Wanted to comment on this incident even before Brian when I first saw news of the video and then again before Tim.? Finally getting to it.? I’m glad there is this much talk about this incident on PB.? This is a tough one for me.? I grew up a military brat and at one time was being trained to lead these same types of kids into these same types of battles.? It’s hard for the kid from Fort Knox not to comment when the kid from Slavic Village waxes poetic about the current and past state of our armed forces.? Here goes.
The simple answer – and one we’d all agree on – is to avoid war.? Easy.? Sounds trite, but it’s true.? The only way you avoid these types of situations is to do every single damned thing you can to avoid armed conflict.? Period.? I’m happy (for now) that we have a President who seems to agree with me and hope we never get another as foolish and trigger happy as the last.
To avoid situations like the one in this video, it really is the only “solution”.? Avoid war.? The honorable soldier will tell you this.? Especially the one who has been there.
To talk about an all-draft military force and think that will solve the problem is a farcical argument on it’s face.? It’s like saying if we only raised the driving age to 21 we’ve avoid all automobile accidents.? It might indeed be a good idea for various and sundry reasons, but it would be woefully inadequate at solving the problem presented.
We had a draft in the Vietnam War.? We also had My Lai and 90,000 civilian casualties.? 1,500 of those were deemed “massacres”.? So much for fully representative checks and balances.? The Alabama hicks must have overpowered the crew captains from Harvard!? There is an underlying disdain for the nature of the Armed Forces as they exist in Tim’s argument.? Too many damned ignorant hicks from Alabama intent on shooting up the place and not enough well educated, pragmatic, Yale freshmen to talk them down!
I understand the argument of conscription versus volunteerism, but do you really think those who volunteer to serve actually WANT to go to war?? Fucking hell man.? Most of them are hoping and praying they can do peacetime duty and get their college paid for.? I met my share of what you might call warmongers at West Point, but most of this was 19 year old bravado that would be present in bars back home if it wasn’t in the service.? It’s why we use men this age to fight.? We weren’t so much brave as foolish and thought we’d live forever.
World War II veterans don’t talk like kids serving today?? No shit?? 90 year olds don’t crank out leetspeak and talk about popping caps in some asses?? I find this incredibly hard to believe.? They’re fucking 90 years old, Tim!? I’m going to guess when they were in the teens and early 20s they spoke of gutting slant eyed japs and pissing down the throats of krauts.? Dehumanizing the enemy using racist slang is as old as time.? I would imagine it is a necessary evil to be able to exist in a place as horrible as war.? Soldiers (drafted and otherwise) did the same thing with “gook” and “dink” in Vietnam.? If we trained them to see the enemy as their son-in-law we’d never put a fighting force together.? This is why taking care of veterans when they come home is more important to me than supporting them when they are there.? Something many Republicans forget about when they go about donning their “Support the Troops” bumper stickers.? Supporting the troops is a lifetime endeavor.? You have to deprogram what allowed them to survive the environment they were put in.
We took down Hirohito, Mussolini, and Hitler faster than Osama Bin Laden for one simple reason:? Our military forces were built and designed to defeat a conventional enemy like these.? We became very good at lining up and shooting down more of the other guy than anyone else in the world.? Still are.? What we were not adequately prepared for was an asymmetrical battle.? Mostly due to the military industrial complex that Ike warned us about in ’61.? It was a hungry machine that needed to be fed and we failed to contain it enough to understand the new and different threats in the world and pivot our energy and money into things that work against these types of battles.? We are now playing a game of desperate catch up.? Our victory had nothing whatever to do with the forces being representative of American society.? Of course you could argue that they WERE just based on the fact that some 16 million fought in WW2 compared to 2 million in Vietnam and? 700,000 in Desert Storm.
This incident was a tragedy of a high stress situation in wartime and the video made me sick to my stomach because I know that the great majority of the military – all voluntary – do not wish to make these types of mistakes and the blame should lay at the feet of leadership.? Clarifying rules of engagement and training go a long way to preventing such tragedies.? Magically doing away with them by making Biff at Yale go fight against his will would do nothing but make us libs happy that the rich Republican Senator had to put up or shut up with his own son.
The Iraq War would be over if we only had Yalies keeping all the Alabama trailer trash in line!? It makes for damn fine prose, but horribly insufficient argument.? The all-volunteer force I grew up in seemed pretty damned representative of America, I’d even argue more so than the neighborhood I live in today!? That diversity of life on Fort Knox is something I still value to this day and it helped shape the person I’ve become.