Theodore's World: Coal Cellars and Common Sense by Don Bendell ( Vietnam Veteran)

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September 01, 2009

Coal Cellars and Common Sense by Don Bendell ( Vietnam Veteran)


by Don Bendell

As Vietnam veterans; for decades, we were like the shiny black lumps in our coal cellar when I was a little boy. That coal bin was dark, cold, scary, and out of sight of the neighbors. That is where the American public shoveled all of us after Vietnam. Out of sight, out of mind after-all. We were not seen or heard from for years, except as psycho killers in movies and TV shows. War is always hell, but a lot of our real pain came from the heartbreak of Americans not giving us enough credit. Newsmen said it, so many thought we all lost our values and character that we grew up with. Instead, in the publics’ minds; amazingly, we became brain-washed, robotic killers, and rapists after only a year or two of military training. Please! It was chilly and emotionally-barren in that coal bin all those years, because we, “Vietnam Untouchables,” were blanketed by an icy coldness of public shame and apathy.

Then, a few years ago, we came into vogue. Even the left saw us as fashionable, so now there are 11,000,000 Vietnam vets running around. Except for one problem, there were only 2.7 million of us in Vietnam. People finally learned though that we are not sociopaths, that only 17% of us were black, which was commensurate with that racial percentage nationally, that we did not mostly come from low income families, and most of us were; like me, volunteers, not draftees. And so many more myths about Vietnam have been exploded.

So what now, a parade, a national holiday? No, our President and our congressional leaders, instead of honoring us, want us to start figuring out how we want to die, (so we will not be a burden to their spending plans, I believe). I have a copy of Obama’s now infamous “Death Book for Veterans.” It is actually called “Your life, Your Choices,” and camouflages itself as a guide for living wills. In actuality, it encourages euthanasia if you feel depressed, are wheelchair–bound, in a nursing home, are a burden to loved ones, either emotionally or financially, or in similar circumstance. And this book is real; morbid and shameful, but real. There is page after page about “pulling the plug,” the horrors of comas, and other debilitating conditions. It is indeed a macabre guide, and much unlike any military field manual I have ever read. This one is how to lose, not win.

Since FDR was wheelchair-bound as our President, I wonder how he would have felt about self-euthanasia. Then I remembered that the President and Congress are too good for our health care plan. In fact, if our health care system is so bad, why didn’t Teddy Kennedy go to Canda, Great Britain, or maybe Cuba for his brain cancer? Why do all their terminal cancer patients come to the US for care? And, do you know what they call many of them who don’t? Corpses.

Any nation takes care of its troops during war, but the true test of a nation’s greatness is how that nation treats its warriors when they come home. Can they seek shade, rest, and peace on the porches of America or must they immediately head for the coal chute “out back?” Obama and Congress want us to save them money and head to the boneyard so they can spend some more.

The problem is that this is not just about vets. It is about a government-run and mandated healthcare program for America. I am a disabled Vietnam veteran and am treated by government-paid doctors, nurses, druggists, and administrators. In other words, I am taken care of by government-run healthcare through a dysfunctional bureaucracy that is broken. No, not broken, trashed, in case you haven’t read. Now, get this: Our leaders in Washington want to create a much, much larger bureaucracy in the midst of a recession and saddle our entire nation with what my brother vets and I go through but on a grander scale. What are they, nuts?

Let’s see, just in 2009 alone, our government began “Cash for Clunkers,” and it went broke in just weeks. People traded in big American-made cars, and most purchased new foreign-made cars. Wow! The government sure is taking care of American auto workers . . . not. Car dealers have not been paid their promised federal dollars either.
How about the still-naïve one-third of Americans who want Big Brother to provide us with Obamacare? How has our government done over the decades managing other federal programs? Just look at: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Amtrak, Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security. And say, what about the US Postal Service? Even the President joked in a speech in August about their incompetence compared to FEDEX or UPS. Do you want to go to the post office on the day that some worker comes in “disgruntled?”

We have legislators actually suggesting we copy Great Britain’s healthcare system. In Great Britain, MS patients are forced to wait two and a half years there for the latest MS medicines and treatments. I have two daughters with MS, probably because I was exposed to Agent Orange. One of them is even a liberal and may even want Obamacare, not realizing what will happen to MS patients if it happens.

Over two-thirds of Americans, democrats and republicans are against Obamacare, but legislators at town halls are still trying to cram it down our throats. They are not listening to the majority, only their own spin-doctors insulting us, the citizens. Our so-called leaders forgot that the hidden coal in the coal cellar of my youth, also provided my family with life-giving warmth and comfort during the cold Ohio winters. Similarly, my fellow veterans and I did not lose our warmth or fires of passion hidden away all those years.

These “empty suit” pinheads in Washington think I am going to let my daughters get re-victimized? The real problem is, that just because some us were dumb enough to elect them, they think we are all stupid. I have news for them and any of their co-dependent hangers-on just wanting more government freebies. Veterans are not like giggling, slogan-chanting Woodstockers and peaceniks. American veterans actually risked our lives for what we believed in. In Vietnam, 58,000 gave up theirs. It is not just veterans though. It is an American public, democrats, republicans, and independents who feel like me: I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Ronald Reagan was faced with a greater recession, higher inflation, much higher interest rates, and much higher unemployment than Obama faced. Democrats and Republicans alike voted for Reagan, and he drastically cut taxes and immediately started us on the road to recovery. Obama put us $3 trillion deeper in debt with a worse economy to show for it. Reagan studied world leaders before becoming President. Obama’s mentor prior to heading off to college was Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA, who was a heavy pot-smoker, and wrote a porno book. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama have one major similarity though: One term Presidents due to pie-in-the-sky unworkable fiscal policies.

