‘Ashamed to be an American’

My tradition is to spend the day after Thanksgiving with an old friend and her family. We were sitting at her sumptuous spread of leftovers and talking politics.

Her husband, a retired NYC cop and Vietnam vet, was shocked when I told him we were using napalm and white phosphorus on civilians during the seige of Fallujah.

“They’re using jellied kerosene instead of gasoline, but yeah, it’s napalm,” I told him.

He shook his head. “You know, I dropped white phosphorus on my boot once and I couldn’t get my boot off fast enough,” he said. “You should see that stuff. It burns right on through, real fast. When you use it on people, it does the same thing. It’s like putting dry ice on someone’s skin.”

“Fallujah was like a recruiting program for terrorists,” I said. “The things we did to civilians there have guaranteed them volunteers for decades.”

“It just makes me feel ashamed to be an American,” he said.

“Yeah, I know. I never felt this way before.”

I have. Once before,” he said.