Tag: War
BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Shipmates on the USS Nimitz

5/2/08: PBS mini series “Carrier,” a 10-part series that focuses on a core group of shipmates during their six-month deployment on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.

Listen here: https://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/05/02/5208-pbs-shows–5208.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 655a & 855a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: A Lt. Colonel’s death in Iraq, Arlington Na...

4/28/08: A Lt. Colonel’s death in Iraq, Arlington National Cemetery

Listen here: https://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/04/28/42808-iraq-story.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 655a & 855a.


‘This Is It’

Dismissed as an also-ran just a few weeks ago, Sen. John McCain is back, and fighting toward the finish.

Mike Barnicle


Updated: 4:38 PM ET Jan 3, 2008

Oh, he sure has had a long, interesting life, filled with joy and pain and defined in part by a nearly six years of captivity after he fell from the sky in 1967 fighting a war where so many young died to satisfy the criminal pride of old politicians. And here he is now, bouncing from hamlet to town hall to house parties to VFW Posts in a state where people of all political stripes seem to truly like him, almost always wearing a smile that declares he’s glad to be alive and well in a country he loves more than the job he seeks: the presidency.

“I realize it’s my last time around the track,” said Sen. John McCain, sitting on his campaign bus. “I know this is it.” He is 71, back from the dead after being counted as a casualty of a political war that devours candidates who lack the ammunition called money. His near-fatal failure happened after his candidacy was clobbered by those who fear illegal immigrants more than the eternal flame of true terrorism.

But politics–despite 21st-century sophistication, numerous polls, thousands of blogs that have created a nation of 300 million columnists as well as the constant tide of information spilled across the Internet, cable TV and talk radio–remains a people business in the precincts of New Hampshire. And as voters got a good look at the field of candidates, many clearly decided to give McCain a second glance.

“I think he tells more of the truth than the others do,” said Ed Bell, a 48-year-old salesman, after attending a McCain event. “And he knows what it’s like to be hurt, too. He’s a real human being.”

McCain is the Babe Ruth of town-hall meetings; he does them better than anyone. At VFW Post 8641 in Merrimack, N.H., it was 60 minutes of theater-in-the-round, with the Arizona senator energetically pacing the floor, microphone in one hand, ballpoint in the other, talking, laughing, taking questions, telling stories, giving answers; every second and each physical movement–some limited by injury–a reminder that while Mitt Romney runs ads hammering him on immigration and taxes, McCain remains unafraid of his beliefs.

“Why are you in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants?” a woman at the back of hall asked.

“I’m not,” McCain told her.

“I was informed you were,” she insisted.

“You were misinformed,” he told her.

“People know a desperate campaign when they see one,” McCain said later about Romney as he sat eating a hot dog and talking about the December welterweight title bout he saw on TV when Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Ricky Hatton to retain the title. “He’s got maybe the fastest hands I’ve ever seen,” McCain said of the prizefighter.

Like Mayweather, McCain has a fighter’s heart. Part of him enjoys a hostile question and the occasional antagonist. After all, he’s faced tougher interrogators than those who come at him with a press pass or an ideological difference. McCain sports the roll-the-dice attitude of a guy thrilled to see each sunrise, who has learned to live with disappointment and put bitterness in the rearview mirror. Yet, he has the humility of someone quite aware that each day is a blessing because for him, so many were, quite literally, torture.

Now, McCain will return to New Hampshire from Iowa, fully alive again in a uniquely American process that saw his political obituary posted just months ago. He is back because he did not quit–not when he fell from the sky all those years ago, and certainly not when he fell out of favor in the days before voters began paying true attention and measuring character as one of the ingredients in the making of a president.

Mike Barnicle has been a newspaper columnist in Boston for 30 years and is a commentator forMSNBC.

MIKE BARNICLE FOR THE TODAY SHOW: A son and dad deal with the cost of combat

Mike and his father, George Burke, have an uncanny bond: They both fought in a war and now they’re both struggling with the weight of it. NBC’s Mike Barnicle has their story.


MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: Will the president’s top military man tell him ...

