David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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After the Persian Gulf War

 

We pretty much ignored the Persian Gulf war in the WIND, mostly because it was over between one issue and the next. None of us is sorry about that. Like everyone else, we watched television, read the papers, listened to the radio, were skeptical of the politicians, worried about the people who were in Southwest Asia, and hoped for the best.

As an aging warrior who was pretty much dumped on for taking part in the last war, again, like everyone else, I fervently hoped that a) this wouldn’t turn into another extended affair we wouldn’t win, and b) that it wouldn’t cost a great many American lives.

In looking back on it, I will remember two events very clearly. The first concerns a middle aged friend of mine in Boulder. His name is Bang Nguyen and he came here from Vietnam 15 years ago, because he had been in the South Vietnamese Army and he couldn’t stay there when the place finally fell. Now he works at the University of Colorado as a very skilled print reproduction technician, making sure teachers and administrators have plenty of papers to hand out.

When the Persian Gulf War was over, he called me aside and, with tears in his eyes, asked, “Why couldn’t you have done that for us? Oh, I’m so glad for those people, but why couldn’t you have done that for us? Yes, there are thousands of Kuwaitis, but there were millions of us…”

“Bang,” I said, “the world has changed. Those of us who were there could have won the war, and we would have liked to, believe me, but the politicians wouldn’t let us. People like Bush and Schwarzkopf learned from those mistakes, and that’s why it didn’t happen this time. Sometimes those lessons are very costly. I’m sorry.”

And he looked at me, and nodded his head, and the tears came down, and I knew he was thinking about his friends and relatives and comrades-in-arms and 58,000 Americans who had died so we in America could learn this lesson, and I had to silently agree with him that it didn’t seem worth it.

The second event was the return of the CBS news crew and the POWs who were prisoners for 40 days and who learned, at last, after taking it for granted all their lives, how truly precious freedom is. When they talked about the way they were treated, by people who thought such treatment was the way life should be, you could see that they would never again take freedom for granted.

So it’s over, and we won, and this time I’m happy to say our returning soldiers will be treated with the thanks and respect they deserve. We can continue to buy our gas for less than almost any other country in the world, and we can continue to make fun of our politicians and have plenty to eat, and our vodka isn’t rationed. And for those of us who live here in our mountains, we can continue to revel in the beauty and solitude of this place, and the freedom to do pretty much anything we damn please.

But next time we step out the door, smell that pine scented air and look at that Colorado blue sky, we might take a moment to thank whatever deity we worship, that we happen to be Americans.

 

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

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