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Cold War Warrior

About The Cold War Warrior

“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

This Blog is about the learning. It is also about the men and women from all the cold wars who worked so hard for something they believed in and played so hard they forgot the pain. They were the Cold War Warriors. They lived at missile sites, on nuclear subs, sat on little and not so little islands that were either too hot or too cold but always isolated. They were the doers and the watchers. Oh, by the way, they still are.

Recent Posts

cold-war-economics-that-demmed-elusive-pimpernel

By |December 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

As chief spy-catcher Chauvelin chased that demmed,[1] elusive Scarlet Pimpernel to no availThe Scarlet Pimpernel Book Club 20116 in 1793, I have gone to great lengths to understand the legacy of Cold War Economics.  Until recently, Chauvelin and I were vying for first place in the ‘we-don’t-get-it’ category.  That “Aha” moment was not accompanied by a drumroll or lightning bolt, it quietly unfolded in Peter J. Boettke’s The Mystery of the Mundane  in the November issue of The Freeman Magazine.  In Boettke’s words, I was outfitted with the right lens to be amazed by the mystery of the mundane.

Cold War economics in the U.S. was a coup d’état played out over sixty years in slow motion.

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, Commanding General, U.S. Sixth Army (left), General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, and General George C. Marshall,  Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (right)  At a field headquarters in the Southwest Pacific Area, late 1943. (Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Photo #: SC 183951)

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, Commanding General, U.S. Sixth Army (left), General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, and General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (right) At a field headquarters in the Southwest Pacific Area, late 1943. (Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Photo #: SC 183951)

The government toppled the people.  Using a cycle of fear and legislation, the federal government consolidated power in an ever increasing spiral over time.  General Douglas MacArthur, in his book A Soldier Speaks, said it best, “Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear—kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor—with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”

Robert Higgs’ research article, The Cold War Economy; Opportunity Costs, Ideology, and the Politics of Crisis published in 1994 illustrates how the Cold War forever changed the cost and use of the military.  Higgs states that:

“Before World War II the allocation of resources to military purposes remained at token levels, typically no more than one percent of GNP, except during actual warfare, which occurred infrequently. Wartime and peacetime were distinct, and during peacetime—that is, nearly all the time—the societal opportunity cost of “guns” was nearly nil. The old regime ended in 1939. The massive mobilization of the early 1940s drove the military share of GNP to more than 41 percent at its peak in 1943-44.   Despite an enormous demobilization after 1944, the military sector in 1947, at the postwar trough, still accounted for 4.3 percent of GNP, three times the 1939 share.” (more…)

veterans-day-2013

By |December 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Author: Steve Traywick

1453269_10152477917553504_1899615194_n

So, another Veteran’s Day is upon us.  August was the ninety-ninth anniversary of the opening shots of World War I, a war that became so horrific that the world could not even

Insignia Button of the US Tank Corps WWI (Indiana War Memorial Collections)

Insignia Button of the US Tank Corps WWI (Indiana War Memorial Collections)

imagine it. Veteran’s Day was instituted to remember the men that fought and died in that war.

After the guns fell silent in Europe, the world was certain that there would not…could not be another war as horrific as the one just ended. Had someone stood up and announced that not only was the World War the opening round of another even worse World War and that it would carry on for nearly fifty years I’m pretty sure they would have been promptly locked away. But, that’s exactly what it was, the opening round of an even worse war.

When the First World War ended, world leaders could not make a decent peace.  Then they

WWII

WWII

didn’t have the moral fortitude to enforce the peace that they did make and again the world exploded into World War II.  Again, millions died. And again, a bad peace was hammered out. Two super powers were left standing facing each other. Posturing and blustering, each did everything short of another full blown world war to bring the other down. The Cold War was the third chapter of a century of war.

