Dave Rickert

Dave Rickert
Tucson, Arizona,
May 19
Its in the glove compartment
Yes. I always enjoy it.
I have always tended to take the road less traveled. Sometimes I get lost; sometimes the road is under construction; and sometimes the road leads nowhere or everywhere. Regardless of my choices, I always learn, and never regret the journey.


AUGUST 2, 2010 8:32AM

Have We Lost Our Passion For Peace?

Rate: 42 Flag
I spent the better part of the late sixties, and early seventies, flying combat missions in Vietnam. During that same period, others in my generation struggled persistently, ferociously and passionately, against great odds, to stop what they viewed as an ill-conceived and fruitless war.
Out of self-preservation, I didn't really focus on what the anti-war protesters were doing then, but I have grown to respect them for their unwavering passion and commitment.   Thankfully, they won out, and the Vietnam War eventually ended. Historically, that war became just another one-page entry in a textbook, and the only lasting legacy of Vietnam is 58,000+ names carved on a somber black granite wall.  
It is thirty-five years later now, but it seems we never seem to learn our lesson about the insanity that is war.  Here we are in 2010, ensnarled in two wars, each of which has again claimed the lives and limbs of some of the best and brightest of our youth, while simultaneously depleting our treasury ($1 Trillion and still counting), and we still have no credible explanation as to the mission and/or goals in either war, other than "to fight terrorism."
We seem to, once again, be linked to foreign cultures we don't understand, with allies that are untrustworthy, and who don't appear to have any clearly defined objectives other than maintaining a firm grasp on their own power.  In the meantime, the killing and maiming continues.  In my view, it is Vietnam all over again.  This time, instead of using the "domino theory" mantra to justify our policy, we are using the "terrorism" bogeyman to explain the last nine years of war, as well as our need to continue with the quagmires they have become.  
Where is the outrage?  Why don't we march, picket, carry signs, write songs, etc. to stop the madness, and demand peace?  Could it be that this generation of young people don't care about their contemporaries "dying for their country," as long as they don't have to?  I think not.  Is it because there was a draft in Vietnam, and not now? Maybe.  Is it because these wars don't directly affect us on a daily basis? Could be.
Where is today's version of Woodstock, Peter, Paul & Mary, Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez? Whatever the reasons are for our national apathy, anti-war feelings, which I believe are still there, are dormant and inactive.  I say again, where is the outrage?  Have we lost our passion?
Are we too worried about who is going to replace Simon on Idol, or the drama of Lindsay Lohan's latest court battles, or perhaps we are concerned as to how we are going to afford an iPod, iPad, or iPhone.  What has happened to our priorities?  Just imagine what $1 Trillion could do for this country right now. In my view, it borders on the criminal.  
There can only be war, if we let there be war.  We have the power to stop it.  Have we lost our passion? I believe we all need to ask ourselves that question. 
Below are songs by Country Joe McDonald from Woodstock in the late sixties, and a Peter, Paul, and Mary selection, that hopefully demonstrate the passion and commitment shown by that generation toward stopping the Vietnam war. Listen to the message and enjoy the music.  


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Bless you for this, Dave.
I attended Woodstock; I turned in my draft card. I do not disparage your service at all. I get very angry when I visit the Vietnam Memorial, downtown. The selfish cynicism that placed you in danger and killed so many, uselessly, still makes me very angry. So do the current wars.
A great post from someone who knows about war, Dave. I was just a kid during the Vietnam War and wasn't aware of much that was going on, but I have always heard it was the first war that was brought directly into our living rooms, with daily footage and continuous reporting. In contrast, most of us rarely see footage of our current wars anymore because news shows (emphasis on "shows") have realized their ratings drop the moment they switch to the subjects of Iraq and Afghanistan. If the same sort of footage shown during the 60s/70s was aired for us daily now, there might be more outrage.

Also, people are consumed with a job shortage, so maybe they don't have the energy to take on war at the same time. And today's college students are facing an even worse job shortage than any other group, so instead of marching like college students of a different generation, they're scrambling for work.

What was the economy like during the Vietnam War?
I grew up in the same era Dave. I have not lost my passion. It's the war mongers that keep[ beating a dead horse.
Rated with hugs.
Thank you for posting. I wonder as well. I think that the past President brought us into a war with Iraq under false pretenses. The sentiment was high after 9/11. Those of us who actually read alternative news vehicles knew that there was slim linkage but they were able to generate so much spin to their advantage.It was about oil as is Afghanistan to a large extent. Until we can get real about our dependency ...
I have a very similarly-themed post in my Drafts folder. I am glad you had time to get this out there. There has been a rising tide of discontent within myself about this passive malaise that has kept us all from screaming, "BULLSHIT!" at our government over its pursuit of war.

