Archive for the Military Category

Christian Crusades

Posted in History, Military, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2017 by Drogo

The Christian Crusades (1095-1410) invaded Jewish and Muslim territories, and used militant terrorism on locals. In 1095 Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos I requested military aid from Pope Urban II. Whether Alexios was just complaining or wanted a show of mercenary support under Byzantine control, is unclear. Alexios had restored the Empire’s finances and authority, but he still struggled with foreign enemies, particularly the migrating Turks.

At the Council of Clermont later that year, Pope Urban preached for a Crusade to free the holy lands from the infidels. By giving more military forces than Alexios requested, Urban would be in a political position of power in the East. Local clerics through-out Europe were encouraged by Pope Urban’s declaration of holy war. Peter the Hermit led thousands of mostly poor Christians out of Europe in what became known as the People’s Crusade. In 1096 Peter claimed he had a letter from Heaven telling Christians to prepare for the Apocalypse by seizing Jerusalem from the Muslims and Jews. Europe witnessed the first major anti-Semitic massacre when these Crusaders terrorized entire Jewish communities in Rhineland Germany. Before they got close to Jerusalem, the first Crusader army was ambushed by the Turks and suffered heavy losses, causing retreat. The Kings of France and England refused to join Pope Urban’s Crusade of German despotism, but many other nobles began to rally troops from various countries based on bonds of lordship, family, ethnicity, and language. Foremost amongst the noble financiers were Count Raymond IV of France; Prince Bohemond and his nephew Tancred of Norman Italy; and lastly Godfrey and his brother Baldwin I, lords of Lotharingia. Combined with a Northern French army led by lesser lords, the armies totaled about 100,000 people.

The official First Crusade army led by nobles combined with some veterans of the first peasant army, and traveled to Byzantium. Emperor Alexios cautiously welcomed them, and made the princes and counts pledge allegiance to him. This allowed both East and West Christian Empires to unite against the Turkish Sultan Kilij Arslan I. In 1097 after a Crusader siege and a Byzantine naval assault, Nicaea was captured. Crusader envoys were sent to Egypt seeking an alliance. The Turks were not unified in defense of Aleppo and Damascus. The 3-month march to Antioch was plagued by starvation, thirst, and disease. Baldwin used 100 knights to claim his own territory in Edessa. Despite losses, the Crusader army embarked on an 8-month siege stalemate of Antioch. Bohemond persuaded a tower guard to open a gate, and the Crusaders entered and massacred the many Muslims and Christians of Antioch.

Sunni Islam under the Sultan of Baghdad raised an army to recapture Antioch, led by the Iraqi general Kerbogha. Having lost thousands through desertion and starvation in the besieged city, the Crusaders attempted to negotiate surrender. This was rejected by Kerbogha, who wanted to destroy the invaders. Morale within the city was boosted when a mystic soldier claimed to have discovered the Holy Lance of Antioch. Bohemond led his Franks to break the Muslim ranks, who surprisingly retreated and abandoned the counter-siege.

Fatimid Egyptians took Jerusalem from the Turks. Raymond left Bohemond at Antioch, and led his Crusader army rapidly along the South coast to Jerusalem. After some failures, Crusaders constructed two large siege engines; the one commanded by Godfrey breached the walls in 1099. For two days the Crusaders massacred the Jews and Muslims of Jerusalem and pillaged the City of God. Godfrey further secured the Frankish position by surprising the Egyptian Shia soldiers, who retreated to Egypt. By 1100 most of the Crusaders considered their pilgrimage complete and returned to Europe, leaving behind Godfrey, Tancred, and Baldwin. Muslims mistook the Crusaders for the latest in a long line of Byzantine mercenaries (eg Vikings), rather than religious paladins bent on long term conquest and control of people property. During the 1100s Muslims realized they needed to organize their armies like the Europeans were doing, so they could level the playing field at least for defense.

Moses Maimonides was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt during the 1100s. Moses Maimonides wrote the tractate ‘Sanhedrin’ in which he formulated 13 Principles of Hebrew Faith. The Sanhedrin summarized his opinion of the required beliefs of Judaism; which included the exaltation of God and Moses, the coming of the Jewish Messiah, and resurrection of the dead. Maimonides also wrote about charity and prophesy.

