Censored but not Silenced: Part 1/5

I think I have been a victim of censorship. Am I wrong?

As much as we may claim to value the freedom to express our opinions, censorship in Western democracies does exist in one form or another. For example, it exists in the private/corporate sector; it exists in the public schools, and it exists among citizens who host Websites and Blogs, etc.

Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 ranked Finland as number one for freedom of expression compared to 179 countries.

The United States, billed by many of its citizens as the land-of-the-free and a country that prides its freedom of expression while criticizing other countries such as China, is ranked 47th, and the U.S. has more people in prison than any country on the planet. In some parts of the United States, you can actually go to prison for life if you only steal a piece of candy or swipe a slice of pizza.

Reporters Without Borders says, “The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”

In fact, there is a long history of censorship in the United States. For one example of several, Civil Liberties says that in 1798, President John Adams made it illegal to criticize a government official without backing up one’s criticisms in court. Twenty-five people were arrested under that law.

Civil Liberties says, “The right to free speech is a longstanding U.S. tradition, but actually respecting the right to free speech is not.”

“A recent report from Google indicates that even western democracies have been trying to censor politically conflicting websites. Countries like Spain, Poland and even Canada have all submitted requests for the removal of content from the search engine.” Source: Business Insider

Back to the comment where I alleged that I was censored on another Blog that has a link to a nonprofit political organization with an alleged hidden political agenda.

I can only guess that I may have been allegedly censored because my position on the issue being discussed was stronger than the host’s opinion. Julie Lenarz, the host, specializes in Foreign and Security Policy and holds a BA in European Politics and an MA in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics.

She is also an adviser on Foreign and Security Policy, a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy and current affairs blogger.

The Commentator.com says: “Julia Lenarz is author of the popular blog, Julie’s Think Tank.”

Of course, the claim that Julie’s Think Tank is a popular Blog is questionable, because its Alexa rank was almost 5.5 million with only 38 sites linked in (on February 22, 2013).  There was no data for traffic rank in the UK or US.

But what is popular to one individual may not be popular to another and everyone has a right to an opinion even if he or she may be wrong.

This we do know—there is big benefit to censor the opposition, because then you control the conversation and may advance your own political agenda.

In the post in question on Julie’s Think Tank, Lenarz’s position on the Iraq War was clear: She supported the war in the beginning and still feels it was moral and just to oust Saddam and his brutal regime. I left several comments for this post, and then wrote about this issue in a three-part series on one of my Blogs in a post titled The Noble Nightmare.

Before I share my reasons why I think Lenarz allegedly censored one of my comments, I want to focus on what it means to be a fellow in a political, nonprofit organization.

A fellow can be a participant in a professional development program run by a nonprofit. This type of fellowship is usually a short-term work opportunity (1–2 years) for professionals who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the nonprofit’s mission. Fellows are often given a stipend as well as professional experience and leadership training.

A key phrase to remember from that description is: “that will serve the nonprofit’s mission”, and after some research, I now question what the real mission is for the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, but more on that later.

Continued on March 4, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 2

_______________________

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, a suspense thriller. 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 “Follow”.

The Noble Nightmare: Part 2/3

Foreign Policy Magazine lists The Worst of the Worst and says, “There are at least 40 dictators around the world today, and approximately 1.9 billion people live under the grip of the 23 autocrats on this list alone.”

The Foreign Policy piece is worth reading because it reveals how some of these dictators were seen as freedom fighters until they won their revolution. Foreign Policy says, “Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there’s one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile freedom fighters who were supposed to have liberated their people. ”

I think it is hypocrisy for any Americans to support the war in Iraq based on moral grounds without supporting wars against all of the other brutal, autocratic, and oppressive regimes across the globe. To do that, the U.S. would have to mobilize as it did to fight Japan, Italy and Germany in World War II by enacting the draft and raising a military force of more than sixteen million to fight a global war of this scale.

In fact, the use of nuclear weapons might also be an option to end this war as it did in World War II when two nuclear bombs were dropped on cities in Japan killing almost 200,000 innocent civilians including children.

Then after that global war on oppressive regimes,—that is if it was successful—to maintain the peace, the United States would have to occupy all of those countries by keeping a military presence as we have in Japan, Germany and South Korea. The last question would be, if the United States did do this and fought wars in these countries that have a population of about 1.9 billion people, how would the United States guarantee that a dictator would never rule these people again?