Glad to see the peace chant started!!
You're right, there is no outrage over our wars the death and destruction. The outrage is over the precious economy, when the wars hurt the power brokers then they will end the wars.

We have lost our passion for many things, sadly human life seems to be one of them. Great post, this is the most important subject there is. Without peace we are only animals fighting within our packs for the scraps our masters threw us. Thank you Dave.
Dave, my passion has withered into sadness. The older I get the sadder I become over the sense that as a species we simply haven't evolved enuf to commit to civilization as more than a veneer that's easily stripped away by our more primitive impulses and appetites.
Dave, I've often asked myself the same thing. I think there's a great deal more noise in our lives that distracts. In '69, phones were connected to WALLS, tv had 4 or 5 channels and one had to get off the couch to change them, computers took up an entire floor of a university physics department, and people actually read newspapers.

While it's no excuse, the wars are not on people's radars the way Viet Nam was. And it's a crying shame.

Please keep raising your voice.
I have sit here and stared at this entry for some time now, trying to frame my response in a polite and reasonable manner.

Let me just say this, Dave: I did not then, nor now, ever admire the protesters of the sixties. It might be that you and I had different experiences with them; mine was, shall we say, confrontational. You have your belief system based on your experiences in Vietnam...so do I. It is enough, here, to say that our responses to the anti-war protesters of that time is different and leave it at that.
As we become more informed, we become less easily led, but at the same time we become saturated with information over load and de sensitized. We have grown separate, with much less community, we are in virtual communities which again remove us from the closeness of physical contact.

It becomes harder and harder to create the emotional will to physically take part in protest, activism and attack the organized machines of war, big business, corrupt government, etc. There is too much power on the side of the wrong to bring the voice of the righteous forward. The only balance is provided when good people come forward. That would start with us, but the big guns would be if media actually reflected honest reporting, de-sensationalized and accurate, with no corporate influence. Also, politically sanitized, not slanted, one way or the other. I appreciate and share your frustration. R
Thank you for this, Dave. You are so right : where have all the flowers gone? Where is the passion for peace?
Thank you s much for this post, Dave. If I wrote about my passions and the disappointment I feel, I'd churn out a new post every hour. Oddly, my disappointment isn't in the self-serving government, it's in the citizens. We knew President Bush launched a war under false pretenses and did nothing. President Obama campaigned calling Afghanistan "the right war" and we cheered. Something is morally askew.
Nope. I've lost my passion for nonsense, though. War has never made any sense to me. I don't get angry, I get sad. Sad that some of my dead relatives were duped into believing that by serving their country, they were ensuring our future heirs freedom.
Yes, yes, yes, Dave. I'm convinced that people don't care so much because they - and their sons and daughters - aren't going to be drafted to fight. But I remember the dread I went through during Vietnam until I got a lucky lottery drawing. I see the pointless madness in Afghanistan and Iraq and I want to SCREAM.
Dave - SO well said!!! Thanks! msp
My dad flew helicopters in Vietnam, and actually enlisted for 2 tours (not drafted), as a Marine. He was immensely proud of this, and I believe it was the major contribution to his alcoholism, depression and the PTSD haunting him almost 30 years later. I grew up knowing he never got honored for his duty, even though I was to myself to become opposed to war and violence.
I think that pacifists are a rare few in this world. People say they don't believe in it, but because we always have exceptions to our rules- more specifically for the people who are either farthest away or directly competing for our resources. Military life is idealized, ideolized, mythologized in history, as our many other ideals show up, maybe in different forms.
Non violence begins at home. It is in the words and deeds we teach our family and treat them with, and the attitude they carry forward.
Great piece, let the movement begin. We could even use Country Joe's song without affecting the rhyme. "Next stop is Afganistan" I pray it doesn't become "next stop is Iran." Thanks for this passionate post.
Dave, as always you say what needs to be said and so eloquently! It is even more meaningful given your military service. I always support the troops, as they just follow orders. I do not support this ridiculous , unwinnable war-waged so someone can make money and seek revenge! R
Dave, this is timely, thoughtful and authentic. Yes, where is our passion? The Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem like simply blips on the American landscape. We seem to go about our business, without much of a nod at all to what has been and is taking place.

Well done!

The videos bring back memories!!
Exactly, where is the outrage??? great post. rated.
There are many reasons why "we" don't proactively engage with others in peaceful protests. I think the Boomers and Xers have serious communication issues which bar them from combining a team.