Knights Hospitallers, aka ‘The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem’, originated from an Amalfitan monastic Christian hospital cult in Jerusalem. After the first conquest of Jerusalem circa 1100, the Hospitallers also became a military order under Papal charter, charged with the care and defense of the Holy Land. The medieval Catholic military order endured and eventually became the modern Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

The Knights Templar were founded circa 1120 and lasted as an official Catholic paladin military order until 1312. The name ‘Templar’ comes from their full name ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ in the Order of Solomon’s Temple’. In the Dark-Ages Frankish knights in the court of Charlemagne paladins (cleric-warriors) tradition based on the legends of Roland and his other knights. Templars admired the image of pauper knights helping each-other by sharing the same horse. Templar knights with their red cross on white field coat-of-arms, became famous for dedication to faith, fighting, and finance.

Teutonic Knights, aka ‘The Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem’, were a clerical military mercenary order circa 1190. The Teutonic mission was to conquer and protect German Church interests including pilgrims and hospitals. The Teutonic Order has recently been only religious since 1929, but still confers limited honorary ‘knight’ awards.

Arabic philosophy was usually more enlightened than European philosophy under Christian theology during the Middle-Ages. We in the West are still learning from Arabic sources, how to interpret our own records better. Robert of Chester translated the Arabic book of the ‘Composition of Alchemy‘ in 1144.

After the establishment of the religious military orders of Hospitallers, Templars, and Teutonic Knights; Popes were granting money and property to those who fought papal enemies, making the crusades more blatantly political and economic, although many continued to use the theology as justification for war. True believers often cannot be counted, as we cannot know what people truly thought inside. People often are torn inside about loyalties and motivations, and religions are largely based on dealing with dualities in life.

More nobles from all over Europe led campaigns with smaller groups of crusaders. The loss of Aleppo and Edessa before 1150, led to propaganda for the Second Crusade. This time kings got in on the action. King Louis VII and Conrad III led armies from France and Germany to Jerusalem and Damascus, without major victories. Preaching anti-Semitism again led to attacks on Jews including massacres in the German Rhineland and other places, amid claims that the Jews were not contributing financially to Christian society or the rescue of the Holy Land.

In the 1160-80s Islamic power changed leaders from Zengi, to Nur al-Din, and finally to the most famous Saladin. Saladin united Aleppo, Damascus, and Egypt in the Crusade era. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, kicked off the Third Crusade by drowning in the Saleph River on route to the Holy Land. Richard the Lionheart, King of England conquered Cyprus in 1191. Philip II of France arrived at the siege of Acre, and with the help of his best buddy Richard, the French and English won. Richard and his English army travelled South along the Mediterranean coast, and defeated Muslims near Arsuf and recaptured Jaffa. Richard the Lionheart came close to Jerusalem, but realized he lacked the resources to capture and keep the city. This marked the end of Richard’s crusading career, but Richard preferred his properties in France so Prince John ran England (see Magna Carta and ‘Legend of Robin Hood’ – 1200s).

In 1200 Pope Innocent III began preaching for the Fourth Crusade in France, England, and Germany. In Venice the Doge plotted to use the Fourth Crusade to overthrow Emperor Alexios III of Byzantium. Crusader knights arrived in Venice and were unable to pay the Venetians for a fleet, so they agreed to attack Constantinople, sack it, and share what could be looted as payment. The crusaders conquered Constantinople twice, pillaging churches, and killing nobles and many citizens. The Fourth Crusade never got near Jerusalem.

Popular ecstatic piety led to the Children’s Crusade in 1212. Large groups of young adults and children gathered, believing their innocence would enable success, where their corrupt elders had failed. Most were captured and sold into slavery. Few went on to the Holy Lands. In 1217 the Fifth Crusade was led by Andrew II of Hungary and Duke Leopold VI of Austria, against Saladin’s Ayyubid successors in Egypt and Syria.

The Sixth Crusade was a negotiated truce, supported by force and concessions. Frederick II was a Holy Roman Emperor with some cultural sympathy for Islam, and arrived at Acre in 1228. The peace treaty gave Christians most of Jerusalem and access to Acre, while the Muslims kept their sacred areas, and the Sultan of Egypt could use crusaders as mercenaries. Pope Gregory IX attacked Frederick II, ruining Christian progress in the area. Next was the Barons’ Crusade, and finally several other crusades including those in modern times.