It was during this period that most of today’s veterans stepped up to serve. There are a comparative few warriors left from World War Two but we lose more every day.  It’s the same with veterans from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Before long, it will be my generation’s turn to exit this life except for our faint footprints on history’s pages. Continue Reading!

reflections-of-a-cold-war-warrior-christmas

By |December 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

322466_world-of-tanks_wot_tanki_rozhdestvo_1920x1200_(www.GdeFon.ru)Author: Steve Traywick

It’s Christmas time again.  It’s the time of year where we Americans lose our minds and gochristmas_presents into a commercial feeding frenzy.  We do this every year and by the time Christmas evening rolls around and the toys are put away and all the wrapping paper and empty boxes are ready to hauled out and the dinner table is cleared, we swear that THIS IS THE LAST YEAR WE’RE GOING TO DO THIS!  Next year we’ll do it all over again.

In a few weeks the economic gurus will crunch numbers and announce if this holiday season was a good one or a bad one based on the amount of money each household in the country spends.  As a country we’ll feel good or bad about ourselves based on the amount of money ‘Charitable’ organizations say they took in this year.  Walmart, Target, Christmas-Dinner-dpMacy’s et alii  will let their stock holders know if they can expect a healthy pay out on their stocks.  If not, these corporations will look at America with a jaundiced eye and announce “Shame on you! You should have spent more!”

The rest of the world will go about their business. Babies will be born.  Elderly people will pass away.  People will continue to kill each other for whatever political or religious reason they kill each other during the rest of the year. Doctors and nurses will be on duty.  Ambulance crews, firemen and policemenMilitary+Homecoming+12.20.3 will be on duty.

Around the world, too, young Americans will be on ships, air bases, and Army posts.  Someone will be manning the phones at CQ desks, battalion, brigade and division headquarters. GI’s posted close enough to home will get passes to make the drive home.  All that can will have put in for leave and already left to go to the place that means the most to them: HOME.

As has been the case since the end of World War II, some won’t make it home because they’re stationed a continent away.  Those that can’t get the leave time or can’t afford the plane ticket home for whatever reason’ or decide it’s not worth the aggravation will be around post. These days, a lot won’t make it because they’re hunkered down in a bunker somewhere out on the edge of nowhere wondering whether not home for christmassomeone will decide to drop a mortar round or rocket their way. Or maybe fire a few rounds in their direction just for fun. Or maybe get a few hundred of their closest friends together to see if they can overrun a post or firebase. For a lot of our kids Christmas dinner will be whatever MRE they can get.

I was fortunate that I never had to spend Christmas worrying about getting shot at.  My first Christmas dinner in the Army was in the chow hall in Fulda.  It was no big deal.  It was dinner.  I hadn’t arrived in-country in time to sign up to spend Christmas with a German family.  I did hear stories from the guys that did sign up and got to go with the German families that were kind enough to welcome foreign strangers into their homes for the holidays.  For the most part, the American kids loved the experience.  The barracks, while they may be home, are really no place to spend Christmas.  It’s too easy to start feeling sorry for yourself. (more…)

from-the-ashes-a-cheetah-rises-a-peculiar-ghanaian-tale

By |December 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s Prime Minister, was deposed in a bloodless coup d’état inmap-ghana-africa-imp February 1966. For once, the CIA was not involved, but I was there.  Well…I was ‘sort of’ there.  It was my very first coup d’état and I slept through it.  It was hot, gray and raining when I rose to consciousness on February 25, 1966 so it was either 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. but how I knew that is anyone’s guess.  I snatched at the vestiges of images in my mind to form a thought. Any thought I could recognize as such would do.  Finally, it occurred to me I had no idea where I was.  It was no small relief to feel my control-freak kicking in to begin its inventory of the situation.  The data packets were sorted and re-sorted until they made sense.  Ah ha! I was in a hospital room in Tema, Ghana smack in the middle of West Africa.  Although I recalled curling up to receive a spinal tap I had no idea why I had gotten one or how I got here.  To my great relief, Audrey entered the room.  Answers would come now.