Will the president’s top military man tell him it’s time to get out of Iraq? “Hardball” guest host Mike Barnicle talks to cycling legend Lance Armstrong on how the next president can win the war on cancer. Plus Michael Eric Dyson, Marcia Dyson, Julian Barnes, Charlie Hurt, Dan Gilgoff, and Susannah Meadows.


MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: Do we stay or do we go?

A new intelligence report says Iraq’s government will become more precarious over the next six to twelve months. Does that mean we stay or we leave? Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Melanie Sloan, David Rivkin, Perry Bacon, Julie Mason and Eamon Javers talk with “Hardball” host Mike Barnicle.


MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: Will comparing Iraq to Vietnam help President Bush?

President Bush looks to history for help on his unpopular war, but will comparing Iraq to Vietnam really rally the county? Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America discusses this with “Hardball” host Mike Barnicle.



MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: Is the war in Iraq working?

Mike Barnicle, filling in for Chris Matthews, talks with Brian Katulis and Mike O’Hanlon about the surge in Iraq.

MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: Will American troops get caught in the crossfire?

Today, top U.S. generals tell senators that the violence in Iraq could turn into a civil war. Will American troops get caught in the crossfire? On “Hardball,” host Mike Barnicle talks with Saxby Chambliss, Jack Reed, Dan Gerstein, Al Sharpton, Mark Zaid and Max Cleland.



Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress there was no cover-up in the Pentagon’s investigation of Pat Tillman’s death. “Hardball” guest host Mike Barnicle talks to Sen. Joe Biden, Holly Bailey, Chris Cillizza and John Feehery.



Mike Barnicle, filling in for Chris Matthews on “Hardball,” talks with Sen. Joe Biden about the war in Iraq, General David Petraeus, the Bush administration, Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, and running for President.

MIKE BARNICLE ON HARDBALL: American troops sweat it out

American troops sweat it out as Iraq’s Parliament and Congress go on vacation. “Hardball” guest host Mike Barnicle talks to Rep. Duncan Hunter.


MIKE BARNICLE ON WTKK: Guest Col. Oliver North

Mike Barnicle Program, on 96.9 FM Talk, WTKK-Boston. Guest: Col. Oliver North, host “War Stories with Oliver North” on FOX News Channel.



Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., joins Hardball” guest host Mike Barnicle to discuss the imminent jailing of Scooter Libby and the progress of the war in Iraq. Scooter Libby could be in prison in six to eight weeks.




Guest: Evan Thomas, Newsweek Magazine, author, “Sea of Thunder”.


MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: A Day to ask, who were they?


May 31, 1998

At the intersection of VFW Parkway and LaGrange Street in West Roxbury there is a sign that stands like a silent sentry reminding us of a proud past filled with a quiet sadness that lingers still across all the years even though the American memory seems to have less and less capacity to recall the cruel and true costs of war. It is a memorial to brothers — Thomas and Gerald Keenan — who died in 1944.

Each day, thousands pass through the busy crossroads. And, each day, the sign is there, nearly invisible to those idling in autos: “Keenan Memorial Square,” the top line reads. “Thomas W. Jr. — US Marines, 1920-1944.” And, right beside the brief reference to that young man, “Gerald J. — US Navy, 1925-1944. Brothers who gave the supreme sacrifice for their country. For a long time I wondered about those brave boys. Who were they? Where did they live? When did they die? Who — and what — did they leave behind?

The other day along LaGrange, nobody seemed to know. It’s understandable; too much time has passed. People come, people go. Families move, taking local lore or the treasure of stories spawned on city streets to new ZIP codes and suburban destinations where the past is homogenized, packed away or even forgotten, like relics in an attic.

Fifty-four years ago, the United States was a different country. The dimension, the scope and the staggering casualties of a great war fought on two fronts had reached into every household. The Depression had been defeated. D-Day sent a coast-to-coast current of electric euphoria that was offset only by the continual drumroll and the sound of “Taps” that echoed in graveyards of small towns as well as big cities where so many families were touched with the tears and the toll of burying their heroic dead.

St. Joseph’s Cemetery is just a quarter-mile from the sign. And there, in a lovely grotto surrounded by the shade of a mature elm, a flat, stone marker was discovered in freshly cut grass. This is where Thomas and Gerald came after being brought home from their war.

