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The Age of Insanity

Insanity means doing things that make no sense, except for a very dark motive. Examples of insanity abound in US military history.

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Hamburger Hill - foreign policy insanity in action?

Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today I will be talking about what I call insanity, because it makes no sense to me. It should make no sense to anyone but to those whose brains are wired to a certain end, I suppose that ripping apart the fabric of civilization in the pursuit of raw political power makes some degree of sense.

An exercise in insanity: Hamburger Hill

In May fell the 50th anniversary of the Battle for Hamburger Hill. My local newspaper, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tn.), did a special report on that battle.

As Americans this weekend memorialize the casualties of our war dead, a small band of U.S. soldiers of the 101st airborne division will recall in their collective memories that they were comrades’ in-arms of a famous battle during the Vietnam War. The Battle of Hamburger Hill, fought 50 years ago this month, is seared into the memories of its participants; a struggle in the heavily contested A Shau Valley. Fought over a specific mountain, known as Hill 937, denoted for its height in meters (approximately 3000 feet), it was also called Dong Ap Bia by the North Vietnamese, which translates into “Mountain of the Crouching Beast.

Insane losses – to no good purpose

The airborne battalion of the 101st suffered 71 dead and 372 wounded, a casualty rate equal to more than 70% per cent of the battalion. This report goes on to say that they spent their last breath in a hellish place so remember them. Nothing I say in this Report is intended to criticize those who fought and died there or in any other place our military is committed. I was one of them almost 50 years ago. But today I criticize only those who sent us and who still send us. Wasting one of the best battalions in the United States Army by sending it up that hill seems like either a monumental mistake or the height of insanity, but perhaps hindsight is 20/20.

The problem lies with a foreign policy that puts people in positions of fighting wars that don’t need to be fought and frankly should not be an American concern. The United States had many opportunities to avoid what happened in Vietnam in 1945, in 1954, in 1958, and in 1963. The leadership could have chosen different paths, but instead they chose the paths with all the traps and in they went.

Attitudes toward leadership then…

I know that during my years as a Marine Officer almost 50 years ago, I and the other young officers with me didn’t spend a lot of time pondering these things, at least not openly. Open criticism of overall strategy by the officer corps and/or the civilian leadership would have seemed disloyal and would never have happened. We just assumed that the people we were supposed to fight needed to be fought so that’s what we did.

…and now

I have had many opportunities to think about it in the intervening years, however, and I have tried to take advantage and think. It has occurred to me that when we go abroad to kill foreigners, the people we are killing, and who are trying as hard as they can to kill us, should be a direct threat to the United States to at least some degree. The people we fought in Vietnam had zero ability to harm the United States in any way whatsoever.

If our enemy is not a direct threat, and in fact, is totally incapable of harming the United States then what’s the point. We fought them and they killed almost 60,000 of us and we killed God only knows how many of them, perhaps a couple of million and yet they could not have directly harmed us if we had remained as far away from there as possible.

Real enemies then and later

The other thing that has occurred to me over the years is that the United States has actual enemies fully capable of helping to crack apart our entire civilization sitting in the halls of Congress and the Senate. It requires a strange leap of insanity to allow that to happen, but nevertheless there it is.

Now fast forward a few years and you will be able to see a very obvious pattern that indicates the same thing continues today. The month of May is also the 15th anniversary of the battle of Fallujah, Iraq. It was another bloody, bitter struggle in the streets of Fallujah when United States Marines fought what were usually referred to as insurgents or militants. It seems to me that we should not be afraid to call them what they obviously are — soldiers of Islam.

From Marine officer to reporter

The story of the battle was written for The Sunday New York Times last Sunday by a reporter named Elliot Ackerman who was a Marine Lieutenant. and platoon leader in that battle. Mr. Ackerman wrote a great report of the battle step by step as he told how he led his platoon through the many hazards of battle and through the fog of war despite suffering many casualties. I think the Marines lost 31 dead in Fallujah. For his efforts he was awarded the Silver Star, and he used the citation from his award to write his article.

Hamburger Hill all over again

Lt. Ackerman may be a reporter for The New York Times today, but I respect him for what he did and for what he once was. The rest of the story is very similar to Hamburger Hill in that they fought, they killed, they died and for what. It’s reasonably clear now that the story of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a lie and it’s also clear that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had little if anything to do with the 911 attacks. Our best friends forever, the Saudis, had a lot to do with it apparently, because 15 of 19 911 hijackers were Saudis and yet no invasion of Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, the United States is currently providing logistical and Special Forces support for Saudi Arabia as it fights a proxy war against Iran on the soil of Yemen.

