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as reported by Paul Hillis

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time and phone number.

The weather’s been pretty nice, and we should all look as if we’ve been in the sun doing good sun things. You know activities like golfing, pulling weeds, or mowing the lawn. But it’s not so. We’ve all been in the house huddled around our TV sets watching what our military has been doing in Iraq.

It seems every war we get involved in the veterans from the previous wars begin wondering; "Will these young people have what it takes to sustain a prolonged war." I’m sure the doughboys of WWI were concerned for the GI’s of WWII. Could they overcome the powerful forces we faced when they were so more advanced with trained men and armament? Of course, we quickly caught up with and superceded the production of all war material. And the men and women of WWII were superb in the defense of their country.

Korea was a smaller version of the first two wars but was just as bloody and brutal. We know war is bloody and brutal, and there are very few who enjoy going into combat. How do you keep your sanity when your friends and comrades are being shot, wounded, and blown apart? Just being able to control your own sanity and courage can become too much for the human mind to accept. Even later when you’re home and freed from the awesome fear of death can you yield as to why you lived and they did not.

By the time Viet Nam began, most of the WWII veterans had retired from the military or were in a position of high rank. It was this generation who were now sending their son’s and daughter’s into a country where the enemy was always so elusive. It was impossible to maintain a battle front as we had become accustomed to in most all the wars we had fought. In Viet Nam, so many of the opposing military were friends by day and the enemy by night.

And as we’ve seen on most of the news channels, many of the Iraqi soldiers are using tactics that have been used in earlier wars. Subterfuge has always been distasteful when used in any endeavor, but in war it can be deadly. Soldiers wearing civilian clothes and hiding among women and children is not characteristic of a warrior. Pretending to surrender and then gunning down potential captors is no less cowardly.

It has been such a tribute to the coalition forces that they have not conducted massive retaliation. They know every one is not responsible for the illegal and immoral tactics that they have been used against them. It would be very easy to blame the innocents for the sins of a few. We should all be thankful that our forces have not conducted mass executions in their attempt to root the pathetic men who claim to be brave combatants saving their country from the infidels.

Humor has always been a release for the fear and degradation of war. WWII had Willie and Joe. They were two woebegone citizen soldiers who typified the men of the infantry referred to as the American Grunts. Each were brought together through the trials and tribulations of war and despair and bonded by the need for human kindness and compassion.

Kilroy was another fictitious figure from WWII. Kilroy did not have the personality or humanism Willie and Joe did and no one every really considered him anything more than a cartoon character. The basic idea of Kilroy was of a man with a bald head, beady eyes, lopsided ears and a very large nose. This strange face was looking over a single line with the words, "Kilroy was here." And he was. Everywhere. On walls of bombed out buildings, jeeps, tanks, and airplanes. His likeness adorned bombs to be dropped, artillery shells to be shot, or torpedoes to be dispatched.

Here’s what I would like to do. I have received several humorous, at least in my humble opinion, emails I determined to be amusing and I would like to share them with you. Example:

How do you play Iraqi bingo?

B-52, F-16, A-10, B-1.

What is Iraq’s national bird?


What is the Iraqi air force motto?

I came, I saw, Iran.

Have you heard about the new Iraqi Army exercise program?

Each morning you raise your hands above your head and leave them there.

What do Saddam Hussein and General Custer have in common?

They both want to know where in the devil all those Tomahawks are coming from.

Okay, maybe there not so funny after all. To you. But to me, well... Peace.

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   Last Update:  September 17, 2003