Curtis Dahlgren
THIS is "what happens when wars end"? Run up the white flags?
By Curtis Dahlgren
July 7, 2014

"What is past is prologue." – Shakespeare (engraved on the National Archives building)

WELL, WELL, WELL. When the deal releasing five top terrorist leaders was announced, the President said that this is what [always?] happens when wars end. Who said that they're ending? The other dismal story being largely ignored by the media is the Iraqi civil war. The mainstream media may be having trouble deciding whether our foreign policy, the economy, or White House scandals are the MOST "unfit to print"! NO WONDER the NY Times fantasizes that Americans are getting excited about soccer.

Well anyway, the Korean War ended in sort of a tie and the Vietnam war ended in our defeat. Supposedly the lesson was we should stay out of "civil wars." But since the current administration took office, we have been involved in civil wars in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and other places. The White House doesn't defend Christians here or abroad, and it loses emails that both Congress and the National Archives wanted. Such love means never even saying OOPS. My first column was September 9, 2003 and so I had nothing to say about the start of the second Iraq war, but I cannot honestly blame the current situation there on W. Bush either.

Therefore I'm re-posting my column from August 18, 2004, nearly ten years ago. I ought to make this one an annual classic for the Fourth of July – to remind us of our past greatness and morality (and our current failures in this post-Christian Era). The column started out like this:

IF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER WERE CAUGHT RED-HANDED stuffing her bra with Top Secret papers, the American entertainment and "news" media would hang her from the nearest tree, whether it was the tallest tree in town or not! Sandy Berger's admitted version of stuffing his garments with said secret papers didn't even produce a YAWN, so let's "MOVE ON" to the issue of the Vietnam war. During 1972, I wrote an article on that subject for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger Herald student newspaper.

That article was a rare HUMOR piece on the subject – entitled "The Strange Saga of the South Dakota Civil War" by Jay Fred McReady, written from a child-like perspective, and it went something like this:

Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom far away called Indo-Dakota. It was so named because it was inhabited by Indians and ruled for many years by the French from the city of Pierre. Following the collapse of the Nationalist government in China, due to "diplomatic" decisions made elsewhere, an underground movement was launched by Bismarck for the purpose of creating an atheistic theocracy in Indo-Dakota.

And so the South was invaded by the North – the Peace Garden State! One day 40,000 Frenchmen found themselves surrounded by gorillas at Dienbienphu, a tiny hamlet on the Missouri River, and the Frenchmen said, "OK, you win" (but not before sending a May Day message to the District of Columbia requesting at least a token payment on the Statue of Liberty).

"Don't worry, be happy," said the District of Columbia. "An international control commission is going to establish a Demilitarized Zone." And so the State Department sent an ambassador to a Convention in Geneva, which produced the treaty now known as the Louisiana Sellout.

Ten years later, in 1964, an important election was held in the District of Columbia. The challenger, Goldie Bearwater, complained, "North Dakota has been overrunning South Dakota for almost 15 years now; we're going to have to do something about it pretty soon."

"TRIGGER HAPPY!" said the Incumbent. "Elect that guy and he's liable to start a war over there!" Well, the people elected the Incumbent, who stood head and shoulders above every other man in the Kingdom. "I never expected to get so many votes," said he. "Now that we have a CONSENSUS government, ah hereby promise to become all things to all people. For the sake of the 26 million people who voted for that other guy, ah will send 500,000 soldiers to Indo-Dakota. And for the sake of the rest of us, they won't take SIDES in the fighting!"

"Amen for CONSENSUS," said the Congress, in its famous Tonka Truck Resolution (and the Senator from South Dakota offered his blessings, for his wife was a lobbyist for Tonka trucks). Two years later, it became clear to the Incumbent that Tonka trucks just weren't getting the job done, so he sent over two dozen International Scouts, complete with curb feelers mounted on the right front fenders (plus peace feelers to the four corners of the globe).

"About these Scouts with curb feelers, " said the Senator from Arkansas, "Isn't this a drastic escalation of the war?"

"Not at all!" said the Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamath. "This is merely an incremental adjustment to meet a new stimulus level."

"Oh," said the Senator from Arkansas. "Oh," said the Senator from South Dakota.

"Balderdash," said a man from Yorba Linda. "Drive it or park it!"

So the Incumbent parked it, and the man from Yorba Linda was elected President. One day he went on television and said, "North Dakota, the Peace Garden State, is stockpiling weapons in Wyoming near the border with South Dakota, so we are going to go in and 'neutralize' those weapons."

There was weeping and gnashing of teeth among the college students at Columbia. "Wyoming has been INVADED," they sobbed. Some of them took it so hard that they tore their Levis and sat down in the ashes of burned-out college buildings throughout the land of Columbia.

Captain Carrey came to comfort them, along with Spock, their baby doctor, who suggested very strongly that they should get off their ashes and tear down Columbia (or else he would "thrash them to within an inch of their lives"). A third comforter gave a sensitive speech on the virtues of the Peace Garden State, and then led the children up Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, "Ho Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh; dare to fight and DARE TO WIN!"

A bystander said, "I have long held my tongue, for I am very young, but if I had to choose, I would rather quote Zechariah (HO HO, COME FORTH – AND FLEE FROM THE LAND OF THE NORTH)."

After a while, the man from Yorba Linda went on television again and he said, "At this very hour, the Army of the Republic of South Dakota is on its way to a busy intersection on the Ho Chi Mansfield Highway in Montana, near the border with North and South Dakota, in order to stop the flow of war materials threatening to wipe out Rapid City."

The Senator from South Dakota gave the other party's response, saying "I do not feel that those Badlands are worth one more penny of the precious resources of Columbia (which could be put to better uses), because those black hills are so far away that they constitute no threat to the security of Washington DC!" And so the Peace Garden State sent three-fourths of its standing army across the Demilitarized Zone, including Russian tanks with volunteers chained to the controls, headed toward the city of Aberdeen.

After a while, the man from Yorba Linda went of TV again, and announced that he was going to mine the harbors of North Dakota and bomb all railroad lines leading to Canada. This time the college students were inconsolable. Anti-war demonstrators were seen marching through the malls chanting, "FIGHT BACK!" The NLF is going to win, chanted the Chicago "eleven." The Senator from South Dakota was truly moved. A reporter asked him, "Are you prepared to call for an immediate withdrawal of fighting forces?"

"If you mean the forces in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota, yes!" he replied. "That is – if you mean OUR forces in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota."

Someone suggested that there was still a consensus of opinion that was opposed to unilateral withdrawal. "CONSENSUS IS THE OLD POLITICS," he snorted. "I believe in the NEW politics now."

And so the Senator was nominated to run for President. So let us pray.

[How insensitive, but the past is prologue, is prologue, is prologue, is . . . ]

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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