“Run Away!!”

Well, that’s what happens.

…A Duke University study demonstrates that it matters whether civilian decision makers have military experience: A review of U.S. foreign policy over nearly two centuries shows that when we have the fewest number of veterans in leadership and staff positions in Congress and the Executive branch, we are most likely to engage in aggressive (as opposed to defensive) warfighting. And we are most likely to pull out of conflicts early.

Just ask the Clintonites.

…The Triangle Institute of Security Studies has tracked the growing disconnect between the military and the leadership, and finds evidence of a growing distrust of both groups toward each other. The group in America that reports having the lowest opinion of the military is the elites: They are almost six times more likely than members of the military to say they would be “disappointed if a child of mine decided to serve.
…In World War I, one of Congress’s stated reasons for proposing a draft was that without it, too many of the upper-class children would rush to service, and we’d lose the leadership class of the country. In 1956 a majority of the graduating classes of Stanford, Harvard and Princeton joined the military, and most were not drafted. Leadership was then understood to have a moral dimension — the cry “follow me” was more convincing than “charge!” Those who aspired to future leadership saw service as a hallmark of credibility.

‘Credibility’. Now there’s a word. But how do you convince someone whose kindergarten education may have cost in the tens of thousands and now has their Ivy League pass in hand to crawl through the wet woods in Quantico? Or breathe in the incredible stench that comes with a third world country up-close-and-personal, instead of the rarified air of a resort located there? Even more daunting ~ how do you convince his parents and that’s true for conservative as well as liberal mom and dads. It’s even harder when we’re stuck in a snake pit/quagmire/piece-o’-shit-country-run-by-f*ckin’-loons and the whole American psyche is teetering. Waiting for the “cut and run” order we KNOW is wrong but probably inevitable. Do you encourage your baby to go off and risk dying for that? None of this is going to change until the military receives it’s full measure of support and respect. It’s been hamstrung since Truman fired MacArthur and only gotten worse. There aren’t decisive results anymore. There’s no ‘vanquishing the darkness’ to take pride in. We stop just short of the prize ~ “We don’t have a ‘mandate’/U.N. authority” ~ and we fight with one eye on the economics. Going in as cheap as we can. And then skitter out of the mess we created with our ineptitude. Only our troops pay and pay and pay for it.
major dad sent this as I was writing and it’s perfect.

… WHEN you fly as often as I do you learn to mind your own business as soon as you take your seat. But that wasn’t possible once I saw the military honor guard boarding US Airways’ 1:45 p.m. flight from Boston to Washington earlier this week.
I was heading through the gate when I first noticed Senator Ted Kennedy, walking down the concourse and arriving fashionably late, not an uncommon sight on this route. I stepped aside and followed him down the ramp.
As we got to the arched entrance of the plane, the members of a Marine honor guard in their dress blues were coming up that outside staircase usually used for stowing strollers and allowing mechanics on board. The marine in charge held in both hands a flag that had been folded into a triangle as if it had been previously draping a coffin, which it had.
Senator Kennedy extended his hand to the marine and said, “Thank you for your service.”
“Thank you, sir,” replied the marine.
“Are you escorting remains?” asked Senator Kennedy.
“Yes, sir, a marine.”
“And the funeral is at Arlington Cemetery?”
“Yes, sir, on Wednesday.”
“Thank you, I’ll try to get out there.”
…They stood at the window between Gates 43 and 45 and watched as a full Marine honor guard marched up the tarmac, coming to attention between the plane and a silver military hearse. The unloading of their son’s coffin from the cargo hold was very slow, and every time someone inside the terminal noticed and stopped to stare, someone else noticed and did the same, and this kept happening until about 20 people stood in silence watching out the window.
The mom leaned her elbows on the window ledge, supporting her chin and cheeks with both hands. She remained perfectly still. She stared for 10 or 15 long minutes and never moved. The father stood nearby, rocking from foot to foot and pacing a bit. They did not touch; they did not say a word to each other. Neither wore a wedding band. Perhaps they were divorced, or simply isolated in their pain.
Standing nearby was a man wearing the T-shirt of a suburban fire and rescue department that he may have earned 20 years and 35 pounds ago. He went over to the parents to chat, not knowing who they were, just one curious spectator to another.
But whatever he said to the mother caused her to turn and look at him in disbelief. Her lips didn’t move, which only encouraged him to repeat it. Her eyes widened and her chin tilted upward like a boxer who had taken a blow. She stared at him and then looked back outside toward her son. Down on the tarmac the white gloves of eight marines snapped their final salute as the doors of the hearse closed…

In the figurative sense that poor Marine guarding the BLT gate in Beirut in ’83 ~ with no bullets in his weapon ~ is the perfect symbol for the American military from Vietnam on.

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