The answer is simple: The U.S. would have to rule over these countries no matter how the people felt and to achieve this, order would be maintained by a permanent U.S. military force.

Continued on February 26, 2013 in The Noble Nightmare: Part 3 or return to 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, a suspense thriller. 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 “Follow”.

The Noble Nightmare: Part 1/3

After reading a post on the Iraq War by an individual who thinks the war was moral and just, I left a comment on that Blog, and then decided to continue the discussion here.

The author of that post is an advisor on Foreign and Security Policy and a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. Julie holds a BA in European Politics and an MSc in Conflict Studies (Comparative Politics) from the London School of Economics. Source: Julie’s Think Tank.com

Julie says, “It is important to learn the right lessons from Iraq.”

But I say, “Why do we have to learn from the Iraq experience when we have thousands of years of history to learn from?”

Julie clearly says that she “strongly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and still maintains the same position.”

And I’m one of those people that changed his mind after the truth about WMDs came out revealing that it was another fabrication used as an excuse to start what many in America still consider to be a just and noble war.

Of course going to war to remove a dictator considered a monster such as Saddam could be seen as a moral and just cause, but why do so many Americans see the United States as the global force to do that and then not continue this in other countries that were listed by The Atlantic Wire as ruled by dictators?

Continued on February 25, 2013 in The Noble Nightmare: Part 2

_______________________

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, a suspense thriller. 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 “Follow”.

A U.S. Marine Deals with his PTSD through Ballet

I faced my PTSD when I started to write about it. Here’s a Marine that did the same thing but with Ballet.

After serving at Fallujah, choreographer Roman Baca channeled his military experience into provocative dance performances.

This post is in addition to a post I reblogged from “Off the Base” — A Marine’s Voice Being Heard from the Dance Stage

“Roman Baca is a Marine Iraq War Veteran and the Artistic Director of Exit 12 Dance Company in NYC.  After a career in dance, Mr. Baca served as a US Marine and was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq from ‘05-’06.”  Source:  Exit 12 Dance Company

_______________________

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!”

Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 3/3

Jane Fonda visited Hanoi, North Vietnam in July 1972 at age thirty-five. At that time, the anti-war movement was at its highest point and sentiments against the war were running loud and strong in the United States.

In fact, on April 23, 1971, Vietnam veterans threw away over 700 medals on the West Steps of the Capital building. The next day, antiwar organizers claimed that 500,000 marched, making this the largest antiwar demonstration since the November 1969 march.

In addition, by May 1971, public support for the war had reached 28%. This was the last time Gallup polled this question: “In view of developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?”

If you subtract 28 from 100, what is the answer that shows the percentage of Americans that were against the Vietnam War in 1971?

The highest rating for public support of the war was in 1966, the year I was there and that was 59%.

During her 1972 trip, Fonda made ten radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals”.

Fonda’s visits to the POW camps in North Vietnam led to persistent and exaggerated rumors repeated widely in the American media, and decades later have continued to circulate on the Internet. Fonda has personally denied the rumors. Interviews with two of the alleged victims specifically named in the emails found these allegations to be false as they had never met Fonda.

Because of her time in North Vietnam, the ensuing circulated rumors regarding the visit, and statements made following her return, resentment against her among some veterans and those currently serving in the U.S. military still exists.

Snopes.com has this to say about Jane’s Fonda’s visit to Vietnam:

“Although Fonda’s actions in visiting North Vietnam were sufficient to earn her the wrath of many Americans, in the years since those events took place they have been embellished to the point that the one tale most commonly associated with her Vietnam Trip is an incident that never took place—a tale about U.S. POWs who furtively slipped messages to Fonda while she was meeting with them and whom Fonda promptly betrayed by turning those messages over to the POWs’ North Vietnamese captors (resulting in several of those prisoner’s being beaten, tortured, or killed). The fact is that while in North Vietnam, Fonda met with only a single group of seven U.S. POWs: all seven of those POWs agreed to meet with her, no POWs were tortured for declining to meet with her (or for behaving inappropriately during the meeting), and no POWs secretly slipped Fonda messages which she turned over to the North Vietnamese. The persons named in inflammatory claims about this apocryphal incident have repeatedly and categorically denied the events they supposedly were part of.”

