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HOW TO EXPLAIN MODERN PROBLEMS TO THE GREATEST GENERATION

Boomers in the Sandwich Generation have a lot to cover.
via abc.net.au

No one can add up kids and rockets and come up with anything decent. via abc.net.au

Wedged between the Greats from WWII and Millennials, baby boomers in combined households find one group over-informed by network news, and the other who understand world events from Comedy Central.

The younger group has time to figure things out on their terms. To the older group it all feels like failure in extreme measures.

If the grandparents served in the English Navy during WWII it’s even harder for them to comprehend.

The issues? Russia, Syria, Iraq, Israel, and Gaza all in flames or ready to ignite.

Boomers who take on the task of calming nerves need to tread lightly when possible. A stressed out ninety year old needs a breather, not more stress.

But how can that happen?

You’ve got to try when it’s your turn to speak up.

1. Russia on a roll.

Q: Why is Russia in the Crimea? I thought the USSR ended when the Berlin Wall came down?

A: It’s not a return to the USSR, but it feels like Russia is testing the waters for more border disputes.

The Greatest Generation knows all about border problems from Germany’s longing for more room, the Nazi excuse for expanding into adjoining areas before invading Poland and making WWII official.

Russia is out in force to support other Russian speakers? If that’s the case, when do they show up in Oregon and free Woodburn?

They call it a war zone in Ukraine, but shoot down a commercial airliner? Allegedly.

This isn’t Stalin running Russia, but you wouldn’t know it by the work Putin’s doing. Part of sitting at the civilized table is being civil. That’s the part Putin ignores.

This is a man who gives himself whatever title he needs to stay in power. Once the Russian people see him as a bigger problem than any benefit he delivers, Putin will hear a knock at his door, the same knock the KGB put on doors for decades.

2. Syria on a rampage.

Q: I’ve seen the pictures. How are Syrian leaders allowed to murder and pillage their own country?

A: The easy answer is, “It’s the Middle East.” The hard answer isn’t clear.

Assad is taking Syria into a hole they won’t soon climb out of. Rogue states with organized killing programs are nothing new to the Greatest Generation. Stalin culled Russia for threats to the state and purged the population as he saw fit.

Hitler took Germany to the wall with his syphilitic-minded final solution. In the end, a pile of starved bodies from 2014 looks just like a pile of starved bodies from a death camp.

The Syrian death numbers won’t reach the epic proportions of Stalin, or Hitler, but the intent seems the same: Repress dissent with a bullet.

3. Israel and Gaza exchanging body counts.

Q: Why can’t everyone just get along with Israel?

A: Some try harder than others, but some don’t try at all and Israel takes a hard line.

From every war Israel has fought, and there’s a lot of them, their neighbors ought to be better informed. Israel is a bad-assed opponent who will never come in second place, not after WWII.

Any country who notices citizens carrying rocket launchers toward the Israeli border needs to stop them and impound their weapons.

If we didn’t know by now, Israel will flatten any threat with devastating results. Any leader of a neighboring country exchanging fire with Israel needs to rethink their strategy. If they can count bodies accurately and the difference is stacked against them, save your women and children.

Gaza ought to blow up their own cross-border tunnels to Israel as a sign of good faith, and to stop the shelling.

If you can look in the mirror and say the most vulnerable in your country are a good shield against massive firepower, you are a bad leader.

4. Iraq under fire.

Q: Didn’t we win the Iraq War?

A: In my view America has won every war they’ve been allowed to fight on equal terms. The problems come from rules of engagement. You can’t wage the sort of war that ends well when every step is a negotiation.

The first President Bush called off the slaughter of Iraqis after the Highway of Death evacuation from Kuwait.

The second President Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq and left a power vacuum. Once the U.S. dialed it down, bad times resumed.

Now we see people in trenches with machine gunners training their weapons on them. It smacks of the reprisal killings the Nazi executed on villages during their march to Moscow. If one Nazi dies in the village, a bunch of people are rounded up in a ditch and gunned down.

The horror in the minds of WWII veterans gets stirred up when they see events circling back around to their youth. Their sacrifice, and the loss of the friends and family in The Big One, seems fruitless. What has the world learned since the 1940’s?

Not enough.

If you find yourself answering questions about bloody world events from those who lived through the greatest blood-letting in world history, make sure younger generations are there to hear, too. You don’t want to repeat yourself anymore than the old folks want a repeat of their war.

If you have questions you can’t find an answer to, feel free to reference this post. This writer is an Army vet and a history major.

You could do a lot worse.

 

 

About David Gillaspie
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