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Some advice: Don’t get shot in the face. I don’t care what your friends tell you, it isn’t a good idea. Further, avoid corneal transplants if you can. If you find a coupon for one, in a box of Cracker Jacks maybe, toss it. Transplants are miserable things. Unless you really need one. What am I talking about? Eyes, and losing them, and getting them back. On this, I am an accidental authority.

Long long ago, in a far galaxy, the United States was bringing democracy to Viet Nam, which had barely heard of it and didn’t want it anyway. As an expression of their desire to be left alone, the locals spent several years shooting Americans. I was one of them: a young dumb Marine with little idea either where I was or why. But that was common in those days.

A large-caliber round, probably from a Russian 12.7mm heavy machine gun, came through the windshield of the truck I was driving. The bullet missed me, barely, because I had turned my head to look at a water buffalo in the paddy beside the road. Unfortunately the glass in front of the round had to go somewhere, in this case into my face. Not good. I didn’t like it, anyway.

So I got choppered to the Naval Support Activity hospital in Danang with the insides of my eyes filled with blood, which I didn’t know because my eyelids were convulsively latched shut. An eye surgeon there did emergency iridectomies — removing a slice of the iris — so that my eyes wouldn’t explode. He also determined that powdered glass had gone through my corneas, through the anterior chamber, through the lens, and parked itself in the vitreous, which is the marmalade that fills the back of the eye. It had not reached the retina, though they couldn’t tell at the time, which meant that I wasn’t necessarily going to be blind. Yet.

Two weeks followed of lying in a long ward of hideously wounded Marines. (I hope this part isn’t boring, but it explains what happened later.) My face was bandaged, but I remember well what the place sounded like. I heard stories. The two tank crewmen across the aisle from me, were burned over most of their bodies. An RPG had hit their tank, the cherry juice — hydraulic fluid, I mean — had cooked off, and cooked them too. The other two guys burned to death. It’s hard to get out of a tank filled with flame and smoke with your skin peeling off.

But that’s neither here nor there, being merely among the routine fascinations of military life in those days. Anyway, every two hours a Vietnamese nurse came by and injected me with what felt like several quarts of penicillin. Perhaps I exaggerate in retrospect: Maybe it was only one quart. The reason was that if your eyes are full of blood, and decide to become infected, you are categorically, really and truly, beyond doubt, blind. After so much penicillin, my breath alone would have stopped the Black Death.

What saved me, the doctors speculated, was that the tremendous energy of the 12.7 round had instantaneously heated the glass powder — it wasn’t much more than powder — and thus sterilized it. If a bullet is going to come through your windshield, make sure it has lots of energy.

Bear with me a bit more. I’m going to explain what happened so you will understand that eye surgeons are the best people on this or any other planet, and probably in league with spirits, because the things they do are clearly impossible.

After stops at the military hospital in Yokota, Japan, and a long flight in a C-141 Medevac bird in which the guy slung in the stretcher above me, full of tubes, died en route, I ended up in Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I spent a year there, and had the first eight of fourteen eye operations. (See what I mean about being in league with spirits? Any fool knows you can’t cut an eye open that many times, sucking things out, sewing things in, and expect it to see. Well, they did, and it did. Magic, I tell you.)

Now, eyes are special parts. Ask any soldier what he most doesn’t want, and he’ll tell you being paralyzed, blinded, and castrated, probably in that order. Losing a leg is a nuisance. In fact, it’s a royal, wretched, motingator of a nuisance, but that’s all it is. No, you won’t be a running back for the Steelers. But you can walk, sort of, chase girls, travel, be a biochemist. Not optimal, but you can adapt.

Eyes are different. On the eye ward, I watched the blind guys come in from the field. They curled up in bed and slept for days, barely ate, wouldn’t talk much. I didn’t so much do this because it wasn’t clear that I was going to be blind. Once the blood cleared the doctors could see that I had good retinas and, though I was going to have a fine case of traumatic cataracts, those were fixable. This was not true of Ron Reester, though, who had a rifle grenade explode on the end of his rifle. His eyes were definitively jellied, and that was that. Then there was a kid from Tennessee, maybe eighteen, with both eyes gone and half his face. I was there when his betrothed, still a senior in high school, came to see him. It was almost enough to make me think that wars weren’t such a hot idea.

It’s funny how people adapt to being blind. Reester, also from Tennessee — the South got hit hard in Vietnam — came out of his depression after a few weeks and became something of a character. Clowning takes your mind off things, which is what you need most.

After cataract surgery I had good vision for a while and they kept me on the ward to see whether something catastrophic might happen. Nothing did, really. I had minor hemorrhages and a fixable retinal detachment, but nothing else. Anyway, Reester decided he wanted to sight-see in Washington, though he was stone blind. Another guy on the ward was McGoo, or so we called a shot-up Navy gunner from the riverine forces in the Delta, the fast heavily-armed patrol boats, PBRs. McGoo also had thick glasses from cataract surgery, thus the name. Anyway, McGoo, Reester, and I would go downtown to see things.

I remember we pointed Reester at the Washington Monument once and told him what it was. “Oh, wow, that’s really magnificent, I didn’t know it was so tall,” he said, or something similar. Pedestrians thought we were being horribly cruel to a blind guy. No. He was having a hell of a time. And it was something to do. There wasn’t much to do on the ward.

Some of us adapted to blindness better than others. The Tennessee kid with half a face and no longer a girlfriend was somber and stayed to himself. I couldn’t blame the girl. She was still just a teenager and had figured to marry her good-looking sweetheart from high school, and now he was blind and looked like a raccoon run over by a truck. She would have spent a life caring for a depressive horror living on VA money. It was a lot to ask. I don’t know what happened to him. He just faded away somehow.

Reester made the best of things once he got beyond the first couple of weeks. He was a smooth-talking Elvis simulacrum and the concussion that jellied his eyes hadn’t made him ugly. At parties on Capitol Hill sponsored by congressmen who wanted to appear interested in Our Boys — nobody is more patriotic than a politician in election years — Reester made time with the girls supplied from local universities for the purpose.

We all lost touch with each other on leaving the ward, but a few years ago, I bumped into him via the Web. I called and we talked a bit. He had become a serious Christian and did things for vets.

To shorten the tale, I ended up with not just cataract surgery but also vitrectomies (removing the marmalade) in both eyes, leaving them full of water and nothing else. For a while both eyes actually worked, but the right one eventually gave up. At Bethesda the surgeons liked me and let me borrow some of their textbooks, so I ended up scrubbing and watching several operations in the OR. I liked that.

Eye surgery has its moments. Consider a vitrectomy. Various reasons account for this procedure, such as that the vitreous humor — the marmalade — is pulling on the retina, which can lead to detachments.

A vitrectomy is done by making three holes in the white part of the eye. In the first goes a tube, really more like a needle, that pumps saline in and out of the eye to keep it inflated. Otherwise as the vitreous was extracted, the eye would slowly collapse. Another hole accommodates a light pipe, made of optical fiber and attached to the operating microscope, so that the surgeon can see what he is doing inside the eye.

The third hole is for Ms. Pacman. OK, technically a microvit, which is a tube with a thing like, well, like Ms. Pacman, on the end. It chops up the vitreous — the “V” in technical talk — and sucks it out. Yes, I know. This is obviously impossible. Ophthalmic surgeons have no respect for possibility or the lack of it. They just do it anyway. Bless them.

The thing is, the patient can see all of this going on inside his eye. Really. It’s like watching shadow puppets. The microvit is clearly visible like a little rotorooter and you can see the snipping action of the cutter-part. Ms. Pacman, I tell you. I remember watching it go after a piece of black crud of some sort, snipsnipsnip, and eat it. It is a tribute to the efficacy of federal dope that the patient doesn’t leap up and run screaming from the room. You just don’t care. The whole business is dreamy, a sort of warm glowing Buddhist light show.

So, I had one good eye, which is plenty. There are only three important levels of vision — reading, walking, and none. I could read fine. Everything else, such as thick cataract glasses that made me look like a visiting Martian insect, is detail.

Physically, anyway.

On the eye ward, we seemed pretty sane. Spirits were good, or seemed to be. We were a bunch of tough young guys, badly shot up but seeming — seeming — to hold up well. We were all of the same Marine culture, given to the same sardonic black humor, and free, when wounds permitted, to roam downtown Washington. Had you come to the ward, you would have thought that all was well.

Because, you see, on the ward we weren’t freaks, with our coke-bottle glasses and scars and white canes. Or maybe we were all freaks, so it didn’t matter. One fellow, in addition to eye problems, had suffered a horrendously shattered jaw when an AK rounds hit it. The surgeons had to remove all of the bone, leaving him with an oddly flapping lower part of his mouth. He lived on mush pumped into his stomach through a nasogastric tube always dangling from his nostrils. We called him Jawless and kidded him about it. On the ward, it didn’t bother him. We were all freaks. So what?

The bitterness came later. You have heard of PTSD? We hadn’t. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” would have sounded to us either imaginary — hey, there was nothing wrong with us — or else the reaction of fragile wusses. We were fine in the head.

Except we weren’t. Not even close.

I joke about my glasses, tremendously thick things. I had to wear them: Because of corneal damage, my eyes wouldn’t tolerate contacts. For a young reasonably good-looking man they aren’t funny. They do indeed make you a freak. Girls do an unconscious double-take and aren’t interested. Guys in pool halls think you must be a wimp, in which case you had better not be. You just look funny, or think you do, which is almost as bad. If you don’t believe a pair of glasses can change your life, take a beautiful young woman and put her in cataract lenses. Instant introversion. Her self-confidence will vanish and she will hate the damned things like poison. How the other sex reacts to us matters.

Further, while I could see reasonably well, I knew that I could go blind at any moment. With really screwed up eyes, there is always a danger of (another) retinal detachment, of hemorrhage, of cystoid macular edema, of loss of central vision. I figured I was living on borrowed time.

And so, when the Corps retired me on disability, I became an anti-social drifter, thumbing across the continent, often alone, subconsciously angry at having been used and thrown away in a pointless war. You don’t want to look inside the heads of men who have been badly wounded. Dark things live there. The expectation of going blind intensifies the fury and bitterness. Few talk about this. I seldom have. But it’s there.

Social dysfunction and aimless wandering expose you to many interesting things which when written about (I discovered) can be sold to magazines. Writing was a good racket for the loner I had become. I was irritable, jumpy, easily pissed off, distant, hostile to authority, believed in nothing, was going nowhere. (See? You really should avoid getting shot in the face.) But by writing about the various stupid things I did, I could package dysfunction as the artistic temperament, and sell myself not as a disagreeable oddball but a wild free spirit eschewing the trammels of conventional life. It was fraud, but saleable fraud.

All went reasonably well till two years ago when the cornea of my good eye started going south. Things got blurry, and then blurrier. I saw an unwholesome trend.

OK, physiology. What makes a cornea stay transparent is that the inner layer of cells, the endothelium, suck water out of it. This keeps it from getting bloated and edematous and foggy. My cornea had undergone a hard existence, being opened up every so often by surgeons, apart from being shot early in its life. You can only ask so much of a cornea. It’s a law of ophthalmology.

So I flew back from Mexico, where I live, and groped my way out to Bethesda Naval again, where an ace eye guy, Dr. Phil Stanley, determined that I needed a new windshield. The experts, he said, were at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore. He wrote me a Tricare referral, which is technical military talk meaning that the Navy would pay for it. This mattered. Transplants ain’t cheap, tending to go for eight grand and substantially up.

Now, let me tell you some stuff about corneal transplants, partly to buttress my theory about ophthalmologists being in league with spirits, and partly because it’s interesting.

The cornea of course is the front transparent part of the eye, what you would hit first if you stuck a stick in your eye. (Don’t do it. Take my word.) The surgeon gets a used cornea from somebody who died and had the decency to be an organ donor.

Then he can do either of two kinds of transplant. In the first kind (PK, or penetrating keratoplasty, if you want to impress people at parties) involves cutting out your whole cornea, all five layers of it, and replacing it. This by today’s standards is a clunky, heavy-handed approach and involves risks of rejection, mechanical weakness, and other not-so-good things. The other kind of transplant is called a DSEK (Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty). In this the back layers of the donor cornea are peeled off, rolled up like a magazine you’d swat a dog with, and inserted in a tiny hole in the cornea. The roll unrolls, sticks to the back of the cornea, and all is well. A bubble of air pumped in between the lens and the back of the cornea holds the transplant in place until it decides to stick. This, alas, was impossible in my case because, the lens and vitreous both having been removed, my eye was full of water. The bubble would have floated off into the back of the eye.

