Saturday, April 12, 2008

War is Hell

Our teacher had given us an assignment last week. She asked us to be prepared to speak up in front of the class about anything we wished to speak on. So, I've spent the time preparing a speech with grandpa's help. When we had finished it grandpa surprised me by asking if I really believed all that I had written. I didn't know what to say in answer to his question and he did not press me on it. This is the speech I nervously gave when it was my turn;

"War is hell" is a famous quote and it has more truth in it than people want to believe. Victory and only victory is the goal of any nation that makes the decision to wage war against an enemy. If a nation goes to war without that intent and resolve, it should never have started it in the first place. Once a war has begun, a nation should be willing to pay all costs necessary to make victory the result. The enemy will.

There should be no exit plan prior to victory other than the acknowledgement of defeat. The lesson learned from Viet Nam should be that there is no peace with honor. Peace with honor is only doublespeak for acknowledging defeat as we have learned. It was a lesson better learned by our enemies than by some of the leaders of this nation. For with that lesson our enemies were given a lesson of how to defeat the most powerful nation in the world today. There are leaders of this country that have already given up and declared we have lost this war against an inferior force. Leaders should lead a nation to victory. They should be an inspiration for the people in regards to victory not defeat.

War is hell. What can be more hellish then to send men into battle knowing that some will not come home to their families? What can be more hellish then for a soldier to know he is sending a best friend home in a body bag? What can be more hellish then for a soldier to know that when he is being sent out on a mission that he may not come back alive?

The cost of war, what greater cost is there to send a man to battle in an effort to bring victory home only to find out that the people back home do not support his efforts? What greater cost is there than the cost of a single life given in that effort for victory when people will not allow his fellow troopers to come home in pride of victory? It demeans life itself. Moreover, the demeaning of life is the greatest of costs to a nation. Therefore, those who talk of the cost of war in dollars and cents have no idea of the real costs of a war is.

The cost of war is not determined by the loss of weapons and equipment. The costs of war cannot be determined by dollars and cents. It is determined by the loss of our fellow man only. The loss of equipment can be replaced. The loss of moneys can be recuperated. The loss of a man’s life cannot be replaced or recuperated. It is a permanent loss which no family, no friend, no son or daughter can bring back. Nevertheless, it was given and taken in the quest of victory not defeat.

A man need not be a military man to understand what war is. He can know the agony of defeat. For a part of him dies within as he sees his fellow man come home, head down, without the victory he fought so hard for. He, with tears flooding down his cheeks, can know the agony of defeat as he kneels at the grave of one so brave that he was willing to die for the victory. For it is for victory and nothing else, a man goes into battle for. It is for victory that a man spends time training for battle. It is for victory, not love of war, that a man will leave his family and go off to battle.

Deny a man his family but don’t deny him his quest for victory. Deny him shelter and a home cooked meal but don’t deny him the one thing he seeks, victory over the enemy. Deny him as you will, deny him of everything but leave him to fight for his goal. For victory was his promise when he left home and victory will be his if he is allowed to fight for it.

For he is Army, Air Force, Navy. He can be no less. He can give no more. Let him know his duty, let him know his honor and only victory over the enemy can achieve this. For it is by his duty he leaves home to fight. It is by his honor he will come home as a victor. He will know pride as he stands in front of his family and sees it glowing in their eyes. It will be then that he will know the fullness of the meaning behind being a trooper.

When I had finished I looked over to my teacher and for some reason I knew the answer to the question grandpa asked the night before. i then whispered,
"Yes, grandpa, I do believe it"


Anonymous said...

Super blog Griper.
I really enjoyed reading it.

Gayle said...

Absolutely right, Griper.

"For he is Army, air Force, Navy", and also the Marines and Coast Guard. I have been taken to task for forgetting the Coast Guard. Never again! LOL!

Fallen' Angel said...

What a beautiful summation of the warrior's mind. Granted, I can only speak from being a guest listener in similar conversations with those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines I have come to know in my own life, but for them, I can say that you have touched upon what drives them, as well as what breaks them. I *know* (because I sent it to him) that my own Soldier feels and believes the same.
He and others like him, knows that War is Hell. They have known it since they first chose to engage in it. It is not news to them. They know that it is Hell on more than one front. The one where they fight is a Hell all it's own, one that I can only try to understand, but will never know the depths of because I have not lived it. Then there is the front fought by their loved ones; to do all they can to support them, and to go on living a life worthy of their sacrifices, especially in their absence, when there are so many from their own country, sometimes within their own family who would speak openly against them and what they stand for, as well as the fight they have willingly taken up on their behalf. This too is their fight, as they try to compartmentalize, as they must, what those who love them go through, and keep it tucked away, so that they can focus on the mission at hand.
They know all of this and still they continue to return to this Hell. That is the type of man we are so blessed to have in our Country. One we take for granted far too often, when we should be venerating him above so many others.
Thank you for another beautiful post, Griper. I believe this one made it to a cork board on a FOB somewhere in the sandbox so that all the warriors in an unnamed company could read it and know that they are understood and appreciated. That's a gift that means more to them than any medal ever could.

Anonymous said...

Funny how taking a stand on something galvanizes your blief in it.
Your grandpa was a wise man, Griper.
Great blog!!

JD said...

Yes, indeed, war is hell. Most especially when it is conducted like the way the United States does it in Iraq. And it starts at the top...

The Griper said...

welcome to my home, jd. wars always begin at the top. now whether another person at the top qoiuld have conducted this war to perfection, i have no idea. i don't believe any war has been fought and conducted without mistakes. i don't even know if another person would have made fewer mistakes. he may have even made more.


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