Saturday, March 8, 2008

John Boyle Replies to IVAW Propaganda

John Boyle sent the following e-mail to the Philly Daily News reporter who wrote this valentine for IVAW. "Doc" Boyle served as Company Medic in D Co.,19th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Army), Quang Ngai Province, RVN, 1967-68. Printed here with John's permission:


I just had an opportunity to re-read your article from last Saturday, March 1, "Iraq war veterans answer one last call of duty", and I wanted to comment on the big wet admiring kiss you unskeptically gave these IVAW characters.

One idiotic thing you quote Steve Mortillo saying is this narcissistic comment: "It's been five years since the war started, and a lot of us have feelings that Americans only should die in combat if it's a cause that's going to save more American lives than it's going to cost."

I can't believe that the spirit of service and self-sacrifice typical of the military in my day has eroded so radically. In fact, currently serving military members I know still live that spirit. Apparently that was too great a demand for the likes of the soldiers who wound up in the IVAW. Only God knows how many innocent lives are ultimately saved by taking out large numbers of remorseless killers from the world scene.

Aside from the obvious fact that no one knows going into any military operation if Mortillo's self-serving math will be a possible outcome or not, it would make operations like this one impossible:

"The Mayagüez incident with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia on May 12-15, 1975, (which) marked the last official battle of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

"Calling the seizure 'piracy', President Ford ordered a military response to retake the ship and its 40-man crew . . .

"Casualties during the operation were 14 Marines killed or missing (ten in the helicopter crash and four at the west beach), two Navy corpsmen killed, and two Air Force crewmen killed. Counting the 23 airmen killed on May 13th, 41 U.S. servicemen lost their lives during the crisis."

This is the same Khmer Rouge in Cambodia that shortly thereafter went on to murder 2 million of their own people. Of course, there was no U.S. military presence in the area by then, which otherwise could have deterred such an outrage.

BTW - I don't know from your reporting what unit Steve Mortillo served in. "U.S. Calvary 1st Squadron Infantry Division" is a mishmash of unit names that does not designate any recognizable U.S. formation.

I'm not sure why I think you are very young and inexperienced, but may I suggest you should in the future take a little journalistic skepticism into interviews with anti-American propagandists like these. If your own interview with them did not suggest that's what they are, a little research before hand would have revealed that fact for you.

John Boyle

John is very right about addressing that "a lot of us have feelings that Americans only should die in combat if it's a cause that's going to save more American lives than it's going to cost", and the spirit of American warriors. From the American Forces Press Service, another story - lest we forget:

Duty, Honor, Country
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2000 – They were cold, wet, weary and battle-scarred. Yet that didn't stop the men with names like Hayashi, Inouye, Kobashigawa, Okutsu, Sakato and Kuwayama from answering the call Oct. 27, 1944, to rescue a battalion surrounded by German forces.

For the next three days, their unit, the all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, would fight in dense woods, heavy fog and freezing temperatures near Bruyeres, France, and prove their motto "Go for Broke!" wasn't mere words. "Go for Broke" is Hawaiian slang for "shoot the works." The Germans cut off the Texas National Guard 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment in the Vosges Mountains on Oct. 24. The 442nd was ordered in after the enemy had repelled repeated rescue tries by the 141st's other two battalions.

Nearly half the men in the Japanese American unit would be dead or wounded three days later with the "Lost Battalion" still isolated. "Then, something happened in the 442nd," according to historians at the Army Center for Military History in Washington. "By ones and twos, almost spontaneously and without orders, the men got to their feet and, with a kind of universal anger, moved toward the enemy position. Bitter hand-to-hand combat ensued as the Americans fought from one fortified position to the next. Finally, the enemy broke in disorder." "The Lost Battalion" rescue is recorded in U.S. military annals as one of the great ground battles of World War II. The regiment relieved the 211 besieged Texans on Oct. 30, and had gone for broke to do it: It suffered more than 800 combat casualties.

Note: Of course Mortillo's "
a lot of us have feelings that Americans only should die in combat if it's a cause that's going to save more American lives than it's going to cost." would have been an argument for retreating from the Pacific after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, as Imperial Japan tried to intimidate us into doing. 2,388 Americans were killed on Dec 7, 1941 in that attack. The Marines suffered 6,845 KIA taking the small island of Iwo Jima alone three years later.