Declaration of Independence: I Need You


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

I suppose it’s funny that on Independence Day, I would feel the need to reach out to someone, more than usual. But since Vietnam, I’ve always been a little embarrassed come Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, even the Fourth of July.

Many of us don’t want to be thanked for the evil we did there, and in Cambodia, and in Laos. We didn’t plan to do evil, didn’t want to do evil, but our government surely did. We dropped our bombs mostly on civilians. More than forty years after we dropped our last bombs, we’re still killing them, from unexploded ordnance touched off, often, by children.

There is hardly a day I don’t think of the young men I knew who flew those missions, of one young Mormon man in particular who was convinced the magic underwear he wore would spare him harm. Whoever embroidered his garment must have been a nonbeliever.

I’m grateful for their service, all of them, and bitter for the people they served. I’m downright hateful toward the men (there probably weren’t many women to get all riled up about, then) who felt the lives of American boys and girls were a fair trade for their political and financial advancement. I doubt they gave a thought to the uncounted nonAmerican boys and girls they murdered.

Words like that probably qualify me for somebody’s enemies list. I don’t mind much. I’m pretty sure I’ve been on lists like that before.


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