I got a phone call from my only remaining war buddy, we all called him Moose and I still don’t know why. We had lost each other for over 50 years, but a small miracle brought us together a few years b

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2005

When I first met Moose he was a buck private and I was his sergeant. We had both been drafted but qualified for the Army Specialized Training Program. He lived in Nebraska, I lived in Michigan, and we were both in different colleges expected to become civil engineers. But the Army needed bodies for the invasion of Europe, so unless you were in medical or dental Army programs your college days were over and it was back to the Army. We both ended up in the desert of California to become combat engineers.

Our military careers ended shortly after meeting the Russians at the Elbe River in Germany when the war was over, both of us in one piece. We had served our country for three years and were proud to have done it. Fate is a wonderful thing and somehow as life went on we both ended up in Virginia.

After the war Moose joined the State Department as a fledging and eventually retired with a civil service rating equal to a one star general … we meet once a year and he doesn’t let me forget how much he now outranks me. For some reason he has aged since we first met in 1944, thick glasses, hearing aids, etc., and he is only 85. But he stills drives a huge Buick as though he owns the road. He comes to the Virginia Beach Pavilion to attend stamp shows. He has collected the little things for eons and has about eight feet of shelf holding the volumes of them, representing many thousands of dollars. While at home in Vienna he serves as a volunteer guide at the Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. We meet at a hotel near the pavilion and usually attempt to dredge up memories, good and bad, of our adventures across Europe. This year however we talked of other things.

Moose and I aren’t geniuses, but we can think and put things in simple terms … we figure the war in Iraq is simply over oil. We hear, of course, &uot;save the world,&uot; &uot;WMDs,&uot; democracy, etc., and other higher falootin terms to explain why we are there.

We just may have saved the world in 1944-45, but now, dear readers, it’s all about keeping America’s big cars on the road … it’s over oil. (Mrs. Sheehan and others who have sacrificed sons perhaps are not aware that America gave 435,000 young lives, and we lost far more than two thousand on D-Day alone.)

It took Iraq less than a day to invade Kuwait and it didn’t take many brain cells to realize Kuwaiti oil would be held for ransom. And how long would it have taken Sadaam to lock up Saudi Arabia’s oil, an afternoon?

Those who curse the president and protest the war would be the first to whine and wring their hands when gas lines lengthened and gasoline cost more than liquor … if you could find it at all.

A huge chunk of our energy comes from those small countries and this nation would grind to a halt without it. A few weeks ago we were worried about losing a few oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

We are blessed that Israel is right there handy to hold things together in case the nut in Iran whips up a frenzy and points his nuclear missiles at them. Israel’s military strength hasn’t been tested in a long time, but you can bet they are ready, and willing, to assist us should it be necessary. Moose and I, using our 165 years of collective wisdom, are convinced that a friendly-toward-us Iraq is worth the cost if only to have a place to land our military planes when Syria and others get nasty. And don’t forget that under all that Iraqi sand is another gigantic pool of the black gold every advanced country wants, and we will desperately need.

Simple, isn’t it?

On election-day I hope you voted for the party that will stay the course, not hand Iraq back to some other despot, and kiss that oil goodbye.

Robert Pocklington is a Suffolk resident and regular contributor to the News-Herald