Putin is an Irrational Man

Crazy PutinThe situation in the Ukraine is the perfect demonstration of one of my guiding principles, “You can’t speak rationally to a person who is irrational.” In this case, throwback Vladimir Putin is the irrational one. He was a leader in the Cold War Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) era that believed, “you won’t kill me if you know I will kill you in return.” The acronym MAD was ironic…and not in a good way. If that isn’t irrational, what is?

There is much bloviating to suggest that if Obama had done this or that or something else this would never have happened. There is plenty of counter-bloviating that if George the Lesser hadn’t started two useless wars we’d have the moral high ground to force Putin out. Some people blame Europe for terminal jellyfish spine. Others think the CIA was asleep at the switch. Some think Ukraine is at fault for overthrowing a democratically elected leader. Others prefer The Big Dick Cheney approach, “Nuke the bastards and let the Big Guy Upstairs sort it out.”

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I Am a Veteran, But I Didn’t Sacrifice

Above the CloudsI am a veteran, a Cold War veteran. There is even a medal for it — or not. I come from a line of veterans including a grandfather both gassed and shot in WWI and a father who served aboard submarines in WWII. I have their casket flags and medals an arm’s length away and I see in them daily the sacrifice they made that allowed me to become a veteran. Yet even though I served, I always feel a bit odd about being a veteran on Veteran’s Day.

My “war” wasn’t a war, unless by war you mean people practicing for an unlikely one. My four-year enlistment was one of the few times since WWII that America had no major combat operations in the world. There was scant danger of me, or anyone else, being shot. But, that is true even when major wars are happening. Many civilians don’t know that most military members never get close to combat, even in “combat” zones.

It has become di rigueur to thank veterans for their service. When they thank me, I’m always a little embarrassed to be in the same class as Dad and Grandad. They were shot and shot at. They sacrificed family and friends. Not me. I just did my job.

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Hi, I’m a Veteran. No Thanks are Necessary

Veterans Day: Walking the Walk

Today is Veterans Day. I know this because I am a veteran. I also know this because I have a Cold War service medal, which ironically was not invented until about 5 years ago, long after the Cold War ended abruptly. Plus, my daughter sent me a happy Veterans Day email as she does every year.

The nation reveres veterans much more than they did a few decades ago, and they should. It is a tough life putting your ass on the line to save some other person’s ass…or in some cases, asshole. You know who you are. I’ll not get ugly today.

I joined the Air Force in 1977. Viet Nam was still a fresh memory and people tended to look down on saps like me who joined the military voluntarily. A life of gold chains, wooly chest hair, atrocious bell bottoms, and doing the Hustle while teetering on platform heels was supposed to have been nirvana. But if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it in a heart beat. In fact, sometimes I wish I had stayed and weathered a couple of wars. As it is for almost everyone who experiences it, military service is life changing and it changed me, radically, and for the better. Besides, I’m not much of a dancer and I knew better than to wear those ridiculous bell bottoms, even back in the day.

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