This year we have the sad duty to observe Memorial Day in remembrance of two generations of American soldiers whose lives were thrown away on distant battlefields by American politicians: In Viet Nam and Iraq.
As Richard Fernandez explains: “The collapse in the Middle East feels like Black April, 1975, the month South Vietnam fell. And it should, because just as the collapse of Saigon did not happen in Black April, but in a political American decision to allow South Vietnam to fall after a ‘decent interval’, so also is the ongoing collapse rooted, not in the recent tactical mistakes of the White House, but in the grand strategic decision president Obama made when he assumed office…”
Militarily, the good old USA is not what it was and may never be again. Nobody, certainly not in the Middle East, trusts us anymore. Nor should they. Today, only about one half of 1 percent of the American population serves. Soldiers have no political clout whatsoever.
Indeed, joining the micro-managed, all-PC American military today—for any reason other than to repel a direct attack on the homeland—really isn’t advisable. It’s just slow-motion suicide. Deployment, perhaps, to the latest short-lived “commitment.” Some civilian flag-waving back home for a minute or two and then…forgotten.
Via ChicagoBoyz & Belmont Club.
UPDATE: Kept hearing Happy Memorial Day Weekend, a civilian salutation bespeaking bar-b-ques and whatnot. Memorial Day really is about dead soldiers. So it’s like hearing Happy Dead Soldiers day. Disgusting.
J.D. over at Mouth of the Brazos and I traded comments not long ago about how the whole Vietnam War, combat veterans like us, refugees and all, finally are on the shelf. It’s all mothballed news at best now.
I see it in the pitiful sales of my two books on the subject, which seem to have peaked at 164 for the Vietnam War short stories and 26 for the novel. Both have been outpaced by my Civil War novel (194) alone. And this year’s new Civil War history, now at 51 sales, has outrun the Vietnam novel and is on pace to eclipse the short stories as well. Not that my work is the best indicator of a trend, but it is one.
Neither J.D. or I created the political one-year combat tour of the Vietnam War. But neither of us would have liked to be in the position of the all-volunteer combat veterans now. Many of them already have served three or four years in combat assignments and the rise of ISIS suggests they have many more ahead of them. They already match the World War II generation which served for the duration.
All that occurred to me reading this WaPo piece about the 101st Airborne Division emplaning near their barracks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for a recent flight to Afghanistan. The pundits are still trying to figure out what Wormtongue’s secretive administration intends to do with them. Whether they will guard facilities or patrol. If he even knows himself. He isn’t much of a planner.
It also occurred to me that nowadays when some sergeant addresses a group of soldiers as “ladies and gentlemen,” he’s not trying to be cute, as he was in our day when few women served and none were in combat. He means it quite literally. And both the ladies and the gentlemen deserve all of our attention now.
The soon-to-be-former defense secretary has decided that the military will get the smallest possible pay raise while King Putz has already submitted a fat hike for civilian federal employees.
As Darkwater so eloquently quotes from Kipling:
“God and the soldier we adore/In times of trouble, not before/When trouble’s gone and all things righted/God’s forgotten and the soldier slighted.”
Not that our unwise withdrawal from Iraq means “trouble’s gone” nor our impending skedaddle from Afghanistan, either. Both are starting to smell a lot like our defeat in Vietnam. To my old ‘Nammie’s nose, at any rate. Which brings to mind this other appropriate quote from Kipling:
“When you’re wounded out on Afghanistan’s plains/And the women come out to cut up what remains/Then just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains/And die like a good British soldier!”
Or an American one.
Meanwhile, back at Fort Hood, where 13 were killed and 32 others wounded in an obvious 2009 jihadi massacre, the civilian cops who stopped it have been laid off and are p.o.’ed that King Putz still insists that it was a case of “workplace violence” with no politico-religious overtones.
Posted in Afghanistan, Blogosphere, Iraq, Obamalot, The War, Troops, Viet Nam
Tagged Afghanistan, Darkwater, Iraq, military pay raises versus federal civilians, Phase Line Birnam Wood
It seems likely to me that our military departure can’t last long. Iran will meddle in Iraqi affairs even more than they already do, and the political coalitions we helped scrape together will fall apart. Some of them already are.
We’ve kept troops in Germany since 1944, but a decade in Iraq is too long? Leaving Afghanistan I understand. It’s a pity, considering all the Americans who died there, but staying isn’t producing much of value to anyone.
Quite the opposite, it seems to me, in Iraq. But Obumbles is nothing if not inept. So we’re leaving, largely to keep the Donkey base happy. But I won’t be surprised if it becomes necessary to return before the 2010s are out.
They hiss and they jeer and they heckle, especially at Columbia U., where the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell opposition to ROTC was just an excuse. Now there’s a big surprise.
Mr. B.’s big item for his and Mrs. Charm’s secular Christmas celebration was Guitar Hero. When he’s older he may find the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns more enlightening. Fortunately there’ll be more available than the usual anti-American, anti-war movies that Hollyweird churns out:
Video "game makers aren’t afraid to put players in situations where U.S. soldiers are unambiguously the good guys, while the combatants – often Muslims – are the bad guys."
Re our secular Christmas at the rancho: This celebration of parties, presents and poinsettias has more to do with Saturnalia than Christianity. It is far older than the religious version. (Some nineteenth century Protestants found it so unnerving that they took to assuring their fellows that while they did mark the Nativity they did "not worship the tree.")
Christians still confuse the two, some of them whacking the secular version as ungodly. Well, to each his own. Mrs. C. would be lost without her favorite time of the year. And while he long ago graduated from Santa to understanding who the real gift-givers are, Mr. B. likewise would be bereft without packages to unwrap and goodies to consume. Good thing they needn’t be.
Link via Power Line.
Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Library, Mr. Boy, Mrs. Charm, Rancho Roly Poly, Scribbles, The War, Troops
Tagged Afghanistan, Iraq, video games