I'm Right Again Dot ComA new commentary every Wednesday — May 25, 2016
RAQQA and Memorial Day
May 23, 2016 — Arab and Kurdish forces, embedded by U.S. Military Advisors, began a concerted attack to defeat the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) holding Raqqa, Syria, the supposed capital of their imagined caliphate in the Middle East. At the same time, reinforced and retrained Iraqi forces are advancing once more on Faluja and Mozul in Anbar Province, Iraq, from which they fled in great disarray two years ago.
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast..." said Essayist Alexander Pope.
I once had a cousin who missed fighting in Word War II by a few months and instead became an armchair general. He could name every date and movement of our and enemy forces important to the American military, from the standpoint of turning points in America's conflicts—for example, Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas, 1776 or the U.S. Marines retaking Belleau Wood in France from the Germans in June of 1918.
He could easily find a tenuous link that would allow him to return to a dissertation concerning his principal interest from almost any topic of conversation. It was his hobby.
He purchased large maps of both Europe and the Pacific Ocean and could trace the line of U.S. victories from D-Day (June, 1944) to the crossing of the Rhine at Remagen (March, 1945), and from the naval battle of Midway in June of 1945 to the landings on Leyte Island in the Philippines—all turning points in major conflicts involving the United States.
Not many years passed before he tacked a large map of the Korean Peninsula on his hallway wall. He was often prompted by it to point out that MacArthur's brilliant landing at Inchon would soon bring that conflict to an end, which it ultimately did, but not in the manner as the General and my cousin imagined.
I am unsure of the exact date, but my learned cousin passed away sometime in 1974, thus being spared the ignominy of our defeat in Viet Nam and the cost of our involvement in the conflicts of the deeply-troubled Middle East.
This essay just before Memorial Day has caused me to reflect on the great number of wars in which the United States of America and its youth have been directly involved all over the Globe. It seems to have been almost continuous most of my life, and a great part of the life of this Nation.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Menchen
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