Friday, January 18, 2008

Holding Their Manhood Cheap

Ralph Peters eviscerates the New York Times report showing that all the returning vets are psychopathic murderers. Carol noticed this type of reporting, with the Independent's article on why anyone would join the military during an unpopular war.
This recurring theme was curious to me, but I think I may have finally come onto an explanation: The Left hates soldiers because they represent all that they are not. Is a soldier an innocent dupe, or an economic refugee? If you look at them that way, you can feel better about your own lack of service, because you are too smart, and you have a job that means that you don't have to enlist.
But the problem for the Left is if they actually encounter a real soldier, that is, not one as portrayed in the movies, they don't fit their nice, neat preconceived notions. The real soldiers are more likely to stand up straight, and look you in the eye. They are inherently polite, while at the same time exhibiting a certain disdain for those who are not one of them. Sure, they are a little rough around the edges, more likely to swear, smoke, and have a wicked sense of humor than their supposed betters, which can be really infuriating since they refuse to be victims.
Soldiers also remind the Left of how little importance they really are. I remember a bumper sticker that said "Some people wonder if they will make a difference. Marines don't have that problem." If you are ever asked "What have you done for your country?" How would you answer?
Could you say "I marched and picketed and protested the war." Great, that must be really tough. Stand around on a street corner with a bunch of like minded dolts, annoying people, then retire to the after rally party, and hope to get laid. Yeah, that's significant. Or maybe you wrote letters to the editor, or made comments on blogs. Well, there you go. Everyone should recognize how smart and caring you are.
But measure that against the person who does what is ordered, even while scared, and works to protect the innocent, while eliminating those who run actual torture chambers.

Shakespeare had it right, when he wrote:
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

If I am upset with the New York Times, or the Independent's style of reportage, it is because those soldiers are my brothers and sisters. Although at my age, they are more my little brothers and sisters. And those who would criticize them for their service may think themselves the "gentlemen in England now a-bed," but they know, just as the soldiers know, that their manhood is quite cheap.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice rant. Let me know when your feet touch the ground. Your characterizations of both liberals and soldiers are way off base.

Try this , if you dare.

Dave Budge said...

Well Mark, I don't know if Steve is off-base as far as lefties are concerned but I know that he's a retired Major from the U.S.Army and has likely forgotten more about soldiers (and soldiering) than you'll ever learn.

He's also the type of guy that he writes about and I'm lucky to call him a friend.

Anonymous said...

You didn't read it either, right?

It's been a long week and I'm kind of up to here with people who are full of themselves and so full of it, you know what I mean?


The average soldier left behind him only what the average American had had in peace time, to wit, a wearisome and badly rewarded job, with small prospect of anything better thereafter. In place of this dull drudgery he found in the Army a vastly more spacious life, with many of the privileges of a chartered libertine. If he had dreamed of travel it was a vain dream, but now he traveled on conducted tours quite as comfortable, much more entertaining and enormously less expensive than anything ever arranged by Cook. If he got drunk he might be punished lightly, but his punishment never involve loss of his job. If he engaged in fornication it was a venial sin, not reprehended by his superiors unless he picked up some venereal disease. If he did a little stealing it was one of the privileges as a savior of humanity. If he was rough and brutal it was a sign of his fighting spirit. Moreover, he could look forward to distinction and respect for the rest of his life, with a long list of special privileges. In every community in America, however small, there are local notables whose notability rests wholly on the fact that they were once drafted into some war or other. Their services were notably trivial and they took up service reluctantly, but nevertheless they are now men of mark, and insist on having a voice in all communal affairs. Their general intelligence is shown by the kind of ideas they advocate. They are, in the main, bitter enemies of the liberty of the individual, and are responsible for some of the worst corruption of politics. The most grasping of all politicians is the war veteran.

Them's the kind of words that ring true with me.

Anonymous said...

Have a nice weekend, oh pompous one.

Dave Budge said...

Mark, I read it last summer when it was printed and I thought it was a biased hack job then.

You seem impressed by those who tell tales by osmoses but you disregard the experience of those that have actually been in the mix.

I have a nephew who is on his third tour in Iraq. What I hear from him directly about his men and his colleagues doesn't represent the soldier from The Nation profile.

You call me pompous because I have an opinion that violates your Noam Chomsky sensibilities? Get off your nut. These soldiers might actually have to protect your pathetic ass some day.

Anonymous said...

It figures Mark Trotsky would quote a world-class hypocrite to support his views.

Steve said...

Mark - I seem to have touched a nerve. GOOD!

It is even more telling that the sources you use are the same as the examples that I am complaining about. The fact that the Nation could find 50 soldiers is nothing, compared to the total number who served. And yes, I do believe that the Nation came to the story with an agenda, and only used the views that supports that agenda for the very reason of my post: To make themselves feel better.

And using Mencken? Puhleeze! The Army of today is different from the vestiges of the Industrial Age Army that we had all the way until 1982. The instances that Mencken uses also reinforce the jealousy of the Left.

Although jealousy is perhaps the wrong word. I think realization that their betters have served, and they have not.

Krinn said...

Steve, as far as "The Left" feels anything about soldiers, it's to hope that they be deployed only in gravest necessity and that they be well cared-for afterwards: as I'm sure you know, war routinely fucks people up in a wide variety of ways. The Republican Party, as represented by George W. Bush and the GOP in Congress, have done the opposite of those things. They have treated soldiers, men and women of good will, as disposable tools. They have spat on and trampled underfoot the rights and expectations of veterans and active personnel. They have also thrown the US military into a blatantly illegal war entered into on the basis of lies.