So I had to have a PK.

OK, so I show up in Washington a few weeks before surgery with Violeta, my splendid Mexican wife, who has been in and out of the US enough that the TSA Nazis are almost civil with her. I needed her to keep me from bumping into things, since by this time my tired old cornea had roughly the transparency of a manhole cover.

There’s nothing like losing your vision to convince you that you want it back.

The night before I was to be sacrificed we stayed with friends near Baltimore who would drive me to Johns Hopkins. They would then go to tourist things while I was vivisected. I thought they had the better part of the deal.

My surgeon was Dr. Albert Jun, a Chinese guy out of Harvard. (A good friend’s Philippina wife had really nasty breast cancer seven years ago. Her surgeon was a Vietnamese gal out of Harvard. I can almost see patterns developing here.) Anyway, Dr. Jun was one very impressive guy, which is what I wanted under the circumstance. He had explained that I had to have the old, clunky kind of transplant. In other words they were going to put a large hole in my eye. This gives you lots to think about the night before.

Dr. Jun asked me whether I wanted him to do some other repairs while he was at it — for example, repair my iris, which had been chopped up and didn’t control light as well as it ought. Further, he could have sewn an artificial lens in and then done a DSEK, which, as mentioned before, has advantages. With the new lens, I wouldn’t have needed my current cataract glasses. Thing is, sewing in a lens would have added at least fifteen minutes to the surgery and increased the operative risk, which I wanted no part of. He didn’t recommend it either, given that I had only one eye to play with. Nope. I’ve looked like a mutant arthropod for forty years. I know longer aspire to a career in movies. And one thing about cataract lenses is that they are thick, probably enough to stop an anti-tank round. I didn’t need anything poking me in the eye. So we went with what gave the highest likelihood of a working orb.

Now, here’s the really neat part. Eye surgery is usually done under a local anesthetic. They pump you full of Valium or Demerol or some other kind of Buddha juice. In other words, you stay conscious and awake. This is done because general anesthesia carries certain risks, such as death, and if you wake up and start vomiting enthusiastically, which can happen, you can blow the new cornea out of the eye. (Or close enough that you really don’t want to do it.) I was opposed to both of these eventualities. Still being awake while your eye is being cut open is not as fun as a Grateful Dead concert. It does, however, involve as many drugs.

After surgery, the hospital folk put me in a recovery room until they determined that I was pretty much normally awake and could drink apple juice. Actually I wanted a double bourbon, but I sensed that it was not an appropriate request. I dressed myself successfully and left with Vi and friends.

My vision was awful beyond imagining. Everything was a textured gray like bad wallpaper, with foul-looking things floating around in it. Think dirty dishwater. It was clear to me that I would never see again. People were just vague shadows. My tall friend walked in front to I wouldn’t bump into low-hanging objects with my eye, and Vi followed behind to guide me. Splendid. Just splendid.

And then the eye started to hurt. A defect of anesthesia is that it doesn’t last. It wasn’t agony, but enough to keep you miserable and gobbling Tylenol. Not aspirin or ibuprofen, though, which are anticoagulants and encourage bleeding. After eye surgery, a massive hemorrhage is recommended by almost no one.

I thought about writing a book, Fred in the Land of Shadows. All sorts of bric-a-brac floated around in my visual field. Most of it, maybe all, was sorta-clotted blood, which looks black. These things come in the form of what look like irregular flakes, and string-balls. These latter resemble tangles of black kite-string. They drift and float and when they change position relative to the retina, they grow longer or shorter. I felt like an amateur kaleidoscope.

Eye drops, eye drops, and more eye drops. Antibiotics. A traumatized cornea, having been removed from its accustomed owner, transported in some weird solution, and sewn into a total stranger, does not need an infection. Steroids, every two hours. Now, you might think that steroids would make an eye bulk up like a softball and pop out of your skull, but these are anti-inflammatory, not anabolic.

The worst thing about recovery is that it is invisibly slow. Corneas don’t root themselves into place quickly, so the stitches stay in for a year. I had fourteen of them, and felt like a sewing sampler. The bad part is that it takes six to eighteen months for the cornea to clear. This means that you wake up every morning, and nothing has changed. You become convinced that nothing will ever change. Six weeks after the surgery, I was sure that nothing had improved.

Being unable to read stretches the word “unpleasant” to its limits. What do you do all day? Eventually you can write a little in seventy-two point type, but books don’t come in seventy-two point type. I can listen to only so much music. I took to sitting in Tom’s Bar, ingesting beer and chili, and listening to football. We’re not talking the onset of alcoholism to combat a possibly terminal despair, but just an agreeable place that didn’t require seeing much of anything. I could recognize friends only by voice. It was ridiculous.

People sometimes asked me whether I was depressed. No. I might have committed suicide from boredom, but not depression. I was certainly annoyed as hell. At what, I wasn’t sure, but I was quite sure that being mostly blind wasn’t how it spoza be.

On the Busted Leg Principle, I didn’t feel sorry for myself. The leg principle is that a broken leg is a nuisance, but a missing leg is a problem. The doctors said I was doing fine and, being in league with spirits, they had sources of information hidden from me. Anyway, people who feel sorry for themselves are mortally boring, even to themselves. I’d rather eat chili.

But I was getting excruciatingly tired of the whole business.

Every morning I’d look out the window of the bedroom at the house of a distant neighbor who had a sort of picket fence, which I could see only as a white blur. One morning I noticed that he had replaced the pickets with ones that were more visible, because I could see them, kind of. But definitely. Further, the words “A Time to Speak,” on the spine of the book by Robert Bork which I had optimistically bought before surgery, had clarified themselves. I could read them from a foot away. Maybe I wasn’t ready for sniper’s school, but the trend was in the right direction.

At this point I’m just waiting. I don’t feel traumatized, just impatient. Friends sometimes asked me, “Wasn’t it terrifying to go into surgery like that with just one eye and you might lose it?” It depends on who you are, I guess. I’m easily enough terrified of a lot of things — angry hornets weighing three pounds, incoming artillery, brainless and vaguely angry bureaucrats, thugs with knives. After enough practice with eye surgery, you just sort of flow with the odds. At least, I do. Statistically, it’s very likely to work. So assume it will, and if it doesn’t, deal with it then. Sure, even long after surgery the new cornea can be rejected by the immune system, which can be more effective than it is aware of what you really want it to do. That’s grim when you think about it, so I don’t.

When I finally reach 20/30, I’m going to spend two weeks trekking in Nepal and then go diving in the Caribbean. You only live once (unless you believe the Hindus, but that’s too horrifying to contemplate) so I say grasp at any pretext.

(This alas became impossible thanks to grotesque ophthalmological malpractice by Dr. Philip Francis, resulting in a large award but that is another story.) Stanley

A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be
A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be

Amazon review: “Another collection of Fred’s Fred on Everything columns, seditious, outrageous, inflammatory, evilly funny. Fred dislikes everything he is supposed to like, and likes everything he is supposed to dislike. He likes downscale bars, thinks bar girls are decent human beings, approves of dogs, motorcycles, and really loud blues. He detests wars, which he has seen several of, loathes ugly feminists with politically significant hairy armpits, believes that congressmen would serve well as skeet, and proposes to tie everyone on Wall Street to an anvil and drop it in a river. Obviously he is a benefactor of humanity, like Gandhi.”

Write Fred at [email protected]

Pute the letters “pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. All read but answer not assured due to volume.

• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: American Military, Vietnam War 
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  1. I believe you deserve 100% disability, perhaps double or triple that. Eye surgeons impress me also.

  2. Never thought I’d find Ophthalmology 101 so fascinating!

  3. Thank you for that story, Fred.

    I understand you better now. Someday, maybe I’ll make that trip to Mexico and we’ll have a beer together.

    • Agree: Hail, RadicalCenter
  4. Giuseppe says:

    I had always assumed you could see the malecón, Mt Garcia across the lake, the mountains to the north toward Guadalajara, the sunsets. I would say I’m sorry, but you are not asking for pity. And, fortunately, Mexico reaches out to and envelopes all the senses. There are the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feel of things.

    But Dr. Philip Francis Stanley’s gross malpractice was only made possible by the lies of Mr. Robert Strange McNamara that resulted in the original eye injury. In a just world you could sue McNamara for gross geopolitical malfeasance and governmental dissembling. But he’s gone; he was protected anyway, one of the elites for whom it is permitted to step on the faces of us peons, literally in your case, and walk on.

    Someone is asking for a beer with you by the shores of Chapala. Count me in on that, next time I’m lakeside.

  5. Easier said than done….The Working Class Native Born White Male Teenager Class is being demographically displaced by Asian “Americans” in US Skilled Labor Markets….And then there are Freddy’s precious Mexicans at the other end of US Labor Markets……A tour of duty in Afghan-Iraq is Donald Trump’s MAGA Jobs Program for the Teenage sons of the White Working Class….

    You heard of Oliver’s Army?…Well this is D0nald’s Army………

    This has become a very very serious issue in my Family at the moment…I have a lot of nightmares about it…like just last night….

    Donald Trump….like Hillary Clinton…is a FILTHY FUCKING COCKROACH!!!

  6. “You have heard of PTSD? We hadn’t. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” would have sounded to us either imaginary … “. In country 1968 – ’69, after 40 years of opiate abuse I found my way to the Long Beach VA., where I became a believer in PTSD. Until then I thought it was a sham.
    This piece was my introduction to your writing, I think I like it.
    It’s funny that you listed the wounds that soldiers most fear, castration being one of them, I was reminded of my buddy who lost his nut sack as we choppered to a LZ. He was sitting on his pot, as a many did, when a round came through the deck, took his nuts, and went on about it’s business. He was lucky.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Disagree: Anonymousse
    • Replies: @Anon
  7. MEH 0910 says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    You heard of Oliver’s Army?…


  8. TKK says:

    What senseless excrutiating suffering for a war that was beyond pointless. You are tough, as when I get sunblock in my eyes, I act like a whiny bitch.

    As a fellow bibliophile, not being able to read would send me into despair as well.

    Audible has so many titles , and YouTube has free audiobooks. That’s a good substitute for a hungry mind.

    Here’s to a full & complete bright eyed recovery.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  9. Hail says: • Website

    An inspiring essay. Thank you.

    May you have many more years of good health (eyesight and all) to come.

  10. I’m glad you could keep your sense of humour after going through all that.

    … take a beautiful young woman and put her in cataract lenses. Instant introversion. Her self-confidence will vanish and she will hate the damned things like poison. How the other sex reacts to us matters.

    Thak you, Dorothy Parker, for ruining generations of pretty but easy girls by shaming them out of glasses. Cute girls with glasses are often sexy librarians waiting to be unleashed.

  11. Chesty says:

    A soldier should always save one for himself. Kipling wrote a poem set in Afghanistan about it and things have not changed, before or since. There are worse things that death, and a combat soldier finds that out quickly. Spend a little time in a military hospital, or VA travesty, and that becomes even more apparent. The privilege of service, and the opportunity to kill without prison or the hangmen have to be weighed out against the reality of serving in truly hazardous environment, but in and out of combat. If the price is too great, then it’s up to you and your fellows to take care of the situation before the medavacs get there. Picking up a man without legs, being in an environment where triple amputees are common; this is the life of a soldier. It’s a calling that cannot be ignored, and one should have the right to end his life on his own terms. Personally, I’d call it a day without eyes. Being a bother to family and friends would be enough to give Valhalla a try. For those who decide to ride it out, well, don’t bitch, take your 100% rating and make the best of it. After 3 wars I could give a damn either way. But never play the victim, that’s for the weak and to be a soldier is to be better than those civilian pieces of garbage that prefer a life of ridicule and pathetic weakness.

    Semper Fi

  12. sally says:

    It is difficult to reconcile quality of human life rationales with the greedy desires of those few who abuse the authority to lead and to command. The main difference between a person 20 years old and one 70 years old is that the 70 year old will order the power and needs of the republic far below the needs and wants of human life-time quality (90 year duration at best). At 70 the state, its powers, its scoundrels, its fake, false, and misguided propaganda, its wars, its prisons, and its corrupt medical and pharmaceutical systems etc are irrelevant; what counts is the quality of life for the next few remaining years. Just imagine waking up each morning wondering if your bowels will move, your urine will flow, your heart will pump enough oxygen for you to tend to your garden, your legs will provide you mobility sufficient to get into and out of the car, your eyes will allow you to see.. your ears will allow you hear.. and you will understand for a moment the wisdom that comes with being 70 or so. When limitation come to someone 20 he or she acquires quality of life wisdom.