 

[to be continued]

 

 

 

*

Stupid Crusades Video War commentary by Drogo Empedocles

Advertisements

SCOD Moral Philosophy

Posted in Military, Psychology, Rhymes & Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2017 by Drogo

The ball or the sword, a tale of two opposites

when I was a boy, I had a very important moral decision to make, and I knew by the time I was an adult, I needed to make up my mind which political polarity side I was on (Left or Right). I remember trying to be either extreme Right or extreme Left. I first tried being as Right-wing as I could be as a teen, wearing military uniforms, school uniforms, business suits, racing fast cars, and glorifying violence and military might; and to this day I have very militant or strict law-abiding attitudes towards things, and severe punishments for the slightest offense. After trying to follow the best corporate pioneer and team role-models I had observed over the years, I decided that competition at all costs was not for me; but it took becoming abusive to others to understand that for me, that way of thinking was poison for which there was no immunity to. I chose the side that wanted to control through Peace and Love, over the side that was for an Abuse and Violence or Predator and Victim system. Happy lives use less poisons, and for some there may be psychological disorders that result from capitalism. The choice of the ball or the sword (Lone Wolf & Cub) falls to all of us, at various phases of life, and as different metaphors as obstacles to our intention to lead a good or happy life.

Patriarchy vs Matriarchy

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military, Philosophy, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2017 by Drogo

My thoughts on why Feminism and Hermes/Aphrodite rights are so critical today –

I believe there are many types of relationships, friendship being most important. I tend to find that males can usually handle aggression better than females because of testosterone, but with gender such statements are of course generalizations. I do think that civilization has operated on the chemical and role differences in militaries and most power systems, allowing men to dominate politics and religion as well. Predatory Capitalism also seems based on competitive aggression more than compassionate sympathy. These patriarchal power structures may be why cultures tend to be so homophobic; as to admit to feminine ‘weaknesses’ like love and care are vulnerabilities that opponents can use against us. I think many of our problems in the World today are a result of our inability to place humanitarian leaders in power, that would balance the lop-sided ‘titanic’ systemic dynamic that has perpetuated demagogues over democracy.

West Virginia Coal Mine Wars

Posted in Economics, History, Military, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2017 by Drogo

Chronology of the WV Coal Mine Wars

1912 – West Virginia Miners strike in Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, and are evicted from their houses; tent colonies are set up.

1913 – The Blue Moose Special train passes through the encampment of Cabin Creek and opens fire on the unarmed inhabitants. A reconciliation between the coal operators and the miners leads to the right to organize in Cabin Creek and Paint Creek.

1919 – An armed march by some 5,000 miners is organized on Lens Creek with the intention of overtaking Logan county and establishing a union. The march was abandoned some days later when the miners learned that federal troops would be sent in.

1920 – Seven Baldwin-Felts detectives, two miners and the Mayor Testerman are killed in the Matewan Massacre. Sid Hatfield, the Chief of Police of Matewan who was involved in the shooting, is charged with the deaths of the detectives.

1921 – Matewan Chief murdered in public. Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers are gunned down on the steps of the McDowell County courthouse by C.E. Lively, a Baldwin-Felts (Pinkerton) detective. Lively is never convicted of the crime.

Though tensions had been simmering for years, the immediate catalyst for the uprising was the unpunished murder of Sid Hatfield, police chief of Matewan, At a rally on August 7, Mother Jones called on the miners to march into Logan and Mingo counties and set up the union by force. Armed men began gathering at Lens Creek, near Marmet in Kanawha County on August 20, and by four days later up to 13,000 had gathered and began marching towards Logan County. Meanwhile, the reviled Sheriff of Logan County, Don Chafin, had begun to set up defenses on Blair Mountain.

The second armed march of the miners took place, with the same intent as the first; to reach Logan County, overthrow the crooked Sheriff Don Chafin and organize a union. What would become known as the Battle of Blair Mountain was composed of some 10,000-15,000 armed miners in total, marching from Lens Creek in Kanawha County, to Logan County, some sixty-five miles away.

The WV Mine Wars end at the Battle of Blair Mountain where Don Chafin and 1,500 men were waiting for the miners. There was sporadic fighting for a week with hundreds of deaths. The miners eventually disbanded when 2,000 troops, aerial forces as well as chemical warfare troops converged at Blair Mountain. The rebellion was forced to surrender, and lay down arms.

