WoW and Greatest Generation

December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on WoW and Greatest Generation.

I found that in The Greatest Generation Comes Home, Michael Gambone restates a lot of what Congress had promised veterans after serving in war. But what was not stated in the reading was the concept that the veterans barely ever received any of the incentives that the government had promised them. Gambone recalls after the Revolutionary War, “In 1782, Congress agreed to provide a pension of five dollars a month to sick and wounded soldiers for the duration of their lives”(6). Congress never followed through with their agreement. Also, I remember reading about this from the last Wages of War reading that, “Poor record keeping at the state and federal levels left the veterans’ pension-system ripe for fraud and manipulation”(7). It wasn’t the veterans’ faults that they couldn’t receive pensions, it was the government’s lack of organization that resulted in veterans not getting benefits. A lot of benefits were arranged for veterans, but most were never implemented.

In the epilogue of Wages of War, Severo and Milford comment upon the Vietnam War veterans greatly because their treatment was one that was different than the norm. Most Vietnam veterans blamed themselves for losing the war, when in actuality there was no way to win the war. Severo and Milford recite that, “Soldiers only bore most of the cost of the mistake”(421) because they fought in the war, so veterans were blamed for the loss. No one realized it wasn’t the soldiers who brought America into war, but the military advisers and civilians. I like the end of the epilogue where Severo and Milford describe Vietnam veterans by saying, “Their lessons are too important for us not to listen; they are master teachers”(425). Vietnam veterans were treated like no other war veterans. Actually hearing their stories and experiences from their perspective  is a more credible source than any other media resource. Vietnam veterans learned from their service and are now helpful in  Americans’ understanding of war regarding future generations.

Guest Speaker

December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Guest Speaker.

The guest speaker was very intellectual. He truly knew a good deal on what he spoke of. I believe he could have spoken with more emotion. He spoke very quietly, but I guess this can be credited to his age. It was interesting to hear him talk about James Farmer. He had a lot of respect for this bright man. He went on for over ten minutes just talking about how he greeted James Farmer. The speaker said every time he addressed him he would say Mr. Farmer or Mr. James farmer. I found this interesting because the guest speaker could not have been to young when this was going on. This shows you the kind of respect he had for James Farmer, and the kind of man James Farmer was.

Epilogue and Other Veterans

December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Epilogue and Other Veterans.

In the epilogue of Wages of War Severo and Milford bring attention to the mistreatment of veterans as a whole. They point out that while Vietnam veterans were abused and isolated from society, it was not a unique towards the Vietnam generation. In fact, “the veterans of Vietnam were very much of the tradition.” (pg 420) From the Revolution and beyond veterans of all wars have experienced some form of neglect and maltreatment. As Severo and Milford point out, “when veterans of postwar periods are mentioned, it is usually in terms of their readjustment.” (pg 420) The government and society do not want to document the harsh treatment of veterans, thus the histories of veterans are glossed over to consist of just the hardship in readjusting to civilian life.

Similarly, Micheal Gambone notes that veterans started to be included in public policy and American politics once politicians began to recognize the value of military service. It is interesting that in the early colonies such as Plymouth, there were benefits for old soldiers and their families. William H. Glasson states that, “in 1718 Rhode Island enacted a law that included medical care and an annual pension drawn from the colony’s treasury.” (pg. 6) The debate over military pensions has not been resolved even today, but the question is why is this so? We saw WWI veterans march on Washington to recieve their promised bonuses even when “12.8 percent of the total federal budget was dedicated to veterans.” (pg. 10) Perhaps this is why society is unsympathetic towards the plights of veterans. In the eyes of the common civilian veterans are receiving special benefits from the government, and yet they still listen to the protests of veterans about how they are neglected. Thus, we have this inevitable gap between veterans and society that will in some way, shape or form will always be present.

Wages of War Epilogue and Gambone 3-14

December 1st, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War Epilogue and Gambone 3-14.

Wages of War

The epilogue of Wages of War ties the whole book together.  It brings us back to the earlier chapters of the book and points out that the soldiers of Vietnam are not different like we are taught in public education, but that their mistreatment is indeed the norm while the treatment of WWII veterans different.  The epilogue puts forth some numbers on the VA that truly forces you to realize what a corrupt organization it has been.  With $750,000 accepted by the VA from a a pharmaceutical company and many of the doctors having their licenses removed during the Agent Orange scandal.  The VA goes down to simple penny pinching when in 1985 they canceled the $78.95 a month pension of a 96 year old WWI veteran because he had saved it!!!!!!!   I think that every high school student should be required to read this book because we are not being taught in schools the times that America has gone wrong and the memories of Vietnam will soon fade as the veterans age opening the door to once again continue mistreating our veterans.