    To that 70 year old there is nothing more important than human right to life, human expectation that those in charge of the social, economic, political, etc. (SeP,etc.) systems will do their duty to humanity. That those who hold the reins of power and who have been assigned authority to act; do so, only on condition that, their actions respect first and foremost all rights of humans to the fullest, highest and most demanding levels. No authority to act exist if the act abuses human rights, no matter what the laws imposed by leaders say, humanity is protected by our maker from its own. Authority to act ceases, when human rights are challenged or infringed. Systems that differentiate mankind and separate its differentiated masses into information-controlled, rule-constrained containers with warriors and wealth seeking persons appointed to its leadership infringe human rights as a matter of policy.

    2019 years of history, billions of eons of history, language differences, racial differences, religious differences do not matter, because it is your life, which began at age 0 and ends at age 90(?) that counts. Its the quality of your life during those 89 years that count, nothing else really matters. It is the duty of those given any authority to act, to act only in ways that protect first and foremost each persons individual humanity, and to protect all of humanity from its greatest threat, its own leaders. The duty of those acting under authority of a system is always to honor human rights first and to be sure whenever a line is drawn in relations between persons, corporations, religions, nations, etc. that no activity between parties is condoned that infringes on human rights.

    If the system (SeP) cannot protect your individual right to your life, your humanity for you, if the system (SeP) cannot make your life better than you yourself could have achieved, if the system cannot improve on your native ability to secure life quality and personal safety, then little need for the system exist. If those empowered to direct the system use their empowerments to erect gates. establish rules, or impose costs and other barriers, etc. that serve to select and allow human rights infringing elements to acquire positions of power then its time to eliminate or modify those systems, because the offending system (SeP) no longer serves human purpose. (the American Declaration of Independence [1776] states it well).

    If those in-change alter the hierarchy of rights such that human qualify of, and human right to life, are subordinated to anything else, those in charge have crossed the human rights vs special interest (HRvSI) line; that is a special interest has infringed a human right. Those acting in ways that cross the HRvSI line thereby, have made themselves criminals in violation of man’s most sacred rights (the rights of mankind to the longest, highest quality of modern life possible). Its not just a war crime to cross the line, its a crime against all humanity; humans cannot tolerate infringements against human rights. The duty of those empowered in the systems is to make sure each instance of mankind finds the means to and actually does enjoy the best circumstance for his or her life the then existing, modern society can offer. Everyone is entitled to the fruits mankind’s societies have rendered.

    Everyone is entitled to be supported as needed; that includes the right to a quality education and to enjoy equal life time opportunities, the best of health care and the best of human services. Everyone (without regards to their economic capacity) is entitled to a quality of life comparative to the best our society can offer, while living on this earth. Exceptions to this entitlement do not exist.

    No one should be entitled to be better off, or worse off, then everyone else. The leadership (be a kingdom, state, bureaucracy, tribe, wall street etc ) must not burden the obligation of mankind to mankind: who ever is to lead, must support the needs and respect the rights of each instance of humanity as its first cause. If the system fails to provide quality or to protect and save from harm every human during the human journey through life then the system itself is violates human rights. Why should humanity tolerate any kind of system that denies human rights in any way? And to ensure that human rights are not infringement, mankind has the right and innate authority to audit the affairs of those who act under authority of a non human interest.

    When the system that claims the right to lead or dictate becomes a destructive weapon, a weapon that destroys human life or denies or fails to provide, to each human his or her quality of life, the system has made itself an enemy to humanity. In such a case does not humanity have not only the right but also the obligation to alter, destroy or modify that system?

    Americans practice democracy, but they are confined by a republic. Humans must not allow themselves to be Hellryes deplorables or cannon fodder of some greedy leader; just so a few can be made wealthy or powerful at the expense of the many. War, carnage or destruction of qualify of life providing infra structure in any form, by any means, for any purpose, is a prima facia infringement on human rights.

    • Replies: @Zinj
  13. gotmituns says:

    I’m also wounded Vietnam vet. Also a Marine. I don’t see why a man of his age would write such an article. Compartmentalize such things and get on with what’s left of your life.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
    , @peterAUS
  14. Herald says:

    Probably because it’s well worth recycling.

  15. @Bragadocious

    He recycled this article for people like me who have never read it before.

    Thanks Fred and keep up the fight.

  16. @Bragadocious

    Because the sociopathocracy we continually allow to run our world into the ground are still recycling young, dumb, fulla-cum indoctrinoids into wars begun by lies disseminated by the MSM before they were even born. In short, Fred, globetrotter from Possumtrot Holler, West Vicodin, is doing it fer the children. I think. Love ya, Fred.

  17. Tom Welsh says:

    “Why is Reed recycling columns from 2009?”

    1. Because some people have never seen them before (I hadn’t seen this one).

    2. Because he doesn’t have anything that meets his very high standards ready otherwise.

    Why do you ask? Do you find the price of the Unz Review so high that it must never republish anything?

    By the way, I think it is polite to refer to the author as Mr Reed (formal) or Fred (more friendly if slightly presumptuous).

    The bald surname “Reed”, while it would have been normal 50 years ago, sounds to me as if it were intended to be rude.

    • Agree: Alden
    • Replies: @lysias
    , @silviosilver
  18. Tom Welsh says:

    “In a just world you could sue McNamara for gross geopolitical malfeasance and governmental dissembling. But he’s gone…”

    And that is, essentially, the system. It’s hardly possible to keep secrets forever; so the powers that be content themselves with keeping them until the guilty ones are safely dead. They die rich, honoured, and presumably pleased with themselves.

    No wonder someone invented the concept of Hell.

    • Agree: Simply Simon
    • Replies: @Pontius
  19. As a former Marine I agree that no patriotic young white male should ever join the US military. It has become a welfare haven for negro women, hispanic dregs, careerist lickspittles, and now mentally ill sexual deviants. However, it’s not the above who get sent off to die for no reason; That’s left for the combat troops (white guys). It’s almost like it’s by design.

    • Agree: TKK, Richard P
    • Replies: @SafeNow
    , @Alden
    , @Richard P
  20. Realist says:

    Why is Reed recycling columns from 2009?

    Because I and probably most others here did not read his 2009 column.

    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
  21. Realist says:

    In a just world you could sue McNamara for gross geopolitical malfeasance and governmental dissembling.

    And Johnson too.

    • Replies: @TKK
  22. Baxter says:

    Mr Reed has written many articles on life before and after his stint in the Marine Corp. all of them are well worth a read.
    What I’m wondering, was getting rid of the draft and turning the Armed Forces into an all volunteer army a good idea?
    Seems to me the Armed Forces have become wholly divorced from mainstream American life- they constitute more of a country within a country. Whether this is a good or bad thing I do not know.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @follyofwar
    , @Biff
  23. DanFromCT says:

    I never cared for your cynical style, Fred, but now I understand. I was lucky, in country in the field mid-69 to mid-70, Army. I got a small piece of shrapnel in my right eye lid but nothing was flying because of the weather so there was nothing to do but put one of those patches on it and it got badly infected. Fortunately I got flown out in a few days and the infection reversed. It was very painful and I recall feeling very alone out there in the mud and rain.

    One of the battalion’s basecamp commandos had just gotten a Purple Heart for a trivial shrapnel wound like mine, and I was told that meant I wouldn’t be getting one because of a quota. I’d have refused it anyway as an insult to myself and to those who’d been seriously wounded like you were. Word was that company clerks awarded their buddies bronze stars. Game players like John Kerry got the Purple Heart for nicks not needing even a bandaid. Such utter b.s., right, and a lifetime now of listening to basecamp commandos who talk the talk like they’d been walking point for a year when they’d spent it in some cushy basecamp.

    Gordon Duff wrote an essay about stolen valor and these guys, the basecamp commandos who can’t talk about “it” (listeners fill in scenes from Apocalypse Now, right), because it’d reveal most have nothing to talk about, but who’ve perfected the rest of the story so they sound more real than the grunts. He said it would leave him thinking he might be going crazy, doubting he’d actually been there because these phonies sound so authentic. Maybe you have something to say about that. In my case, I was on the phone many years later with an old friend who’d been assigned to a basecamp, whose facile use of lingo from the field had me feeling the same thing, that I hadn’t been over there and shamelessly made it all up in my head, while this fellow, who’d worn starched fatigues, was the real deal.

    Today we get to watch in disbelief as descendants of the proto-neocons who demonized us as baby killers for going to Vietnam are now saying any fool who puts on a uniform to serve Israel is actually one of America’s “heroes in uniform” who “puts boots on the ground” “in harm’s way.” What total crap. I know you’re a big fan of Israel, but unlike Sean Hannity and the rest on Fox News, at least you’re not getting paid millions to keep an endless supply of Americans in the pipeline to die and be maimed so good Israeli boys need not. I hope you’ll agree that if ever there was a false flag, it’d be Israel’s shill Fox News being mistaken for the voice of patriotism in America.

  24. Anon[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @the grand wazoo

    It’s funny that you listed the wounds that soldiers most fear, castration being one of them, I was reminded of my buddy who lost his nut sack as we choppered to a LZ. He was sitting on his pot, as a many did, when a round came through the deck, took his nuts, and went on about it’s business. He was lucky.

    Better body armor has meant less soldiers die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but a lot of them get their penises blown off by IEDs. Pretty horrific.

    Meet the wounded veteran who got a penis transplant
    He nearly lost it all to an IED blast in Afghanistan. But a pioneering procedure changed everything.

    by Andrew Zaleski
    Oct 14, 2019

    … Ray had been a US Navy corpsman trudging through Afghanistan when Taliban fighters ambushed his squad in 2010. As he rushed to give first aid to a downed soldier, he stepped on a roadside bomb. “I remember everything froze and I was upside down,” he says. “I remember thinking a quick thought: ‘This isn’t good.’ And then I was on my back.” The butcher’s bill was steep: both of his legs up to and including the thigh were blasted off, along with his penis, his scrotum, and an upside-down-U-shaped chunk of his abdominal wall. Only a handful of people know the full extent of his injuries…

    • Replies: @anonymous
  25. Svevlad says:

    Ouch ouch ouch, couldn’t even read the entire article. Rather would be tossed into a meat grinder feet first than have my eyes fucked with. Or ears, teeth and nails for that matter

  26. Christo says:

    “An RPG had hit their tank, the cherry juice — hydraulic fluid, I mean — had cooked off, and cooked them too” The other two guys burned to death.

    I haven’t heard the words ‘cherry juice” for hydraulic fluid for a long time. They got rid of it(OHF) (sp/IIRC)and switched to synthyd(FRH) which is green, on the M1’s. Much, much more toxic but non-flammable for the reasons described here

    I’ll give old Fred the benefit of the doubt more, since I know a little of his background now.

  27. What can you say about Fred’s story other than “by the grace of God it could have been me”. I hope someone at least “baked a pie” upon your return from that Southeast Asian hell hole.

  28. WJ says:

    I have great sympathy for people that paid this kind of price in war for which they were drafted (or would have been drafted and volunteered). The people that got blown apart in the recent wars I have less sympathy for. Anyone with half a brain knew the Iraq war was a massive con job. But then , after the war dragged into a second year and beyond and damage was mounting, with no WMD found, no reason to be there, the people that volunteered after that were just dumb chumps or excitement junkies.

    If the military members had resisted in 05 and said I am getting out or I am simply not going, then the war would have been shorter but their blind patriotism enabled that idiotic conflict for another five years.

    Same applies to Afghanistan – after Tora Bora, there was no reason to be there. Obama did his own surge and got a bunch more killed and maimed.

    • Replies: @Patricus
  29. Z-man says:

    My son has issues that maybe the miliray could have helped resolve but I would never advise him to go into ‘Todays Army’, or AF, Navy & MC. My son will NOT FIGHT FOR ZION!!!

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
  30. Anyone who joins the ZUS military is going to be fighting and dying for Israel, that is the name of the game, and of course the zionist bankers who own the FED.

  31. Rueful says: • Website

    Amazing Vietnam stories. Glad you were able to continue on in your life doing great things. Awesome spirit!

