Foreign Policy

Reason.tv Redux: Remembering World War 2 Vets: "Every day is a bonus"

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Original air date: November 11, 2009.

On Saturday November 7, 2009 Reason.tv's Dan Hayes caught up with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight from Wisconsin. Honor Flight is an organziation that provides World War II vets and terminally ill patients from other conflicts free travel to Washington, D.C. to tour memorials.

Hayes talks with veterans who recognize that this is not only their first visit to the World War II monument, but may well be their last trip away from home. "Every day is a bonus," is the motto of Honor Flight and it's a sentiment that rings true for the men who fought and those of us who continue to benefit from their service and sacrifice.

For more information about Honor Flight, go here.

Thanks to Joe Dean, Jane Dean, Mark Grams, Liane Baranek, Nancy and Steve Hayes, and all the guardians and the vets we spoke with Saturday.

Music by Josh Christiansen.

This video is posted at Reason.tv's YouTube channel. Go there for embed code and other videos.

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  1. We should remember them every day for what the have done for us.

    Lou
    http://www.anon-posting.at.tc

    1. Well said, anonymity bot.

      1. Thank you Art, and all military posters here at Reason, for your service and sacrifice. You cannot be thanked enough.

    2. Leave it to the anon-bot to came up with the sincerest expression of the holiday I’ve heard today.

  2. This is how soldiers deployed to combat zones are currently treated:

    privatopia.blogspot.com/2010/05/soldier-in-iraq-loses-home-over-800.html

    Friday, May 28, 2010
    Soldier in Iraq Loses Home Over $800 Debt

    Michael Clauer is a captain in the Army Reserve who commanded over 100 soldiers in Iraq. But while he was fighting for his country, a different kind of battle was brewing on the home front. Last September, Michael returned to Frisco, Texas, to find that his homeowners’ association had foreclosed on his $300,000 house?and sold it for $3,500.
    —————-
    Here’s another one of those “isolated examples.”

    A video from WFAA-TV (Dallas/Fort Worth) about the Captain Clauer
    story is available at

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Frisco…..29194.html

    1. This is a pretty slam dunk case under the Servicemember’s relief act.

  3. Good piece. Honor Flight appears to be an honorable organization, and this is obviously an ideal day for us to hear about them.

    However, in the interests of being the turd in the punchbowl, I’m annoyed by the lionization of World War II over all others. Korean War vets, for instance, are also passing away, but we don’t hear nearly enough about their sacrifices. (How has a blockbuster movie not been made yet about the Choison Reservoir?) Or (aside from rare exceptions such as We Were Soldiers) Vietnam Veterans, other than in the, “those poor, pathetically brutalized and victimized drug addicts,” sort of way.

    The constant hagiography makes the ‘Good War’ seem better than it actually was, and other causes worse in comparison. I’m far from a pacifist, but I’d prefer to start hearing more about our fantastic allies in the fight for freedom – the Soviets, the tragedy of (prudently or not) leaving Eastern Europe under their control, and the moral questions of devastating cities or blockading entire countries. To put ‘The Good War’ and later wars (including today’s) into perspective.

    It seems to me that World War II has become a psychological crutch for a nation that is otherwise deeply divided over history. The pathetic thing, I think, is that we have to go all the way back to World War II, to the last major war waged entirely led by a Democratic President, for such a crutch. It’s also interesting because I think it illustrates the point that going backward mainstream political disagreements in this country pretty much end at 1941.

    Now, I’m heading out to enjoy my Memorial Day.

    1. Good (but painful) points.

    2. I feel like WW2 was the last time soldiers actually fought and died “for my freedom.” Soldiers have certainly fought and died fighting against communism, but at the same time, supporting equally brutal regimes, making the conflict less about survival and freedom and more about state power.

      1. I’ll add that Korea is an important distinction. I certainly don’t equate the South Korean government with the North. But still, those soldiers died (often nobly) for the Koreans, not for us or our Constitution.

      2. They didn’t fight/die for your freedom. Neither Germany or Japan could ever have conquered the United States (Hitler couldn’t even cross the English channel, BEFORE we intervened, so how was he going to cross the Atlantic?)

        That being said, it was a justified war in that we were attacked and Hitler issued a declaration of war.

