Dave Rickert

Dave Rickert
Tucson, Arizona,
May 19
Its in the glove compartment
Yes. I always enjoy it.
I have always tended to take the road less traveled. Sometimes I get lost; sometimes the road is under construction; and sometimes the road leads nowhere or everywhere. Regardless of my choices, I always learn, and never regret the journey.


DECEMBER 19, 2010 11:02AM


Rate: 37 Flag
 "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."  ~ Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973)
Tropical Jungles 
Desert Mountains
It's not the same;
Or is it?
President Thieu corrupt
President Karzai corrupt
Viet Cong insurgents
Taliban insurgents
Cambodia and Laos sanctuaries in Vietnam War
Pakistan sanctuaries in Afghanistan War
Little public support for the Vietnam war.
A majority of Americans think the Afghan war "is not worth fighting."
$36 billion/yr. in Vietnam
$100 billion/yr. in Afghanistan
Turning control over to the Vietnamese strategy
Turning control over to the Afghans strategy
General Westmoreland's  optimistic Vietnam assessment
General Petraeus' optimistic Afghan assessment
58, 236 U.S.killed; 153,452 U.S. wounded in Vietnam
 1438 U.S. killed; 9256 U.S. wounded in Afghanistan 
Strategic Hamlets in Vietnam
Transition Provinces in Afghanistan
Search and Destroy Vietnam strategy
Surge strategy in Afghanistan
Neighboring China had nuclear weapons.
Neighboring Pakistan has nuclear weapons.
Claymoor mines and booby traps in Vietnam
IEDs in Afghanistan
Of course it is not the same;
It is 35 years later.
The U.S. is smarter;
Aren't we?
We sacrifice our young;
We spend our treasury;
We rationalize our decisions;
And it never ends. 
When will we learn? 
You can't say that civilizations don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way." ~ Will Rogers

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Thank you Dave. I know this is killing you. Me too.
The false sacrifice of so many and for what? When will it all end? It is the same tune with the same commercials. Imagine if the same energy and money were put into solving the world's real problems of poverty, water supplies and disease. This could be a different world.
The parallels are amazing yet the results are the same. Invasions, endless wars, dead and dying.
If we truly wanted change, why the hell are we not sending our best and brightest to help drills water wells, assist farmers, develope the transportation, etc. instead of bombs and munitions??
I don't want to start ranting here endlessly, but I always ponder the intentions, and the one behind these wars is evil.
Wow, Dave. What a summary.

Usually a writer shouldn't be proud if his writing makes the reader want to hurl. But you should be and I almost did.

I just changed my profile pic yesterday too, but I think the peace sign is going back up.

I've seen your resume' and mention of the 430 combat missions. An anti-war song penned during that time had a line in it "What should I do? Fly my B-52?" It wasn't kind to those who chose to fly the BUF's ( Big Ugly Fellas). I really meant it when I wrote it.
But I read your work these daysnand see your current sentiments and know now that it is such a complicated world, beyond most understanding.
Rated to bump the feed for otherrs to read.
oh, friend, you're so right! r.
This was brilliantly done adn I hope it gets read by a lot of people
rated with hugs
This is great Dave! The parallels are similar. The billions with cost of living dollars are about the same. The lives, however, are different. Why. Because as we have found new ways to kill, we now have new ways to save people. Most are on an operating table now within an hour. Unfortunately, arms and legs can't be grown back, if they could, I'm sure they would have them doing another tour ASAP!
Yes. This hurts. Rated.
Dave, Truly give yourself some extra credit for this one. What the loved ones on both sides of this war have to go through.

Thanks for those quotes too as both are new to me.
The parallels anger me tremendously. Why? Because we haven't learned a damned thing. When this kind of message comes from you, it almost makes me cry.

Think about this:

The mood of the public after 9/11. Bush's approval rate was something in the high 80's or 90's. Bush then asked Congress for unlimited authority to do "what was necessary" and he got it overwhelmingly from Congress.

Thirty year earlier:

The mood of the public after the Gulf of Tonkin incident was also such that LBJ's approvals skyrocketed also. LBJ asked - and got almost unanimously - unlimited authority from Congress to "do what was necessary"

Two almost identical scenarios - a generation apart - with exactly the same result.

The Lessons:
1. Congress is no more than a voice of the mood of the public.

2. The collective memory of the American public is nil.

3. The American people invariably come to their senses in these matters but not before learning hard lessons.

4. American will not support protracted wars when they're not directly threatened (as they were in December, 1941!).

Some days after 9/11, around late October, my sister was taking me to the airport in San Francisco to catch a plane to Portland, Oregon (to attend my own divorce hearing, as it turned out.) On the way, we got onto the subject of what had happened in NYC.

My sister was mad as a wet hornet and said, quite passionately, "We ought to go over there and pulverize those bastards...kill them all!"
I believe she voiced the opinion of most of America at that time.

I replied, "I don't know, Kathy. This reminds me of exactly what happened in Vietnam. And the chance of getting into another *quagmire* (I remember using that exact word) over there is very scary. It's easy getting into these things but impossible to get out."

"BULLSHIT!" she replied. "We just go in and level the goddam place." And so on, went the conversation. She the hawk and I the dove.

Last week on the phone we talked a little about this agony the country is going through over there. She now told me we ought to just leave that "hellhole," bring the troops home and get on with our lives. Being her big brother, I reminded her of that day on the way to the airport and how surprised I was at her change of opinion.

Her reply was that opinions "evolve."

