07 March 2008

Inspiration

Writing is, for me, something that comes and goes. I feel inspired, or I don't. And then if I am inspired, and I have time, I write. I have not had these two coincide for some time now.

But did I get a wakeup call today or what?

The "Anti-war" (anti-)American Left, in a wonderful display of "supporting the troops", decided to engage in an act of armed insurrection in New York City.

In the name of "peace," someone has decided to step up from moonbat protesting and petty harassment to the Real Deal. Some people have compared being a Leftist to having a mental disorder. I say the real issue with the American Left is that they are dumb. American Soldiers get bombed all the time in Iraq by people with a lot more expertise and balls (not that this is saying much) and we don't surrender nor quit. Do you seriously think this shit is going to put us off our feed?

If you, the transnational socialists of the United States, wish to play by these rules, bring it. You will not prevail. Do you seriously think that by attacking us, you will intimidate us? No, you will harden us against you. How many of us do you believe empathize with your city-dwelling rich white politically correct yuppie asses? You have removed yourself from our Armed Forces. You have attacked and demonstrated contempt for both the Armed Forces and the communities most Soldiers are raised in. If you wish to separate yourself fully and THEN engage in violence, you may expect to be answered in kind. Decisively. Who will defend you? You cannot defend yourselves. Your sympathizers are largely disarmed and passive, for you have told them that 'The Government' is the omnipotent answer to all problems, and that they are helpless except when acting through you.

If you set the preconditions for civil war and ignite that civil war, the Republic may or may not survive. It will not survive in its current form. The form it takes will not be to the liking of those who are gleefully precipitating the civil war.

"If we sunder ourselves internally, if we accept the false divisions, then we bring with those false divisions all their ills, all their blood of centuries. Where then, can we find trust? If we cannot see the difference between the evil that stands here before us with blood-soaked hands and what we are told is the evil we do in bringing peace and plenty to foreign shores, where then is the trust? If we cannot remember who we are, if we cannot comprehend what it means to be this shining light on the hill, this country of wonder and riches, this . . . America, then we shall surely slip into the long dark night that the enemies of our freedoms so richly desire.

"We are told, always, that there is no black and white. That there are only shades of gray. This is a picture that is held up to us. But it is only a picture and it is false. Each day, each of us makes countless choices, and each of these choices is black and white. If we choose, over and over again, as we have for so long, to choose the black choices because they are easier, to choose 'me' over 'us,' to choose division and strife over assimilation and trust, then we slowly slip into that black night.

"I do not so choose."
--John Ringo, The Last Centurion

Normally, I endorse Uncle Jimbo's rules for dealing with moonbats.



But when you start throwing bombs, the rules change.

If we can kick al-Qaeda in the teeth so badly that we are about to hand what used to be the most dangerous city in the world over to the Iraqis, along the way teaching Iraqis to shoot and setting up a democratic government capable of making hard decisions, what do you think we can't accomplish? Of course, you don't know about these things. Why not? I wonder.

Speaking of which, Palestinians are At It Again. If there is a people less ready for self-determination, I cannot imagine what people it is.

On the other hand, every time I'm ready to completely write the British off, they prove me wrong.

Lately, Cornet Wales of the Blues and Royals was the case in point, managing to deploy to Afghanistan and stay there 77 days before the media frenzy wigged out his superiors to the point that they returned him to the UK. This decision makes me wonder precisely what the British Army high command is using in lieu of testicles, which were once well know and were even used as a substitute for brains among Englishmen of officer rank. Badgers Forward explores the question of the cornet's hair, most notably seen here as being outrageously long to this American NCO's eye. But different cultures produce different styles. At one time regulations required Soldiers to grow facial hair.

There are good folks in every culture, though. Even the softest liberal society gone to rot can produce heroes, even if they must join another nation's Army to be allowed to live up to their ideals.

"And what are you doing so that we can have peace? How much longer do you think you'd be sitting around drinking coffee in fancy Berlin cafés if people like me didn't exist? If there was nobody to make sure you could live in peace? If there was nobody to fight terrorism?"
--SPC Jeffrey Jamaleldine

Lest anyone should think I'm engaging in narcisstic "I love Soldiers" crap, there's always a Special Snowflake or two in any crowd, and this post amused me to no end. I love Barracks Lawyers who think that they can twist regs in any way they like for their own purposes. Simple fact of life: Professional Soldiers don't engage in politics in uniform. I write on politics--but not in a professional capacity. My experiences inform my politics, and I don't mind explaining why they do, but damn! You don't see me engaging in political protest in uniform.

