Coming Home for Christmas in a Body Bag
"You are an asset! An expendable asset, and I used you to get the job
done, got it!"-Col. Dillion (Predator)
This Christmas, Ruth McGlothlin will prepare all of her usual holiday recipes
for the family. The house will be filled with the aroma of homemade candy,
fruitcake, turkey, baked ham, and candied yams. There will be a beautiful
Christmas tree in the corner with numerous presents wrapped in flamboyant
colors lying underneath. Countless family members and well-wishers will visit
to spread the Christmas cheer. Christmas music will play throughout the house
and prayers will be said before the Christmas dinner.
But this Christmas will be different for Ruth and the entire McGlothlin clan.
This is the first Christmas that they will have without their son, Ryan
McGlothlin. You see, Ryan will not be coming home for Christmas this year, or
any other year for that matter. Ryan, as well as over 2,000 other young men,
died in that giant sandbox over in
above will be repeated in homes of grieving parents and spouses all over the
Oh, I know, you hear about soldiers dying all the time on CNN. The over/under
betting line for dead soldiers each day hovers around 5. As with all things
unpleasant you get used to it after a while. How else could you explain
diabetics getting used to sticking themselves numerous times each day with
Most of the dead soldiers are poverty stricken young men from places like
But every now and then you come across a story that just doesn't fit the mold.
Our friend Ryan McGlothlin is one of those stories. I was friends with his
brother, Nathan, back in elementary school. It was a strange friendship
considering I lived in the Tony Childress trailer park and Nathan's dad was a
Circuit Court judge. Nonetheless, we were friends and I vaguely remember Ryan
running around the house in pajamas.
What makes Ryan's story so bizarre was his chosen path to military service.
Ryan was the Valedictorian at
Unlike many Valedictorians' in Southwest Virginia he refrained from attending
the prestigious SVCC (
and accepted a scholarship to William and
A W&M scholarship is a pretty good ticket if you can get it; tuition, and
room and board for a year there will run about $10,000. Not only did he take
the scholarship, he didn't turn into some wild eyed drunk that drank Everclear
out of unknown Rubbermaid trashcans like some people. Ryan ended up earning a
degree in chemistry from the university.
Ryan's impressive accomplishments didn't stop there either. He received a
fellowship in chemistry from
as a mascot. He became probably the first person form
not sure what a degree in Polymer Chemistry encompasses, but I assume it's a
bit tougher to obtain than my cherished Social Studies degree from prestigious
So, here comes this strapping young lad fresh out of
ready to conquer the world. I can't even imagine the amount of hubris that
accompanies that kind of success. It looked like he was all set for a fantastic
career, 401(k)'s, stock options, multiple home ownerships, and everything the
American Dream is today.
For some unknown reason Ryan decided to join the Marines. Please back up and
read that again as I am not joking. Ok, did you re-read that last sentence?
Here you have a young man with a degree in POLYMER CHEMISTRY from
dropped into a useless war in the middle of some godforsaken desert. Ryan's
parents must be different from mine because instead of being lauded for bravery
my dad would have had me committed to the Psychiatric Ward until I came to my
Family members said that the events of 9/11 prompted Ryan to join the military.
That's certainly an understandable emotion, I even wanted to go and open up a
can of whoop ass on
myself, but thank God I came to my senses. I am not cut out for military
service because I am basically a lazy bastard who would rather sit around and
watch porn all day instead of shooting at brown skinned Iraqis. I'm smart
enough to realize that our "leaders" are using the lives of our young men for
their own personal conquests. The understanding of this concept separates those
who are "street smart" from those who are "book smart". As a result I'm here
writing this column and will continue to do my duty as an American and expose
these swine for the white devils that they are.
Ryan died tragically from gunfire during "Operation Steel Curtain". Not that
it's funny or anything, but the term "Steel Curtain" is best known as the
nickname for the 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers defensive unit. You may not know
it, but football was created by the
situations. A football kick-off is the exact same thing as battle charges of
the past. A battle between offensive and defensive lines is very similar to
trench warfare. And consider the lingo: the blitz, the bomb, quagmire,
trenches, run and shoot, shotgun, red zone, gridiron, headhunters, shock
troops, etc. Sorry for the football analogies, but I wanted to give you
something to stump your warmonger friends with at the next cocktail party.