Shut your eyes and you can see them still — and you can sense the society that mourned them after they lost their lives in battles that helped deliver the gift of liberty we open each morning. They returned to a place where self-pity was a stranger, where neighbors knew each other, where people actually volunteered for duty and willingly went without staples like sugar or gas because the cause was greater than any individual need, the collective will stronger than the smug selfishness thatoften sets us apart today.

But who were they? And what did they leave behind?

“I think you need to talk to my uncle,” said the young man who answered the door at the house where both boys grew up. “They know the story. And it’s still sad to talk about.”

Thomas and Helen Keenan had 10 children, seven boys and three girls. The father was a Boston firefighter. The family lived in West Roxbury. After Pearl Harbor, the oldest, Tom Jr., joined the Marine Corps. A few months later, his brother Gerald enlisted in the Navy after Roslindale High.

“Thomas died in the battle for Tinian Island,” his brother Joe, 71, recalled yesterday. “He died July 14, 1944. A priest came to the house with the fellow from Western Union. That’s how we were told: a telegram.

“Two weeks later, Gerald died when the Japs torpedoed his ship, the Canberra. Funny thing is, I helped build that boat at the Charlestown Navy Yard. It was a very difficult time. My parents never got over it.”

Both brothers came back to Boston together in death. They were waked at the old Legion Post in West Roxbury, blocks from their boyhood home, and buried side-by-side on Aug. 28, 1944.

Less than a year later, World War II was over. Germany surrendered the following spring. The Japanese conceded defeat in late summer, all because so many brave young men swallowed their fear and delivered their lives to a common cause not often recalled all these years later.

Thomas Keenan was 23. His brother Gerald was 19. And yesterday — Memorial Day — was all about them.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Do this in hope, remembrance


May 17, 1998

BELFAST — A hundred children of parents from a poor, shattered neighborhood where the past always conspired to defeat any decent future streamed into Holy Trinity Church yesterday to make their First Holy Communion. All the girls wore dazzling white dresses and boys were dressed in light gray suits as entire families watched, dizzy with pride.

“It’s like a fashion show,” the Rev. Matt Wallace said. “Most of these people go into debt to buy the outfits. Father Wallace is pastor of Holy Trinity in the Turf Lodge section of town. He is 55, a priest for 28 years, and he brings an infectious laugh and wonderful sense of humor to a parish of 6,000 people living in an area smaller than Beacon Hill. The church is the focal point of the community. It is a large, square cement-block building with a flat factory roof, located high on a hill above Center City, all right in the shadow of a British Army facility.

“Lock your car,” he advises visitors. “We share cars around here. Nearly everyone belongs to the D.L.A. club. That’s disability living allowance, and without it there wouldn’t be a single car in Turf Lodge.”

He and Father Patrick McCafferty were in the sacristy putting on their chasubles and stoles for Mass. The church was packed for a simple ceremony that manages to offer hope and optimism to an area more familiar with funerals after 30 years of violence.

“This church opened on Bloody Sunday,” Father Wallace recalled. The people here have suffered a lot but they are the most forgiving people you’ll find. And I think that this is the last community in the Western world where the extended family is so important.”

The pastor, two altar boys, and Father McCafferty strolled to the altar promptly at 11 a.m. Everyone rose as voices from the grammar school choir filled the building while the service began.

All the doors were open for a breeze so at the Offertory the sound of an Army helicopter overhead competed with the song, “We Love You Jesus.” Due to the huge numbers receiving, communion took 15 minutes to complete as the place filled with the light of flash bulbs as youngsters, hands folded in prayer, accepted the host and new responsibilities.

After Mass, everybody flooded on to the driveway between the rectory and the church where most of the adults lit a smoke before lining up for family pictures with the two priests. “Like I’m a rock star,” Father Wallace laughed.

Maria Coogan stood off to the side of the happy crowd, cigarette in hand, surveying the long line of two-story attached stucco bungalows as if each building contained a single story with a separate memory. Across the years, Turf Lodge has lost 27 men in a struggle rooted in politics, economics, and religion; a bitter, bloody fight that seems to have lessened a bit recently and might even recede more with this week’s vote on peace.