3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.

I love their argument. You can always wear a uniform at a protest, because gosh darn it, you're protesting! No one will confuse that with an authorized activity! Neener, neener. . .

Whatever. The credibility of the IVAW has always been shaky to me. I've met precisely two members. One of them was a dirtbag and a coward who cracked under fire downrange. The other was an honest, sincere individual who I would cheerfully characterize as misguided, and a poor fit for the Army in any case. This is not a representative sample by any means. If that's the sort of logic they use to act in an unprofessional manner (a stricter standard than mere regulations, but I wouldn't expect That Guy to understand the distinction--and every organization always has That Guy) then they pretty much pigeonhole themselves. That Guy is often a very bright person who is simply convinced that rules don't apply to him. Usually they have overlooked something obvious like, for instance, AR 670-1 para 1-10j(1) and 1-10j(2) . There are folks who dissect IVAW in more detail than I am inclined to do. But of course, IVAW will represent itself as the spokesman for all servicemen and the lie will be accepted by those who wish it to be true.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Bill McD said...

One fucking idiot is not the 'Anti-War American Left' any more than Pfc. Lynnie Englund is 'the U.S. Army'.

You decry those tactics and generalizations when they're made about Soldiers, so I humbly suggest you not engage in them yourself.

7:32 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill, I will agree that one idiot does not a movement make, but I will also agree with John that the anti-war crowd does seem to be made of people who are so far distanced from the military that they're incapable of understanding us.

4:53 PM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/07/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

But at the same time, as we've discussed on occassion on my LJ, the distance works both ways. John's posts at the very least infer an assumption that he understands the anti-war crowd, and he doesn't. Many of them are people who simply haven't gotten past opposing the initial causes for this war, but who did, and still do, support the work in Afghanistan.

Many are not 'transnational socialists' by any means, but family members who are, and have been, worried about kin who were sent into danger for reasons they found duplicitous and deceitful, and can no longer justify not trying to do something to bring their blood home safe, now.

And just as a minor point, asserting the idea that the Times Square bomb was in any way supposed to be equivalent to in-theatre dangers is just silly. The recruiting station was unoccupied at the time. It's always unoccupied at that time. Do any of you seriously think that shit was meant to put you off your feed?

Sweet jeebus, it was what amounted to a pipe bomb in a city that's dealt with gang violence, mob warfare, muggings, murders, rapes, race-crimes, plane crashes (the accidental kind) and of course, big fucking jumbo jets used as missiles to rain down 110 stories of fire, debris, and body parts onto us. A fucking pipe bomb. If it wasn't for where it was placed, nobody in New York would've noticed.

That was some mental deficient's way of blowing off steam. Of screaming "I have a tiny dick and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" through a lens that got him some attention.

Rich white yuppie? Don't make me laugh. That's probably a guy who works as a fucking dishwasher in a greasy spoon, raging against his own feelings of impotence. And when he set that bomb, you'll note, he made damn sure to do it when nobody was there. He's not trying to intimidate jack shit. He's trying to feel like a big man, get his jollies, and if he's really, really lucky, shrug off his self-loathing long enough to drop his pants and say 'look, honey, half-mast! that's progress, right?'

He didn't do that to intimidate you. He didn't do it to put you off your feed. He doesn't care how you react. I seriously doubt he'd claim it was 'supporting the troops' or anything else. He just wants to feel like Billy Badass, when he's really just a fucking pansy-assed punk.

8:58 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

And just as a minor point, asserting the idea that the Times Square bomb was in any way supposed to be equivalent to in-theatre dangers is just silly. The recruiting station was unoccupied at the time. It's always unoccupied at that time. Do any of you seriously think that shit was meant to put you off your feed?


No, I do think it was meant as some sort of bizarre and futile gesture, much like the bricks thrown throw other stations' windows and the weirdness going on in Berkley.

