What Demons Lurk Within John Laird?

by lewwaters

John LairdIn his weekly tirade, Columbian Editorial Page Editor John Laird makes an attempt at a Memorial Day tribute, sans the usual anti-Republican vitriol.

For veterans, some demons never die

Laird does pay a touching tribute to his now deceased older brother, also a fellow Viet Nam Veteran. But, he also seems to display the usual misunderstanding the general public has towards not only Viet Nam Veterans, but also Veterans in general.

Much of this I discussed a while ago in another post, Veterans, Warriors and Heroes, not Victims.

Laird discusses how his brother came home and would not talk about the war, much like many others. I do not presume to speak for his brother, but as a Viet Nam Veteran myself, do have some knowledge of this matter.

Many of us would not discuss it for a variety of reasons, some because we felt no one wanted to listen. We also saw the portrayal of us in the media, TV, movies and often in person and it was not who we were and we did not wish to be associated with that misrepresentation.

Apparently forgotten by Laird is that we are so far the only returning Veterans to face the scorn of the nation, spit at and largely demonized, until they decided we were merely hapless victims of Republican Politicians, ignoring that it was Democrat Politicians who deeply involved us in that war in the first place.

Some had memories too harsh to recall and tried to bury them, as in every other war.

Most tried to simply blend back in and resume their lives before Viet Nam, hiding from the scorn the nation threw our way. Laird’s brother undoubtedly fell into one of these and chose to remain silent.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones in that regard as I chose to remain in the U.S. Army after Viet Nam and was not subjected to as much public vitriol as did many others, having served in Germany until after our involvement in Viet Nam ended in 1973.

Somewhere in all this, John formed in his mind a middle ground between our fallen we memorialize on Memorial Day and all Veterans we honor on Veterans Day. A group of “military veterans who survived combat but whose lives are shortened by the lingering, horrific impacts of fighting in defense of America.

I suspect his attempt is sincere, but misguided as he says, “All across Clark County, there are people whose lives have been physically, emotionally or psychologically wounded by war. Their scars are visible as well as hidden, intermittent and incessant, diagnosed and treated but also self-suppressed and festering.

Why does he not include those who are also proud of their service and defense of America? Does it ever occur to him that his own constant drone against the Bush administrations prosecution of this war contributes to Veterans “self-suppressed and festering” emotional wounds?

Perhaps he is attempting to hide his own guilt towards his brother, as he also says how he stopped asking when John never accepted invitations to go fishing. Perhaps John’s brother would have taken those quiet moments to openly discuss pent up emotions with John and since John turned down the invitations, just clammed up like many others, feeling no one wanted to listen to us.

Most disconcerting is when he states, “Millions of veterans still fight demons they could not jettison back in the war zones.

All sorts of people fight demons lurking within them. Crime victims, abuse victims, guilt ridden and nearly every category you can imagine can imbed those “demons” deep within ones mind.

John’s choice of “Millions of veterans” is all too reminiscent of the words of failed presidential candidate, John ‘F’in Kerry in 1971 when he said, “The country doesn’t know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence…..

No John, we Veterans are just ordinary citizens who had to perform extraordinary tasks because of our belief that America should remain free and are willing to fight to retain that freedom.

This brings us back to John Laird and just what demons is he fighting? Considering his own weekly vitriol expressed towards Republicans and conservative causes and values, just what drives him if not also his own demons?

Guilt over is brother? Perhaps feelings of shortcomings for not having stood up as his brother did? Whatever they may be only he knows, but they show in his writing and expressions of misgivings towards those he disagrees with.

Perhaps what is really needed is a middle space for newspaper editors who don’t understand themselves why they hate opposing views so deeply.

One Comment to “What Demons Lurk Within John Laird?”

  1. Excellent essay, Lew. Spot on. Laird’s piece participates in the time-honored lefty ploy of infantilizing servicemen and women and undermining morale. A great nation, ready for the tasks of defending its interests, does not dwell on the unpleasantness of the task, it concentrates on the task itself and executes it with honor.

    Like

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