  32. Excellent, Fred. Top notch.

  33. Tough shit Fred. I’ll trade you my ruined hearing, rotten, solvent poisoned, asbestos-laden, jet fuel tumored lungs and bad feet from 5 years aboard Nimitz for your eyeball problem. Trade you my 10% disability for your 100%, too. VA hates to admit responsibility and allow you even the dignity of a workman’s comp claim, even when they diagnose you.

    Point is, Fred, we all have our problems. But you’re right about the military, they’re a snakey, dishonorable lot who have completely ignored who they work for for over 60 years now. It’s a grooming lab for corrupt generals.

    We thought we were fighting for Mom, Apple Pie and Chevorlet. These days for a young man, most likely, Mom is a divorced slut, Apple Pie is a turd in a wax-paper wrapper and a Chevrolet is a bent shit can from China. Hardly worth all the damage done. Bombs away:

  34. @Jim Christian

    The Grumman Intruder…The F-14…The AWAC ..and the LEM….all designed and built by NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN MEN…When America was 90 percent demographically NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN….

    These days, the area surrounding Grumman Corp has been colonized and annexed by India….Donald Trump and Republican Congressman Peter King want to accelerate the Hindu Colonization of America via a massive increase in the H1-B…L-1 B VISA PROGRAM=HINDU SCAB LABOR….

    Donald Trump and Republican Congressman Peter King….TWO PIECES OF FUCKING SHIT FLOATING IN THE TOILETS OF THE PUNJAB….

    • Replies: @Whitewolf
    , @Manstein
  35. Agent76 says:

    Thank you for your very insightful article and not enough people understand this issue being ignored by the Corporate media.

    June 19, 2018 PTSD awareness month — an average of 20 veterans per day commit suicide

    April 17, 2015 VA memo ordered false health care claims to cover up backlog

    Another veterans scandal hit the Obama administration Wednesday with the emergence of an internal Veterans Affairs memo that allowed bureaucrats to cook their books and assert they were answering diligently President Obama’s call to reduce the backlog of veterans’ benefits claims.

    Jun 30, 2014 America’s Veteran Crisis: Abandoned At Home

    As politicians in Washington wring their hands over the Veterans Affairs scandal, VICE News travels to Portland, Oregon, to see what it’s all really about. We meet Curtis Shanley, a former Marine Corps machine-gunner, who has spent the past five years wading through red tape to get medical attention for a crippling injury he suffered while serving his country in Iraq.

  36. Patricus says:

    Those who serve in the armed forces deserve some respect. They accept the overbearing discipline and obey the orders of the hierarchy even when they may believe the officers and elected representatives are mistaken. It has to be that way. Being ruled by a military force is far more intolerable. It isn’t fair to condemn young men who take up this profession. Condemn the civilian leaders who make the bad decisions. Sadly we will probably never know a world where there is no need for defense and our leaders will always be flawed.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  37. Ram says:

    In these days of gender equality, half of the draftees need to be women.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  38. @Agent76

    Mr. Shandley, from Portland, OR, thought he was serving his country in Iraq. What he was really doing was naively throwing his life away in service to the MIC, to Israel and to the psychopaths in DC who play at being a representative government.

    Americans need to tell the people they love not to squander their lives and health in service to a country that no longer really gives two s**ts for even its own citizens

    • Replies: @Agent76
  39. @gotmituns

    It seems to me that Mr. Reed is doing quite well at that (getting on with what’s left of his life), being as how he has been a successful writer for years. Now knowing what he has undergone, I have an even greater appreciation for Fred than I had before.

    • Agree: Ian Smith
  40. TKK says:

    And the repulsive Kissinger. Still alive!

    • Agree: Realist
  41. @Baxter

    Agreed. If the US still fought its wars using draftees Washington could have never kept up its endless, pointless conflicts. Vietnam split this country apart and I don’t think it has ever quite recovered. Parents would be rioting in the streets if their girls got drafted (as the feminists would insist). Getting rid of the draft was the Master Stroke of the Empire.

  42. @TKK

    You said it all that I wanted to say to Fred Reed. Thanks TKK

  43. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:

    Amazing story about the unbelievable things that eye surgeons can do. In the fantasy world that the likes of Nancy Pelosi dreams about, there would be no eye surgeons or opthamology because nobody with the brains to become an eye surgeon would be allowed to go to University. There would be no opthamology courses anyway, only courses named black studies, lesbian studies and tranny studies.

  44. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:

    Back in the days when men would rather die than lose their manliness as compared to today when guys are lining up to get turned into eunuchs. Changed days indeed!

  45. Lies of our Times:

    1)”Thank you for your service….”…When they say this to you…They don’t mean a word of it….

    2)”They are protecting our FREEDOM!!!”…No they aren’t…US Soldiers are CANNON FODDER for Jew-only Israel….

    3)The homosexual George W Bush:”WE HAVE TO BE IN IRAQ-AFGHANISTAN OR ISIS AND AL QUEDA WILL COME TO AMERICA!!!”….No we don’t…..Don’t let ISIS AND AL QUEDA into America……Which you can only do by shutting Muslim LEGAL IMMIGRATION down to 0….But we can’t do that because Chinese “American” Federal Judges have ruled that to shut Muslim LEGAL IMMIGRANTS down to 0 is RACIST!!!…And this is a violation of the equal protection clause of the US Constitution…..and it’s racist not to allow Muslims and their US Born Muslim Children to vote Whitey into a White Racial Minority-White Racial Foreigner within the borders of America…

    Join the US Military….and you die for 1)-3)….THE THREE LARGEST LIES OF OUR TIMES…..


  46. Jeff Stryker [AKA "GO"] says:

    There won’t be another draft. Young people just don’t love America enough to go to some screwed-up country and die for it. Or die for their own screwed-up country.

    Try reinstating a draft. Watch every single campus and college town in America burn down.

    It could even end up as a Civil War. It is one thing when the poor rural whites volunteer because it pays better than working for minimum wage but no engineering student at Cal Tech is going to rush off to die in Iran. No way.

    And these days the country is no longer full of patriotic whites. You think Indians or Hispanics want to die in some ME toilet bowl? The Jews did not in Vietnam and they spearheaded the anti-war protests (Rubin, Hoffman).

  47. Jeff Stryker [AKA "GO"] says:


    If wars are for Israel, than watch how Jews react to a draft for a war with Iran. You can expect them to spearhead the anti-war protests (As they did in Vietnam).

    The oldsters like Clinton and Sanders who protested Vietnam will organize fast and the Antifa will have a reason to live. Campuses and college towns will burn to the ground.

    Iran or whichever country the US declared war against would win by default because Civil War would break out in the US.

    As you have very astutely observed, the country took about half a century to recover from Vietnam.

    If Bolton or the Generals thought they could actually reinstate a draft maybe they would already have started a conventional war against Iran. Or Syria.

    They know that they cannot.

    • Replies: @Houston 1992
  48. SafeNow says:

    “no patriotic young white male should ever join the military“

    But he should consider the US Coast Guard.

    • Replies: @Kiel
  49. Mike P says:

    Anyway, every two hours a Vietnamese nurse came by and injected me with what felt like several quarts of penicillin. Perhaps I exaggerate in retrospect: Maybe it was only one quart.

    Penicillin can be given in doses as high as 30-40 grams per day if needed, and in our case one would have used the maximum permissible dose; and since it has to be dissolved and diluted to a tolerable concentration, you likely did get at least a quart or two every 2 hours. If you remember how frequently you needed to pee, you can use that to estimate the volume you received.

    What saved me, the doctors speculated, was that the tremendous energy of the 12.7 round had instantaneously heated the glass powder — it wasn’t much more than powder — and thus sterilized it. If a bullet is going to come through your windshield, make sure it has lots of energy.

    What saved you was most likely the penicillin. The bacteria adhering to the windshield would have been few in number to begin with, and mostly or exclusively spores – persistent, metabolically inactive forms, since a windshield provides no more nutrition to a bacterium than to us. Such spores are quite resistant to heat, but they form only from bacterial species (genera Bacillus and Clostridium) that are mostly quite susceptible to penicillin.

  50. @Jeff Stryker

    Jews are not spearheading efforts to de-escalate tension with Iran. The organized Jewish community seems to be divided into two groups:

    Neo Cons who want US to “Iraq” Iran

    Neo-liberals who oppose a fighting war, for now , but love sanctions on Iran, and who carefully suppress anyone who points out the history of US interference in Iran , Israel’s nuclear weapons loaded on its German -built subs etc so yeah the neo-liberals will oppose a fighting war and hope that sanctions simply destroys the country

  51. @follyofwar

    You’re optimistic. My guess is that the US would merely make more of an accent on fighting wars for GloboHomo, shirking which will be considered to be unpatriotic and against American values (just as no red-blooded American could have shirked from fighting Communism during the Cold War). The elite’s children will spend their draft age studying in Europe or volunteering for LGBT rights NGOs in Africa.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  52. nebulafox says:

    Goddamn, Fred. This really struck a personal chord for personal reasons.

    Well, I’m never going to waste a moment of my miserable life again. Starting now.

    It means absolutely jack-all… but if I’m ever in Mexico, drinks are on me. Thank you for the wake-up slap.

  53. Made me weep. I guess I’m a wuss.

    • Replies: @Henry_Bowman
  54. JVC says:

    General Smedley Butler explained it well in the 1930’s. USG wars are never about what the patriotic propaganda claims,and unfortunately, young still developing brains are highly susceptible to such propaganda.

    I spent all of 1970 in VietNam, and yes I was base camp bound. But truth is, incoming rocket and mortar fire had no respect for MOS, and guts spilled on the ground were the same wither on perimeter wire or in the field, and the results also the same. I lost no physical parts, and returned home slightly cocky because of that. A WWII vet told me that no one goes off to war that doesn’t come home with a wooden leg. Took 30 years of a life similar to what Fred described before I finally understood what he meant. VietNam not only took my innocence, but screwed up portions of my mind.

    Today, economics plays a big part in who joins and recruiters haunt the high schools promising all kinds of lucrative enticements. In the long run, though, war is the same as it always has been, and my Son IN Law deals with the same demons I do. War serves no purpose other than the transfer of public money to private interests that never do have skin in the game.

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  55. @Patricus

    “Those who serve in the armed forces deserve some respect.”

    What a ludicrous assertion.

    People who agree, in writing to murder people they do not know and who have done them no harm deserve contempt and ridicule.

  56. @War for Blair Mountain

    World’s biggest lies:

    – the check is in the mail.

    – I’ll respect you in the morning.

    – I won’t **** in your mouth.

    – The US military fights for freedom and democracy.

  57. peterAUS says:

    I don’t see why a man of his age would write such an article.

    He’s a writer.

    Compartmentalize such things and get on with what’s left of your life.

    True, for the rest.

    As for the crux of the article: war is simply a high risk/high reward part of life as we know it. Some win, some lose. Capability….chance, luck……fate, karma….God….whatever.

    And, to put things into perspective, from quick Googling:

    ….each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment

    These injuries range from simple eye strain to trauma, which may lead to permanent damage, vision loss, and blindness.
    This is particularly true for workers in construction, manufacturing, and mining. Approximately, 40 percent of eye injuries in the workplace happen in these three industries…

    • Replies: @FizzleOut
  58. @Jeff Stryker

    Until toward the end of the Vietnam Era, college students received a 2-S deferment. They were exempt from the draft as long as they stayed in school. If middle and upper class college students had been plucked out of school to become cannon fodder, campuses would have erupted much sooner than they did. Nixon finally ended the unfair 2-S deferments in 1971, but the Army went all-volunteer (called VOLAR) shortly thereafter. When the draft ended, the campus protests died down, even though the war dragged on until 1975. With this country already near civil war for a whole lot of reasons, there won’t be another draft anytime soon. Who needs much infantry when you have drones?

  59. Are you still blind in that eye?

  60. @Kolya Krassotkin

    You forgot: “The US Government cares about the human rights of (Insert name of anywhere or anyone you care to,)”

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
  61. I had incredible eyesight when I was young. The physician who did my military physical when I was 17 commented on how good my eyesight was. He said I had ‘race car driver’ vision. Something like 20/35 and 20/30 or some type of combination. I don’t really know much about all that stuff.
    Then I started having weird stuff happen with my eyesight deteriorating, unrelated to the normal astigmatism that can come with aging, in my 30’s. I have these abnormal visual field test results but it’s past the optic nerve so no ability to define let alone fix the problem.
    Thanks to modern computer screens and Ctrl+ I can get the font big enough to read.
    At one point I had a dream that I went blind.
    It was one of the worst feelings in my life so I empathize with you Fred and wish you the best of luck.
    There are a ton of things that are worse than dying. Tons.
    That is why it is more important to me that we are free. Free to practise our aith. Free to speak our mind and, especially, free to criticize the parasitic scum who are trying to enslave and control humanity.

