[November 15, 2021] Robert Reid, the President of the Absecon Historical Society (of New Jersey), invited my wife and me to one of their meetings. I found the townsfolk to be warm and accommodating, informed, and happy to hear my comments on the Iraq War.
We didn’t catch what happened earlier in the day. The Historical Society opens its doors to all those who enter and encourage learning about history, especially the significance of Absecon in Atlantic County. They all spoke with pride about their town and how they worked hard to obtain the old bank building (making significant, expensive repairs) where they are located.
I was invited to speak about the Iraq War and discuss my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” It was a good time, as we sat around discussing my “war stories” but more importantly, what we thought of the debacle in Afghanistan, the threat of China (yes), and Russia (not so much).
Weapons of Mass Destruction came up, and I spoke in detail about how we found large numbers of poisonous gas artillery shells (mustard and sarin nerve agents). These large caches of chemical weapons existed, and U.S. forces spent a lot of time securing them for later proper disposal. The common refrain that “Bush lied” about WMD was put to bed early.
We had a small surprise when an older lady came in after our WMD discussion claiming that “Bush lied” about WMD in Iraq. I laughed as those in attendance quickly corrected her. True enough, there were no Nuclear or Biological weapons discovered. However, there was an active nuclear research facility outside Baghdad in the old Osirak Nuclear Research Facility.
I was happy to meet Bill and Richard Hoch. Bill, 94, pointed to a photograph of his four brothers, who served in WW2 in combat. One of them was captured in the Philippines, survived the Bataan Death march, but died of starvation in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. His son Richard told us more stories of his dad, Bill, and why he strongly advocates learning more about history.
I also had the pleasure to meet the town Mayor, Kim Horton, Valerie Bush, Ann Clark, Nancy Erkman (officers of the society), and many other local interested citizens. I was honored to sell them my new book and autograph it for them.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).