Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl Scruggs Performs "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"

... at an antiwar rally, above, as Gary North informs us in his obituary — Earl Scruggs, R.I.P. "Scruggs was opposed to the Vietnam war, and said so in 1969," writes Mr. North. "He wanted the troops to come home. This stand was rare for Southern entertainers of the old school, including bluegrass performers."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I don't think that anti-war sentiment was as rare in the South as common opinion might think. I think that there was a strong "fight the war to win or don't fight it at all" sentiment, and as it became increasingly apparent that the Johnson Administration had no intention of actually winning the war, lots of conservatives and traditionalists turned against it. I know my own father was in that camp, originally supporting the war as a struggle against Communism and in defense of the at least partially Catholic civilization of South Vietnam, but then turning on the war as he realized that Johnson had no plan for victory but was just killing people in the hopes of a stalmate ala Korea 1952. My father, having fought in both WWII (a war with an actual goal of victory) and Korea (a war that ended in a truce with no victory), was not interested in supporting a war effort that wasted lives without hope of success.

March 31, 2012 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

The anti-militarism of my Mississippian maternal grandmother comes to mind. She my grandfather shipped off to the Middle East in WWII, only to pick up some lung fungus that later killed him. (My paternal grandfather also served in WWII, occupied Japan, and Korea.)

She wore a POW bracelet in the 1970s, and knew that those poor guys had been sold down the river buy their own so-called government. It was at that time she took me aside at about the age of seven and sternly said, pointing a finger at me, "You will never join the military. Understand?"

March 31, 2012 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

My father had a similar conversation with me -- no military. The one exception that he would allow me to discuss was the Coast Guard, largely because of its peacetime functions. But he was no fan of the military -- although he thought it a necessary force given the Cold War.

My dad served in the Occupation of Japan and had haunting memories of Hiroshima (where he served). He had a great respect for the Japanese people he encountered while there -- very respecful and dignified, he said, although it was hard for him not to remember the barbarism that he had encountered from Japanese soliders during the War.

My own father's ambivalence towards the military was due to what he saw as the increasing "racket" that was military spending and military life as the 60's turned into the 70's and then the 80's. The military-industrial complex in action. The military he had experienced no longer existed -- the citizen soliders replaced first by unhappy draftees and then later by people joining the military in order to get money for college, an escape from small town life, etc. By the time he died in 1987 he was thoroughly un-enchanted with the military.

April 1, 2012 at 3:32 AM  

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