Indeed. And so it goes.
Dave - I hear your soul and am sending you a healing right now.
Very Good Dave. I am so surprised at the parallels. My friend who is very involved with Vets reminds me that we need to thank them for their service...it will mean a lot in this thankless war.
Dave, You've given me another reason to believe in your wisdom and the beauty of your writings. Thanks!
I agree with quote from Ms. Rankin!!!!
Hm. Afghanistan is more like Colombia, isn't it? A long, drawn-out drug war. I guess that's even worse. We've been in Colombia twice as long as Vietnam...
There is a big difference. In Vietnam, you did your 13 months and were done. Now in the 21st century, we are sending the same guys (Mostly National Guardsmen) back to the Big Sandbox 3-4 times.
Quadruple jeoopardy!
"You can no more win a war than win an earthquake." Wow.
Thanks for this, Dave...
it's the worst shape our country's been in. period.
I am so sorry for the loss of life among we, the invaders. Yet did we think we could invade another man's nation, kill his people by many, many times the number of our casualties, and escape his efforts to oust us from his land?

To put this in perspective: What would you do if they had invaded us? Do you think they are any less patriotic than we are? Any less willing to defend their homeland? Any happier about the killing of their women and children and men than we would be?

For oil. For minerals. For political control. Yup, those are sure worthy goals alright........ Yeah, like shit!!

Well done, Dave, well done.

I read you loud and clear. Total FUBAR.
Plenty of parallels all right. And time to implement Senator Aiken's solution to the Vietnam war, "Declare victory and bring the boys home".
So well done, Dave. Powerful, chilling, painful.
That sums it up powerfully. From now on, I'll be referring to as Vietghanistan.
You're right it's endless and it's all the same, over and over and over. the young are in despair and the treasury is bankrupt. We will learn when we learn humility, if we as a nation don't learn it we will be destroyed and another nation will simply take our place. It is the way of the world and it's heart breaking.
If ever there was politics in poetry, this is it.

This is startling in it's stark truth. Thank you. Rated.
I am so completely disgusted about the reality of which you speak, that I am beginning to contemplate the idea of leaving this country entirely, not because I think it's better anywhere else, because I don't, but simply because I cannot much longer allow these monsters to do these unspeakable things in my name. While you were back there flying missions, I was back here learning that the system is impervious to our opinions. I keep wondering what Robert Heinlein would have said about Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing him as well as I do, I think he would be aghast at what has happened to this country. I certainly hope so.

As much as I empathize with the Iraqis and the Afghanis, who are the victims of this conflict, I reserve my deepest empathy for the American soldiers who are being forced into fighting an unjust war on unequal terms, while knowing that whatever gains they achieve will evaporate as soon as we leave.

Naked force can achieve all kinds of things, but the one thing naked force can not accomplish is to change the minds of the people you had to kill along the way.
Rated. If this website slows down any more we will go back to carrier pigeons.
"The U.S. is smarter;
Aren't we?"

My simple answer is, "no". Knee jerk reactions from a system which does not have an accounting tab for humanity is bound to fail. This is why the minority gets the upper hand, because people are all to quick to do the easy thing, instead of buckle down and do the hard, forging work of diplomacy, negotiations, and above all, love, no matter what.

Beautifully expressed.
Thanks for the reminder and comparison Dave. And thanks for your service ! Mine came during the Korean "conflict"

"When will we learn?"

It makes little difference ones political views, but I suppose we won't learn till we take to heart the words of John F. Kennedy:

"Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind"
I hope we all learn before it is too late ...

Thank you Dave. I know this was hard for you ...so thank you.
Different lands, different peoples, and yet we get the same results. Death and destruction. The toll of war says much about the human and how his hatred for his own is generously handed down from generation to generation.
Ironically, on the day we launched Operation Desert Storm, Vietnam spiked the construction of high speed rail between capitals. This points to the perpetual 'guns or butter' debate. Boots on the ground (how many is it?) in 84 countries? Essentially, we've a one party system, cleverly obstinate with its impassioned wedge issues.

The electorate off balance: making ends meet, apathetic, distracted, lazy, embittered --- numb. The main stream media winds up oddly (unbelievably) (inadvertently?) complicit. (Not all of it; no secret certainly, that he who has the gold, makes the rules--constant sublimation of GROUP THINK) . One gets so tired of hearing representatives 'sound biting', "What the American people think...what the American people want...." How phony. How disingenuous. How usurious.

Yet we compromise, fall back, re-group. The digital machine out-smarting the best, the worst of us. The hyper-kinetic word obsolete, as it forms; the end game *powerlessness*.

To the victor, the fear.

Allow me to salute your valor as well as encourage the fascinating perspectives you share here, Dave, here on Open Salon.
I'm with you all the way, Dave. A waste of shame.
Wonderful poem, we really need to know these comparisons. It is so sad that we cannot seem to help repeating lessons we thought we learned. This is even more powerful coming from a man who fought in the first one.
rated with love
Brilliant parallels, Dave. Bitterly inspired composition. When will we learn? Never. I love your opening and closing quotes. R
Damn! (That's the first time that I have cussed on OS, but I had to release.) Such a very apt comparison. At the risk of being facetious, I will say "I couldn't have done better myself." (That's for sure.)
Social commentary through poetry? I'm a fan. rated
The way you juxtaposed the two wars makes any arguments for war seem trite and nonsensical. Those who have fought and those who have lost loved ones know the real toll on humanity. Beautifully written and sadly understood too well. R.
"The U.S. is smarter;
Aren't we?"


We's R Dumb, more now than ever, cause we have the past to look back upon, to see how "well" things went back then and then proceed....