Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

It's a Dirty, Rotten Way to Run a War

I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. They now are planning to call up National Guard units for a second tour in Iraq. It's unfair, unjust and un-everything filthy and lowdown you can name.
I've been down that road and know the cost. In 1952 my National Guard unit, Ohio's 37th Infantry Division, was federalized for active duty during the Korean War. It disrupts your life beyond anything a person who has not been through it can imagine. Income, job, family - all are effected adversely. The house with a mortgage, the car with payments due, just name it and its effected. So you do it, make the best of it.
But for anyone to expect men and women to do it a second time within the span of a few years is unconscionable - shockingly unfair. They will say all the things they are expected to say, of course. You have to do that. But what will be kept hidden in their thoughts? How effective will they be when their morale is down below knee level?
Men (and now women as well) join the National Guard to earn a little extra money, enjoy the camaraderie, to be called up in the event of a disaster or a riot in their state. They do not join to be sent to a war zone twice within a three year period. For that you join the regular army. But even they are leaving in droves, getting out at the first opportunity. Some of them are hit with a stop-loss order meaning they can't return to civilian life when their enlistment is up.
What a way to run a war. Are they trying to kill future enlistments in the Guard, the Reserves, the Army? They are doing a remarkably good job of that and a remarkably poor job of everything else. They bit off more than they can chew and now they are at a loss as to how to get out of the mess they created.
How about a military draft? Forget it. The American people wouldn't stand for it. Can anyone really blame them?
What a lot George W. Bush and his cronies have to answer for. The legacy that he worries so much about is written in concrete, and concrete sinks to the bottom. But who pays the price? Those poor misguided souls that joined the National Guard during the past decade or so. They didn't sign up for the job they're being handed. But what about Bush's children? One of them just signed a contract for a book that will have a huge press run. The big bucks will roll in but you won't find anything about serving in Iraq in its pages. That's for other people's kids. Many of them get to do it a second time. Or a third. If they survive, of course.
So let's support the troops by saying enough is enough. Support the troops? Sure, right now we're all behind them. Way behind them.


Blogger RTO Trainer said...

They now are planning to call up National Guard units for a second tour in Iraq. It's unfair, unjust and un-everything filthy and lowdown you can name.

No. It's not.

I'm a serving, deployed member of the 45th Ifantry Brigade (Oklahoma). I'm in Kabul on my second deployment. If I end up going to Iraq in '08 with the rest of the brigade, I'll have been deployed three times in 5 years.

And so be it.

The argument you present, that I see all over the internet, that we only sign up for the State mission is either ignorant or a deliberate attempt to mislead others. The Guard has always had a Federal mission as well as a reserve component of the Army (or Air Force).

If they continued to deploy us when they didn't need to that would be an abuse. If they didn't deploy us when they needed to, that would also be an abuse. No one is being abused.

We drew down too far, as we historically always have done, and now the lesson is presented again. The "peace dividend" just looked way to inviting, the temptation was irresistable. And now we pay the wages of those poor decisions of the past 20 years.

Just seems like an awful lot of work to justify pointing fingers at one man or one administration, when the truth is that we've all been guilty in creating this situation and for a long time.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

I'm pleased that you feel the way you do, but thousands of others do not. As pointed out, I also spent long years in the Guard and was called up for the Korean War, making me one of 250,000 WWII vets to serve in both wars. For married men with families a callup isn't easy but you go ahead and do it. A second or third time would be too much. If this war, or any war, is truly necessary then everyone should have to share the burden. As for blame, we were lied to at the beginning and Bush's "Bring it on" statement was the bluster and bravado of a man who found a way to stay far from the action when he had the opportunity to get a close look at war. Hope all goes well with your time in service. Take care.

8:10 AM  

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