You have a grave misunderstanding of The Left. No-one is criticizing soldiers for their service: however, everyone has a right and duty to criticize those who torture while wearing the uniform of the US military, those who take the military's money and return only the shoddiest and shittiest services and support, such as Halliburton/KBR, and most importantly those who send the US military into illegal wars of aggression and occupation.

Steve, patriots stand up for the principles of the United States. Blind obedience isn't one of them. War for profit isn't one of them. If you are ever asked, "what have you done for your country ?" - will you say "I obeyed and followed orders"?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Krinn, you sound like you’ve watched “Battleship Potemkin” too many times. Or maybe you let “Born on the Fourth of July” run in repeat mode while you were sleeping on the couch.

Grow up, please. Start by enlisting for a four-year hitch. Go find out for yourself what the military life is all about instead of spouting headlines from the liberal media. And, hey, don’t worry about getting locked in if you discover you don’t have what it takes. Based on what you’ve written above, you could probably manage a Section 8 discharge without too much difficulty.

PS: During the American Civil War, Union soldiers were issued uniforms that were supposed to have been made from wool, but they were actually made from felt scraps pressed tightly together. The soldiers called the uniforms “ticky-tacky” because they disintegrated in the first rainstorm. You’ve said nothing new about military contractors.

Anonymous said...

Mark T and Krinn,

Please don't ever try and speak for us (the military). You have no idea why we fight or what motivates us. And you have no idea what is going on in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. You only know what your other liberal media friends have told you about those wars. Why don't you travel to Ramadi Iraq and ask the locals what they think about the war? You have never kicked in a door in Ramadi and found a Christian family who was praying that we would come and save them from the insurgents who were torturing and murdering their friends and neighbors. You didn't see the picture of George Bush that they had in their home which they praised and held in homage.

We fight for each other. We fight for our brothers (a term and a meaning that you will NEVER know). It doesn't matter whether the war was started for the right or wrong reasons, someone has to go. The difference between you and I is that I say "Why not me?" If my brothers are going to go into harms way, I want to be there with them. Whether or not the terrorists were in Iraq in 2003 is a moot point now. They are there now, but we are eradicating them at a fast pace. Ramadi is now the 2nd safest city in Iraq, a far cry from what it was 2 years ago.

Soldiers don't have the luxury of picking the wars, we just fight them. And no matter what you think you are doing by protesting the war, you are hurting the soldiers who are giving their lives to save your sorry ass. And if you don't think they are out there right now saving your ass, just think about what would happen if one of the guys that we capture on a daily basis got hold of a nuclear device from Iran and detonated it in Atlanta or LA. I guarantee that most of the guys we capture would do it in a heartbeat if he could. By using biased reports and making it an unpopular war, you are making it hard to get funding for the war. That may be a win for you guys, but that doesn't stop the war. All that does is ensures that the average soldier goes down range with less equipment and puts him at more risk. We already do more with less, but when I can't get replacement parts for my rifle, NVD's, vehicles, etc - It puts my life in more danger. I don't quit my job when I don't have parts. It just makes my job tougher. So if I sound pissed at liberals, I AM! I've seen good men, better men than YOU die because they didn't have the equipment they needed to fight the war. That is YOUR fault. This is a NOBLE and JUST war on both fronts. If you disagree, you haven't earned the right to disagree. I've deployed 4 times since 2001. I've seen combat on every deployment. Once you've been to Ramadi, Baghdad, Khandahar, and Kabul, you can tell me what you think about the war. Pick up a rifle and stand a post! Learn what it means to be a Brother! Otherwise, I'd rather you just shut your pie hole and enjoy the safety that we provide and don't question the manner in which we do it. And oh, by the way, NO ONE IN U.S. CUSTODY HAS EVER BEEN TORTURED. If you call waterboarding and having your picture taken nude with dogs barking at you torture, then a hell of a lot of us have been tortured. I call it good training. Why don't you ask John McCain what real torture is? Real torture leaves scars and permanent damage. Aggressive interrogation is just that, aggressive interrogation, nothing more. And by letting the enemy know of our interrogation techniques, your liberal buddies put another nail in all our coffins. I could only dream of being afforded the relative luxury of our interrogation techniques if I was to be captured by our enemies.

I'll have to let someone else answer the string of replies that I'm sure to get on this thread, because I'm headed out again to go fight for your sorry ass and I likely won't have ready access to things like email and internet.

On a separate note, I served under Clinton as well as George W. Bush and as a military man, I'd much rather work for GW than Clinton. I respect him and I believe that he made his decisions based on his convictions, not on money or gain. Wrong or right, I will fight for a man that sticks to his convictions. I've seen too many friends and brothers die to blindly serve anyone. But once again, I don't fight for George Bush, or Congress, or Apple Pie, or anything else you think I fight for. I fight, and will gladly die, for the brothers I love. That will never change no matter who is in office or what country I'm fighting in.

Mark T and Krinn, if you really want to know about soldiers and what motivates us, I recommend you read 2 more books since you are both so well read. The first is by a good friend of mine, Marcus Luttrell, it is entitled "LONE SURVIVOR", the second is called "ON KILLING" by Dave Grossman. I recommend you read them both before you open your ill-informed cake holes again.