08 August 2009

Reading Leaving the Alamo

Just finished reading the book by Dick Stanley, my good pen-friend from Austin, Texas, retired Texas newspaperman (politics, crime, science, medicine, technology), married father of one child, antique rose gardener, self-publisher, and Vietnam combat veteran (MACV, I Corps, 1969). A good man, and no, this is not a critic's review of the book. As far as I am concerned, all literature critics could... but that's another story.

This post happens to be not about the book, which you better buy and read for yourself (believe me, PDF is way too overrated a tool, so do like I did - the book is two or three clicks away).

The thing that caught (again) my attention in the first story of the book was:

"Do you think they will call us baby killers, too?" a young captain, Abi Badil, an Army trauma surgeon home from Iraq, had asked Ben the previous summer.
Causing my heart to experience that unpleasant clenching sensation I get when being reminded of the hate some people vent in the entirely wrong direction. Granted, USA is a big country, with all kinds of people, including all kinds of whacked out brains and minds. Still, it is a bad sign for a nation when its people hate and deride those whose lot is not to reason why. I hope I'm mistaken, but this is the sign of internal rot setting in. Not that some of the folks who curse the soldiers and spit at them would mind...

It is difficult to apply logic when your instinctive response will be to spit back. Or something stronger. But how do you explain to a hateful creature that he or she is as responsible as the next citizen for the soldier being where he is and doing what he does? That he or she being unable to prevent this or another war that put the country's sons and daughters in the harm's way and yes, made some of them into killers (and some of them dead) is far from being the soldier's fault. This is democracy for you, nimrod, and this is your doing and thus, your fault, too.

And the question that the young captain asks... unfortunately, the answer is yes, there will be some deranged haters, name callers and worse. So, keep you head high, captain, and be proud: you are a good man, one of many good men who do what they have to do.

Now back to the book. Not being a critic, I'll be short: I learned from it. It is wholesome and, like your best rye bread, true. Like a good slice of rye bread* it doesn't try to deceive you. I assure you that it will be a good investment of your hard-earned money. So click here.

(*) This is a point I feel we may have a disagreement about with Dick . Americans don't dig bread. That spongy white stuff...

P.S. The quote was used without an explicit permission. I hope it's OK.