Index to the Michael D. Barr Interview,

Veterans History Project Collection,

Record Group 024

Abstract of Interview:  Michael Barr served in the Air Force branch of the Army during the Vietnam War conflict.  Serving for almost 28 years, Michael Barr presents in his interview his insights into not only his time in the military, but also a great deal about his feelings regarding the VA and a valuable  perspective that reflects on the nascent days of the American conflict in Iraq.

Interviewer:  George Martin

Date of Interview:  July 30, 2003

Place of Interview:  Troy University, Dothan

Name of Indexer:  Hayden McDaniel

Date of Index:  March 29, 2009


Topical Index to Interview

Initials

Side

Counter

Topic/Response

MB

A

001

Introduction

MB

A

009

Family Description

MB

A

027

Description of Military Experiences

Mr. Barr notes that he was first drafted into the army when he was in college.  He subsequently served two tours in Vietnam in the Air Force, then a section of the Army.  He was deployed twice to Germany, and he was also sent to Southwest Asia and Central America.  He was, however, able to finish his degree on the G.I. Bill before his second deployment to Germany.  Mr. Barr served in Operation Desert Storm.  His last years of his 27 year 10 month tenure in the military were spent in Washington working in medical logistics; he retired as a major in 2000.

MB

A

080

Education

Mr. Barr graduated in 1971 with a degree in social sciences.  He was able to earn his degree on the G.I. Bill.  Mr. Barr says he always wanted to be a history professor.  At the time of the interview, he was working on a Masters' degree in International Relations.  He hoped to one day gain entrance to a Ph.D. program so that he might realize his dream of teaching at the college level.

MB

A

131

Attitude towards the military

Upon being asked his opinion about his view of the military, Mr. Barr begins his statement by stating his “chagrin over too many involvements in the world.”  He talks about the military under Carter (of which Barr was a part), frequent military deployments, and the 3rd I.D.  Mr. Barr's sentiment was that America “cannot police the world.”  Mr. Barr also proposes his belief that the army may have to reduce the quality of the military or reinstate the draft in order to fill quotas.  He hopes the latter is not the fate of the military because the draft, according to Mr. Barr, is “politically distasteful.”

MB

A

182

Iraq War

Mr. Barr, at the time of the interview, felt that America had “no defined goal in Iraq.”  He also discusses his speculation as to oil being the major contributor to the war (“smacks of big politics and wealthy republicans”), as well as the lack of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq.

MB

A

244

Issues concerning the VA

In an attempt to illuminate the state of the VA from his perspective, Mr. Barr provides the example of the VA holding beds and other operations in hospitals nationwide, and he feels that this usage (and some others) of the VA's money could be better spent in other ventures.  He feels the VA took on their now heavy load “without adequate funding,” and as a result, the VA has suffered its share of abuses.

MB

A

276

The present situation of the VA

In discussing the present situation of the VA, Mr. Barr talks about the VA's infrastructure and the dependency and indemnity in the VA.  Mr. Barr feels that the VA “has too many missions.”  He reiterates the fact that he is against the abuses the VA suffers at the hands of some of its veterans; he also discusses Priority 8 and the Means test.

SIDE B

MB

B

047

The course of the Iraq War

Mr. Barr asserts his belief that the involvement in Iraq is a “police action.”

MB

B

074

Bureaucracy of the VA

Mr. Barr's commentary on the VA continues with topics such as psychological issues with veterans (and the VA's support of their therapy), the operations that the VA supports for its veterans, as well as briefly discusses the effects of Agent Orange.  He says “the [VA] has to be prepared.”

MB

B

147

America policing the world

On being asked about his view on military cuts, Mr. Barr asserts that he will agree with modest cuts in the military, but he notes that as long as America continues to police the world, the budget cannot be cut.  He also talks about the incursion into Africa in Liberia, speculation that Osama Bin Laden is an “urban legend,” the relationship with Saudi Arabia, and Saddam Hussein.

MB

B

292

General discussion of Afghanistan

As opposed to his commentary on Iraq, Mr. Barr has significantly less to say about American involvement in Afghanistan (and also Pakistan).  He feels that “Afghanistan will take care of itself.”  He accurately predicts the course of the involvement in Iraq when he says “I think we'll be there [Iraq] for years to come.”

MB

B

318

Conclusion

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