  62. This article should be required reading for all schools. It is about as off-putting for would be warriors in a dubious cause as “Combed Out” by F.A.Voigt. Good on you Fred! Thank you for writing it!

  63. @Jeff Stryker

    I totally agree. Re-instate the draft and watch this country EXPLODE over night!!

    • Replies: @Just another serf
  64. wayfarer says:

    Spent a couple years working at a VAMC in the County of San Diego, California. In so many ways, it ain’t a happy place. Veterans both young and old, broken yet still stoic – many at the end of dark and indifferent roads, without a dream in sight.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  65. lysias says:
    @Tom Welsh

    50 years ago, I was 23 years old. Maybe that’s why I prefer being referred to by my surname, rather than by my first name, unless it’s by someone who knows me reasonably well. Overfamiliar use of the first name really annoys me.

    • Replies: @RVBlake
  66. lysias says:

    Wearing eyeglasses made of shatterproof glass or plastic can protect eyes from most accidents. I suspect it would have protected Fred Reed’s eyes.

    • Agree: Houston 1992
    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Herald
    , @Alden
    , @Anonymous
  67. wayfarer says:

    … a lot at the end of dark and despairing roads, without a dream in sight.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  68. anarchyst says:

    You make very good points.

    I too served in Vietnam in 1970 (USMC).

    The differences between our service and today’s military is that of multiple deployments.

    Those of us who served in Vietnam had a 12 or 13 month “tour”, depending whether you were Army or Marines. After your “tour” was over, you were pretty much guaranteed that you would not be assigned to Vietnam for at least three years. Of course, those who extended their “tours” “in-country” are another story.

    Today’s military personnel are being assigned to “back-to-back deployments”, many for years at a time with “leave” in between deployments. In my humble opinion, this is damaging both to the individuals involved as well as their families.

    As to Vietnam, may I suggest that you obtain and read “Our War Was Different” by Al Hemingway. There are many different insights and opinions as to the war that deserve to be heard.


    • Replies: @Anonymous
  69. Alden says:

    Agree agree agree. My brother made a great parody of JFK’s inaugural speech. Instead of “ we will bear any burden pay any price”. His version was our poor and working class boys will pay any price bear any burden.

    • Replies: @plannumber9
  70. The fate of NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN Iraq-Afghan-Syria Vets….

    Homeless and crippled in body in mind…

    In Orange County California….

    Despised by the Chinese American owners of Orange County…

    Despised because you lower the property values of the HAN OVERLORDS of Han Orange County…

    Who will pass ordinances to put you


    a Concentration Camp in the Desert……And you joined the US ARMY to protect their freedom?

    Who ordered this mental sewage?….THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!

  71. @War for Blair Mountain




  72. Dr. X says:

    I am not, strictly speaking, “anti-war.” Human nature being what it is, you always need to have the military skills to at least be able to defend yourself.

    I really hate to quote Obama, but as he said “I’m not against wars, I’m against stupid wars.” Bingo! Without Gen. Washington and the Continental Army, we’d be Southern Canada right now. Some wars are worth fighting. But not many. Probably the only wars we really needed to fight in the last century were the Pacific Theater in WWII, and Afghanistan in 2001 (they totally fucked it up after that).

    Good military men know this. It was GENERAL Washington who warned us against “overgrown military establishments, which are always inauspicious to liberty” and GENERAL Eisenhower who warned us about the “military-industrial complex.”

    It is not the military per se that I oppose, but the abuse of the military by our imperial overlords in D.C. that is sickening… and the stupid public accepts it.

  73. Alden says:

    Yes yes, let’s blame the victim.

    The 19 year old or his parents should have had the foresight to research which construction, welder, metal worker, or other goggles would protect his eyes from bullets and powdered glass flying fast as the bullets.

  74. wayfarer says:

    Once dated a girl, who’d been blind since birth. We sat together in the front row of a UCSD lecture hall, packed with several hundred students.

    I’d try my best to keep up with the professor’s fast paced cryptic chalkboard lectures – listening, watching, deciphering, writing, and thinking.

    She’d just sit there with her pretty face slightly tilted, calmly listening and thinking. Unlike me, she was one of the top performing students.

    Still regret not having asked her how she did it, as well as not having been more caring in our brief relationship.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  75. HEREDOT says:
    @Kolya Krassotkin

    Plutocratic Usa talks about democracy. Usa is the most infamous country in history, more criminal than hitler germany. The dialectics of history will operate.

  76. Agent76 says:
    @Kolya Krassotkin

    This is is the very exact reason for my posting this information for anyone who is not awake just yet. Thanks for your time and comment. Bankster’s hate peace!

  77. Rurik says:

    at having been used and thrown away in a pointless war. You don’t want to look inside the heads of men who have been badly wounded. Dark things live there.

    • Replies: @RVBlake
  78. roonaldo says:

    In 1970, my school’s Driver’s Ed class, in an effort to improve our driving, showed graphic shock films featuring mutilated auto crash victims, produced, I think, by the Ohio State Patrol. We were a tough bunch, or so we thought, and gasps, shrieks, and lost stomach contents abounded.

    Schools ought to show true-life films of battlefield gore as part of signing up for the draft, but I suppose they’re too busy organizing LGBTQ festivities full of fluffy bunnies and bubbles. I try to dissuade youngsters from joining the death machine, as my father, a veteran of WWII and Korea, dissuaded me. We must do this ourselves, since our congressweasels won’t. Hell, those bastards should be forced to watch such films before each foreign policy debate.

  79. @follyofwar

    Getting rid of the draft was the Master Stroke of the Empire.

    Much like the Romans replacing their native legions with “barbarians” from the north – who eventually conquered Rome.

    We’ll get the same result. Such is the fate of empires.

    • Agree: Desert Fox, houston 1992
    • Replies: @houston 1992
  80. SFG says:

    What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

    Thank you for your service.

    This is why I support Trump’s attempts to pull us out of the Middle East, and why I am not a neocon.

  81. Good piece, Fred. Keep pitching.

  82. wayfarer says:

    Used to drive a taxicab in the County of San Diego, California.

    Remember one day, transporting a U.S. Navy trauma surgeon to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Sitting in the back seat, he opened up with anecdotes about various injuries he’d treated in Afghanistan.

    For some, talking about it is healthy. I listened quietly, but couldn’t help to notice his body language in the rear-view mirror. It seemed rather clear that he carried the pain of the wounded with him.

    There are no winners in war.

    • Agree: Houston 1992
  83. Charles says:

    It was true that statistically speaking, as Mr. Reed wrote, US combat troops were disproportionately Southern. Part of the reason was an inherent martial spirit which was common even into the 20th Century. Speaking of martial spirit – if you’ve ever wondered why only Confederate President Jeff Davis was indicted for treason, with the charge being dropped, and not a single Confederate was ever put on trial, the answer is that no court (remember, we’re talking about the 1860s, when courts consulted the Constitution) could have reconciled the legality and glory of the American Revolution with punishing fellow-men who fought a war for the exact same principles.

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  84. Where do you get the wherewithal to gallivant around Nepal and the Caribbean writing magazine articles?

    • Replies: @Alden
  85. Pontius says:
    @Tom Welsh

    As I once heard someone say,”I don’t care if there’s a heaven, but I sure hope there’s a hell.”

  86. IvyMike says:

    Aw Fred, I like so many of your columns but bought one of your books, Nekkid In Austin, and was disappointed. Well, and you spell it naked…

  87. Icy Blast says:

    I’ve been wanting to hear Fred’s story since I first read a column of his in The Washington Times in about 1981. I was in “The Old Guard” in The Swamp. Dark days indeed. But not as bad as being shot in the face.

  88. Alden says:

    He’s been writing and making a good living selling articles and books for 50 years. That’s how he has the wherewithal.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  89. Anthem for rabid Dominionists who believe
    War serves God, and not the devil…

    War is Satanism.

  90. @another fred

    the DS may be betting that they can replace ground troops with robots, drones etc THey may be correct, but the US tech lead may already be lost. We may have invested in out of date weapons such as aircraft carriers sorta like doubling down on mainframe computers when the market needed PCs

  91. @Johnny Walker Read

    I totally agree. Re-instate the draft and watch this country EXPLODE over night

    How about we focus on ethnicity in this new draft. Any war within 1,000 miles of Israel requires Jews only in draft. And there are NO deferments whatsoever. Males and females both equally eligible for front line service. The U.S. would use a 100% Jewish fighting force.

    I write this while listening to the audio book Blood in the Water by Joan Mellen. Highly recommended to understand the scope of this horror we have been subjected to for so very, very long.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  92. @ThreeCranes

    Made me weep too as I have a blind child who has achieved more than most sighted people not to mention her blind friends. Thanks Fred.

  93. Biff says:

    Seems to me the Armed Forces have become wholly divorced from mainstream American life- they constitute more of a country within a country.

    Pure socialism that those on the right seem to love..

  94. Biff says:
    @Dr. X

    and Afghanistan in 2001

    What is it about Afghanistan that bothers you?

  95. Whitewolf says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    These days, the area surrounding Grumman Corp has been colonized and annexed by India

    Once upon a time things like the The Grumman Intruder…The F-14…The AWAC ..and the LEM were used to prevent such a thing from happening. Now you are the epitome of evil if you think illegal aliens in White countries should be deported. If you even think Whites should have their own counries or even exist you are a “White Supremacist”. Apparently “White Supremacy” is something extremely evil in White countries but anything but Black supremacy in Black countries is apartheid.

  96. Richard P says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I nearly enlisted with the aspirations of becoming an Officer and competing on the military’s Marathon Team. This was just months after I finished undergraduate and was in the process of seeking employment in Washington. Fortunately, an opportunity presented itself to me and I ended up working in the government contracting industry for several of years.

    Nonetheless, I’ve become active in the Dissident Right and now view the MIC — especially the USAF — as one of the greatest terrorist organizations in the world. The US Military has killed over 30 million people worldwide since WWII. Democracy is a Western, liberal ideology that embraces individualism and modernism. It’s elitist as a minority controls the majority. Furthermore, the West demonizes Traditionalism and Christendom. The real heroes in the Middle East are Assad and Putin who’ve been protecting the ancient Christians from being eradicated by Western interventionism.

    We’re experiencing societal decay and infrastructure rot like never seen before, but our government continues to spend \$1.1 trillion a year on the MIC and gives another \$38 billion to Israel — a terrorist conglomerate. The US government doesn’t give a damn about its own citizens and that’s a fact.

  97. Anonymous[112] • Disclaimer says:

    Today’s military personnel are being assigned to “back-to-back deployments”, many for years at a time with “leave” in between deployments.

    This is true, and not well understood, but there are many individuals who have been deployed to Iraq five times and Afghanistan 3 times. They’ve been wounded multiple times, have been diagnosed with severe PTSD, yet they are sent back. As long as they are in uniform, they can hold it together, repeating the military mantra, “Suck it up, shut up and drive on.” But once they are discharged and re-enter the civilian world, they fall apart. Death by “accident” is not uncommon. It’s not suicide if you take out an overpass abutment at 90 mph on your motorcycle, is it? So your survivors can get your insurance.
    It’s tragic.

    Soldier’s Lament:

  98. @Agent76

    You mentioned Obama and the VA. I spent 2 years at the West LA, Ca. VA. It was 2013 into 2015. A great number of black vetererans, of all ages, from the surrounding area showed up soley to file for disability. The ratio of black to white had to be 7 to 1. I remember watching and listenening as healthy men shared information about successful claims to aid their application. Most of it was bullshit.

  99. Dear Fred,
    I’ve enjoyed your writings for quite a while, this last column has me sobbing. Wishing I could help…maybe your awesome words of wisdom might change something…anything.
    I’d like you to know that you’ve made a difference in my life…often just enjoying your writings…which I always choose first on a place like Rockwell.
    My best to you, sounds like you’ve got a wonderful wife to help get through this.

    Cheers and hugs, sincerely,
    Sandy Johnson

  100. Jeff Stryker [AKA "GO"] says:
    @Just another serf

    Iran would win by default because there would be a Civil War.

