Mood: don't ask
Topic: "Combat Kelly (2)"
Mike Wallace has been interviewing people since before Frodo was born. Mike Wallace has been interviewing people since before any of us, dear reader, was born. It is a good "mind game" to try to recall the first interview one remembers Mike Wallace conducting, for it seems that he has, indeed, interviewed everyone.
On the console model black-and-white TV, with a faulty 6GB6 vacuum tube, conveniently set aside in his bedroom, Frodo was able to occasionally catch a broadcast or two after homework and before bed. Distinctly, Frodo remembers Mike Wallace, and the spirals of cigarette smoke, as he engaged a World War II Veteran named "Combat" Kelly. Frodo was at the age where he thought War was neat, and that playing War was a frequent occurrence in his activity list. Listening to a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor talk about killing Germans was not something Frodo would miss.
Wallace asked Kelly, as best Frodo now can recall, if he experienced any remorse for the taking of more than 100 lives. Kelly was adamant and blunt in his response. He had seen friends and fellow soldiers fall, and he had no compunction whatsoever about taking the lives of the enemy responsible. At the time that sounded perfectly reasonable to Frodo, and, in some ways, it still does. Recent events make Frodo think about a lot of things he used to blindly accept.
Frodo does not accept the fact that war crimes are only committed by bad people. There is no doubt in Frodo's mind that some good people get pushed beyond the norm. In the same vengeful state of mind as "Combat" Kelly it is very likely that a good person may act inappropriately. It is one of the many travesties of the inexplicable madness we grow up calling "War." There are young men in Camp Pendleton this evening who probably fall into both categories.
Frodo was once on the same airplane with Mike Wallace, and they stood side-by-side while being transported from plane to terminal. Wallace must have known that Frodo recognized him, for he smiled at Frodo when their eyes met. Frodo would have liked very much to talk with him, especially to ask him about that interview with "Combat" Kelly. Frodo respected Mr. Wallace's privacy however, and allowed him to go in peace. It is just as well, because answers do not come that easy.