        1. Have to agree, the outcome of WWII was fixed by economics and racialist policies which drove some of the economic outcomes.
          Plus it’s hard to claim the side of angels when you ally yourself with dictators like Stalin who killed four or five times the numbers of innocents that Hitler managed. And Chang who probably managed the same.

          1. Interesting anecdote: Mao Zedong once thanked a Japanese minister for the Imperial invasion of his country, because “without you destroying Chang’s government, how could we Communists have ever taken power?”

            1. Not sure about that; got a cite?
              Chang pretty much destroyed his own ‘government’ with some aid from Chenault. And while Mao was nuts, he wasn’t stupid. That would be overestimating Chang’s abilities and intelligence; not likely.

              1. In 1972, when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Japan established formal diplomatic relationship, Mao Zedong met the then Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. When Tanaka personally apologized to Mao for invading China, Mao responded:
                ” (You) don’t have to say sorry, your country had made a great contribution to China. Why? Because if Imperial Japan did not start the war, how could we communists become mighty and powerful? How could we overthrow KMT? How could we defeat Chiang Kai-shek? No, we are grateful and do not want your war reparations! (Translated from Tanaka Kakuei Biography, original in Japanese).[49]

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J…..te_note-48

                1. All of this is particularly ironic when you consider that it was our interest in a heavily romanticized China, in part courtesy of the strong China lobby and missionary tradition, that was most responsible for our clash of interests with the Japanese.

                  Though it can also be argued that, in addition to our destruction of the Japanese homeland, it was in fact the Soviet intervention against the Japanese mainland army, and subsequent turning over of its arms to the Communists that led to their victory. But of course even this treats years of Civil War as predetermined.

                  Yes, I have even less faith in governments’ ability to dictate foreign affairs than domestic ones.

                  1. World War 2 seems to me like on giant friggin’ indictment of the nation-state system. Butchery and oppression are all it leads to

                    1. Yes. The nation-state system is particularly inclined to war, as it creates nationalism, reduces people’s mobility with which to escape drafts, creates national militaries, and have border disputes, and many more things.

                      Humans are already predisposed to fight each other, and nation states help to push those fights to appalling new levels of death.

                    2. All true. But reality is reality. You can rage against the nation state all you want. But when someone else forms a nation, they are going to come and kill you or enslave you if you don’t form the same thing to stop them.

                      You live a nice free life because you were lucky enough to be born in the right nation state. If this one ceased to exist, you would in short order be dead or living under the thumb of some other much worse nation state.

                      When you say you hate the nation state, you might as well be saying you hate gravity. It would be nice to flap our arms and fly. But it ain’t happening ever. And neither will living without a nation state.

                    3. The Indians didn’t have an effective nation state. They had tribes and thus limited wars by Western standards. It worked pretty well, at least in North America (as opposed to South America where they had real nation states that conquered and enslaved their neighbors). That is until they ran into people who were in nation states. Then they pretty much got ran over. There is no escaping reality.

                    4. I refuse to believe it’s the best we can do.

                    5. I refuse to believe it’s the best we can do.

                      Spoken like a true Communist/Socialist.

                    6. You must really be a collectivist if you make such assumptions…

                      I am pointing out that nation-states inevitably lead to total war and oppression, and that their should be a better way for humanity to coexist, and that makes me a commie?

                    7. I am pointing out that nation-states inevitably lead to total war and oppression, and that their should be a better way for humanity to coexist, and that makes me a commie?

                      Yes. How do you think my career got off the ground? The Promise of Utopia is the The Road to Perdition.

                      I’ll save you a seat, it’s hot down here!

                    8. OMG YOU”RE RIGHT!!!

                      ANYONE who opposes the status quo and advocates new ideas must be a dictator-totalitarian-in-waiting!

                      Oh, wait. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Kim Jong-Il, etc. we’re all the heads of NATION-STATES

                    9. There are no new ideas, idealistic Collectivist. Merely recycled ones. And the movie ends the same sad way every time.

                      You really should study your history more.

                    10. You forgot me Ryan.

                2. RyanXXX|5.31.10 @ 9:55PM|#
                  “In 1972, when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Japan established formal diplomatic relationship, Mao Zedong met the then Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka….”

                  Gets a “maybe”.

                  1. ^why? Do you have a reason for not wanting to believe this story?

