by Gordon Duff, VT Sr. Editor  … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

Americans are taught to honor or blame based on “generations.” The “greatest generation,” America, the Soviet Union, Britain and so many other nations banded together during the last century to save mankind from a descent into tyranny and madness.

Millions died, and that generation is almost gone, its greatness and failings passed on to what Americans called the “Vietnam generation.”

The Vietnam generation is ending, now entering a countdown of remaining summers for those that survive. Looking back at who or how many rose to meet the challenges set forth, ideals denied, hopes faded, so many regrets, so much failure, from Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Almost 3 million went to Vietnam, about 10% saw combat and fewer than 10% of those, upon returning from what was then seen as Americas most unjust war, stood up and said, “no more.”

I was, I am part of that generation, those who knew John Kennedy as president, who saw Bobby fall, who served when Nixon assumed control of America, a dark soul carrying a foulness that was overwhelming. Little did we know that Nixon, in today’s America, would be considered “decent and human.”

There is a reason to focus on such things as never before has a people and a nation been so incomprehensible. All we collectively see of each other and even ourselves is “Murdochized” or “Googleized” to fit a narrative so many now find repulsive. We wear the cartoonish labels we are given at the hands of our lessers and, no matter how we live or feel, what is left is obscured or faked.


On the Road with Americans

Americans who travel outside their country are confronted with one question overall;

“What aspect of ‘American character’ has allowed the degeneracy that has unleashed a Hitleresque monstrosity on the world?” After all, Americans are such nice people, ready to lay down their lives for freedom, willing to lend a hand when needed, a nation known for humanistic values, for idealism, a nation that “dreamed big.”

I recently returned from Iceland where I spent part of my time with a family there. Iceland is a unique nation, in some ways an American outpost in the North Atlantic, rather the Sea of Greenland if you are map savvy, a nation where parents will often as not speak to their own children in very American English.

This is also a nation that crashed into ruin when America’s neocon elites took down the world banking system and the only nation on Earth that fought back. Iceland has retained its national character.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans visit Iceland each year, and many, perhaps most, are questioned by locals. According to Icelanders I met, the answers they get are largely the same, living in America today feels like drowning, not of the body but the soul, watching a dream slip out of sight beneath the waves, a form of spiritual death.

You see, living on fake news, fear hatred and anger starves the soul, it takes away what is human and leaves, in the void, an insectile existence.

Please Find America for Me

The American people didn’t change, America was always far from perfect. America was built on conflict, on dissent and on dreams. Rest assured, there still is an America, a silent nation of communities ignored by the media, where decency exists, where human values survive. That America, though it may no longer be a majority, there is no way of knowing, is an archipelago in a sea of disdain.

The America the world knows, Washington, New York City, the “hate states” of fearful and ignorant, now rules with a tyrannical hand and the world quakes in fear. The weak now rule the strong as is the way so often as empires descend into anarchy. America is anarchy in its purest form.

What we might look at today is a bit of how and why.

A Failed Generation

During and after Vietnam, not the war but rather the “era,” there was hope that a generation of Americans would rise to challenge the malaise of corruption and indifference that had dashed the dream that was supposed to be “America.”

That “greatest generation,” the veterans of World War II, were still at the helm, as it were, at the great universities, Cronkite at CBS News, great men, not so many women, all “white” of course, across the business community and present in government, did rise to meet the challenge, somewhat at least.

Watergate was proof. Tyranny abated, Carter was elected president and soon crushed by a staged banking collapse engineered by “elites” and a CIA constructed confrontation with Iran.

The assumption, at the time, is that the experience of opposing great evil, experiencing sacrifice, a brotherhood under fire, could be evidence in what was then seen as “greatness of character” at a national level.

It was all a dream.

That generation passed, its legacy and promise dashed through the failings of its children, the generation of Vietnam, though few served, very few fought, and those who did died young, up to two million, chemical defoliants, post traumatic stress or perhaps the heartache of seeing the real America as it became with “fresh eyes” that only combat veterans possess whose revelations are seldom shared.

Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard so rightfully pronounces, America is ruled by “chickenhawks,” cowards who love wars where others die.

It is mostly shame, disappointment and anger. The result, withdrawal or rage, but in general, a cycle of destruction, most often turned inward.

You see, national character is formed during times of great suffering. For those of us of the time of Vietnam, our parents knew the poverty of the Great Depression, World War II quickly followed by the insanity of Korea, with many forming families late in life, a frantic exertion for normalcy. This may well where the 1950’s came from, Eisenhower and mediocrity, a nation that turned its back on racism and injustice, on poverty and decay.

When it came time to rebuild the world as the Soviet Union failed and a century of militarism and waste could finally be discarded, there were those with “other plans.”

Rule by “Others”

There is a natural order of things that may well originate, certainly in the form we know today, with the advent of “mercantilism.” Simply put, the world exists as a lifeform to be fed off by, not the powerful or righteous, but by “mercantilists,” who feed off mankind like bloated ticks. We thus set the clock at the late 17th century and begin.

What began as a theory of trade, accumulated wealth and protectionism, descended into what some like to call “colonialism,” but other terms apply as well, inventing terms to obscure lines between good and evil is the oldest profession.

