I blame God for War.
I blame the Most Powerful Force in the Universe for not using its Almighty Abilities to stop war dead in its tracks.
Why does the Cosmos permit war to occur, when it has all the Love and Goodness we humans offer it day after day in prayer and spiritual offering? Why allow man to kill man in the name of religion, statehood or some foul political purpose?
Young men die (woman too). They never asked for a war, never sat in committee of Congress or behind a desk in a white house. None were privy to some fanatic’s plan to kill civilians indiscriminately. Yet, we fall to our deaths daily.
Lieutenant Vic Ellinger was shot and killed in Vietnam while I forced marched my platoon to come to his help, realizing after two of my men were medavaced out because of heat exhaustion that I was too late. I’ll never forget it decades later. I remember the only guidance I got then was from Lieutenant Colonel Sallucci, who criticized me for allowing my men to walk too close together while in a formation, that a single enemy grenade could wipe out more than one soldier when bunched together.
Why did Vic have to die? I cried out in my silence. Why were we even there? What was our true purpose?
My good friend Charlie Ellis, lieutenant in charge of Second Platoon, was relieved of his duty shortly after two of his troops died in the field. The soldiers, one an experienced man, set up a Claymore Mine, stretching trip wire across the jungle floor, disguising it among the low bushes and leaves. They forgot where they set the wire, walked right into the wire, tripping the devise that triggered the explosion of C-4, killing them almost immediately.
I was relieved of my command after I called mortar fire onto enemy positions, “stepping” back each volley to get it closer and closer to the river across from my position, only to realize after the last request over the radio, the mortar fire had accidently fell on to us, wounding half of the squad I was accompanying in the field. There was an investigation into the munitions, the rounds, the mortar weapons themselves, as well as the human agents who plotted the firing and of course the one who ordered the shots.
Lieutenants were a dime a dozen in Vietnam, especially to a man like Sallucci, a Lieutenant Colonel who had been passed over twice for advancement to what we called a “Full Bird, a full colonel, and that he would be asked to leave the Army if passed over a third time. He wanted “body counts” and none of junior officers in my company provided him with enough. Two 0f us were relieved, and the third one killed.
War. It doesn’t matter who starts it. Why can not the Leader of All — the omnipotent Force Above us — put a stop to it, perhaps removing the gland in a male that causes him to lust for power, to lust for battles just as long as he doesn’t have to be in front of the troops. And while we’re at it, lets hang all the chicken-hawks in government who always push for war as a first solution when they have never experienced combat face to face. Have their child, son or husband/father don the uniform and live in a war zone for a while. See how quickly those hawks pull in their wings and sue for an armistice.
A young man I met a year ago was awarded 100 percent disability by the Veterans Administration for his injuries suffered while in the service. His status was labelled” “Permanent,” which meant that he would received generous benefits for the rest of his life. He was barely 30 years old. But we all knew why he got the award.
The soldier was to have been an escort for chaplains until the morning of 9-11 some eight years ago. Instead, he was ordered to Ground Zero, where he took part in removing the corpses and body parts from the fallen towers, inhaling the fumes that coated his lungs, threatening him — and many others similarly situated — with an early death.
That wonderful young American could be dead today. A victim of a war some terrorist dreamed up for some political or religious purpose, perhaps both.
He will leave behind a small child and a young wife. His life will have been cut in half, maybe more. Why. For God’s sake, why?
I want an answer.
I need some comfort.
I want . . . I need . . . Peace.