    3. First, people whitewash history. Not everyone was gung ho about world war II. There was dissent inside the country. Second, we fought World War II using methods that would cause shock and international outrage today. The same people who talk about Greatest Generation would be out in the streets if we waged war today like we did then.

      All wars are nasty and awful and by necessity complex. I think the boomers have embraced World War II so much for two reasons. First, they feel guilty for how they treated their parents back in the day. Greatest generation my ass. You want to know what boomers really thought of their parents watch All in the Family. Archie Bunker was who they thought most world war II vets were. Second, they use it as a club to defame every other war. It is just an excuse to say Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan are somehow defective becuase they are not as noble as World War II. It is all cynical bullshit if you ask me.

      1. Couple things John, though I think much of what you say is credible.

        “First, people whitewash history. Not everyone was gung ho about world war II. There was dissent inside the country. Second, we fought World War II using methods that would cause shock and international outrage today. The same people who talk about Greatest Generation would be out in the streets if we waged war today like we did then.”

        This is true. Most people do not like their history, or politics in general, to be subtle. But not all wars are whitewashed. In fact, that’s my point – World War II is an outlier. In fact, as I know you’re aware, nearly every other U.S. military operation since World War II, and indeed most before, is in fact set upon by a legion of deconstructionists and critics out to prove evil motives, means, and ends. (Not always without good cause, mind you, though I tend to see U.S. statesmen as generally foolish rather than wicked.)

        World War II is an extreme outlier. Though, as you’ve inferred, as in all wars there’s plenty to pick apart and be cynical about if you wished. It was total war, conducted by servicemen 75% of whom did not flock to the colors, but were drafted – compared to 25% during Vietnam. The war ended with half of Europe enslaved by a government as bad as the Nazis, and China (the country whose well-being most directly led to our involvement in World War II through Pearl harbor) in a stalled civil war, soon to be conquered by Mao’s own abominable government. Our own country came out of it less free, with politics forever narrowed – though I wouldn’t expect many of the dependable critics to mention this last bit, since they’d more or less like the changes.

        Yet in this odd example, with the same populace and intellectual class which is so steeped in cynicism regarding U.S. military and foreign policy elsewhere (again, in some cases with good reason), World War II is still held above it all.

        For some of those critics, some variations of your professed causes probably carry some weight. But it isn’t just hippies and boomers who treat World War II as a the great national crusade. The bulk of the country regardless of party or afficiliation holds onto it as the ideal cause, I think – when in fact I think it wasn’t all that much different from most wars in history, save in brutality and scale.

        Happy memorial day, John.

        1. Like you, I think, I simply wish it to be put into perspective.

          Not merely to pull down the perfect cause, but also to put what are presumed to be ‘less perfect’ causes into perspective.

          But then again, I like my history and politics subtle. As opposed to fairy tales.

        2. The war did end in communism controling eastern europe. But there was no way to stop that. We were in no condition to fight a war with Russia. And the country had no will to fight such a war. I don’t hold the US responsible for that. Stalin was evil and sadly there was no stopping him. At least we saved Western Europe.

          I think World War II was a good war. But I think the Korean war, which saved the South and probably Japan from the nightmare of communism was a good war II. And Vietnam gave the rest of SE Asia time to repel communism. Thanks to US efforts in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malasia are relatively free prosperous countries rather than communist hell holes.

          But all wars are morally complex. No side is innocent. And no result entirely good.

          1. “And Vietnam gave the rest of SE Asia time to repel communism. Thanks to US efforts in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malasia are relatively free prosperous countries rather than communist hell holes.”

            REALLY, dude? Howbout Cambodia? How’d things go for them?

            1. Things went badly because we walked off and abandoned them. If you are arguing that the 1974 Congress was wrong to cut off aid and leave Cambodia and Vietnam to the mercies of the Communists, you will get no argument from me. If you think that the fact that the Communists proved themselves to be murderous killers who killed millions in Cambodia and Vietnam after we left rather than the groovy people the hippies claimed they were somehow taints the US involvment, then I think you are more than a little confused.

              1. groovy people

                I had nothing to do with this, John. I was a very small child at the time.

                1. Of course you are innocent. They were not such groovy people.

                  1. My point was, US “efforts” in Vietnam didn’t really prevent much tyranny. We just sacrificed 50,000 boys and incinerated god-knows-how-many-people to exert imperial influence over an “uppity” country, and gained nothing.