There’s more at Snopes.com, and I urge you to read that entire entry. In fact, Snopes says, “Some of the POWs who did meet with Fonda have spoken out on the record to disclaim the apocryphal story about her alleged betrayal …”

Then there are these facts reported by the New York Times (also worth reading) that supports Fonda’s claim that America’s political and military leaders were “war criminals”.

The evidence that supports Fonda comes from the architect of the Vietnam War, Robert S. McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defense for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from January 21,1961 – February 29, 1968.

The NY Times reported, “The war became his personal nightmare. Nothing he did, none of the tools at his command—the power of American weapons, the forces of technology and logic, or the strength of American soldiers—could stop the armies of North Vietnam and their South Vietnamese allies, the Vietcong. He concluded well before leaving the Pentagon that the war was futile, but he did not share that insight with the public until late in life.”

McNamara recalled, “‘If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.’ and I’d say I—were behaving as war criminals.”

Then McNamara was quoted asking, “What makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”

“We are the strongest nation in the world today,” McNamara said in The Fog of War, released at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “I do not believe that we should ever apply that economic, political, and military power unilaterally. If we had followed that rule in Vietnam, we wouldn’t have been there. None of our allies supported us. Not Japan, not Germany, not Britain or France. If we can’t persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we’d better re-examine our reasoning.”

“War is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend,” McNamara concluded. “Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.”

Speaking out and protesting dramatically as Jane Fonda did in 1972 brands her as a true patriot and hero—not a traitor.  It takes courage—or stupidity—to stand up and tell millions of trained killers they were wrong and were being led by war criminals, and the truth—of course—hurts those who refuse to hear it.

Patriots and heroes speak out when his or her government is wrong, but those who do not speak our may be as guilty as their leaders.

Return to Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 2 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!”

Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 2/3

Before calling someone—anyone—a “traitor”, especially Jane Fonda, you should do your homework first.

I fought in Vietnam too (1966, field radio operator, U.S. Marines), but I do not blame Fonda for what she did when she went to North Vietnam, because when she spoke out, she was the voice of America’s conscience and she was not alone—at the time, a vast majority of Americans may have felt the same way she did.

After I came out of my PTSD shell in the early 1980s and stopped drinking, I started to learn the truth about the Vietnam War.

Most American troops went to Vietnam in honor, some came back tainted with innocent blood but many came back untainted but damaged physically and/or mentally as I did with PTSD.

The Vietnam War was based on a lie about the Tonkin Gulf Incident. You may want to read “30-year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie launched Vietnam War” by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon published July 27, 1994. The conclusion of that report says, “We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”

On October, 2005 the New York Times reported that Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, had concluded that the NSA deliberately distorted the intelligence reports that it had passed on to policy-makers regarding the August 4, 1964 incident. He concluded that the motive was not political but was probably to cover up honest intelligence errors.

In addition, before President Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert later said he was planning to pull out of Vietnam, because he saw it turning into quagmire if we stayed.

Then there is the fact that South Vietnam was ruled by a brutal dictator possibly worse than the leadership in North Vietnam.

And during most of the war, the U.S. leadership ran the war with the concept that we could win the war by killing as many people as possible. and to achieve that goal, the U.S. dropped more bombs than it dropped in all of World War II.

Pete Larson reports that the United States dropped 280 million bombs in Laos alone and that 80 million never exploded. Today, the population of Laos is estimated to be 6.5 million. That equals about 43 bombs dropped for each of today’s citizens in Laos. Do you know how many people lived in Laos during the Vietnam War?

If you click on Yale.edu, you will discover a map of Cambodia that shows where the bombs were dropped on 113,716 sites in 230,516 sorties dropping 2,756,941 tons of ordnance (explosives).

Libcom.org reports, “By the end of the war, 7 million tons of bombs had been dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia – more than twice the amount of bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II.”

Then there is the history of Vietnam.  For one thousand years, Vietnam was occupied by the Chinese (221 BC – 928 AD) and the Vietnamese resisted and fought to be free.

Then the French arrived in 1859 and occupied Vietnam, and eventually the Vietnamese fought to rid themselves of the French and the Japanese in the first Indochina War (1941 – 1954)

When the French left, the Americans moved into Vietnam in the late 1950s and stayed for almost 20 years. When the U.S. left, the soil was drenched with Agent Orange and millions—in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam combined—had been killed.