The real enemies of American civilization

Once again, I’m afraid that the real enemies of our civilization live in and around Washington D.C. rather than the streets of Fallujah, or the poorest areas of Yemen. I just read where many of those leaders in Washington are urging the President to keep troops in Syria indefinitely to pressure Iran and Russia. War is, after all, a young man’s game. Young men pull the triggers and kick the doors, crawl down the rat holes and young men fill the cemeteries, but old men, most of whom have never had to do those things, send them to do it.

Two wars, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan, which have occupied much of the post World War ll history of the United States, have served to spread the cracks appearing in our civilization. Those cracks grow wider each day as we grow numb to the never ending nature of today’s wars. Many cracks in our civilization have appeared over the years, but we always at least attempted to repair them from time to time. Now, we intentionally spread them apart so they grow wider and less subject to repair.

Back to the French Revolution

The first cracks in the way of life we call Western Civilization can probably be traced back to the French Revolution, which destroyed Roman Catholic France and left it a secular country. You might notice that the great works of art, literature, and music occurred before the French Revolution. The Revolution and the reign of Napoleon took the wind from the sails of Western Civilization but the foundation still held.

Advice bordering on insanity?

President Trump seems like a man with little or no philosophical underpinnings, i.e., there is nothing he believes in enough to go to the wall for it. Such people tend to be influenced a great deal by those with whom they surround themselves. Right now he is surrounded by John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, and those are two men who advocate war as the answer to every foreign policy problem.

They want to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely, they want to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely, as if 18 years is not indefinite, and of course they still want to continue assisting our proxy, the Saudis in their war in Yemen. They wait in great anticipation of the chance for a military encounter with Iran that could be used to justify an attack but, a navy war in the tight confines of the Persian Gulf would be dangerous because of the thousands of sea skimming supersonic missiles that Iran reportedly has, but they still persist.

From the Middle East to Venezuela

These Middle East wars are gradually bringing the non-compliant countries into full compliance with the demands of the empire. Those who persist in their refusal to comply have an unusual way of turning up dead. Look at Quaddifi in Libya, the empire demanded that he give up on his Pan-African Union and his gold backed currency and he refused so now he is dead. Saddam refused to bring Iraq into compliance and he was hanged. Mubarak in Egypt refused to support Israel and the Saudis, and he is in an Egyptian prison. Assad in Syria has been under attack for many years.

With the compliance of Ecuador and its handing over Julian Assange, thanks to the new leadership’s accepting 4.2 billion dollars in payment, Venezuelan is about the last South or Latin American country not in full compliance. Even The Ortegas in Nicaragua seem to have accepted the offered bribes. Maduro is a hard headed one in Venezuela, however, and the U.S. has imposed such draconian sanctions that its people are starving. I’ve heard that crime has diminished somewhat though since there is virtually nothing left worth stealing.

Economic warfare?

My neighbor across the street is a doctor from Venezuela who travels back there quite often to visit her mother. We talk from time to time about conditions there and she tells me that it is very desperate and people just want something to happen that will relieve their misery. No one seems to know how much of the misery is caused by stupid socialist policies and how much is caused by stupid U.S. economic warfare.

Economic warfare is currently being waged against many countries in the world including Venezuela, Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea, among others. I am one who thinks the U.S., aka the Trump administration, will win its trade war with China. Trump is a pretty hard nosed businessman and he is not afraid to use whatever leverage he has. China buys 150 billion worth of goods from the U.S. each year while the U.S. buys 600 billion worth of goods from China. That’s a trade deficit of 450 billion or 450 billion flowing out of the U.S. and into China each year. The Chinese, in other words, absolutely must have the American markets and that is leverage for the U.S.

Cracks in civilization?

Finally folks, all this insanity creates great social upheaval and opens great cracks in our civilization. No statesmen appear to repair the cracks and to educate their constituencies on the Constitution and why it is more relevant today than ever but that is another Report for another week.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Until next time folks,

This is Darrell Castle.

About the image

“Vietnam War 1969 – Hamburger Hill US Wounded”by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Attorney at Law at | Website | + posts

Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at

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