    • Replies: @Kolya Krassotkin
  101. Prez2020 says:

    Just in
    -the military using video games for recruitment. Comfy chairs, tournaments, military salesman who look like the work out all day. Nerdy teens for gun fodder.

  102. Truth says:

    Probably because he died in 2012.

    • Replies: @awry
  103. MikeV says:

    so people like me who didn’t see (pun intended) it in 2009, can

  104. Pandour says: • Website

    A must read-the book Kill Anything That Moves-a painstaking account of of American atrocities in Vietnam.The murder of civilians was on an industrial scale.It was basically a system of suffering.From the air and on the ground U.S. forces killed an estimated one million civilians in Southeast Asia.Sgt. Roy E. the Bummer Bumgrarner,a soldier with the 1st Cavalry Div. and later with the 173 Airborne Brig.-just not even a tip in the iceberg,according to his former commander,killed 1,500 people.The entire episode of the actual Vietnam War has been totally erased from the collective memory of America.

  105. RVBlake says:

    I am pushing 70, and am glad to see someone else disenchanted by universal first-name usage.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  106. RVBlake says:

    Seeing that POS and the guffawing asses at that function makes one wonder if there were one decent person in that room.

    • Agree: Rurik
  107. Robin says:

    Rick I haven’t heard from you for a while. Magic jack and email don’t work

  108. @War for Blair Mountain

    Skin color has nothing to do with who enters the US military; IQ does. Those that can’t make it in the economy look for a way out and the US military offers them 20 years of malingering doing nothing productive and then a pension plus early boarding on US flights. The only downside to this deal is that an enlistee may be called upon to murder people in some foreign land and the locals might resent the invaders and kill or maim them.

    That’s the deal. You take your chances as a dirtbag that didn’t get a proper education or skill set growing up. Poor parenting is the cause.

  109. @Whitewolf

    If Native Born White Americans do not consent to being voted into a White Racial Minority-White Racial Foreigner within the borders of America by Hindu H-1 B-L-1 VISA Workers and their US born Hindu Spawn…….then NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICANS ARE NAZIS!!!…

    The Hindus in our America are a HOSTILE SOUTHASIAN FIFTH COLUMN….SEND THEM BACK!!!

  110. The US Military is stealing Syria’s oil….How will Assad ever stop this very great CRIME?

  111. To see more of the hell of war read the book Charlie Company What Vietnam Did to Us, with 65 interviews of Vietnam veterans, and the book Ghost Riders of Baghdad by Major Daniel Sjursen, both can be had on amazon.

    • Replies: @Pandour
  112. mr meener says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    it is amazing how most hear bow to any body in a uniform. I thought only women did that. after spending a billion dollars on fred reed he is just a windbag spewing out bullshit columns

  113. Happy for you that you could find a bit of humor in your plight Fred. The kids [they were then] that I served with in the 5th Marines that were KIA or seriously wounded, didn’t seem too happy about it. My guess is that everyone who has died as a pawn for the wars of the empire would ask for a do over if that option was available. The country has been at war 93% of the time since its inception. You think it is ever going to stop? Do you think that an endless number of fools like you and me are going to boycott the recruiters? Ain’t happening pal unless we go broke. Hope I live long enough to see that happen.

  114. Pandour says: • Website
    @Desert Fox

    What it did to us-you say-what did it do millions of Laotians,Vietnamese and Cambodians.On November 24 1968 an American airstrike killed 374 civilians in Laos in a cave who were sheltering from American bombing,to mention just one incident in Laos.The U.S. dropped 270 million bombs on Laos-580,000 bombing missions on Laos between 1964 and 1973.Thirty-five per cent of Laos is contaminated with unexploded American bombs today,which has resulted in 300 casulaties every year since the end of the war,40 per cent of them children.Since the war there have been 50,000 killed and maimed in Laos.When I was working for the military stabilization program in Bosnia in 1996 with American advisors,a former Vietnam Vet told me that as the co. of an artillery fire base,I cant recall the exact location-that they blindly fired tens of thousands of rounds a month not even bothering to search for targets-he considered it a game.

  115. FizzleOut says:

    When you knowingly serve in a pointless war in a foreign land, you deserve what you get. You can either accept it gladly or with sombre resignation, but it doesn’t matter either way

  116. FizzleOut says:

    When you knowingly go abroad to kill for the MIC and the tribe while the southern border remains deliberately unguarded, you deserve the karma

    • Replies: @Kolya Krassotkin
  117. @Anatoly Karlin

    Anatoly, fancy seeing you here! Shirking would be seen as unpatriotic (if I have to go, so do you!), but mostly, when the citizens have their own blood in the game, a draft with no exemptions once you graduated college, it’s a little more serious. All of a sudden an attitude would prevail that of course we should get along with Russia, of COURSE a war with Iran and the Norks would be unthinkable. And getting into a bullshit war like Vietnam would bring a Vietnam war protest-like response. You’re a kid, I doubt you were around for the war protest movement, but it was a big deal growing up in Northern Virginia and the Pentagon would have 100,000 protestors one day, more on the Mall the next day. Campuses burning. The park across from the White House filled with signs and megaphone-toting long hairs every night.

    I absolutely believe Americans are capable of protest, but not until their skin is all in. With no draft, that isn’t possible. It’s someone else’s kid, doesn’t matter enough even to stay informed enough to know that those psychos are perilously close to getting us nuked. They don’t understand the world is fed up. They think they’re safe.

  118. FizzleOut says:

    Even today we have fools who would gladly volunteer for killing people abroad bringing democracy to some poor nation and quite a few believe in that mission

    They are lulled by the false glory of the star spangled banner while the southern border remains open. It’s for those young guns. Too bad many of them won’t read this article. If you can, do spread the word out

  119. @Pandour

    Agree, and if you want your blood to boil, go to and watch the 10-25-19 report on how the ZUS supplies AL CIADA aka ISIS.

  120. @Jim Christian

    I am about 50 yo. Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s , there seemed to be an endless stream of anti Vietnam war films and documentaries. Plus MASH was a big TV show. True it was nominally about Korean War , but it was aimed at Vietnam War.

    And yet, despite the appointment of Vietnam war era veterans such as Powell to high level positions —ok he saw no combat —there seemed to be a strong consensus that US would not enter another protracted Asian war. But we did. Ending the draft was a master stroke. I don’t have a link but I believe General WestMoreland has a major fight with Milton Friedman about the draft abolition. WestMoreland understood their significance of its abolition whereas Liberterian Friedman laughed off his civic concerns

  121. peterAUS says:
    @Jim Christian

    ….Americans are capable of protest, but not until their skin is all in. With no draft, that isn’t possible. It’s someone else’s kid, doesn’t matter enough even to stay informed enough to know that those psychos are perilously close to getting us nuked…

    “Skin in the game”.
    Any game.

    And…about joining, being in the military, going to war, being in combat. For a couple of lurkers here, only: there IS something there which can’t be found, felt, experienced…. lived….in “civilian” life.
    Make of that what you will. Wisely.

    • Agree: Jim Christian
  122. Good bit of writing that. You should consider doing it for a living if the cantankerous old bastard plan doesn’t work out.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  123. If a turd infested with maggot eggs had the capacity for Darwinian Evolution….the turd would evolve into Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton…..And this would mean that the maggot-egg- infested turd evolved into an even lower, and way more revolting and disgusting life-form, than itself….I believe this to be what the band Devo called devolution…..

  124. @Jeff Stryker

    It might take a bipartisan tumbril ride, shared by Lindsay Graham, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer, and a last cigarette, before our “leaders” realize how sick to death those of us in flyover country are of being bled for foreign misadventures.

  125. @FizzleOut

    I no longer say, “Thank you for your service.”

    My first thought when I see a young man or woman in uniform now is “Poor chump, why are you throwing away your life and well-being for a country the leaders of which really don’t give a fig about you? Why don’t you stay home, start a career, get married to the person you love and have a happy, healthy life?”

  126. peterAUS says:


    Just an idea: why not writing a book? Say….a realistic book about a “deplorable” joining and going to Afghanistan and back. Something like that.
    I am quite sure it would resonate with a lot of people, especially in the current climate.
    Keyword: realistic. Real.

    When I say “resonate”, yes, only with people who’ve been “there” and those who contemplate doing it. The problem, of course, most of those do not read, let alone buy books.
    People who do, and especially that type of books are, how to put it, members of the “chattering class”. Makes you think …not.

    Still, I’d give it a shot.

    Hehe…I sort of tried to do it several years ago.
    Wrote the thing as I seen, experienced it(or so I say….). Showed it to a young fellow, intelligent, educated…a member of the targeted audience if you will. His feedback was……….eye-opening of a sort. Let’s say that his and mine perceptions of reality re THAT topic, were quite different. Or, he didn’t even register things I felt were the crux of the book. They even annoyed him. Things he found missing I wasn’t even thinking about.
    And….hehe…I was in that situation; he wasn’t’. Makes you think, a?

    So, true, if you want to make money you’ll need to write for people who’ll never join, have no idea how it all works etc.
    And if you want to be real, well, probably you won’t make money. But, who knows? Especially in the current paradigm.

    Maybe something to think about.

  127. Muggles says:

    I met Mr. Reed many years ago at an informal libertarian event but at the time wasn’t familiar with his story or writing. A very interesting man.

    Yes, his story and others like it should be made mandatory for anyone joining the military. And videos shown of injured/wounded in VA wards living with those disabilities. This might sober up a few 18 YO “Heroes” who only know war from TV or video games. Very little coverage is done on that. The government doesn’t want to show that as it would discourage enlistment and support for the Empire. Regular folks would prefer to ignore those costs or pretend they don’t exist.

    Some crazies commenting go off the rails, but there are also similar and more such casualties among the civilian victims of any armed conflict. They have no VA to mend them.

    Fred gets a big hug for being honest about things. Sometimes I might disagree but not on this. He should be required reading. The only “benefit” to slaughter is that medical science advances as doctors try to heal war victims. A poor means to progress, but this is only what the war lovers bring to the table.

    Kudos to Tulsi Gabbard for calling out la Hillary for being what she is, a pudgy never-gonna-happen to her and hers, warmonger. Politicians should read this essay every morning at breakfast.

  128. Herald says:

    You must have done so much research to come up with that finding and It’s bound to cheer up old Fred.

  129. Alden says:

    Read comment 61 about what happens to men even those who wear specially constructed goggles for their jobs.

    After I get the monthly shot in my right eye, I have to wear special very dark sunglasses that cup around the eye socket when in sunlight

    So one day I was standing outside the office wearing these protective glasses waiting just a few minutes for my ride. It was windy and even with the glasses I got something in my other eye. I thought nothing of it.

    2 hours later intense pain. Emergency room. Dug our a tiny piece of grit and told me I had a scratched corona. More eye Dr visits.

    Special glasses cupped around the occipital socket designed specifically to screen out sunlight and prevent grit from getting into the eye. But the grit got in and scratched the corona.

  130. @wayfarer

    Hi Wayfarer, I wonder what kind of exams were given her?

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  131. @Dr. X

    You have to include the Congress when mentioning the MIC. It should be Military, Industrial and Congressional Complex. Ever notice how hard congressmen fight to have military bases in their districts?

    • Agree: Desert Fox
  132. Sulu says:

    Your story makes me want to find the nearest recruiter and sign up for the program. Fortunately for me the military doesn’t take old men, yet.
    A drinking/dive buddy turned me on to your column over a decade ago when I was living and diving in S.E. Asia. This is the first detailed account I have read about the events leading up to your being wounded in combat. I wish you all the luck in the world and may you outlive every bastard in the chain of command that sent you to Vietnam.

  133. @wayfarer

    Wayfarer, you are still the poet.

    • LOL: wayfarer
  134. Al Lipton says:

    Thanks for this pouring out your heart, Fred. It makes my own troubles seem not significant. May God keep you strong

  135. Anon[194] • Disclaimer says:

    Well the contractors are mostly in for the long haul . I was in Iraq for 2.5 years and Afghanistan for 6.5 . During the last recession as an electrician I lost my family ,home, and savings. I went for a year ended up 9.

    You become institutionalized. I became a race realist as a white male you never went to hr as it was blacks , gays etc. If you had never been in the military you were held to a higher standard and you would never be promoted into upper management no matter how good you were. I met good people in the service and alot of borderline people.

