Time To Comment

Comment 1

Comment 2

Comment 3

Comment 4 (Awaiting Moderation)

Comment 5

Comment 6

Comment 7 (Awaiting Moderation)

Comment 8 (Awaiting Moderation)

Comment 9

Comment 10 (Awaiting Approval)


Well here we are at the end of a long semester. Although it felt like it went so fast there were elements in it which seemed to drag on forever. All of this came at the end of the school year, like it should be (I GUESS), so needless to say I’ve been a stressed out college student.

I’ll be honest with ya, I tried to do my best with this blog. I’m not the kind of person who loves to read, or reads leisurely. I love to write creatively, don’t get me wrong, and I would have been able to get through this thing a lot easier if I tried to analyze more. I did my best and found interesting subjects that mattered to the themes and elements within most of our books, poems and essays in order to write something meaningful and concise. I hate describing my work or even reviewing it, peer-reviews are always ‘fun’ to be a part of with me cause I practically roll over and allow other people to take the wheel. I hope that my work that I posted was meaningful enough for anyone and everyone who read it.

The class has been a lot of fun for me, I may have come in late a bunch of times and nearly fallen asleep but don’t take that as me being uninterested(lol)! I loved the class discussions and going deeper into the books we read, something that I rarely did before this class. I love taking things at face value, it keeps the entertainment there and I don’t have to worry about the technical stuff, but this class forced me to think about the subject matter and actual meaning behind the work (Vonnegut was a particular “thrill ride” in this area) and I came out of it positively and actually liking what I found.
Thank you Prof. Rozema and everyone for the great semester!

With Maus and Night the struggle of the Jews can easily be attributed to that of the Nazis. What a lot of people fail to realize is that Hitler used Religion, Social Darwinism, and Nationalism to mold his soldiers and citizens into machines. Out of all the reasons for killing in the world, these three are the top three reasons for doing so. What is it about these notions that drive human beings to kill so many people?

From what I have seen it all comes down to a sense of Authority and Obedience. A well speaking individual in power who says he or she represents the people and/or their God, and/or their Nation can get away with practically anything. A test was done back in the 1970’s called the Milgram Experiment. In this experiment individuals were told to test a subject who was hooked up to electrodes; if the subject got it wrong then the individual was told (almost persuaded) by the authoritative figure to electrocute the subject. They would do this through the screaming and the pleading of the subject, even after the subject had “passed out” from the pain. The individuals would continue to do this all the way through the “deadly” levels of electricity, as long as the authority figure eased them through it.

This can explain the inhuman acts that can be seen throughout history, including modern day times. Now it comes down to social justice and religious wars, where authority figures give out global ‘jihads’ and ‘fatwās’ against individuals. Even in the United States’ jurisdiction do we find atrocities such as the Abu Gharib prison in Iraq. Not to forget the genocides that are CURRENTLY taking place in Darfur and previously in Rwanda. This is to say that the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis throughout the 1930’s and 40’s are not a special case. Under the correct circumstances it can happen again and traces of it are all around the world.


Oh man, I’m doing it, I hate doing it and I know so many people dislike it as well. Comparing Iraq to Vietnam, as shown in Tim O’Brien’s The Things they Carry, is never a popular topic, even by those who support the idea that the two are practically one in the same. It is easy to understand see why people don’t want to compare one quagmire to the next, thousands of lives are lost, millions-billions-trillions of dollars being spent on unpopular ‘military conflicts,’ and not to mention those isolationists out there who wish we would just mind our own business.

I’m going to take a short turn away from the Soldier aspect of Tim O’Brien’s book and try to focus on the reasoning on the war as a whole. The Military History Podcast was something I came across awhile ago when we were searching for podcasts for our blogs. One of his more recent posts deals with the democratization of Iraq. As soon as I saw the title I dived in to hear what the man had to say. Almost immediately I thought of Vietnam and our explained reasoning of being there. “To bring democracy to the region,” “To rid the country of totalitarian rule,” “Stop the flow of communism.” You can just replace communism with terrorism in that last snippet and you’ve basically got the same situation.

The blog in question deals with four issues that we face in Iraq: Cultural, Modernization, Marxist, and Voluntarist. Stating that the country’s culture is deeply rooted in Authoritarian style rule, that the country is not modern, has a weak bourgeoisie, and does not have the strong leadership necessary to work towards democracy are all theories that have their merit and flaws but make excellent points many Americans can’t seem to grasp nowadays.

Everything that is discussed makes its way back to the Vietnam issue. It was a more rural based economy, a huge distinction between the social classes, and a more authoritative and colonial culture all prevented an easy influence from western countries to ‘evolve’ like they had towards democracy. It all sounded too similar to pass up a quick mention. I’ve posted the source below for any history buffs to give a quick listen.


In Need of an Escape

Shellshock, post traumatic stress disorder, battle fatigue, and combat stress reaction; these are all words and phrases used to describe the ones in and after war who’ve become mentally affected by their and other’s actions in war, and the horrific events that they have seen and/or been a part of. We here a lot about this in America; the subject has become quite the talking point when it comes to soldier’s benefits and deciding how they should be treated. Tim O’Brien and Kurt Vonnegut discuss this matter from our point of view, as Americans, but we rarely here about the other inhabitants of our world. What happens to them when decades of bloodshed fill their entire lives?