What I really fear most is that the next generations will forget that history does indeed repeat itself and if "we" continue to argue what's best for "them" we're ultimately defeating "us" in the process.
The passion is gone because there is no draft. Implement a draft, and you'll see outrage materialize faster than you can say "quagmire." Great post!
You damn skippy it's the draft. You want these wars over fast? Start a draft and see it wind down quick. The military is preying on the poor of this country with big bonuses and promises of paying for college. The problem is you're either dead, maimed, or PTSD is ruining your life. I could have pulled my hair out when colleges were demonstrating and and even taking over a building because of higher tuition fee's. Nice Post Dave!
Amen Dave, I have often pondered the question; what would the world look like if we could evolve past war, and find a civil way to deal with each other. All this intelligence and ingenuity in the modern world, yet when it comes to conflict resolution, we are still in the dark ages.

i think it the difference was that back then (or so I've read/seen) the country was in turmoil. From the civil rights movement grew a whole host of things to agitate and organize for: women's rights, an end to the war, civil rights, etc etc. i think reagan was the start of the mop -up job. how well did it go? well your questions says it went very well.
Dave..an excellent write and thank-you again for your services in our country's military. When I was at the cemetary in Oahu, I walked trhough all the graves and cried, imagining all the loss and families that moured there and also in other grave sites. My son has a yr left in Korea, then he will be deployed. I pray for him and all our boys.
Every war veteran I know hates war. It galls me no end when the people in DC, who have never been on the business end of a combat weapon or known the heat of the desert and the fear of IEDs, sit on their asses and send our sons and daughters to be traumatized, maimed or killed. And for what?

thank you for voicing intelligently, dave. do you remember what happened to the dixie chicks when they voiced objection? there were marches and protests - but we discovered them on foreign news channels not american ones. Worse of all is the way support for the war has been equated with patriotism, or even more misleading is the way objection to the war has been confused with condemnation of our troops. I know many decent people who've so confused the issues it's become a terrible mess to even address without incivility. Such a tragedy. I object to war, particularly the way it has been used here.
A caption I saw somewhere:
The Army - Be all you're told to be.
I am sad to say that many of the current generation do not have a "passion for peace." In my workplace, the most feverishly debated topics range from the latest video games, current "hot" babes in recent movies, Idol, Lindsay Lohan's jail status, etc. (gag)! (80% of my co-workers are in their 20's or early 30's) By the way, I live in a very conservative state (Red) in an area which might be called "the buckle of the Bible Belt." It makes me sad to see the constant, mindless pursuit of instant self-gratification exhibited by so many Americans . I say "many" but "not all." I have friends, both young and old, who are very politically active and who have exercised their right to vote for candidates who would like to see the U.S. out of the quagmire in which the "war on terror" has lead us. You have seen both sides and speak from personal experience. Thank you. -R-
What Mark wrote. Piece. My God. He's right.

Great post, Dave and thank you yet again for your service (and continued service in writing) for our country.
As everyone else said, Dave. Great post. We're the same age - I rememb er the protests and I remember the draft. I really think that had a lot to do with it.
Just imagine what $1 Trillion could do for this country right now....just imagine!
As a Baby Boomer who had friends who returned from Viet Nam (or not) and a cousin who was shot down in a fly over (KIA), I found my cold parent driven cold Republican heart change. I have been active since 2002 in protest and actions, letters and e-mails, not only am I ignored by my Democratic Senator and my Republican Representative, I feel ignored by my vote for,...May I call it Change? The Bush policies continue under the false promise of change. And we are chastised for being cynical? Give me a break!!! Protest means nothing any more. Reason means nothing and representation? lost in the blitzkreig of privilege. Name one member of the Senate or Congress, sitting or former, who is poor or middle class or not a multi-millionaire. Welcome to the end of the dream of 1776.
Dave, thank you for this.

I'm with Scanner and others here - I think it's the draft. And for a president to drag us into war by the back door, sucking all the national guard out of their communities, was cowardly avoidance of the electorate.
Great piece. there are bands out there who rail against this war. For starters, listen to Green Day's 'concept' album, "American Idiot." You'll hear ferocity, sadness, and a WTF all rolled within the tunes.
An example:

Say, hey!

Hear the sound of the falling rain
Coming down like an Armageddon flame (Hey!)
The shame
The ones who died without a name

Hear the dogs howling out of key
To a hymn called "Faith and Misery" (Hey!)
And bleed, the company lost the war today

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

Hear the drum pounding out of time
Another protester has crossed the line (Hey!)
To find, the money's on the other side

Can I get another Amen? (Amen!)
There's a flag wrapped around a score of men (Hey!)
A gag, a plastic bag on a monument

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

(Say, hey!)