    I got to see alot of places I never would have been to and alot of great experiences. If I knew as a kid from High school I would have joined the chair force and gotten into cybersecurity. I would be set after a few years then gone the contractor route. There is no job security in the civilian sector latch on to the MIC and make it work for you. Then retire to Thailand, Portugal, PI.

    • Replies: @Alden
  136. @Chesty

    Serving for a right cause (defending your country), yes. Serving MIC, big banks, corrupted politicians by invading third world countries, hell no.

    • Replies: @Richard P
    , @york
  137. Richard P says:

    On November 24 1968 an American airstrike killed 374 civilians in Laos in a cave who were sheltering from American bombing,to mention just one incident in Laos.

    I wasn’t familiar with the aforementioned incident, but there’s a stark resemblance to another US bombing against civilians a couple of decades earlier, one that led to the deaths of nearly 300,000 ethnic European refugees in Dresden, Germany.

  138. Richard P says:
    @Melotte 22

    Serving for a right cause (defending your country), yes.

    The only righteous cause in the present day would be to defend our southern boarders from the hordes of Third World, non-White invaders.

  139. HEREDOT says:

    Even Darwin didn’t go this far. You’re sick!

    • Replies: @Reinhardt
    , @Sig
  140. Anonymous[112] • Disclaimer says:

    That’s why protective glasses or goggles are a normal part of Personal Protective Equipment today. They save eyesight.

  141. wayfarer says:
    @Simply Simon

    Interesting question, Simply Simon.

    I’d never known a blind person, prior to meeting her. Unsure of etiquette, I decided not to discuss the absence of sight or too many special needs issues.

    I was amazed by her self-reliance, and powerful memory. As far as testing I always assumed she utilized braille devices and/or oral methods.

    You’ve now got me curiously looking into assistive technologies, thanks!

  142. @Houston 1992

    Friedman was as much a libertarian as Trump is a conservative.

  143. Blankaerd says:

    Being nearsighted I always wear glasses. When I am not sleeping that is. I tried stepping over to lenses about six months ago,because I felt I look better without glasses. Anyway, trying out the lenses for me was a pretty damn horrible experience. I hate having to mess with my eyes that, I just cant stand it. I find the whole act repulsive. My eyes just utterly reject them, as if they are extremely sensitive.

    So I just kept with regular glasses and i cant help but think that they are like an extra level of protection of my eyes,so wearing themwhen I go out always gives me a sense of security. I can recall two sitiations in which if I had not wore any glassesI would havecertainly had eye damage. Reading your story really reinforces my feelings, and I am not even in a war zone. God damn that must have been a horrible experience. Losing an eye or eyes is one of the things I dread the most.

  144. Alden says:

    If you still have a license get your traveller papers come to San Francisco and check in to local 6, 55 Fillmore st. We need you. There’s plenty of work. You can probably rent a room from a brother/sister.

  145. @Charles

    True, but northern radicals waged vengeance on the South in far more insidious ways by starving it’s population and stripping it of it’s natural resources.

    • Agree: Alden
  146. @Alden

    Yeah, right. You try to make a living writing articles.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
    , @Alden
  147. Richard P says:
    @Houston 1992

    Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s , there seemed to be an endless stream of anti Vietnam war films and documentaries.

    That was a great era for anti-war movies, including some of the greatest ever produced such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Deer Hunter, and Hamburger Hill. Now, we’re bombarded with pro-war propaganda fills such as American Sniper, Blackhawk Down, and Lone Survivor. Hollywood has become an inconspicuous recruiting method for the Armed Forces and an overt method in selling patriotism to the American populace by glorifying “heroes”.

    • Agree: Houston 1992

  148. My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    One of my earliest memories — I wasn’t more than three or four — is that of my mother teaching me the US Air Force fight song (she had been in the Air Force), and listening to her tell me that if my commander told me to march off a cliff, then I had to do it. I was awestruck, and with all the earnestness of my three or four years, assured her I would do it.

    The glory of dying for my country was to be only the first of many lies she told me.

    Fred Reed: “Ask any soldier what he most doesn’t want, and he’ll tell you being paralyzed, blinded, and castrated, probably in that order.”

    Underlying all these fears is a fear of being dependent on others. Paralysis and blindness speak for themselves. Castration is being reduced to the status of woman, who for most of human history has been a slave to her biology; utterly dependent on a man for her very life. Only modernity has shattered that arrangement.

    People fear depending on others because secretly everyone knows the truth: People are scum, life is war, and the ruling principle of the world is hate. To be reduced to depending on others for the basics of life is a kind of living death. Serious injuries happen all the time in peacetime too, but for those victims there is no glory, no VA to try to set things right. Sorry to learn of your troubles, Fred. But better you than me.

  149. denk says:

    The murikkan way of life….

    the way you make America safe is the traditional way you make America safe, which is: US military superiority, strong alliances, basing forces overseas, being willing to defend your allies when they are attacked. All of those, there is — 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of Americans support that.” That’s the American way in international affairs: Blitz and destroy and move on leaving chaos and countless refugees

  150. @Giuseppe

    And, fortunately, Mexico reaches out to and envelopes all the senses. There are the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feel of things.

    Meaningless twaddle.

  151. @Tom Welsh

    The bald surname “Reed”, while it would have been normal 50 years ago, sounds to me as if it were intended to be rude.

    Some people, Welsh, prefer the old ways.

  152. @obwandiyag

    Fred does mention that he won a “large award” in a malpractice suit against an eye surgeon. Plus he probably gets a military disability pension. So he should be well off writing or not writing.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Herald
  153. Bill P says:

    Well, reading this makes me feel lucky. I’ve had shattered glass in my eyeballs but it was much lower velocity than you’d get from a machine gun round. I was in a fight and a guy swung a baseball bat through a window into my face. Lots of facial bleeding and slivers of safety glass in my face and eyes but the doctor just took them out with tweezers. Another time in another fight I got kicked in the eye (never go to the ground with a guy when you’re outnumbered) and had a hemorrhage that made the white of my eye blood red for a couple weeks, but that didn’t affect my vision either.

    What did get me was a cherry branch that snapped right onto my eyeball when I carelessly picked a cherry the wrong way. Ironic, I think. I get hit in the face with a baseball bat and kicked in the eye and a twig does more damage. Had to wear glasses after the cherry incident due to an astigmatism it caused. But even that’s nothing, really.

    I hurt my eyes just enough to realize that, yes, eyes are vulnerable and vision shouldn’t be taken for granted. I hope you can still read well, Fred. I also hope you’re happy in Mexico. I want to visit the country, but I’m a bit worried they don’t have their act together down there with the drug wars.

    • Replies: @Truth
  154. @Richard P

    Before that, you have to take your country back from those I listed in previous comment.

  155. Jeff Stryker [AKA "GO"] says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Well look at the British welfare claimants who move to India. If your fixed income is \$2000 a month you are going to be living like a king in Mexico or Southeast Asia. In Washington DC, where Fred lived, you’d be cutting out coupons to afford potato crisps with your tuna sandwiches for Sunday dinner.

  156. denk says:

    All this peace talk is fine, but dont forget,
    There’s a jungle out there…

    Do you wanna see the fall of Nam, which’d trigger a domino effect , the entire Asia would go commies, do you wanna see that happened ?

    Are we supposed to sit still when our medical students were taken hostage in Grenada,….hell, we went there just in time.

    Its a good thing we toke out SaddaM, before he sent those WMD raining down on Washington DC., dont forget he also gassed his own people. !

    Ghadaffi got his just desert, for ….gassing his own people too !

    Syria is on going, but our boys are still there making sure Saddat doesnt gass his own people !

    Then there’r those damned AQ, Boko Haram, Talibans, ISIS….
    wE gotta fight them over there so we dont have to fight them over here !

    Hell, just when you think the water is safe, here comes the greatest threat of them all, ,,the yellow peril is upon us again !

    War is hell, but when the barbarians are at the gates, do we have a choice ?

    • LOL: Kolya Krassotkin
  157. awry says:

    The world has ended in 2012.

  158. Alden says:

    Fred did and does make a living by writing.

  159. As a current beneficiary of the VA hospital system now at age 77 out of the Navy, I can attest to the observations of the remnants of the wars.
    The Vietnam Vets wall in D.C. is testimony to the horror of senseless manufactured wars for war profiteering. The list of countries in the Middle East is known by all.

    When Madeline Albright, mega Jewish neocon war monger, was asked on camera by 60 minutes reporter what she thought about the SLAUGHTER of 500,000 children in Iraq, she replied without hesitation or reflection that it was, “Regrettable, but necessary”. The slaughter of the million plus adults and the slaughter of “about” 4,500 of our poor gullible boys, was never mentioned.

    Now that Trump is trying to shut down the INSANITY the deep state swamp funded by the MICC is pushing back hard to keep the cash flowing.

    Cash you say? \$21 Trillion extremely well documented by Ms. Fitts at Solarei missing out of the Pentagon is serious cash, is it not.

    Afghan debacle now on for almost 20 years for one thing only, war profiteering.

    • Replies: @Zinj
  160. There is an impertinent joke doing the rounds in Europe.

    What do you get if you cross an illiterate african american with a hispanic working for a green card?

    The U.S Military.

    • LOL: Kolya Krassotkin
  161. Madeline Albright should have disputed the dead babies
    figure immediately. Iraq was not blockaded and could have imported limitless amounts of food and medication etc., from Iran, Turkey and Jordan. The Saddam regime chose not to do this, preferring to attempt to appall the world with film footage of dead and dying infants.

  162. Haole says:

    Now I understand Fred and Russian Bots better. They really did implant something/s in his head.

    A large-caliber round, probably from a Russian 12.7mm heavy machine gun, came through the windshield of the truck I was driving. The bullet missed me, barely, because I had turned my head to look at a water buffalo in the paddy beside the road.Unfortunately the glass in front of the round had to go somewhere, in this case into my face. Not good. I didn’t like it, anyway.

    How do we know it was only glass?

    Regardless, fredbot, I spend time every year in Lago Chapala and will try to look you up and buy you a beverage or two. Ok Amigo?

  163. @Realist

    Same here. Fred Reed is not the only author on Unz that has old posts show up. They are often renewed to provide background to current articles and/or reinforce the truth that the more things change, they still remain the same.

    Now I can understand why Fred Reed might aspire to be a brass pole in Bangkok.

    • Agree: Realist
  164. Truth says:
    @Bill P

    I was in a fight and a guy swung a baseball bat through a window into my face. Lots of facial bleeding and slivers of safety glass in my face and eyes but the doctor just took them out with tweezers. Another time in another fight I got kicked in the eye

  165. Bill P says:

    Brings back memories. I liked Eazy. He called it like it was, he had talent and he was a proper right-winger. Damn shame he died of AIDS. I always hoped he never took it in the rear, and will always give him the benefit of the doubt on that.

    But I gave that gangster crap up 25 years ago. In retrospect it’s stupid and juvenile. When my friends started getting thrown in prison I bailed and lived in Asia until it all settled down.

    Eventually you grow up and stop acting like a degenerate heathen. You have kids, start being thankful to the almighty, and repent. No more brawling and fornication.

    I hope you don’t value that juvenile idiocy that gets young men killed or thrown in prison. My mission in life now is keeping my sons away from it. Other people’s sons, too, if I can help it.

  166. Zinj says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

    1. Trump didn’t use three government agencies to illegally frame a friend of mine and put her and her family under so much stress that she had a stroke that she never fully recovered from.
    2. AFAIK, President Trump hasn’t sent any members of our government into a killing field and then tried to claim it was due to a riot over a virtually unknown video, denied support to ones being attacked, and then violated the 1st amendment rights of the guy who made the video.
    3. When Hillary makes promises, those are just standard political lies cranked up to 10. When Trump says something that isn’t necessarily true, it’s just the opening bid.

  167. Zinj says:

    I have to pretty much agree with you.
    Now if we had leaders who actually LED from the front, that would be different. How about a President who flies in the first strike mission? Or jumps in with the special forces guys? You can say what you want about John McCain, and maybe he was a douchebag in Hanoi, and maybe he was Daddy’s little boy, but at least he manned up and went. I might not always agree with a man who’s been in combat, but at least I’ll respect him enough to listen to him; maybe even more so if he runs for public office afterwards.

  168. denk says:


    ‘China is the greatest threat to the world’

    GUess what ?
    the yanks swallow it wholesale..

    ‘pOLls show murikkans believe China is the biggest threat to USA…..’