“Billy Gibson lived right across the street,” Coogan said. “He was 15 when the soldiers murdered him. Sean Savage lived two houses up; he was killed in Gibraltar. Died for his country, he did.”

“Terry Enright was the last we had,” Father Wallace pointed out. “They shot him to death in January. He was a wonderful lad. Worked with Catholic kids as well as Protestants. A youth worker, he was. Wonderful man.”

“Why was he killed?” the priest was asked.

“Catholic,” he replied.

“Then there was Brian Stewart,” Maria Coogan added. “He was 9 when a British soldier murdered him; the soldier’s name was Mark Thien. He did a year in jail and he’s back in the Army today. I don’t think there’ll ever be peace in Northern Ireland. Too many splinter groups. Too many bad memories.”

The parish population has an unemployment rate of 35 percent. It is presently enduring the horror of teenage suicide and rising drug usage. But yesterday, with marvelous weather and all these terrific children, smiling and almost saintly in their appearance, the past disappeared for a morning while a whole community took time out to concentrate on this country’s one true future.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Scars of past critical today


February 22, 1998

He was thinking across all the lost years this week as he witnessed three important people sitting on a stage in Ohio like a collection of houseplants, incapable of explaining why we are on the verge of dropping tons of bombs on Iraq to do a job that actually requires a single bullet. The presentation was jarring because it reminded the man of so many things that took place three decades ago, each of them, in retrospect, various acts of a play critics were unable to close.

“During the Cuban missile crisis, I was working at the Peace Corps during the day and going to Georgetown Law at night,” Harold Pachios said yesterday. “And I can recall Kennedy coming on TV to make the case for the blockade. He had charts and pictures and he explained the whole thing to us “I was thinking about that when I saw Madeleine Albright at Ohio State,” Pachios continued. “Where are the pictures? Where’s the evidence? They haven’t made the case yet.”

Today, Hal Pachios is a wonderful lawyer in Portland, Maine. He left the Peace Corps to work at the White House as an assistant press secretary to Lyndon Johnson, who had a dream of building a great society only to see it evolve into a nightmare, concocted by his own hand, which he was unable to remove from a bomb bay door over Vietnam.

Now, Pachios is talking about Johnson and a morning in 1966 when the two of them were at Bethesda Naval Hospital after the president had a gallbladder operation. Later, Johnson would pull his shirt out of his trousers to show reporters the scar from surgery. But that day in the hospital, he wanted to visit the wounded from a war that was killing the whole country along with LBJ’s good intentions.

“We went to a ward filled with wounded Marines,” Pachios recalled. “There was a small room with two beds in it off the main ward. It was for patients with severe head wounds. There were two Marines in that room.

“I’ll never forget it. The president walked in — I was with him — and we looked at the two Marines and it was shocking. They were children. Just kids. Maybe 18 at most.

“Johnson was stricken,” Hal Pachios said. “That’s the only word for it. That’s the only word I can use: stricken. Both boys were dead; they just didn’t know it yet.

“It was pretty rough stuff. It’s one thing to order bombing and move troops around, but then to go see the victims and realize that these were the children we send out to fight these wars, it’s tough,” Pachios pointed out. “People accuse Johnson of many things — some true, some not true — but I can tell you he was not insensitive to the price those kids had paid. I can tell you that for sure. He was shocked.”

All these years later and we’re treated to the hideous spectacle of another president at a different time who can’t even explain a ludicrous situation with a young intern, never mind clearly define the reasons why America might bomb an entire people because of our consistent failure to deal with their dictator. It’s as if the FBI decided to take out all of Brooklyn and Queens simply to get John Gotti.

That Iraq is not some Third World sewer seems lost on many of those in charge here. It is a huge nation of middle-class citizens who live without aspirin, penicillin or hot water and are used as human shields by their government to protect a butchering madman — an international crime boss, actually — who surely must have posed just as great a threat to world security in November as he does in February

So, the logical questions: Why now? And why mutilate innocents when, by Clinton’s own admission, there is no guarantee we will eliminate Hussein or end his ability to develop chemical and biological weapons?