"The representative from California has the floor"

Sieg Heil to the president Gasman
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
Who criticize your government
Bang bang goes the broken glass and
Kill all the fags that don't agree
Trials by fire, setting fire
Is not a way that's meant for me
Just cause, just cause, because we're outlaws yeah!

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives

This is our lives on holiday
The 2003 protest in NYC against the occupation/war in Iraq was massive, yet very different from the marches of the sixties and seventies. Back then people believed that they were part of something and that together they could change things. I don't think people (especially young people) really believe that now.
Amen. I think the mix of greed, self-interest and adhd/ promoted by cellphones, texting and twittering impact the ability to focus on anything serious...like reading and learning from past history...or believing that real change is possible. Thank you for this very important piece. xo R
Dave, I was thinking about this in a different context as to women spiritual leaders. It seems we're lacking a leader that could rally people in a direction beyond protests to true change. Maybe people are apathetic because they can't find anything to believe in to empower them. I recently met a Vietnamese family who made it to the states with nothing except Saint Michael to guide them. They now own land and have thriving businesses. I think it's time to pray harder for true leaders that can effect powerful change. The trouble is that in order to change powers from warring ones to peaceful ones the warring ones are not willing to give up their power with out a fight. Maybe we've learned that going against them directly eventually ends in death (think Martin Luther King)
R for Peter, Paul and Mary. My parents fell in love wilst atending one of their concerts...
You are right that lack of a draft is part of the reason that there is no outrage. Now we rent out mercenaries and have turned war into big business (as if it is ever anything else). It seems our history isn't complete without a war going somewhere, but it used to be good for the economy if nothing else. Now it drains that along with everything else.

It's time to bring everyone home and let the cards fall where they may. America's numbers aren't very good when it comes to muddling in other countries affairs. Our interventions usually end up working against our interests at home every time.
A citizen army guarantees citizen concern. Best insurance against hopeless wars not in our own interest.
"Here we are in 2010, ensnarled in two wars' and we’re threatening Pakistan, saber-rattling with North Korea and possibly sicking our lackeys, Israel on Iran. There just aren't enough countries for us to bomb into submission.

I suppose it's a good thing we haven't found human-like life on Mars yet, I'm absolutely certain they'd have WMDs for us to worry about too.

A great post Dave. It does seem that the passion in the generation that is the age we were during Vietnam is in the basement doesn't it; perhaps playing PSII war games.
Great post! I'm not sure what happened, I still believe in peace, but sometimes, I believe I'm in a minority on that.

Also, as you mention, the war.death get covered up by stories such as Lindsay Lohan and we as the public seemingly eat those stories up so much, we create a demand for them.


Well Dave, this is a topic that has really bugged me for quite some time now. But it’s not only a lack of passion for peace, but a lack of passion on the part of Americans in general that has baffled and disturbed me for quite some time. As my commentary on this is rather extensive, I had to compose a post to address this. Please refer to it here:

Excellent observations.

I believe that today's "me, me, me" society, which has branched out fairly far worldwide, is responsible for the lack of sustained protest against these wars. There is no longer a sense of collectivity like in the 70s and even the 80s, and as long as the war doesn't directly affect us, we are resigned to the Big Guys world wide making decisions which do not reflect the needs of the average man on the street, but corporate stockholders bank accounts.
I also couldn't understand the lack of passion and outrage when Sen. Kerry, a war hero, was put down when running for President. Sure, he protested the war....after he fought and became a hero. Anyone can protest and has the rigth to protest....but someone, such as Sen. Kerry, even more so, had the right to protest. He saw and experienced first hand the evils of war. He knew exactly what he was protesting! I think if the draft took place, the protest and outrage would once again be heard. I'm not saying I'm for the draft, but I see its benefits. Either way, war is evil!
I like your thoughts about this war. I don't understand war at all--I don't understand why there's something in mankind that demands murder to win an argument. A Baha'i prophet (don't know if it was Bahallua or Abdul Baha) said that if any country oppresses another, all the countries of the world should rise up to stop it. It seems to me that a really long chess match would be a good way to decide these things, but then the chemical and oil companies might find it difficult to make billions off a chess match, and maybe that's why there is still war. Imagine a world where people who can think seven moves ahead would win the war--that might put some money back into the educational system.

Is it inevitable that people should kill each other? Is it just the way we are??