Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Humvee, jeep, jeep, jeep

Contributed by Dudley C. Gould, author of Follow Me Up Fools Mountain

Anytime you see a current Army vehicle on television now, it's usually a Humvee. Its predecessor was the jeep, used in World War II and Korea.

The first Army jeep was designed by Willys-Overland President, Joseph Frazer and chief engineer Delamar G. Roos as the Army's first general purpose vehicle. Qualifications for the vehicle were listed by Army Major Robert Howie at Fort Benning. Frazer later remarked that he thought Howie's brain child looked like a cross between a scooter and a diving board on wheels.

Dubbed the Bellyflopper, Howie's car mounted a machine gun and carried two soldiers lying down on their bellies.

Weighing 1300 pounds, Willy's pilot model arrived at Fort Holabird in November 1940 for Army tests. When other vehicles were tested based on Howie's basic idea, Willys was found to be best in the field.

Some have attempted to trace the jeep name back to GP, General Purpose, but those of us who rode in them at the beginning will remember the strange character Eugene the Jeep in the Popeye comics that went around uttering nothing but "jeep, jeep, jeep." An amphibeous jeep, made by Ford Motor Company, was called the Quack.

Incidently, Joseph Frazer joined with industrialist Henry J. Kaiser to form Kaiser-Frazer Motors after World War II. The Kaisers and Frazers were the first slab side cars with front and back fenders joined in the middle. The last new Frazers were made in 1951, but in reality, were 1950 cars with new rear fenders and new grills to make them seem new.

Later, Kaiser bought up Willys-Overland Motors and it became known as Kaiser-Willys Motors. 1955 was the last year for Kaiser and Willys passenger cars and the jeep was made by Kaiser for years after that. Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan, www.war-books.com

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Movie Stop-Loss is weak

Movie Stop-Loss has a weak ending, abandons characters to another tour of Iraq

by Walter Haan, www.war-books.com

Just saw Ryan Phillippe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Stop-Loss DVD yesterday. This movie is further proof that the American media is in bed with President Bush and his cronies.

Until its end, the film is powerful. About a soldier, Brandon King (Phillippe), who is involuntarily signed up for a third tour in Iraq, King declares he's not going again. He fights his buddies on the subject, flees halfway across the country from Texas to New York City, endures the suicide of a buddy from his unit (Gordon-Levitt), and appears to be ready to relocate to Canada with a new identity.

Suddenly he's back home, looking at the Mexican border and hugging his family. Just as suddenly, he's on the bus with his buddies being taken to the plane that will return them all to Iraq. The end.

The movie does not have the courage of its convictions. It's like the producers, writers and director signed on a government dotted line to not let this film go to it's natural ending (King in Canada starting a new life where he no longer has to kill people). I guess there was a fear that the movie would appear to be "unpatriotic."

Far more unpatriotic and undemocratic is the film's hidden endorsement of using our troops in an involuntary draft so the rest of American youth will not have to go. You know who, the teenage children of government officials and corporate despots who are making a financial killing in the Iraqi War.

Stop-Loss is well produced and directed...and morally bankrupt.--Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan, www.war-books.com