The Institutions

Under “mercantilism,” nation states became little more than agents for serving those who controlled capital with governments and leaders that, in almost all cases, existed only to keep society organized just enough to provide basic labor and military manpower.

Standing against this, or might we say, “once standing against this but no more,” were the institutions, our churches, our great universities, our philosophers, and, on rare occasions a free press.

It was their job to exalt the worth of humanity, of the individual human life, of art and science for its own sake, and recognizing the spiritual nature of existence itself.

Thus, we define the struggle, and come full circle. We used the term “insectile.” In our arrogance we assume superiority to insects as having no spiritual existence.

We then ask, why do or rather “why did” the institutions exist? Why concern ourselves with human rights or freedom of expression, things that “greatest generation” inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt wrote into the UN Charter as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? From the Preamble and first 3 articles:

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Yet, today’s America has left the Geneva Convention, withdrawn from the UNHRC, from the ICC at The Hague, has legalized torture and only this last week its highest court has again closed the door on redressing the wrongs of oligarchical rule and tyranny.

With the death of institutions all mechanisms of dissent and balance have failed and with that failure, all that may have been ascendant and spiritual has died as well. What was once “dissent” is now rapidly being crushed and criminalized. What is left? Insectile?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of  Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”


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6 COMMENTS

  1. You write most movingly when you speak from the heart, Gordon, though we normally do, but you have a way of making my heart ache for grief, not at the details of what you have written, but at the kind of subliminal substrate which the most beautiful eloquence can scarcely approach. Only in scripture have I occasionally come across a parallel, e.g. ‘There was a voice from Ramah ; it was Rachel weeping for her children, because they are no more…’

    I am to a certain extent mystified. The Latin expression, ‘lacrima rerum’, ‘the tears of things’ perhaps comes closest to conveying what no normal eloquence, however stirring, sonorous, beautiful it might be, can scarcely begin to approach. But, then, to me, mourning is possibly the most beautiful mood/emotion I can imagine, on this side of eternity, and this, despite almost invariably feeling joy when I interact with people. Then again, perhas its the corollary.

    Anyway, I’m sure whenever I read again the words of the old Scottish soldier who fought at Culloden, I’ll think of your mourning for mankind’s loss of the eternal beauty our souls were made for, bitter agnostic/atheist though you consider yourself to be : ‘If you had been, where I have been, if you had seen what I have seen….’

    St Augustine of Hippo too speaks to the depths of our hearts when we read his words : ‘O Lord, you made us for Yourself, and our hearts will find no rest until they rest in Thee.’

    • Peasant-carpenter though he was in his humanity, Christ knew a thing or two about the rich and powerful worldling-elites of this World, didn’t he. So much harm done by them to the mass of unworldy humanity, properly so-called.

      Remember, in the story of Lazarus and the Rich man, who, in his sovereign indifference to the plight of the hungry and indigent Lazarus, was compared unfavourably by Jesus with the street-dogs, who in their stumbling, hapless compassion licked Lazarus’ sores. Thinking too long of the the ramifications and the scope of their knavery, in terms of the world and the history of manknd, would blow your mind.

      ‘…6He will bring forth your righteousness like the dawn, your justice like the noonday sun. 7Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not when men prosper in their ways, when they carry out wicked schemes. 8Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm.…’
      Psalm 37: 6-8

      Easier said than done, of course. Also, there are counter-mandates to rescue the poor man from his oppressor. Unbelievably, one such psalm is given a brief explanatory header in my bible, indicating that we shouldn’t pass premature judgment. Perhaps he is one of the many who seem to think that God was prescribing what sociologists call a division of labour : You just go right ahead, beating and robbing the poor man blind, and I’ll see them right on Judgment Day.

  2. I saw my first killing whilst entering a buss to the White Sands testing facility with a from EL Pasos bus terminal at entering the Grayhound Bus rider. He was hardley ine year older than I was.One young Mexixan porder-tresspasser: Does it matter? Well — at least for my views of the nameless fifty states’ republic in Northern America.

  3. I do really like and thankful to Mr.Duff for such kind of personal articles. I see a real patriot whose heart aches for his country (and USA for me, the Russian patriot, is a good country with good people. I respect USA, if not to mention policy, and many other injustice that many countries have). The same way my heart aches for Russia, because many… many bad things occur in my motherland, too. I recall S.Smith – what a wonderful girl she was and her desires to make our two great countries Friends!

  4. I blame it on the private money printers; given an extraordinary power by congress that wasn’t congress’ to give. It extends to their proxies in the “free press” and their propaganda mill known as Hollywood.
    I understand disdain for Nixon. He’s low hanging fruit. What I don’t understand is the pass that Lyndon Johnson gets, “President Rolling Thunder”, himself, especially from anyone who saw combat in Vietnam? Robert McNamara, JFK’s Defense Secretary, and later Johnson’s, admitted in his book, “The Fog of War” that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened. To me, this makes LBJ as much a scoundrel as Bush-the-lesser.
    Take a listen to Johnson on a phone call to his tailor from the Oval Room at the White House ordering slacks:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3GT9UN7nDo. What an oafish buffoon. This man could have been the prototype for Trump’s tweets.