Audrey was my friend.  Typically Ghanaian, she was beautiful, elegant, and graceful.  Audrey was also the mother of five and very wise.  She entered the room silently and began to bubble in Twi, her native Akan language, when she realized I was awake.  My command of Twi was much less than hers of English or Dutch but I gathered I’d been unconscious for several days as a result of a bout with meningitis.  She had brought wonderful cut oranges, which my parched body fairly inhaled, and some bloody awful tasting tea, which she said would heal me quickly.  Later I wondered if she came prepared with these wonders daily or if she knew that that day I’d be back.  The Ghanaians I know and love are incredibly intuitive.

In the early morning hours of 24 Feb., 1966, Ghana's armed forces, with the cooperation of the National Police, took over government in "Operation Cold Chop", a well-organized coup d'etat. The first announcement made from Radio Ghana said that the coup was led by Kotoka.  Nkrumah`s statue was pulled down! Here children are seen standing on Nkrumah`s statue”

In the early morning hours of 24 Feb., 1966, Ghana’s armed forces, with the cooperation of the National Police, took over government in “Operation Cold Chop”, a well-organized coup d’etat. The first announcement made from Radio Ghana said that the coup was led by Kotoka. Nkrumah`s statue was pulled down! Here children are seen standing on Nkrumah`s statue”

As the excitement settled, Audrey unfolded the tale of the coup.  She said that the generals had seen Kwame Nkrumah safely out of the country and then taken over.  She also spun images of very dark happenings in Accra, Ghana’s capitol.  The zoo had been broken into and many animals slaughtered and, she said, when the people toppled a statue of Nkrumah they found the skeletal remains of twins. Bad Juju.  Prime Minister Nkrumah had worshiped in his own temple and completely embraced his surrogate title, Osagyefo, which means “redeemer”.   Times would become even more difficult for the Ghanaians and very strange for expatriates like me as General Joseph Arthur Ankrah took the reins of power.

All of us faced a new Ghana, a new order to life as the military closed the harbors, set up checkpoints, and inserted themselves into schools, unions, and the workplace.  The dash-bribes-became virtually codified and bottles of Simba (beer) would no longer do. Cash became king. This is not to say that Nkrumah had done less, it was just that he did it differently.  Nkrumah was focused on his intellectual legacy as well as his in-country power.  Ankrah’s administration was corrupted at a far more fundamental level. (more…)

freedom-and-empire-in-america-a-cold-war-identity-crisis

By |December 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Rule of Freedom (Courtesy of theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com)

The Rule of Freedom (Courtesy of theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com)

Four decades of Cold War wanderings around the world yielded a few answers to the important questions of life for this itinerant engineer, but one vital query went wanting. Why did the people I meet in Africa, Australia, South America, the Pacific, Europe, and Asia love and embrace me, a lowly American, but hate the country I loved?  Starving under various socio-political-economic systems drove iterations of learning and deepened my belief in the underlying truth and integrity of the governance wrapped by ideals that the founding brothers attempted to frame during the development of the Constitution of the United States.  When did the U.S. stop being the ‘good guys’ and join the roster of ‘bad guys’?

In WWII, the U.S. played the good guys rescuing the world from the nightmares of Hitler and Japan.  U.S. soldiers from farms, factories and villages across the country fought and died in places they did not know existed. There are American soldiers buried in cemeteries in

American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands

American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands

France, Belgium, England, Italy, Luxembourg, Philippines, Netherlands, and Tunisia. In 2012, the Times- Herald’s Alex McRae wrote, “When Netherlands resident Marco Weijers adopted the grave of Newnan’s Albert Partridge, he became one of 8,301 local residents who adopted the grave of an American soldier at the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands.”[1]  The U.S. was far from angelic during WWII, but the overall review was good. Following WWII, the American public pushed to ‘restore its natural order’.  They expected the soldiers to come home, the war machine to be trimmed down smartly and the business of making a living and a life to resume.  Surprise! Peace was a dream and, for a while, it was an illusion.   The Cold War clicked on and the nation’s long journey to the ‘dark side’ began with unsteady first steps.  But wait, there’s more!

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