these kids could have been over ten. The rest of American patrol had gone around a fold in the mountain and couldn’t see the children.

George stopped. He sensed that something was wrong. When he saw the machine gun strapped to the back of a little girl, he knew that the other troops in his patrol were walking into a trap.

He was the only one who had a clear shot. If he didn’t take it, the other troops might be killed or wounded, so he pulled the trigger.

It turned out those kids were heavily armed with explosives and that machine gun. All that little girl had to do was bend over so the seven or eight-year-old boy behind her could pull the trigger to kill the US troops.

The rest of the patrol would have been surprised and didn’t stand a chance if George had not acted.

George took lives that day but also saved lives, and he was left with a mental scar that followed him the rest of his life.

That one defining moment changed who George was and how he saw the world.

I heard of this soulful experience at lunch one day. We can only imagine how this violent moment in time experience changed one man’s life. What did it feel like to kill several children who would have killed him without a thought?

Discover The Long March, another war, another place, and another time.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, journalist and award winning author.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

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