The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits
What's it really mean to be a soldier in The New World Order? In "The Betrayed," Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume tells the story of his life as a warrior who fought in two wars.
Few book reviews begin with the warning that this is not a book you will completely enjoy. I predict, though, that even in the most depressing sections, you will feel compelled to continue reading but at the same time wonder if you can endure it.
The biographical introduction of the author’s early life in West Texas is so typical of that era that most people who grew up in a small town or a rural area will enjoy identifying with the author’s memories. If one had a more or less normal home life, with relatives and friends, football games and in true Texas fashion, rodeos, this section is a good blast from the past.
But the decision was made young, as it was for so many boys of that era, that they would become a soldier, and who was to tell them differently. With the author it was specifically to be a Marine and so it seemed his path was set.
Through having had various jobs and interests, it seemed inevitable that he would make the decision to enlist. This diary of his experiences in Vietnam moves the book out of the nostalgia realm completely and it becomes a part of the library of those books we read not because we actually enjoy them, but because we who have not been in war, need to know the actuality.
The other readers will be those who have been there and need the comfort of sharing in the recollections of others who had similar experiences. As one veteran of combat said to me, he will read the accounts of other veterans in order to reassure himself he did not imagine it all in some Kafkaesque nightmare. For them, this author offers his account. It is a tribute to The Warriors, who were the most cruelly betrayed.
After Vietnam, the author’s search for understanding and making sense of war, politics, honor, and life led him through many challenges, jobs and achievements, but he never quite felt as if he was resolving the dichotomy he at first had only dimly seen.
For reasons he himself could not fully identify at the time, he enlisted for Desert Storm and that experience further fed his frustration. The inefficiency, waste, lack of focus of some in command, and the futility of the war, were too apparent to him. He used his diary to examine analytically the actions that so disturbed him, noting the various instances of foolishness, inefficiency and waste that he witnessed.
A return to “The World” left the author feeling alienated and frustrated. A second time, “home” was not the same, it was, rather “a place he had never been” and could never be again.
As the author works and engages in various businesses and academia his life takes many twists and turns and he increasingly sees the problems and inconsistencies more clearly. When he comments on various accepted historical accounts of events or venerated institutions, he explains his personal involvement and what led him to the conclusion of at the least skepticism, if not rejection of their value or even morality.
From PTSD, to the Domino Theory, from Vaccines to Anthrax, Agent Orange to propaganda and even the CIA, all were a part of his own personal learning experience. Further, he attacks the “sacred cow” of academia and identifies the inherent contradiction: taxpayer support and the constant need of academia to access taxpayer monies.
His analysis of many venerated institutions and historical events will be harsh and troubling for many readers as his conclusions demand intellectual rigor and not the typical comfortable blind obedience to authority. Disturbingly accurate are his final words on war and how soldiers are betrayed by their own countries. They are told they will be heroes while in actuality a soldier is a “government paid assassin.” To quote the author further, “He (the soldier) will kill anyone in any country where he is told to go, even if he has never heard of the country or regardless of whether its people are any kind of a threat to him or his.”
The author’s comments on the real reasons why soldiers fight dismisses the usual reasons of "God and Country." Readers should prepare themselves for brutal honesty. His conclusions reflect not just his difficult search for truth, but are the result of painful, personal experience. He rejects the usual “moral arguments” as a contrived pretext for war.
If there is anyone who really needs to read this book, however, it is those who promote war as a solution to any and every problem. Perhaps, if you read it and see and understand its value, you will send a copy to your Congressman or friends who see economic sanctions, dropping bombs and sending drones as positive solutions. Time and many additional wars combined with the release of historic documents now verify the accuracy of this author’s experience and analysis and those of other perceptive people who stood firm against the tide of politically instigated aggression.
To fully understand the conclusion regarding issues that touch all our lives, one needs to take the arduous journey with him through the covers of the book. I will not tell you it is a “fun read” but I do sincerely promise you it will be of great value.
The author, Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume, has written several books and now manages the site Flyover-press.com. He is also a specialist in land management. He blogs at http://flyoverpress.wordpress.com/