Gambone

Reading the introduction to this book bothers me.  This section of reading makes it sound like most veterans made it off easy after wars.  It mentions on page 6 the land and money that was offered to veterans of the Revolution and then goes into how people tried to cheat the system, but it fails to mention that there was not that much of a system to rob because the land and money was never given to the revolutionary soldiers.  Page nine of the introduction completely disagrees with on of the large points made in Wages of War about Charles Forbes. On page 256 of Wages of War Forbes talking about hospitals is quoted as saying “didn’t construct any” yet according to Gambone he was building hospitals because he was taking a 15% kick back on the construction of each one.  Taking a kick back on building hospitals and not building them at all is a substantial difference, if it was only a kick back then the veterans could have still make it out fairly well while not building them truly puts the veterans in a bad place.  It seems that this introduction sugar coats  a lot of what happened to veterans.

Wages of War Epilogue and Gambone 3-14

December 1st, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War Epilogue and Gambone 3-14.

Wages of War

The epilogue of Wages of War ties the whole book together.  It brings us back to the earlier chapters of the book and points out that the soldiers of Vietnam are not different like we are taught in public education, but that their mistreatment is indeed the norm while the treatment of WWII veterans different.  The epilogue puts forth some numbers on the VA that truly forces you to realize what a corrupt organization it has been.  With $750,000 accepted by the VA from a a pharmaceutical company and many of the doctors having their licenses removed during the Agent Orange scandal.  The VA goes down to simple penny pinching when in 1985 they canceled the $78.95 a month pension of a 96 year old WWI veteran because he had saved it!!!!!!!   I think that every high school student should be required to read this book because we are not being taught in schools the times that America has gone wrong and the memories of Vietnam will soon fade as the veterans age opening the door to once again continue mistreating our veterans.

Gambone

Reading the introduction to this book bothers me.  This section of reading makes it sound like most veterans made it off easy after wars.  It mentions on page 6 the land and money that was offered to veterans of the Revolution and then goes into how people tried to cheat the system, but it fails to mention that there was not that much of a system to rob because the land and money was never given to the revolutionary soldiers.  Page nine of the introduction completely disagrees with on of the large points made in Wages of War about Charles Forbes. On page 256 of Wages of War Forbes talking about hospitals is quoted as saying “didn’t construct any” yet according to Gambone he was building hospitals because he was taking a 15% kick back on the construction of each one.  Taking a kick back on building hospitals and not building them at all is a substantial difference, if it was only a kick back then the veterans could have still make it out fairly well while not building them truly puts the veterans in a bad place.  It seems that this introduction sugar coats  a lot of what happened to veterans.

Wartorn

November 24th, 2010. Comments Off on Wartorn.

This documentary did not spare the viewers.  It was filled with real footage from wars of injured and dead people in an effort to aid people in seeing some of what the soldiers have to go through every day.  The focus on the documentary was not to explain P.T.S.D or how to treat it but to bring awareness to the problem that many people choose to ignore of don’t believe exists.  P.T.S.D. is a disorder caused by stress on the brain leading to symptoms such as severe depression, nightmares, and suicide.  I have known that P.T.S.D. exists but from the way it has always been talked about a relatively few people seemed to get it, from this video I have learned exactly how wrong I was because the army estimates that approximately 30% of veterans of the Iraq war suffer from some form of it.  I also did not realize how many of the cases lead to suicide from P.T.S.D. to the point that General Peter Chiarelli to study how to changed the army’s opinion to on P.T.S.D. because such a large number of soldiers and veterans are committing suicide.  P.T.S.D. is a little understood disorder at this time that many soldiers do not want to admit they have and many people in the military wont accept exists, General Chiarelli stated that he does not think they will ever be able to make everyone be able to accept that psychological wounds are as dangerous as physical ones. General Chiarelli’s goal is that they will start pulling men off the lines when they start showing warning signs of P.T.S.D. because it will only get worse if they don’t.

Wages of War/Greatest Generation

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War/Greatest Generation.

In the reading, we see the mistreatment of American veterans. The mistreatment of veterans is a common characteristics of the books read in this course. The government turned their back on the veterans of many different wars. They often received little to no pension, which means they fought and died for free. A common theme in our readings are the way society relates their national issues to that of the veterans.

Like the Vietnam War, the veterans of the Korean War were looked down upon. The veterans were often blamed for all the problems America was facing such as, political and  financial. I think it is wrong to treat American veterans so negative. If you think about we owe them our whole way of life. If it was not for them we would be under the rule of a different country. American veterans sacrifice a lot for us, and all we do is look down at them. We should be honored to give them the pensions and respect they deserve. They make us who we are.

Wages of War and Greatest Generation Comes Home

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War and Greatest Generation Comes Home.