Dear Lord, I need to snort about 500 mg of Ritalin to sharpen my focus. Now I
recall what I was going to say before going off on that football tangent. Some
of my acquaintances assumed that Ryan went into the military in order to
improve his chances at becoming a politician. Hmm…this could be true, but dead
men tell no tales. If that was his reasoning for joining the Marines I can
accept that. If you are an aspiring politician you damn well better have a
military background in these days of bloodlust. Wesley Clark nearly vaulted to
the Democratic presidential candidate in the last election, and the only
qualification he possessed was being an ex-war general. If warrior like
Achilles, Shaka Zulu, Rambo, Spartacus, William Wallace, or Alexander the Great
ran for president in the
today they would win 95% of the popular vote.
Most of you are probably saying, "Head, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
The troops need our support and here you are being a dissenter". But that's
where you are wrong junior. I am supportive of the troops. Anyone willing to
die to protect
citizens deserves all the respect in the world. A truly unpatriotic act would
be if I wholeheartedly supported sending these young (and women) over there to
get killed for no reason. Our military is an excellent one and should be used
only when absolutely necessary. Kind of like that last roll of toilet paper
stashed under the sink; it should only be used as a last resort and it damn
well better work.
I've been against this damn war since day one and I took a lot of ridicule from
people for my stance. However, most great ideas get laughed at in the
beginning. As of today 60% of the
disagrees with the job that the Dubya is doing in
Republicans believing his horseshit the Dubya would be facing the fate of a
Roman Emperor; somewhere deep in the night he would get knifed by either Dick
Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld.
If you don't give a damn about all of the dead soldiers then you should look at
the financial cost of the war. As of this second the cost of the war is 227
BILLION DOLLARS. However it's hard to put that kind of dollar value in
perspective, so let me take a few seconds to tell you what that kind of dinero
can buy. We could have built over 2 million housing units, virtually
eliminating homelessness. If you are a big education fan then you might like to
know that we could have hired nearly four million new teachers for a year. If
you could care less about homelessness or education than you might be
interested in food, most Americans are. We could have funded the WORLD anti-hunger
campaign for NINE YEARS! Or we could have made sure that every child in the
WORLD had basic immunization for the next 75 years. Forget that, at least I
May Ryan McGlothlin rest in peace, along with the more than 2,000 other dead
soldiers. I also feel for the 30,000 dead Iraqi's too. I bet you didn't think
there were actually people in those buildings you saw bombed on CNN did you?
They weren't in there on those XBOX games. I refuse to believe that those
30,000 had direct links to Al-Qaeda. Once again, it's hard to put 30,000 dead
people into perspective, so let me expand on this point. If you estimated every
dead Iraqi was 6 feet tall (they aren't, but I'm allowing for Bush's
underestimation) and laid them head to foot in a straight line, you would have
a 34 mile long stretch of dead bodies. That's longer than the distance to drive
But hey, what difference does it make; at least you'll have cheap gas for the
more in Opinion
There is not anything a man can do that a woman cannot do. We have proved this time and time again and will continue all the way to the White House. Right?
Julius Caesar is very well known in the world, his history, his deeds and wars. The month July was named after him, but how many people know about the Caesar Augustus who had the following month named after him? In many ways, Augustus left a deeper imprint on the world than Julius did. And despite being a total out and out imperialist, he understood the concept of institutions and drove it forward.
Bloggers versus journalists? There is this issue which I keep on stumbling over and which seems to be agitating so many people who are in the publishing business. There seem to be two camps, the first camp is the journalist camp and the second seems to be the bloggers camp. And boyo, do these two camps fight or do they?
How much of our live's can we change, and how much must we except as unchangeable?
We must admit we are at some serious crossroads in our lives in America. Who can we trust to lead us to a better place?