Syria

by Norman Horowitz


I ponder where the truth is told.
At 81, I think back
To time I served our country.
‘Tis easy to lose track.

I never shot at anyone.
I never held a gun.
I did teach electronics;
Chased women and that was fun.

I was then apolitical.
I did not have the time.
Between school and work, my life was full.
Still, women were sublime.

I went to work at a studio.
Many of them were crooks.
I wondered often about their books.
They pretended they were honest, and I wondered, “Why not?”
Their producers stole from them but only if they could.
‘Twas never important if indeed they often should.

I left to work for CBS.
I worked there three years.
The feds scared them all the time
I understood their fears.
If the FCC was angry,
It worried them to tears.

Our President was Nixon,
Who was an angry guy.
He hated Walter Cronkite as well as all the rest.
He mostly wanted them to die.
He had no litmus test.

Seems Obama’s just a decent guy.
A Nixon he is not.
I think he hates mass killings.
That angers the right a lot.

I wonder why they hate him.
He seems like a decent guy.
He’s against killing innocents
With bombs falling from the sky.

In Syria, innocents are worried.
Bombs fall where they may.
I wonder why destroying them
Just seems to make their day.

We are a warlike nation.
We look around us to find someone to attack.
I hope he tries to stop it:
Our President Barack.

Horowitz the Soldier

Norman wrote this over a month ago. I’ve been remiss in keeping up with his posts, but I’ll catch up in the coming week. — AWO

by Norman Horowitz

It was about sixty years ago during the Korean War that I enlisted in the Air Force. Our training was at Sampson Air Force Base in upstate New York in January — and was it ever cold!

My basic training lasted eight weeks and consisted primarily of marching and going to classes.

One night, I was assigned to guard a warehouse in the middle of nowhere for three hours carrying an unloaded rifle that I didn’t know how to use. Around midnight, I was delivered to my station by Jeep and told to walk up and down in the front of this warehouse until I was relieved in about three hours. It was dark and about fifteen below zero and windy. I was scared out of my mind. The three hours lasted forever.

I served as a student of electronics for almost a year, followed by three years as an instructor. I never did anything “military” other than “drill” from time to time during these four years.

That brings me to the very sad story involving the killing of 16 Afghans by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.

It appears that there is no question that the Sergeant is responsible for these deaths, but there is a larger responsibility that rests with Presidents Bush and Obama for continuing the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I cannot comprehend how our once-great nation allows a soldier to be in harm’s way during three tours in Iraq followed by a tour in Afghanistan. This man is someone’s son, husband, father, etc., and he was put in harm’s way day after day and year after year.

In 1969, a member of the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force wrote to its chairman that “while there is a reasonable possibility that a peacetime armed force could be entirely voluntary, I am certain that an armed force involved in a major conflict could not be voluntary.”

I expect that, were we to have a draft, the “system” would not as easily continue our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan requiring the system’s sons and daughters to be put in harm’s way.

Given the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan along with casualties, enlistments have dropped, and a majority of the American public no longer believing that these wars are worth fighting. We must conclude that Sergeant Bales has been unreasonably placed in harm’s way over and over again.

Of course the Sergeant needs to be punished by “the system,” but how about someone punishing those who operate the system?

Sergeant Bales will have a high-profile court-martial, President Bush will continue to clear brush in Texas, and President Obama will run for a second term as we get ready to go to war with Iran. Now what is wrong with that picture?

An Open Letter to Major Ron Pierce (Ret.)

This is a response to the email from Major Pierce, shown at the bottom of this post.

Dear Major Pierce:

My name is Norman Horowitz. I am 79 years old and will be 80 in July of this year.

I served in the United States Air Force from January of ’52 until November of ’55.

I was a radio maintenance student for almost a year, followed by a teaching assignment for three years.

My life was never in jeopardy. Following basic training, I spent a few months less than four years at Scott AFB in Belleville, Illinois.

I would be happier, Major Pierce, if the Democrats spent some time and treasure looking into the reasons we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first instance.

Also, Major Pierce, I would be interested in knowing why it took President Obama so long to announce “one of the largest increases in funding for veterans’ health care in decades, so they can return to the care they need.”

Lastly, Major Pierce, I’d like to ask that you suggest to America and the Democrats that it is incumbent upon them to resist going to war when asked to do so for questionable reasons by a Republican President.

Sincerely,
A/1C Norman Horowitz
AF 12394420

Quote of the Day: Leslie H. Gelb

I’m not supposed to tell you this. I’m violating the code. I’m giving away the deepest, darkest secret of the foreign policy clan: even though we sound like we know everything, we know very little, especially about the intentions of bad guys and the consequences of war. But since the media keeps treating us like sages and keeps ignoring our horrendous mistakes, we carry on with our game, and do a lot of damage.

— Leslie H. Gelb (Council on Foreign Relations)