    The same way they swallowed that Iraq baby incubator BS., the ‘Rackat massacre’, Gadaffi ‘gassed his own people’, ‘TAM massacre of unarmed students’, ‘brutal crackdown on unarmed Tibetans’, …yanks bought it every single time.

    Are murikkans so stupid, willfully obtuse , plain crazy…..or perhaps they simply enjoys eating B.S. ?

    Even here.,
    Seemingly intelligent and well informed people insist on [1] parroting MSM official stories about ‘Uighurs concentration camps’, ‘social credit police state’, blah blah blah.
    So much for CIA psyops, may be murikkans themselves are part of the conspiracy, !

    murikka has been a rogue state since birth, but once upon a time it had a vibrant voice of dissent .
    Today even this only saving grace is gone, the censorship on dissent is brutal and brazen, all social media have become the tools of propaganda, many ‘alternate medie’ have been compromised, co-opted or shut down outright.

    How much longer will UNZ, MOA, SAKER last ?
    Already we see sock puppets swarming these sites doing their best to disrupt and pollute .

    murikka is morally kaput,
    degenerated beyond redemption.
    yoU deserve better,
    its just as well that you’ve exiled yourself to Mexico,

    • Replies: @Zinj
  169. Herald says:
    @Commentator Mike

    So Fred should be ever so grateful that he underwent years of suffering and surgery. Well spotted.

  170. A fine and moving article, Mr. Reed. (And one that I’d not read before.)

    Let’s hope that it gets brought to the attention of Slick Willie, Dubya, Very Stable Genius, and suchlike draft-dodging war-hawks. To quote an earlier comment on this thread:

    You can say what you want about John McCain, and maybe he was a douchebag in Hanoi, and maybe he was Daddy’s little boy, but at least he manned up and went. I might not always agree with a man who’s been in combat, but at least I’ll respect him enough to listen to him; maybe even more so if he runs for public office afterwards.

  171. Reinhardt says:

    Civilian puke. Go back to Starbucks faggot

    • Replies: @HEREDOT
    , @Truth
  172. Sig says:

    How that transexual conversion going Heredot? Obviously lost your balls when that part of your manhood ran down your mama’s leg. Leave military matters to men. Geldings have no place in the conversation

    • Replies: @HEREDOT
  173. Denis says:

    Thanks for sharing this Fred, you’re one tough dude. I hope your sight stays, your column is great.

  174. Zinj says:

    The problem is, most Americans only get their news via a single major newspaper (if any printed media at all), the rest via the big 5 TV stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX), and rarely see any dissenting information. Some of us who have been overseas and experienced news from other countries, or had the pleasure of actually experiencing an event and then seeing how wrong the news report was back home on it; know that the Emperor has no clothes.

    To quote a movie character, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” Well, the majority of Americans fit that description well. The unfortunate truth is, so do most of the people on this planet.

    • Replies: @denk
  175. Zinj says:
    @Ursus Terriblis

    \$21 trillion dollars could have solved our energy requirements for the next 1000 years; either with safe nuclear plants, or space based solar power plants beamed anywhere we need them on the planet.

  176. @Dr. X

    Not sure that we needed to fight a single war that we fought in the past 120 years, “WW2” certainly included.

    • Replies: @Richard P
  177. @RVBlake

    I’m nowhere near that age, but I agree wholeheartedly.

    Basic courtesies and pleasantries make life so much warmer, calmer, less stressful.

    The default presumption should be a respectful form of address that shows appropriate distance, I.e. call someone “Mister” or “Mrs.” or even “sir” and “ma’am” until and unless told you can do otherwise — especially if they are significantly older than you, but generally as well.

  178. @Jim Christian

    NO college exemption. Everyone goes.

    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
  179. denk says:

    the majority of Americans fit that description well. The unfortunate truth is, so do most of the people on this planet.

    It’d seem to be peculiar to the anglo domain….

    Donald Trump suggests China ‘a threat to the world’ while praising Scott Morrison as a ‘man of titanium’

    Before you know it, ‘yellow peril‘ become the rallying call all across the anglo landscape..

    Not necessary to click on any of the links, its a waste of time, The title itself tell the story already.

    Makes one wonder, do the Yanks, Brits, Canucks, Aussies, KIwis have a mind of their own, or have they all been MKUltraed already ????

  180. Richard P says:

    The past 120 years? At this point, I question whether the Revolutionary War was justified. Perhaps Monarchy wasn’t so bad compared to the present day circuses? I’d much rather have Christian Monarchy or Imperialism (such as Russia under Nicholas II) than neo-Marxism. We’d have an incredible [Nationalist] nation if our resources were spent at home rather than squandered away on unnecessary quarrels abroad.

    Our government doesn’t give a damn about its people. The question remains: When will the majority of our populace become awoken to this fact?

  181. Bookish1 says:

    Maybe he sees a war coming and wants to warn young guys about what could happen

  182. york says:
    @Melotte 22

    Dying for one’s caste is important, country is immaterial. We fight for our fellows. Do you really think any combat soldier gives a damn for the weakness that is being manifested today? Or Israel? It’s all about training to be ready for the time the winds shift. That and eliminating hajis is always a good thing. The only thing worse than death is to be a civilian.

    • Replies: @Rurik
  183. Rurik says:

    That and eliminating hajis is always a good thing. The only thing worse than death is to be a civilian.

    Being a civilian means thinking for yourself, and being accountable for your actions. I can see why someone like you would consider that a fate worse than death.

    Soldiers kill people because they’re told to kill people, and they do so in mindless obedience. (kill people, that is).

    If civilians kill people, it’s for their own reasons. Not somebody else’s.

    God help me if I ever had to kill someone, but I can tell you with 100% certainty, that I wouldn’t do it because I was ‘ordered’ to by a ‘superior’.

    Here’s the officer who betrayed his Commander in Chief for political reasons.

    A real officer’s officer.

    Looking at that flaccid soy-face, what are the chances he earned any of those ribbons with acts of valor?

    I’d say zero.

  184. denk says:

    YOu’r a swell guy.
    I wish you many happy returns in the coming years.

    BUt I think your admonition is lost on the yanks, who are forever fixated on that perenial bogeyman…China.

    Sinking of the Maine, Gulf of Tonkin, Kosovo, LIbya, Afghan, Syria, Tibet, TAM, Xinjiang…..

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn

  185. @Rurik

    This man is wearing The Combat Infantrymans Badge which is awarded to soldiers who served in combat and were in the infantry.

    • Replies: @Rurik
  186. Rurik says:
    @Bill Brownstone

    is wearing The Combat Infantrymans Badge

    Yes, I also understand he has a Purple Heart medal also. Possibly even for something more significant than John Kerry’s terrible wounds.

    I can’t say I know the character of this man, other than what we all know.

    He was exalted to a very high position in the ZUS military (as the Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council), and then as gratitude, betrayed his Commander in Chief, and his oath in order to foist a coup against the democratically elected president of the country he ‘serves’.

    The notion that he was compelled by patriotism to betray the president, because the talk of investigating corruption in the Ukraine involving the Obama administration, was just too much for him, is utter bullshit.

    Perhaps a man like that with a face like Mitch McConnell, could be capable of heroics, but I highly doubt it.

    He’s a Harvard grad, who slithers in the deepest crevices of the Deepstate. I would expect that battle-hardened patriots, would be banned from such positions by default. They’re generally far too honorable to even get past the State Dept. doors. And if inside, and saw what was going on, would probably lock and load…

  187. buckwheat says:

    Anybody who has served since RVN knows how pointless war truly is. Some just suffered more than others. Fred you’ve served a price no country can repay.

    • Agree: Bubba, Jett Rucker, Herald
  188. Bookish1 [AKA "rochester"] says:

    take a look what the VA put this veteran through:

  189. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    I’m glad he did, and I hope he got paid again, too. I missed it ten years ago, and I can’t imagine it was any better then than it is now.
    I use Patreon to pay this site, which otherwise would be free to me, as it presumably is to most other people.

  190. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    Everyone, that is, but Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Well, Bush wore a uniform occasionally, but I’m not fooled.
    Hell, if we don’t let some men get through, we’ll end up having to elect a woman president.
    A woman like Tulsi Gabbard, I hope. Now there’s a uniform.

  191. John L says:

    My wife was a medical secretary at Wilmer for several years in the 80’s. Her boss was a Dr. Ronald Michaels who was a really hot vitreous and retinal surgeon (probably the Worlds best at that time). He was the only doctor who we know of who was invited to the USSR during the Cold War to operate on the eyes of an aged Politboro kingpin. His patients at Wilmer (many fairly young but blinded by Type 1 diabetes) lined up in chairs in his office and the hall waiting quietly and patiently, sometimes for days for a chance to see him. He was so busy that he came in very early in the morning and worked until late into the night even though he had a deadly heart condition. The irony was as a top surgeon at the most famous hospital in the world they could not save him. He died from heart failure in his late 40’s due to his refusal to take care of himself and slow down.

    • Replies: @Kolya Krassotkin
  192. @John L

    Just read his NYT obit. Amazing man.

  193. Hello Fred,

    I was in an explosion in 1961 that blinded me in my left eye. In 2010, a VA doctor informed me that he had no idea what was wrong with my eye, but, if I agreed, he would operate on my eye.

    I agreed to an operation, and regained my vision.

    Interestingly, like you, I watched the operation from inside my eye. No drugs, only one drop of something to numb my eyeball. The operation took about 2 or 3 hours.

    God Bless the VA,
    Bill Moore

  194. Kiel says:

    “But he should consider the US Coast Guard.”

    Probably not. I live in a small commercial fishing community in the north with significant CG presence. From the feedback I hear, the CG is now little more than the TSA for the slightly less retarded – both run by the fucktards at the DHS, incidentally.

    • Agree: buckwheat
  195. That was some autistic rambling and sounded totally retarded also last time I looked CIA glow jews whacked Diem for a no win demoralization war only decided upon so LBJ who had murdered JFK for communism/zionism could pretend to fight to while supporting it

  196. Ruprecht says:

    Thanks, Fred.

    Now that war in Syria is back on the table, and the US withdrawing troops from Syria – except that they’re not, and that the whole “pullout from the endless wars” is back on/back off the table, there’s only one conclusion to draw.

    War’s a brewin’.

    If you’re of fighting age or have kids of fighting age, take heed, and consider what you’re fighting for in the age of political correctness, social justice warriors, suppression of free speech, so-called “toxic masculinity”, and open boarders.

    In other words, you not fighting for your country anymore. You’re fighting for academia’s country. You don’t have a country anymore.

    Still wanna get fitted for those artificial legs?

    • Agree: SeekerofthePresence
  197. HEREDOT says:

    Do you realize you’re a son of a bitch?

  198. HEREDOT says:

    [Crude, vacuous insults are less likely to be published.]

  199. Truth says:


    Time to trade out the ears on your necklace, Chesty Puller…

  200. True statement, sir, about eye doctors being saints. We recently in my area saw the passing of Dr Seebis. How many thousands had their sight saved by this man’s healing hands, sharp mind and caring heart? And no one ever hypochondriacs an eye problem because of the gruesome details mentioned in your essay! Thank you.

  201. Great article. Just wondering when this happened. A Marine took my place on patrol one day. I never saw him again. I was told the patrol was ambushed and THAT Marine had half his face blown off. This occurred around October 1966. It could have been me.

  202. @Rurik

    Newsflash: Shrapnel doesn’t care about your host valor, it’s an equal opportunity guest.

    And it was a war for Israel, remember? What does valor even mean in that context anyway?

    Also, wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out that the same hormonal chemicals which regulate mandible development were also responsible for Bone Spur morphogenesis? Can’t promise a Nobel, but maybe someone medically inclined ought to look into that….

    In any case, isn’t soy supposed to be a Jewish plot to emasculate the goyim or something?

  203. Manstein says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    I grew up next door to the Grumman facility in Bethpage, in Hicksville. Amazing changes in the population.

  204. Recent columns by Mr. Reed indicate that he’s had at least some of his vision restored. I had thought that his blindness was permanent from the essay above. I’m probably not alone in thinking that more about his treatment and current condition would be welcome.

    Mr. Reed, if you see this, please let us know more, and thank you for your excellent work.

  205. @Alden

    At least JFK did serve, risked his life, and saved a lot of his men. The men who were actually with him in the Pacific at the time, said the story on the History channel played down JFK’s actual heroism. What he actually did was far more than what was portrayed. I think that channel has some kind of agenda concerning the military.

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