Vietnam is America’s shame and it took courage for someone like Jane Fonda to speak up and confront America’s leadership for this crime. The only honorable Americans in Vietnam were troops like your husband and me that went there as patriots believing we were fighting for freedom when the truth is that we were being lied to by our corrupt leaders.

Then there is the CIA and Air America. To this day the CIA denies that Air America was running drugs into the U.S. and supplying weapons to drug lords in the Gold Triangle with the design of creating an armed buffer between Communist China and Southeast Asia.

I refuse to condemn Jane Fonda for standing up to the corruption and lies of America’s leaders. More evidence that supports my opinion will appear in Jane Fonda: a real American Patriot! – Part 3 on February 12, 2013 or you may return/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!”

Kill Anything That Moves: Part 3/3

Jennings’s review was posted the day after Turse’s book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, was released on January 16. I seriously question Jenning’s claim that he read this book and wrote his long criticism in such a short period of time. I suspect that he may have skimmed the book and then wrote what is obviously a biased review. In fact, he did buy the book, but the odds say he posted the review before the book reached him through the mail.

Of the fifteen, five-star reviews, five were verified Amazon purchases and four of those were posted seven to twelve days after the release, and a sixth was from a Vine Reviewer that was posted the day the book was released, which may mean he or she got the book free through the Amazon Vine program—advanced review copies are available through Amazon Vine. I know this because I am an Amazon Vine reviewer.

One of the five-star reviews—not a verified Amazon purchase—posted on January 17 copied and pasted an interview with Turse at Democracy Now. I doubt if HCI read the book.

Five of the one-star reviews appeared on the same day, January 21. Three appeared on January 22. I think this was an organized posting by a group—that did not read the book—with a goal to discredit and hurt the book’s sales. None of these reviews came from verified Amazon purchases.

My reading list is rather long so it may take several weeks/months to read and review Kill Anything that Moves.

In conclusion, I suspect that most of the civilian deaths in Vietnam were caused by bombs dropped by American aircraft and atrocities by American ground troop did take place but were not common as Turse claims—the anti war crowd has a loud voice and always will.

Return to Kill Anything That Moves: Part 2 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!”

Kill Anything That Moves: Part 2/3

“Kill Anything That Moves” included the story of Jamie Henry who was a 20-year-old medic who served in Vietnam and witnessed the mass shooting of a small crowd of women a children.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “The files (that Turse copied and used for his book) are part of a once-secret archive, assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early 1970s, that shows that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam were more extensive than was previously known.

“The documents detail 320 alleged incidents that were substantiated by Army investigators—not including the most notorious U.S. atrocity, the 1968 My Lai massacre.

“Though not a complete accounting of Vietnam war crimes, the archive is the largest such collection to surface to date. About 9,000 pages, it includes investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports for top military brass.”

The Vietnam War lasted for more than 7,000 days. Even if the 320 alleged atrocities did happen, that means one took place once every 22 days and the odds of being involved in one incident—if you served in Vietnam—was about 8,500 to one.

During the Vietnam War and afterwards, atrocities were committed by both sides, and this is a hot button issue to some. To measure the validity of the reactions to Turse’s book, I compared the five-star and one-star Amazon reader reviews. When I checked, there were thirty-five reader reviews. Fifteen were five-star reviews and fourteen were one-star.

Keep in mind that Turse’s book was released on January 15, 2013—sixteen days before I wrote this post.

Of the fourteen, one-star reviews only one was a verified Amazon purchase and it was written by Phillip Jennings, who served in the U.S. Marines as a pilot and flew for Air America in Laos. Air America was an airline owned and operated by the CIA. Maybe he dropped some of the bombs that killed civilians.

In addition to legal operations, Air America allegedly transported opium and heroin on behalf of Hmong leader Vang Pao. This allegation has been supported by former Laos CIA paramilitary Anthony Poshepny (aka Tony Poe), former Air America pilots, and other people involved in the war.

University of Georgia historian William M. Leary, writing on behalf of Air America itself, claims however that this was done without the airline employees’ direct knowledge (except for those employees that said they did know about it) and that the airline itself did not trade in drugs. Curtis Peebles denies the allegation, citing Leary’s study as evidence.” Source with citations: Wiki

To say Jennings may be biased would be an understatement.

Continued on February 3, 2013 in Kill Anything That Moves: Part 3 or return to 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!”