The first thing we must do to fix our sky-rocketing medical care is not talked about. If a surgeon passes gas in the operating room, a patient files a multi-million dollar lawsuit against him for causing air pollution. Trial lawyers run the democratic party and a good portion of the republican party. We must force our legislators to pass good, rock solid tort reform legislation. The insurance premiums doctors, especially those in private practice, and hospitals, pay is through the ceiling.

My Solutions:

1. Tort Reform: We must get the size of lawsuits, especially in the medical profession, significantly lowered back to earth, insurance rates will come down, and health care costs will start dropping immediately.
2. Conservatives must take back the congress in 2010, lower taxes, and ease the ludicrous government regulations. “Checks and balances” works.
3. Moderates and Conservatives must unite behind one common Reagan-like Presidential 2012 candidate who understands economics.
4. We must continue tea parties, phone calls, emails, and faxes to our legislators.
5. We must start supporting those who want to run for Congress who have proven they want to serve country first, not self, and not party.
6. While we are at it, regarding the various attacks now on-going against our Constitution, let’s just use the 2nd Amendment for example. 11 years ago, Great Britain outlawed private ownership of firearms. Their Violent Crime Rate increased by over 340%. It was worse in Australia. In comparison, NOBODY will ever break into my house or carjack my car. Why? People know, either my wife or me will shoot them very dead with very large bullet holes ventilating their carcasses. Pretty good motivation to obey the law around my property and family.
7. And speaking of the Constitution, our nation only functions with our system of checks and balances. Czars are not accountable to anybody, and that must be changed by Congress. The unethical utilization of that loophole tells me all I need to know about Obama’s so-called “transparency in government.” Action walks and BS talks.

Freedom is a very jealous mistress. To possess her, we must reject her longtime competitor; slavery to governmental intrusion. Lady Liberty will not accept a divided allegiance, and freedom comes as a package deal. With freedom comes responsibilities and consequences. Government intrusion is the dirty lonely coal cellar, but freedom is like soap. It smells sweet, is clean, and loses all its effectiveness if it is watered down.
May God bless America, and may Americans get back to praising God.

Don Bendell, 62, is an author of 26 books, including his newest novel, DETACHMENT DELTA, about modern day Delta Force, which was released worldwide in January, 2009 by Berkley Books (Penguin-USA), with over 2,000,000 copies of his books in print worldwide. Don is a popular editorialist who has appeared on FOX NEWS LIVE, and many national radio shows. A 70% disabled vet, Don served as an officer in 4 Special Forces (Green Beret) Groups, including a 1968-1969 tour on an A-team in Vietnam, as well as in the Top Secret Phoenix Program and has two sons in Special Forces. A 1995 inductee into the International Karate Hall of Fame and a Grandmaster in 5 martial arts, he and his black belt master wife, Shirley, also own karate schools in southern Colorado. Don is “a real cowboy with a real horse” and lives outside Florence, Colorado.

You can write to him at


Wild Thing's comment.......

Thank you Don for your column, fantastic! And for your service to our country.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 1, 2009 06:40 AM


Tort reform would go a long way to fixing a lot of the problems in the system on the whole.

My thought on this would be a 'Frivolous Court' any lawsuit would go before a 'Frivolous Judge', he would be required to be Non-partisan, and a totally independent indvidual. He would be required to look at the merits of each Lawsuit and determine if they are of a Frivolous Nature, if so they would be thrown out and the Attorney who brought the suit would pay court costs, and be fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

To ensure equality a similar 3 judge panel would audit the cases of the Frivolous Judge and if he was found wanting, he too would be thrown off the bench and replaced.

Posted by: Mark at September 1, 2009 09:29 AM

Good Ol' Don Bendell!! Me Thinks THE ONE does not know who he is jacking with, and likely, doesn't care, but he will when we 'politely' show him the door. Remember the Phoenix Program..... ('removal' of the Communist Cadre through 'Hush Puppies' barking)

Posted by: pontiff alex at September 1, 2009 11:26 AM

LBJ's dispicable Rules of Engagement (NON-ENGAGEMENT) hand tied our gallant airmen and warriors hands in the 60s. LBJ would not let the dogs loose! Sound familiar patriots? WE had to play by the rules and the enemy didn't have to. Thank God President Nixon used our B-52s in Operation Linebacker II to bomb the sh*t out of Hanoi and END that war!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at September 1, 2009 11:42 AM

As one of those "Vietnam Untouchables" with disabilities, we deal with what Don Bendell is speaking about on a daily basis. I firmly believe that any 'warming' toward us from the left was a means to get close enough to study us as new means to destroy us. Why else would the left publish such a book? Primarily aimed at we veterans but at all elderly in general, we are past our prime earning or useful potentials. Death and dying is nothing new for us, neither is suicide. As of 1987, over 58,000 had died in Vietnam, over 150,000 more have died from suicide. We were expendable then and we still are, this will be the legacy for those from the Gulf war onward too. The truth about Communism is that it has no compassion, it and death go hand in hand, once you have done their bidding it's time to be put down. ROE's??? Thanks Darth.

One of my favorite quotes, used often out of original context, on Vietnam missions is still true.

We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.~ Mother Teresa

Posted by: Jack at September 1, 2009 12:28 PM

Don Bendell is a rrue American hero. His solutions are just common sense. Therefore, they will not be adopted by this Congress. Too many lawyers in Congress and the government. There should be a quota on lawyers in public office.

Gingrich's Contract with America was very successful at first. The trouble was that most of Congress did not sign it and many of the signers themselves violated what they signed. The contract limited what Congressmen could do and limited their terms in office. It was widely popular with the American public.

Posted by: TomR at September 1, 2009 01:19 PM

Love you all so much, thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 2, 2009 02:17 AM