To most people in Lebanon the words “battle fatigue” couldn’t be any closer to being literal. This country, like many others in the Middle East, hasn’t had a “break” from battles and wars in recent memory. Just a few years ago Israel declared war against what they called a terrorist fueled government, one that not only supported those that meant to destroy their very existence but also harbored hundreds of thousands of them in their own borders. Israel should know; they’ve been forcing these people out of their territory since the 1940’s. You see, Lebanon has over 400,000 Palestinian refugees within its borders, making up 10% of the country’s total population. Having spent most of their lives in U.N. camps throughout the country, they are some of the most repressed people in the world. Because of their nationality they are refused jobs and benefits many of the natural born citizens of Lebanon are given. They are also unable to return to their homes in Israel because: their homes no longer exist, their national papers have been destroyed, and most importantly the governing bodies in Israel refuse to allow them to do so.

“I’m sixty years-oId, and I don’t have a single good memory,” Says a woman who was born in Lebanon to Palestinian parents. She has seen, and unfortunately been in the middle of, six wars in her country. Her brother shot in the head from sniper fire as he was washing dishes. Her family and friends scarred with shrapnel. And her home has been destroyed at least five times. This is a prime example of “hell on earth” so to speak. Where most people who’re affected by “combat stress reaction” are only suffering mentally; let us not forget those who are suffering physically as well.


In a previous post I discussed the matter of parents, loved ones, or just anyone not being able to be in contact with someone they know and love in the military. On the other end of the spectrum we find that the advancement of technology has greatly reduced the need for long, arduous, letters to people in the army forces. Packages and special events that don’t require the utmost urgency are probably the only things that are sent over the postal service to these people. What we have now are cell phones and the Internet. It’s almost as if communication has lost the spark it once had with the military.

Military communication has always been censored, most of it anyways, nowadays its become incredibly difficult to censor anything as-is; usually its done after the fact, well after the message has gone out. Phones allow texting and talking directly with someone from anywhere in the world. Yes I sound like a salesman from the early 1900’s but the advent of cell phones has removed the need to use “the army’s phone” to get in touch with a loved one. Texting becoming even more discrete as one doesn’t need to talk to use it. Much different than the time period I “Since You Went Away” where family members had to wait weeks in order to read a response from someone.

The Internet has also added e-mail, chatting, instant messaging, blogging, and recently “tweeting.” All of the above are used by military personnel; to tell their stories, to keep in contact with their loved ones, or just to talk to friends and total strangers online. Gone are the days where every single detail is necessary, with fast responses and enormous amounts of time there is no need to talk about every detail of the day or every thought; although it never hurts to do so. Talking about one’s own life, in the barest and most drawn out senses, like in the collection of letters brought together by Judy Barrett Litoff and David C. Smith. Talking about canning tomatoes, walking the kids to school, cleaning the house, or what have you are no longer necessary parts of today’s conversation when talking to friends or family oversees.

Shining Through

That sense of heroism with Roland from Vera Brittain’s novel, “Testament of Youth.” He fought to make something of himself; to become a hero for those he loved and the country he cared for. What is it that drives someone to risk there lives so willfully? What can take someone out of the civilian life and thrust them into a burning flames of war and have an expectation to show those around them that they did something worth while? Many people have answered this question but up to this point in time, very few have actually had so much of an impact on me and others involved like a letter from Major Doug Zembiec. Maj Zembiec’s close friend Maj. Ray J. Mendoza died in combat during his time in Iraq. The following snippets I have taken from his blog display how heartfelt the subject can be. The letter is directed to Maj Mendoza’s two children.

“…The last thing he told me that day was, “I don’t want any of these people (terrorists) telling my kids how to act, or how to dress. I don’t want to worry about the safety of my children.” Kiana and Alek, your father fought for many things, but always remember, he fought for you….”

“…Live with integrity, for without integrity we deceive ourselves, we live in a house of cards.
Fight for what you believe, for without valor, we lose our freedom. Be willing to sacrifice, for anything worthy in life requires sacrifice. Be disciplined, for it is discipline that builds the foundation of your success….”

“…Our great nation was built on the shoulders of men like your father. While the nay-sayers and cowards hid in the shadows sniveling that nothing was worth dying for, men like your dad carved our liberty away from the English, freed the slaves and kept the Union together, saved Europe from the Germans twice; rescued the Pacific away from the Japanese, defeated communism, and right now, fight terrorism and plant the seeds of democracy in the Middle East. Your father was a warrior, but being a warrior is not always about fighting…..”

“…In your future, when you are pushed against a wall, in a tight spot, outnumbered and seemingly overwhelmed, it may be tempting to give up, or even use the absence of your father as a crutch, as an excuse for failure. Don’t. Your father’s passing, while tragic, serves as an endless source of your empowerment. Your father would not want you to wallow in self-pity…..”

“You will always be in our lives….

Very Respectfully,

Under different circumstances but similar motives This is what Roland was fighting for in the story. It shouldn’t matter how he died to Vera, what should matter is that Roland died for something that he loved. He pulled himself up, he got himself out, and he did something courageous.