While reading about the Korean War it became clear that the Korean War veterans became the scapegoat of the era. The police action that was the Korean War ended the prosperity that the end of World War II brought to America. Due to this, the American public blamed the conclusion of prosperity on Korean War veterans. Reading about the Korean and Vietnam wars caused me to wonder. What makes some wars forgettable and others not? Is it the amount of soldiers and civilians who die, the situation the war occurs under, the amount of countries involved or which countries are involved? Or perhaps it is the aftermath the war incurs which causes a war to go down in the history books. Either way, it cannot be the proximity to current times which causes a war to be forgotten. While the Spanish-American and Mexican wars were forgotten, so was the Korean War, which was much more current.
This also led me to wonder what is the difference between the Vietnam War and the Korean War which makes one absolutely forgettable and another one of the most arguably infamous wars in American history? Both wars were mass confusion. The U.S. lost both wars. And in each war soldiers were confused about what they were fighting for. And communism was involved in both.
In terms of veterans in the reading, I noticed a lot of similarities throughout the eras. Chapter 6 of Wages of War discusses James Monroe and his concept of benefits for veterans, provided by the federal government. However, there were issues distributing said pensions since the pension system was wrought with fraud. It occurred to me that this always seems to be the case. Veterans get the short end of the stick in nearly every war we’ve studied and this reading proves no differently. There doesn’t seem to be a time, at least not that Wages of War writes of, when the Veterans Administration actually helps the veterans. Chapter 7 tells how many veterans ended up with no way to pay for food, shelter and other necessaries to live. This is again, the veterans getting the short end of the stick. Another example would be when Americans used Korean War veterans as scapegoats during that time period. Finally, when reading about the treatment soldiers got at Wikoff and Montaurk Point, I felt that I could have been reading something straight out of Born on the Fourth of July. The way these veterans and soldiers were treated (or rather, not treated) was so reminiscent of Kovic’s experience it could have been the same time period.

Greatest Generation 7 and Wages of War

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Greatest Generation 7 and Wages of War.

Greatest Generation:

The main point of this chapter was the fact that America was not ready when the Korean war broke out.  It was expected that the military would cut back its budget after WWII ended, but they clearly cut back way to much.  Situations like the 8th army’s supplies with only 32% of their trucks operational and only 9% of the updated rifles they were supposed to receive had actually arrived.  The other story that surprised me was the lack of attention that deploying soldiers received.  When the Pennsylvania 28th national guard regiment left it was 15,000 men and the only media attention that it received was a story in the Reading Times on page 14 of the paper.

Wages of War:

6-  This chapter has jumped back in time to 1817 and is looking at the first real set of pensions issued by the government.  Offered to the aging Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans the bill was only expected to be giving out $500,000 a year but quickly grew to be more than 6 times that.  The total shot up largely because of the mass amounts of fraud that was occurring from the upper class members of society receiving pensions for soldiers that had never existed.  The bill met with a great deal of controversy that would continue up through WWII.

7-  This chapter is mostly about the ridicules was the congress got around paying pensions to Revolutionary Veterans.  They seem to have found any excuse that they could and yet they paid people like Von Steuben large extravagant pensions, with land grants, and re-payed him for what he had lost coming to America.

8- The focus on this chapter was on Irish and Catholic immigrants during the Mexican War.  What surprised me the most in this chapter was both the desertion rate in the American army and the existence of an American legion in the Mexican army.  During war there are always people who desert but during the Mexican war it approached 10% of the American army.  Catholics the most discriminated against group in the army at the time were considered to be the ones mostly deserting and yet they accounted for only 5.3% of those deserting.  The Battalion of St. Patrick caught me off guard because it has never before been mentioned and it would seem that a battalion of Americans fighting for the other side would have been mentioned when learning about the war.

13-  This chapter has moved from the Mexican war to the Spanish-American War.  The statistics following the Spanish-American war seem to be fairly consistent with most in that more people died of disease than actual fighting.  Extreme amounts of disease and disorganization seem to surpass even the Forbes that would come later with having lost over 250,000 pounds of food.

14-This chapter on the Philippine Insurrection makes me realize that Vietnam was not the first war America has fought but not been proud of.  The way that this war was carried out seems to be worse than Vietnam with the “water cure” and orders to kill anyone over the age of 10.  Villages were burned and Filipinos were shot out of cold blood while begging for their lives.

21-It is a rare occasion in this class now that I find myself surprised by the treatment that soldiers received, the treatment of Korean POWs however has managed to surprise me.  Normally when a POW returns they are greeted better than most returning soldiers due to the conditions that they had to endure during their imprisonment. The POWs from Korea however were treated as traitors.  With the VA benefits denied, they were publicly accused by releases from the Pentagon to have given into communism and therefor no longer be loyal to America.

22-This chapter seems to be comparable to the Agent Orange’s Dr. Orange.  Mayer with out evidence was able to say that 38% of veterans had fallen to communism and that it was the fault of the nation for raising weak men.  He also claimed that many of the deaths in the POW camps came not from the torture but from people just being to weak to keep going on and just giving up.  What is scary is that it seems most of the nation accepted this idea with out any problems, condemning the veterans to be considered weak.

Wages of War 6-8, 13-14, 21-22 and Greatest Generation

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War 6-8, 13-14, 21-22 and Greatest Generation.

In these readings we learned about veterans from the many other wars.  In the first few chapters it talked about the veterans from the War of 1812.  We see that many people did not receive awards after having fought so hard.  Joseph Bloomfield was introduced as well as Monroe’s pension.  The pension was shot down by Congress because it gave too much money to the soldiers.  I think its great that a bill was finally composed to help veterans except that it was not passed.  Another big thing was that in 1820 Congress passed a law that people had to make a statement of nationality to receive pensions.  In the later chapters it talks about the Korean War and how soldiers were blamed as scapegoats for the war.  I thought this was unfair especially because Americans were just looking for someone to blame the war on.

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