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest armed insurrection since the Civil War, and the largest organized armed uprising in American labor history. It led almost directly to the labor laws currently in effect in the United States of America. It was the final act in a series of violent clashes that have also (confusedly) been termed the Red Neck War, from the color of neck-scarves worn by the miners, and the likely impetus of the common usage (originally Scottish term Red-neck) in the vernacular of the United States.

*

During the American Mine Wars of the 1920s, and the period that followed, liberal Union moderates (Democrat Centrists) argued they could produce concrete benefits for workers much sooner than radical Socialists who planned to overthrow capitalism in the future. Left Wing politics began to move right towards Center, as unions negotiated with company bosses; union leaders began to get paid more as they demanded more dues from paychecks, and workers began to see less effective representation.

In the 21st Century, Mayor Kip Stowell of Harpers Ferry, WV and other local liberals and historians voted to preserve the Charles Town Jailhouse. The modern jailhouse building was used to jail General Bill Blizzard, during his trial for ‘Treason’ (armed insurrection terrorism like John Brown). It was scheduled to be demolished by the Republicans in office. The jail was saved by replacing them with Democratic County Commissioners.

In 2005, the West Virginia Archives and History Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the National Park Service that 1,600 acres of Blair Mountain be included on the National Register. Coal mining companies and nearby landowners promptly sued to overturn the nomination. The Sierra Club moved to join the suit, and in May 2006 a West Virginia judge granted the Club’s participation. That same month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Blair Mountain battlefield on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places. The United Mine Workers union also came out in support of the National Register listing because of its importance to the labor movement.

(more research to come….)

SCOD audio reading of this Essay on Mixcloud

PBS Video Documentary of the WV Coal MINE WARS – covers much of the history

Coal Mine Wars

Military Post-911 Quagmire Essay by Daniel Crimmins

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2015 by Drogo

Veterans for Peace posted this article from Reddit television:

‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’


Visual-Effects asked:

How do you Americans as a people walk around head held high, knowing that every few months your country is committing a 9/11 size atrocity to other people? Imagine if the 9/11 terror attacks were happening in america every few months. Again and again, innocent people dying all around you. Your brothers and sisters. For no reason.

Daniel Crimmins (Mopecore)

from U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division answered:

“Many of us are unable. Many of us watched 9/11, and accepted the government and media’s definition of the attack as a act of war rather than a criminal action. A smaller portion, drifting along passively thought a major war was coming, that people we knew were going to fight and die. Some of us maybe worried about our younger brother being drafted, despite being in college. Now, it seems stupid, but in the 72 hours after 9/11, some Americans, maybe suffering from depression, certainly with a mind shaped by comic books and action movies, ate up the ‘us vs. them’ good vs. evil rhetoric spouted by the cowboy in chief. After all, he was the president, and no matter how bright you might think yourself, you can still be swayed by passion and emotion, led to terrible decisions.

“Some of us, therefore, left our dorm rooms, and walked down Main Street to the recruiter’s office. Some of us were genuinely surprised the office wasn’t full to bursting of young men eager to avenge their fallen countrymen. Some of us were genuinely surprised when we had to push the recruiter to stop trying to sell desk jobs and just let us join the damn Infantry.

Some of us got enlisted, then, and went down to Georgia, head high to mask the anxiety and fear they might have. Perhaps some number of Americans in this situation discovered that maybe it hadn’t been the best idea, but would be goddamned if they were going to admit it, and let everyone back home smuggly remark on how right they were.

So they persevere. They learn to work as a unit, to look past personality issues, to see each other as Soldiers rather than as a race, or economic status, or any of the other things people hate about each other. They learn to kill.

Then some of these people, perhaps while sitting hungover in the platoon area in the Republic of Korea hear that we have invaded Iraq. They have “Big Scary Bombs”, and Saddam Hussein, the secular Arab dictator had somehow colluded with the devoutly religious OBL to attack the US. They hated our freedom, you see.

Then some of these young American men might transfer back to Georgia and be assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, and end up in Iraq in January of 2005. And maybe these kids, still drunk on Fox News and fantasies of glory and renown being enough to win their ex-girlfriends back, are excited to go to Iraq. Sure, we hadn’t found any WMDs yet, and we had Hussein in custody, but they were still somehow a threat and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into Jeffersonian democracy. Inside every dirka is a good American, yearning to be free.

So you fight. You kill. Watch friends die. Its usually quick, almost never quiet, but for the rest of your life, when you remember sitting at the bar with them, they’re blown open. You picture the nights you spent downtown at Scruffy Murphy’s, but instead of the stupid hookah shell necklace, your boy’s jaw is blown off, and his left eye is ruined, and he’s screaming.