Earlier in the week, speaking from the unthreatening environs provided by a Pentagon audience, the president smugly informed America it must not dwell in the past because the future had to be secured. But the past is critical to any assessment of action today because it is proof that when a nation’s culture becomes confused or corrupted by the foolish maneuvers of isolated leaders intent only on clinging to office, the scar left on our society is real and lingering. When the dust settles, we will see that hitting Iraq is not some antiseptic Nintendo-64 game where smart bombs leave no victims.

America is many things. However, a culture capable of glibly and safely easing itself into the 21st century after playing a lead role in the slaughter of innocents is not among them

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: We died for the 4th of July



July 5, 1987

It’s the Fourth of July weekend. A time when much of America marches and sings and stops to do all sorts of different things for all kinds of reasons.

Where are you today? At the beach? On the front step? Down the Cape? Up in Vermont? Just sitting around the house hoping the sun will clear that clutter of clouds and provide you with the gift of a fine summer’s day? What are you doing? Making plans to have a cookout? Looking for your bathing suit? Cranking up a lawn mower? Sleeping late? Working maybe? Still talking about the parade or the fireworks that shattered the night sky? Monitoring kids as they move through the kitchen like troops on maneuver, all the while ignoring your questions about what they’re going to do and where they’re going to go?

Maybe you’re alone? Maybe you’re far from that particular place you might call home? Maybe you’re simply looking for a quiet spot where the breeze blows for you alone and the heat can never wound or stifle?

That’s where I live, in a sanctuary of private peace. A place that proves what life merely hints at: Death is the ultimate democracy, and all of those who are here with me this morning died, in a sense, for the Fourth of July.

Make no mistake, there are all kinds of people here with me. And they come from every part of the land you walk today: From the hill country of Tennessee, from the big industrial cities of the Midwest, from Boston, from Valdosta, Ga., and Culpepper, Texas, and Bellflower, Calif., Brooklyn, N. Y., too.

We are black and white and brown, and mostly young forever. That’s because we died during the permanent season of youth. We fell at places such as Okinawa and Anzio, by the Bay of Masan in Korea, along rocket-scarred ridges at Hill 881 South, looking through the mist toward the Laotian border, and in Grenada and Beirut as well.

We died for the Fourth of July!

It’s funny, but more than Memorial Day, more than November 11th, we always hope that who we were and what we did will be recalled at this time of year. Perhaps that’s because it is the lush edge of summer, a time when wounds seem remote and the concept of death is a stranger.

Shut your eyes for just a second and you’ll be able to see us, to hear us, too. We come from your hometown. You knew us. And, if you think about it for a minute, you can easily remember.

See that fellow over there? Well, on the Fourth of July, 1943, he was playing sandlot baseball in Clinton, Massachusetts. One year later, he took up residence with us because he had been claimed by a sniper’s bullet as he walked a hedgerow in Normandy.

Do you recall the fat kid who always made you laugh by turning on the hydrants and getting the cops mad during that hot summer of 1950 when the temperature was an unyielding adversary? He’s here. Been with us since Inchon.

And those boys who graduated from high school with you? Those kids with long hair and dreams of a decent future lived in a land that asked where Joe DiMaggio had gone and turned its lonely eyes to him? All those young men? They’re here, too.

They came over the course of a tortured decade, in a long proud parade — in numbers that never seemed to quit — from the A Shau valley, from Con Thien, from Camp Carroll and other miserable places that were quickly shuttled off to the shadows of history because America had chosen to become a land of living amnesiacs. But we remember.

We remember the hopes and dreams we had. We remember the families we left behind and the families we hoped to have someday.

We were poets and shortstops, schoolteachers and longshoremen, storekeepers and firemen, husbands, fathers, sons, lovers. Some of us were born rich. Some poor. Some knew glory before our last zip code was carved in stone. Some knew abuse and prejudice and the strictures of class.

Yet none of that matters now because there is no hate here. No unreasoning racism. No fits of temper, outrage or revenge. Not even much memory. Here, summer is forever.

Don’t feel badly for us, though, because we are the lucky ones. We don’t worry about the world ending in a single flash of agony caused by ignorance and unreason. We don’t have to be concerned about the steady tide of poverty, the ocean of drugs, all the lost sense of history or the victory of money over the elements of compassion and justice.

We are beyond all of that. Above it really. Because we are all dead now. And we died for the Fourth of July.