As each week passes word comes of another self-emulation in Tibetan lands of China. Many are young monks, and more and more are women. The grief they must feel for the slow loss of their culture is unimaginable to me. In our tandem travels across Tibet, we saw the government’s attempts at subjugating the Tibetan culture by smothering their lands with emigrants from the Han majority:
Abrams represented change in military thinking that has carried over, belatedly again, into the contemporary Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But not in the beginning. Shock and Awe was the order of the day at first in Iraq; search and destroy with armor and airpower won the day to Baghdad. Of course the enemy waited and watched, and invented the roadside bomb. General David Petraeus was brought in when old techniques were found lacking. He had read the Book of Abrams, and paid attention.
Because of our most recent travels in Asia on our tandem bicycle, I have developed a new interest in the Vietnam War, really the Indochina War of my youth. My draft board called me in 1964. I presented myself, got on a bus and taken for a physical and mental evaluation. I was just out of hospital for a bleeding ulcer. They didn’t know how to cure ulcers in those days, and they knew military food would kill me: 4F. I have always had some survivor’s guilt, partly because I have seen the toll that particular war took on many of the surviving draftees. The vets I have shared this feeling with have said I didn’t miss anything, and to let it go. I think I have. Maybe traveling there, seeing the land and the people involved has had something to do with my coming to terms with those feelings. My appreciation for anyone who fought there is deep. It was one helluva place to have to fight a war.
After 35 years, the first Khmer Rouge mass murderer has been convicted in Cambodia. We’ve all heard of the killing fields of Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge murdered between one and two million other Cambodians. It was one of the worst periods of mass murder in history. It was the Chinese Cultural Revolution gone crazy. The Khmer Rouge, in attempting to bring about an agrarian utopian society, sought out and murdered anyone with an education, and anyone associated with them.