This is not an autobiography, which would bore everyone, including this writer, to tears, but a story about a generation that has now become old and weary. A generation wise in what it has seen and offers advice to which no one listens. It is intended to be a storymy generation can read and try to put things into perspective. It is a story younger generations can read and try to gain some introspection. It is a story that the older generation, the Greatest Generation, what is left of them, will read with a smile and an understanding wink while thinking, "Brother, you ain't seen nothing." Meaning, my generation has never seen the worst of what humanity can do to its fellow man. That dubious honor belongs to the Greatest Generation.
The Greatest Generation. They were our mothers and fathers. They endured the worst economic world depression in the history of mankind, then fought a two-ocean, two-front war, the worst war in the history of mankind, and won it despite the efforts of the two most heinous and aggressive regimes in man's history, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The following concept may be a little difficult for younger generations to accept. Because our parents lived through the most difficult times in human history, my generation sought answers. We wanted to know what our fathers and mothers went through. We wanted to know why some of our generation did not have fathers to cling to, or mothers in some cases, because they were dead, killed in some far off land, maybeon some island in the Pacific we cannot pronounce let alone knowwhere the hell it is. So, we found out what happened. To this day our generation lives vicariously with the events of World War Two and its total horror. The toll of the dead is so monstrous, it is almost meaningless. The point being, we became so enraptured by what happened during man's worst assault on man, many of us have to remind ourselves that we were born during WWII. We were infants and not a part of the carnage.
My generation and the generation that precedes us have serious questions regarding war being a solution to man's problems.
In addition, in the opinion of my generation and the Greatest Generation, we will never again see the leadership abilities on our nation's stage as illustrated by men like Roosevelt, Truman,Eisenhower, and Kennedy. These leaders emerged from the crucible of the Great Depression and World War Two. Such leadership qualities are gone forever.The last President molded from these twin catastrophes was George H.W. Bush. He was keenly aware of the destruction wrought by war, having survived as a World War Two fighter pilot. When many in the nation, Pentagon, and even Presidential advisors were clamoring for a march on Baghdad to remove Saddam Hussein from power at the end of the Gulf War in 1991, Bush wisely demurred. At the time, Bush's decision was unpopular. Due to the actions of his son, Americans now are fully aware of the sagacity of that decision.
In terms of sheer numbers the American policy of war did not subside in the 1990's as many hoped.In actuality wars increased in number during that decade. In addition to Iraq in the Gulf War, American troops were on the ground in wars involving Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. On Feb. 26, 1993, a little known terrorist organization attacked the World Trade Center in New York. That same organization then attacked American embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya on Aug. 7, 1998. By now, Americans became familiar with the name of that organization - Al-Qa'ida, led by a wealthy Muslim fanatic Saudi entrepreneur named Osama bin Laden. While enmeshed in the Monica Lewinsky scanda land the House ready to lower the gavel on his impeachment, President Clinton's response was to indiscriminately fire off 75 to 100 Cruise missiles at a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan and mud and wooden shacks in southeastern Afghanistan.This was a clear violation of international law inasmuch as neither Sudan nor Afghanistan attacked the embassies. Al-Qa'ida, clearly a criminal terrorist organization, did.During the last year of the Clinton administration,on Oct. 12, 2000,Al-Qa'ida elements attacked the U.S. destroyer, Cole, while harbored at the Yemeni port of Aden. Despite all of this, there is only scant evidence that Americans and America's leaders took the threat of Al-Qa'ida seriously in the 1990's and in 2000.
There is one thing I would like to make perfectly clear. I am no pacifist, not by a long shot. If our nation is attacked, we must not respond in kind. We must respond with overwhelming vigor and firepower with an abundant use of target intelligence to avoid collateral damage as much as humanly possible. Those conditions were not met in the case of our two current wars.