                    1. BTW, if we were so desperate to save those poor Asians from nasty communists, why did our intelligence agencies aid Pol Pot in the dying days of his regime?

                      http://www.thirdworldtraveler……olPot.html

                      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..83660.html

  4. 1941 should be 1945.

  5. Memorial day is not for honoring anyone living.

  6. Forget Memorial day, I can’t wait for that great libertarian anti-state thinker David Harsanyi to leap to the defense of Israel over the latest shinanigans of the “Light to the Nations.” All you libertarian fundies are so selective.

    1. Poor choice for an attempt at a threadjack.

    2. Dooooooooouchebag!

    3. Darn Israelis, always shooting back! Shame on them, right?

      1. They were “shooting back” the same way the Redcoats “shot back” at the Boston Massacre

        1. Fucking Jews. How dare they fight back. Don’t they know it is their duty to die? Why shouldn’t they let Iran arm Hammas like they have Hezbollah? And of course those ships didn’t want to submit their cargo to inspection becuase they had nothing to hide. Nope, no weapons there. And they used a ten month old not as a human shield and for propeganda purposese, but as crew I guess. If the US put ten month olds on their convoys to Baghdad, people would have a stroke. But Hammas does essentially the same thing, and it is okay.

          1. Fucking humanitarians! How dare they fight back! Don’t they know it’s their duty to let their ship get boarded illegally by thugs in uniform? Didn’t they get the memo that INTERNATIONAL WATERS really means ISRAELI WATERS!?!?!

            Besides, bringing food and medical supplies to an impoverished, aggrieved people is textbook terrorism.

  7. If my time ever cometh (I’m a VN vet… a relative whippersnapper), I hope they pay my way to an “accommodating” house of ill repute rather than some steenking old hunk o’ granite. Need to feel the love.

  8. I’d prefer to start hearing more about … the moral questions of devastating cities or blockading entire countries. To put ‘The Good War’ and later wars (including today’s) into perspective.

    The internet’s a big place

    1. Fuck Lew Rockwell. That son of a bitch lives fat dumb and happy in this country thanks to the efforts and lives of millions of people. That fucker has never done anything but wipe his ass on this country. Yet he continues to live here and get all of the benefits of being here. For someeon in his position, who if they had lived in about 90% of all the nations that have ever existed would have long since been sent to prison, to call the American flag the “torture flag” is just discusting. I wouldn’t piss down his throat if he were dying of thirst.

      1. Well, you’ve certainly shown your superior humanity.

      2. Efforts and lives of millions of people who…stood up to tyranny. Just like what he does every day.

      3. The thought of Lew Rockwell’s throat makes me ill as well.

        1. I say bring him on, I gots places to go!

  9. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the refinement of certain H&R posters.

    (Cue vulgar reply in 3,2,1…)

  10. While I greatly respect veterans, I must agree with those who point out that WW2 perhaps is too built up as the last(or maybe only) “Good War”.

    Yes, we talk of how they were fighting the evil of Hitler and his final solution, which was vastly worse than anything going on in the United States. However, I feel that we also ignore the plight of African American soldiers, who were drafted, served in segregated units, defended the freedom of Europeans, and then returned home to a country that wouldn’t give them loans to buy houses in the suburbs, with Jim Crow laws which dictated everything from where the could sit on a bus to where they could eat, etc.

    Many of these same black soldiers, incidentally, became those who pushed the Civil Rights movement early on, leading to Brown v Board of Ed. Why a movie hasn’t been made about them, other than because the United States doesn’t really like to talk about how badly treated blacks in the post-Civil War era(other than the 1960s, when film makers can talk about how we were fixing it).

    Anyway, sorry to be a downer. I mean no disrespect to the veteran, but the freedom they fought for did, upon returning home, require some fine tuning.

    1. Why a movie hasn’t been made about them,

      Off the top of my head, there was a Tuskegee airmen movie, Miracle at St. Anna, and stretching it (because his service started after WW2, but more than any other showed the post war experience) Men of Honor.

  11. Hey Reason,
    So are we going to get a thread about the boarding of vessels going to Gaza?

    That is pretty big news in the rest of the world!

    1. I mean Underzog, MNG, and Suki have a 3 way coming whether you want to admit it or not.

      You might as well just get the ball rolling.

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