You fight, you kill, you watch friends die, and you notice a distinct lack of change. You kick in doors and tell terrified women to sit on the floor while you and your friends ransack their home, tearing the place apart, because they might be hiding weapons. There is no reason to believe this house in particular is enemy, same for the next one, and the one after that, or the seven before; they just happened to be there, and maybe they had weapons. Probably not, they almost never did. There were a few times when we had deliberate raids based on solid intel and we’d turn up some stuff, but generally we were just tossing houses because we could.

Then maybe your FISTer forgets to carry the remainder, and drops a mess of mortars on the village your supposed to protect. Maybe the big Iraqi running at you screaming was just mentally ill. Of course, you won’t know this until after you’ve but seven rounds through his ribcage, and his wailing, ancient mother is cradling his body, spitting at you.

Maybe when you get back to the FOB, the Platoon Sergeant tells you you did the right thing; next time, it might be a suicide bomber. They tell you it was an honest mistake, it wasn’t your fault. They tell you to go get some chow, take a shower if the water works, and sleep it off. You did good work that day, apparently.

During chow, the TV is on AFN, and they are rebroadcasting some Fox News show, and you’re hearing about drone strikes, and all the great things we’re doing, and you can’t help but see that poor dumb assholes face, looking past his mother as he bleeds to death. He’s in pain, obviously, but he has the most perfectly confused look on his face. He doesn’t comprehend what’s happening. Little more hot sauce on your eggs doesn’t really help.

Then you realize you haven’t seen anything to support the idea that these poor fuckers are a threat to your home. You look around and you see all he contractors making six figure salaries to fix your shit, train Iraqis, maintain the ridiculous SUVs the KBR dicks ride around in. You consider the fact that every 25mm shell costs about forty bucks, and your company has been handing those fuckers out like shrapnel flavored parade candies. You think about all the fuel you’re going through, all the ammo and missiles and grenades. You think about every time you lose a vehicle, the Army buys a new one. Maybe you start to see a lot of people making a lot of money on huge amounts of human suffering.

Then you go on leave, and realize that Ayn Rand has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. You realize that Fox News and Limbaugh and John McCain don’t respect you or your buddies. They don’t give a fuck if you get a parade or a box when you get home, you’re nothing to them but a prop.

Then you get out, and you hate the news. You hate the apathy, and you hate the murder being carried out in your name. You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you.

Maybe your heart breaks a little every time some asshole brags about a “successful” drone strike.

Your statement is correct enough; if all of America was one dude, that dude would not give a shit about the little brown people we’re burning and crushing and choking to death. We aren’t all like that, but it makes me incredibly, profoundly sad to see what my country actually is.” – Daniel Crimmins

*

Medical Marijuana – Yes I Can!

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Medical, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by Drogo

“ok this is my blog what grind’s my gears

– by SFC Peter A Manuel United States Army Ret.

“Ok there has been a huge debate over medical marijuana ,well here is mine. I suffer from combat related PTSD i have been to a number of programs for this where they used both counseling and medication to try to help me with this, none of which worked at one time not to long ago the Veteran’s Administration had me on trazadone, seriquil, xanex, lisinopril, prozaserin, lithium, welabutron, and a number of other’s . the results were i still had nightmares, social anxiety, and hyper vigilance, hyper tension, and still had sleep issues and i still was in a great state of deprssion but what these med’s did do was cause me to gain weight my triglisrydes were high and so was my blood sugar and i lost all interest in the thing’s that i enjoyed to do and turned into a zombie.

So me being one to question and critically think i decided that i was going to do an experiment on myself b/c i figured i had been a lab rat for the VA, that what would it hurt at this point, so when i left the VA i stoped all med’s immediately, i went to a friend we will call him Cleidus and purchased some marijuana and started to smoke 3 small hit’s puff’s whatever you no what i mean in the morning and did the same around 9pm. I regimented this b/c of an article i read by an Israeli doctor and the result’s were i slept better my deprssion went away and lost all the weight i had gained and even my nightmare have decreased or i have none at all, so what i am saying is that for me this plant is a miracle drug that has not only helped me but may have saved my life , now i am not saying go get blazed up all day long well unless you have nothing to do; then well whatever floats your boat; but it has helped me and remember holistic is always better and prescibed drug’s only weaken your immune system. i am no longer on any medications.”