The Tet Offensive also destroyed the National Liberation Front (popularly known as the Viet Cong) and handed the leadership of the war, by default, over to the North Vietnamese Communist leadership and its army. The NLF was not 100% a communist organization but was an organization and army that fought the US in South Vietnam and before the US they fought the French under a different name—the Viet Minh—and before the French, the Vietnamese fought the Chinese occupation that lasted for a thousand years before liberation from China. However, the communists organized the NLF as a blanket organization of many Vietnamese resistance groups to continue the fight against foreign occupation/intervention in Vietnam.

The Tet Offensive was fought primarily by the NLF and they lost about 75,000 troops compared to 6,000 U.S. and ARVN dead. History paints the Tet Offensive as a communist victory but that is wrong. The Tet Offensive saw half of the NLF’s troops killed. The victory was turning the American public against the war. It was a military loss and a PR victory. The Viet Cong lost that battle but the North won the war. After Tet, the North had to step up moving its troops and supplies into the South until the NVA made up 70% of the troops fighting there.

In 1968, the NLF or Viet Cong’s manifesto called for an independent, non-aligned South Vietnam and stated that “national reunification cannot be achieved overnight.” That all changed after Tet. In fact, that lost battle with the US handed the South over to the communist led North.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest superhero of them all?

Smithsonian.com published The Psychology Behind Superhero Origin Stories by Robin Rosenberg.

Rosenberg says, “As a clinical psychologist who has written books about the psychology of superheroes, I think origin stories show us not how to become super but how to be heroes, choosing altruism over the pursuit of wealth and power.”

Rosenberg says, “I’ve found that superheroes undergo three types of life-altering experiences that we can relate to.”

1. trauma

2. a life altering force is destiny

3. sheer chance

“At their best,” Rosenberg says, “superhero origin stories inspire us and provide models of coping with adversity, finding meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for good purpose.”

Reading Rosenberg’s piece in Smithsonian after watching “To Whom it May Concern, Ka Shen’s Journey” the previous night helped me understand his explanation. Ke Shen’s Journey was a documentary on the life of Nancy Kwan.

You may remember Kwan in “The World of Suzie Wong” (1960), or “Flower Drum Song” (1961). And in 1961, she won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer in film.

In fact, Kwan’s father was a hero. During World War II, he was a spy for the British and when the Japanese discovered what he was doing, he took his two, infant children and fled Hong Kong disguised as a Chinese peasant. Another Chinese spy working for the British in Hong Kong wasn’t so fortunate. He was caught and beheaded by the Japanese.

For Kwon, her life altering experience was the loss of her only child, a son from her first marriage. Bernie died at age 33 in 1996. He contracted AIDS from his girlfriend whom Kwan had cautioned him to avoid.

Bernie had unprotected sex with the girl he loved. He didn’t use a condom. The girlfriend died of AIDS first and Bernie stayed by her side and cared for her to the end. Eventually, when the virus threatened his life, he moved home so his mother and stepfather could care for him, and they watched the son they both loved die slowly over a period of three years as he wasted away.

Today, almost age 75, Nancy Kwan actively supports the study of AIDS and the promotion of AIDS awareness.

I think Rosenberg is right, because I’m convinced that what he explains is one reason why I joined the U.S. Marines and later became a classroom teacher in a barrio high school populated by violent street gangs. I made a choice. We all make choices, but why do we make such choices?

For me it wasn’t trauma—at least I don’t think so—that motivated me to join the U.S. Marines. I think it was the role models I saw in Hollywood films. For example, John Wayne’s movies. By the time I joined the Marines in 1964, John Wayne had been in 158 films. A few that stick in my head are: The Fighting Seabees; Back to Bataan; They were Expendable; Fort Apache; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Sands of Iwo Jima; The Horse Soldiers; The Alamo, and The Longest Day, etc.

Of course, no film compares to the reality of combat and coming home from war with PTSD and/or recovering from a severe combat wound. Those factors are also a life altering force.

It seems to me that there are a lot of people in America that are not inspired to be a hero or altruistic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says that 8.1% of the U.S. population are veterans. In addition, the NY Times reported that less than 1% of the American population is serving in the active military.  What does that tell us about the rest of America—not counting the physically and mentally disabled, police, teachers and firefighters?

Discover John Kerry, Purple Hearts, PTSD and WMD

_______________________

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!”