Musings on November 19, 2006

George Bush is finally in Vietnam. I wrote my thoughts about this to my Vietnam comrade and dear friend, Bob Kerr. I could not let this irony go unrecorded.

When Bush was of draft age, I had already been to Vietnam, wounded, and returned home. Because my wounds were severe, I could not return to Vietnam as I had wanted. I did not want to return for any geopolitical or philosophical reasons, but merely because I missed being with my men. It was damn near impossible to get into the National Guard in order to escape going to Vietnam, but of course, Bush managed to enlist in the Guard through political connections and clout.

Now he is in Vietnam, and I know he will not be forced to drink water from bomb craters or feces-fertilized rice paddies because his tongue is swollen from thirst. He will not sit uncovered in the monsoon rain, watching the heavy drops bounce off the eyeballs of an unblinking dead comrade. He will not walk through saw grass until his face and forearms have hundreds of tiny slices that burn like fire from his own salty sweat. He will not pull bone fragments out of his hair after a friend steps on a land mine and disintegrates. He will not have the copper taste of blood from biting his own tongue in fear.

No, he will shake the hands of our former enemies, and visit museums dedicated to their victory over us. He will sup on the finest cuisines and sleep on soft warm bedding. He will have ice in his drinks. He will tread on the bones of us all.

Bush the hero, in Vietnam at last.

Joe Labriola, Marine