31 January 2007

I'm irrascible and cranky

Well, not really. I'm actually in a pretty good mood today, because I locked some heavy things up in a Quadcon after constructing some shelves for them. This makes me happy, because I was afraid the shelves would fall apart when I started loading them up with heavy things made by General Motors (and that should tell you how old they are).

Tomorrow, M-249s and the rifle racks go in. After that, I need to put some rifles in a footlocker to go with one of the main body flights. Then it's about two days worth of 'getting miscellaneous crap out of the arms room'. The CO's guidance is to have the Arms Room ready for turn-over on the 6th. I think I can have it clear by the 4th if I work at it. Then I move my laptop to the TOC and generate a ton and a half of paperwork for all this nonsense.

Screw PTSD, I'm going to file at the VA for combat-related Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

But what I meant by the title of the post is that sometimes I feel like Scrooge at the We Love the Troops fest.

I find yellow ribbons silly, unless you no-kidding have a blood relative or someone specific you want to come home. A generic ribbon for "all the troops" seems silly. And for Bob's Sake, take it down when the Soldier comes home, or when it becomes so bedraggled that it is embarassing. Replace it if you like in the latter case, but have some sense.

I find a lot of the pro-troop rhetoric over the top. "Hero" is a label I don't like.

We have Hero Flights here.

They take remains of KIAs out of country. That's about the only usage I'm 100% comfortable with.

A total stranger gushing at me about how much they 'appreciate all you do for our country' makes me uncomfortable. A simply stated 'thank you' is enough and more than enough, especially if prefaced by a question which makes me think you actually care about me as an individual. Doesn't have to be much, even a "have you been to Iraq?" indicates to me that I'm being thanked as a person for what I have done personally, rather than as a symbol.

I guess that's the root of my discomfort. I like being a person, with individuality. A lot of the rhetoric and symbolic gestures, pro- and con-, doesn't deal with real people. It deals with abstractions. I am not an abstraction. I dislike being treated as a representative of the platonic ideal of Soldier, and treated in accordance with that person's view thereof.


Blogger Zero Ponsdorf said...

There are worse things than being treated with a modicum of respect for just wearing the uniform, but that's an old story.

Dude, you are a symbol... dislike it if you want, but you of all people realize what a warrior symbolizes (good or bad) to those he comes in contact with.

Just smile back at the 'gushers', say 'you're welcome' and drive on.

Myself, I think you folks in uniform are kinda cute.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous cMAD said...

I like being a person, with individuality.

Soldiering is not the most obvious choice of profession to express individuality.

I dislike being treated as a representative of the platonic ideal of Soldier, and treated in accordance with that person's view thereof.

I do see you pars pro toto, with Toto as in "there's no place like home, there's no place like home ..."

Anyway, I hope your stopover in Germany will not be a Platonic affair.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Zach Bush said...

Not to reduce you to a representative of the platonic ideal of Modern Soldier, but I see this sentiment a lot in today's war, as well as those expressed in earlier wars this century by American and English troops. It seems to occur when the public doesn't have a clear idea of what's going on and has little personal investment in the war itself. Not that this is scientific or anything, I'm just noticing a trend.

What you describe is why the yellow sticker thing has always annoyed me, much like the "post-9/11 magnetic SUV flags." It always seemed like a completely impersonal way to show support as well as a way to absolve oneself from doing anything more. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but it really seems a hollow gesture amongst those who offer no actual support/know nobody involved in the war themselves.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

Great post, you've expressed something very well that I've felt myself.

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/02/re-im-irrascible-and-cranky.html

5:08 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

I finally think I understand where you're coming from on the "hero" thing.

Okay, you irascible, cranky scrooge you better get ready for your non-platonic time coming up. ;)

5:53 AM  
Anonymous threadbndr said...

I ALWAYS say "thank you for your service to our country". If the service person in question didn't notice my 'blue star' pin or 'Mom to the Corps' necklace, I might come across as a 'gusher', but I'm just saying to them (to you) what I hope someone has said to my son somewhere, somewhen.

11:04 PM  

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