Posted by Larry Brandes on 15 August, 2021 at 1:00 pm. 88 comments already!

The other day while shopping at COSTCO I observed something that piqued my interest. Two blonde women were shopping together, one of whom was struggling to push a cart loaded with….wait for it.…an 11-year-old, healthy boy. The boy was gangly, as 11-year-olds tend to be, and he was focused like a laser on an IPAD. He was oblivious to what was happening around him as he was chauffeured swiftly from aisle to aisle. The first thought that entered my mind was wonder-like I wondered if I could get a hot dog for lunch and not have to share it with my wife (lol). The second thought I had spun me back to raising my own kids. I was very sensitive raising my children and might have softly said something enlightened like, “Michael, get the hell out of that cart before I knock you into next week!” Today that warning would perhaps be considered borderline child abuse, but Michael got the message loud and clear.

The kid in the cart also reminded me of my youth, growing up in the fifties and sixties (yes, I’m old). We used to play sports outside all day and only return home for dinner. Then we would devour our food and run back outside to play some more until the street lights came on. We were competitive and physically fit. Winners celebrated their victories and losers slinked away in abject shame. Ties were verboten. Today, I drive past empty football fields, baseball fields, tennis courts and wonder what happened to the youth of America. Where did they all go? Unfortunately, many of the kids in the U.S.A. are obese and physically unfit. The kid in the cart could never be drafted into the military and fight in one of our extended foreign wars. I wondered if that was such a bad thing?



The Viet Nam War (1954-1975) cost the lives of over 58,000 brave men and women members of the U.S. armed forces. Thousands of others suffered lifetime disabilities, including Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many of whom ended up homeless and sleeping in the streets across our land. “Thanks for your service,” mocks them as they are forgotten and discarded by a society for which they sacrificed so much.

The Afghanistan War (2011-2021) cost the lives of 2,300 brave men and women members of the U.S. armed forces. Thousands of others suffered lifetime disabilities, including PTSD, many of whom ended up homeless and sleeping in the streets across the land. Wait a minute, this war is deja vu. We wasted a trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) and valuable lives on another protracted war that we never should have fought in the first place. Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. I think that motto is emblazoned on their license plates. According to Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served in the White House, “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”


Now that is an embarrassing statement. No one at the Pentagon has the slightest clue how to fight and win a war, today or yesterday. General Douglas MacArthur knew the answer in 1951. He said, “War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war, there is no substitute for victory.”

I wanted to ask the 58,000 men and women who never left Vietnam alive and the 2,300 men and women who shed their blood in Afghanistan their opinion. All they could whisper is, “WE LOVED OUR COUNTRY. WE DID OUR DUTY AND WE WERE WILLING TO SACRIFICE OUR LIVES TO KEEP YOU SAFE.”

The kid in the cart should enjoy the ride while he can. Life comes at you in a hurry.
 

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