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Saturday, September 30, 2023


How my history brought me to favor the Iran deal


Ken Levin served for four years and reached the rank of Staff Sergent. | Courtesy of Ken Levin


Way back in 1942, my mother volunteered to be an Air Raid warden in northwest Baltimore, where we lived at the time. We lied about my age so I could volunteer to be a Civil Defense Air Raid Messenger.

This meant that we had to be able to identify the silhouettes of all of the Japanese, German and Allied aircraft.  My job would have been easily unnecessary if somebody had invented cell phones.

My job was to carry messages between the Air Raid warden, fire departments, police and any local military. My mother patrolled the streets, followed closely by our gray alley cat, Salla.

I can say with the utmost pride and confidence that because of the due diligence of my mother and I, not an enemy bomb fell on our part of Baltimore during the entire war.

A few years after World War II, the United States found itself in a “police action” war in Korea and in 1951, President Harry Truman asked me if I could help out, so I enlisted.

Thus, began my four years in uniform, involving everything from humor to fear, resulting in four courts-martial, four promotions and a lot of war stories for this old man.

Of course, that war still hasn’t technically ended, but since then we have found ourselves as a nation involved in some ridiculous conflicts.

Because of that, my former wife served four tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, my fourth daughter served one tour in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan, my fifth daughter served five tours in Iraq and an ex-son-in-law served two tours in Afghanistan.

One of my grandsons is presently serving in the Army.

Now, things have changed a little. We finally have a president who is ridiculous enough to think that negotiation is better than war. How ridiculous can you be? Here we have a deal with a country that we cannot trust, but we have made lots of deals with countries we cannot trust.

Here we have a situation that says they cannot have a weapon of mass destruction and a system for verifying that. If they try to cheat, we still have all of the options, including military.

We also have the ability to blast them to kingdom come, and their negotiators know this.

Our Congress, made up of a large number of Republicans, is against this deal for only one reason: their hatred of President Barack Obama.

We are being inundated with misinformation and outright lies about why this is a bad deal. But any deal that prevents the Iranian government and their terrorist sub groups from obtaining an atomic weapon is a good deal, and this plan does just that.

But now, we get to my point.

The opposition to the deal with Iran is led by neoconservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. These are people who have never met an American whose pound of flesh or pint of blood they were not willing to sacrifice in a foreign war.

How do I feel about that? Well, I’m too old to go. My wives and most of my daughters are too old to go.

But, my son and most of the students who read this paper are the right age, and I say to the war mongers of today, “YOU CAN’T HAVE MY SON!”

How strongly do I feel that? I will do anything possible and maybe some things impossible to prevent you from going back to the daily casualty reports of the past fifty years.
If that makes me unpatriotic, then I guess I suddenly, after 70 years of service to my nation, accept that. But keep your grubby, bloody, war-mongering hands off my son and his generation.

Opinion Columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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