“And that’s what grinds my gear’s”
SFC Peter A Manuel

Fight For Your Right To Wear Your Own Uniform

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Military with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by Drogo

Mis-Matched Uniform Freedom

As a former member of the military, released with an honorable discharge, I have some opinions regarding my rights to wear my own clothing. The military has attitudes about our uniforms, based on regulations, that to me are like a gang mentality. I have had two random female soldiers tell me publicly that i cant wear my uniform or other service uniforms as i want to, saying ‘its offensive’. I find that attitude to be more offensive than my representation that i wear proudly. The interesting thing is when i remove or mask the badges, like with gangs, they cant say anything.

Let me clarify first, that I am not wearing my uniform to impersonate someone else, an officer, or otherwise. I am not trying to pretend I am something I am not. I am simply wearing articles of clothing that have personal meaning to me.

I wear my berets proudly. I was given an army beret by a friend of mine in the Army while i was in the Air Force. My grandfather wore berets, so it is a family tradition. Those that find it offensive have been brainwashed by military standards that should apply only when on duty. I am proud to have served our country for 5 years, and even more proud to have all my rights as a citizen again, to express myself just as other Veterans have from other Wars. If you wanna talk about being insulted, I have also been called out for wearing my father’s army jacket, an item that has particular honor for me to wear.

I do hate the official attitude about the uniforms, it really upsets me and i never forget the times I am confronted and harassed by those that should be greeting me as a brother. I was diagnosed with PTSD by the Air Force, and i remember every time someone in the Air Force gave me crap about how i was dressed. Usually its strangers that dont understand, and dont care to. One benefit to not wearing uniforms, is i dont get harassed and threatened by soldiers. Really, the only people that ever gave me trouble for wearing uniforms or parts of a uniform are military people that want to assert their authority like a bully. Thats the only reason i dont wear mis-matched uniforms more often. Because despite the grief i get, i feel by being who i am i do deserve to wear things that mean something to me. I usually got top marks from my sergeants for how sharp my uniform was, despite the verbal shit they push.

Being told i cant wear my own clothing, or have not earned the right to represent our country through fashion, is more offensive to me than all the insults about my height I got during basic training. Shit im more hard core about why i wear the things i wear than most people are, even in the military. I think those foolish enough to give me crap assume im just being a ‘jester joker’ and are shocked when i tell them that what i wear im willing to fight for.

I have also published my opinions of the rights we willingly give up (by choice) in 2 books: BDU (my boot camp journal) & Operation 10 COW (Ten Conscientious Objections to War). I have always considered myself a patriotic warrior, and still do, despite the fact that there is no military branch for an artist like me. I did the best i could to conform, but i already felt strongly about who i am before i joined. I am proud that an individual like myself can serve and not be shot for not fitting in.

I was proud to wear my mis-matched dress uniform to the funeral of a punk rock friend of mine i went to school with, and he starred in my films. I knew he of all people would appreciate my right to wear symbolic ‘bling’, and to him also it meant something deeply personal. He taught me about the meaning behind punk rock styles of dress.

My wife thinks there is a reason it’s been women soldiers that publicly challenge me about my mis-matched uniform. She could be right, since most men dont want to get into a fist fight over it, so they are wiser than to insult a veteran that may be psychotic. I never looked at a Vietnam War Vet that was homeless and thought they were a disgrace to the dusty old tattered uniform they wore. Any doubt I had about their right to wear their uniform was annihilated after watching RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD. In that film, a Vet is harassed and beaten by local cops. Then he goes RAMBO on their asses.

Honestly you gotta be stupid to pick on a soldier and tell them they haven’t earned the right to wear what they want. The right to wear what you want is one of those freedoms some of us are willing to fight and die for. Live and let live, that’s the way i try to be.

My friend Pete “War” Manuel of the US Army had this to say about it:

“Coming from someone who went to war for this country i will say you have the right to wear whatever the hell you want, and anyone who say’s different never had any concept of what freedom really is or what they swore an oath to protect. Well truth is most who flip about that kinda stuff are more the non-combat types from my experience. In my line of work we rarely wore rank unit or any other patches other then the black or american flag, we didnt blouse our pants and wore beards and stashes and often didnt wear our acu tops. Alot of brass in the usmc thought we were some kind of vikings but our lack of uniform distingushed us as elite.”