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  •  Thank you, Anglico... (24+ / 0-)
    You just reminded me of my grandfather. He fought in World War II, and he was also a lifelong Republican. And if he were alive today, he'd be mad as hell about Dubya the Commander Guy and how he's screwed up our country. Back in 1980, my grandfather couldn't even vote for Ronald Reagan, as he thought that second-rate actor turned "movie star politician" disgraced the GOP with all his phoniness and pandering to wingnuts.

    Now my grandfather was not without his faults, as he had been a nasty alcoholic and mean racist (he was a John Bircher in the '50s). But in the last years of his life, he made peace with the family and with his fellow human beings. Oh yes, and he gave up on the GOP when Reagan arrived on the national stage.

    I sometimes wonder what my grandfather would think if he were still around today. At the very least, I suspect he'd be horrified by how Dubya destroyed "conservatism". And I bet he'd be shocked to see our military so overstretched and so disrespected by those losers occupying the White House.

    Jeez, I wonder what it will take to clean this mess and restore the America that would make my grandfather proud.

    Don't blame us... We're turning "The OC" (Yes, that one!) blue at The Liberal OC! : )

    by atdnext on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 01:28:15 PM PST

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    •  From another Country - another veteran. (23+ / 0-)

      My stepfather fought in WWII, as a German soldier.  Towards the end of the war he became completely disillusioned, as he saw the mangling and desecration of his own unit, but survived as the only one.  I found pictures in a drawer when I was six years old, black and white - dead bodies in the snow, castrated and otherwise mutilated.

      He literally crawled between the two enemy lines back home and hid until the war ended.  He wanted no part of it any more.

      He was never a good stepfather to me.  He was silent and not able to forge any relationships, except that with my mother (he adopted me.  I was an illegitimate child).  I never really bonded, but always perceived, in a child's way, his pain.

      Only now do I realize that he suffered from PTSD.

      He was a German soldier drafted into WWII, and in so many ways, endured the pain and suffering of our own Iraq Veterans.  They were not drafted, but lied into this war.

      My stepfather eventually deteriorated and died of stomach cancer.

      Only now do I begin to feel true love and compassion for him, as I did not have the PTSD information available during my youth.  I just always thought he didn't care.  My mom and him also, over the years, became more and more distanced from him.

      She hat a  scar on her head, from a bullet received during the Berlin bombing, when she observed people being boiled to death from the broken waterlines flooding the refuge basements being hit by bombs.

      Needless to say, she wasn't a really good mom for me either.  It's just now I can understand where she came from.

      Hillary/Clark in 08 - unbeatable

      by Gabriele Droz on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:00:03 PM PST

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      •  I now love them both so much, (14+ / 0-)

        and all my childhood's loneliness and lack of love I can finally understand, and let go of my lifelong feeling of abandonment and resentment towards my mom and stepdad.

        I hope to bring attention to the fact that all soldiers drafted or lured into war by propaganda, fighting so-called enemies, are more often than not, victims of the powers in charge at the times - no matter what country they live in.

        That's why we MUST get a handle on our leaders, and it will take ALL of us with ALL our efforts - SIMULTANEOUSLY.  We don't have much time left, as far as I can tell.

        Hillary/Clark in 08 - unbeatable

        by Gabriele Droz on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:07:44 PM PST

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      •  OMG, that must have been tough... (8+ / 0-)
        Knowing that something was wrong with your stepfather and your mother, but not knowing what to do to help them. This really shows how war can take a toll on entire families. And especially when that war was unjust (as in the Nazis starting WWII or Dubya invading Iraq), and there's little or no help for veterans after the war ends, it must especially be painful. I'm so sorry to hear this, but I'm glad to see that you've come out stronger and more compassionate out of that experience.

        Don't blame us... We're turning "The OC" (Yes, that one!) blue at The Liberal OC! : )

        by atdnext on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:18:52 PM PST

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        •  Yup. (8+ / 0-)

          it only took me 40+ years to figure it out.

          My mom had serious anger issues, and she took them out on me.  How was I to know where they came from?  I just thought she hated me, and my step dad didn't give a damn.  No one was there to explain the war-thing to me.  Germany was in deep mourning and contemplation mode during my childhood.  Once I got into elementary school, some information started to publicly come out, but a nation takes a long time to come to terms with the horrors it has perpetuated.  And it took Germany some time to do so.  In the meantime I was growing up, knowing very little to nothing about where I came from, and why my parents couldn't give me what I needed.

          War is hell - and its consequences last far longer than the wars themselves.  Thanks for caring and understanding.

          Hillary/Clark in 08 - unbeatable

          by Gabriele Droz on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:26:21 PM PST

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        •  Not quite true. (10+ / 0-)

          OMG, that must have been tough - Knowing that something was wrong with your stepfather and your mother, but not knowing what to do to help them.

          No, actually I felt like there was something wrong with ME, not THEM, as I had nothing to compare it to, only the wish to be loved by my parents.  I had no background information, therefore I thought I was failing something as a daughter.

          Hillary/Clark in 08 - unbeatable

          by Gabriele Droz on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:31:05 PM PST

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          •  Excellent point. Kids always think it's them (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anglico, Gabriele Droz, NC Dem

            That it's their fault.

            Be good to each other. It matters.

            by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 09:29:52 PM PST

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          •  Adding to the sadness of it all... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anglico, Gabriele Droz, tigerdog, NC Dem

            Your mother and step father probably were aware they weren't in a good place, but had no insight into exactly where they were nor the cause.

            It's only recently that PTSD has been understood by the mainstream.  I believe that following WWII, those who returned home from battle with very visible symptoms of it were referred to as having been 'shell shocked'?  Those who suffered in silence with less public manifestations remained invisible.

            There are millions and millions and millions of secondary victims of war.  I hope your insights will lead you to a place of internal peace and safety.

            "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

            by 417els on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 11:50:12 PM PST

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        •  WWII was started by Nazis... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gabriele Droz

             but aided by loyal supporters of the corporate expansion program that forced workers into poverty from within the United States. It was our bankers and our aspiring world leaders that aided and financially supported Hitler to come to power.
             Once the war was over many of these corporate fascist migrated to the US and again set up shop. I saw a quote just this past week but I can't recall where that basically said that the war by the corporate supporters never ended, just changed venues.

          Eisenhower- "We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage."

          by NC Dem on Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 06:58:22 AM PST

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      •  E-freeking-gads (0+ / 0-)

        Good heavens girl, what a situation to be born into, both parents carrying burdens like that.

        I think life for so many was so rough then -- people didn't have the luxury of emotions, they didn't think of "psychological repair", etc. They just stuffed it as well as possible, and got by.

        I thought my row to hoe was pretty heavy, this really much be a lot to work through. And you are! Clearly understanding PTSD is a tool that you are using to the fullest to create peace for yourself.

        Be good to each other. It matters.

        by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 09:28:17 PM PST

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      •  War should not be fought by humans. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anglico, Gabriele Droz

           We are too fragile and tightly wound already to have to be taught to kill and maim. Soldiers who kill in wars on both sides will never recover. They may forgive the other side once they understand that the war was not always about survival or national security but about greed, money, and power.
           Beautiful response to a great diary by James. Maybe your god's arms envelope both of you and all that mourn and suffer through this mad world.

        Eisenhower- "We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage."

        by NC Dem on Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 06:50:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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