Good Morning Gentle Readers,
None of these 58,000 some-odd people got away for the weekend at Lake Havasu. They won't be tipping a cold frosty while grilling burgers with friends and family. You won't find them chilling at the beach, the park, or running a 10K on this CONgressionally mandated, three day weekend that mostly marks the first onset of summer.
That's not a scold or a guilt trip..... I don't fault anyone for spending time with family and friends. We all work hard and it's a three day weekend. Enjoying life in the face if what is meant as a somber occasion doesn't mean that people don't care about the war dead, most do.
That said, Robert McNamara, the idea man and purveyor of the Viet Nam War, died at 93. He lived decades longer than any of the people whose names are etched upon this wall. He was called a Wunderkind, but his real contribution to our culture was to ensure that none of these people would ever hold a grandchild in their arms. He, along with LBJ, JFK, and Nixon, bears the moral responsibility for financing the carnage and putting into place economic policies that set the stage for the ruinous inflation of the 1970's and Jimmy Carter's recession.
Sending young men off to die in old men's foreign wars is a time honored tradition. Next time let's send the McNamara's to the front lines. With M-16's that malfunction regularly*.
*Despite being described as “the best individual infantry weapon ever made” in 1965, the XM16E1 began to exhibit catastrophic problems in 1966. Reports from the field indicated that U.S. troops in Vietnam were experiencing chronic failures to extract. In the malfunctions, a cartridge’s brass case would seize fast in the chamber and the extractor would tear through the rim. Such a stoppage could only be cleared by pounding the case out of the chamber from the muzzle end using a cleaning rod—something that was terribly impractical and dangerous to do in the middle of a firefight. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that XM16E1s were not issued with cleaning rods at this stage in production. In fact, they even lacked compartments for cleaning kits in the buttstocks. When a cleaning rod could even be scrounged at all, troops resorted to taping them to the forward handguards of their rifles. Through the end of 1966 and into 1967 these malfunctions reached chronic levels and resulted in lives lost on the battlefield. After one especially violent battle, a Marine wrote home to his mother saying “Before we left Okinawa, we were all issued this new rifle, the M16 … practically every one of our dead was found with his rifle torn down next to him where he had been trying to fix it.”