There have been two other bombs like this in NY, both set close to that time of night and by a bicyclist (although I'm not sure that's a good link, but that's just me) and so, I think it might be someone who *is* enjoying the publicity.

As for the anti-war crowd, I flat out DO NOT UNDERSTAND them. That's okay, though, as I don't think they get me either. BTW, the next person who tells me they're so sorry I had to go and hope my husband doens't have to go back? I'm going to smack them.

You cannot begin to imagine how angry that makes me, and I'm not sure I can explain it.

I do know that if something had happened to me in Iraq and my mother had used my death in a political/anti-war way, I'd be terribly embarassed.

Many are not 'transnational socialists' by any means, but family members who are, and have been, worried about kin who were sent into danger for reasons they found duplicitous and deceitful, and can no longer justify not trying to do something to bring their blood home safe, now.


I can't even start to explain how angry this makes me. It's just hard to explain. Anyone who is in now is, for the most part (not including involuntary stop-loss) a volunteer and if you joined the military in the past five years, you KNEW you were heading to Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am descending into incoherency right now, and can't articulate my thoughts well, but I firmly believe that the 1% of America that is at war is, for the most part, not understood by the other 99%.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

You cannot begin to imagine how angry that makes me, and I'm not sure I can explain it.

I'd imagine it's similar (though obviously not the same) as the way I felt when someone would express their sympathy about my 'having' to play role-playing games 'to have friends'. Sure, they mean well, but fuck them. I'm a gamer. I'm proud of it. And I pity their small-mindedness.

And that's my best advise for dealing with the people who don't understand that you find worth and value in the way you choose to spend your life, and the people who feel like they need to do something to make their relatives safe.

You're right. They don't understand you. But they're still trying to do what they think is right, out of sincere belief and caring about their loved ones. Try not to be angry at them... instead, pity them, that they cannot understand, not only you, but the very people they're trying to help.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

"You're right. They don't understand you. But they're still trying to do what they think is right, out of sincere belief and caring about their loved ones. Try not to be angry at them... instead, pity them, that they cannot understand, not only you, but the very people they're trying to help."

Point 1)
You assert that the anti-war movement's core is family members of servicemen. This is false. It is also insulting to family members of servicemen. The core of the anti-war movement are outright communists, socialists, and professional agitators.

Point 2)
People who patronize your roleplaying games are not fucking with your life, your mental health, or your country's future existence.

Point 3)
I have never claimed to understand the antiwar movement in the sense you appear to mean. I cannot, as a mentally healthy adult, "understand" someone who exists on the moral level of a two-year old child.

Point 4)
I do understand enough about the anti-war movement to know that they are composed of people who are fundamentally hostile to the United States of America and our way of life.

Point 5)
I didn't start chucking bombs.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Point 1)
No, I assert that some of its members are. I said nothing about its core.

Point 2)
Nor did I ever say they were, only that having people who do not understand you acting like they know what's best for you is not limited to the military/non-military divide. It's pretty universal to one degree or another.

Point 3)
You may not overtly claim it, but you sure do infer it often. Virtually every time you talk about 'the left', you do so in a way that implies that you know everything about how they're thinking and why.

Point 4)
Thank you for demonstrating my point.

Point 5)
No, you didn't. Instead, you started chucking around threats of mass violence in retaliation for small-scale bullshit. The only one talking 'civil war' here is you.

3:43 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

I may have emphasized something incorrectly.

Folks are talking about civil war--and actively working towards it.

TONC, ANSWER, Code Pink. . . These are communist (somewhat covered by a film of modernized post-national rhetoric) organizations with a stated intent of precipitating a revolution. Revolutions are either bloody enough to destroy the status quo utterly (French) or are followed by a civil war (Ours, Russian, English Civil War).

Let us set aside the Bukanin-style anarchist "Black Brigades" for a moment.

I do not want a civil war--while I have my problems with the culture and government of this country, I believe they are all correctable working within the system. I am,however, aware that it only takes one side to start a war, be it civil or otherwise.

And my point is that rushing towards civil war is a Bad Idea when your opposition has a monopoly on organized military force and a vast majority of unorganized potential military force in the country.

I don't recall having said that I WANT a civil war. Read the quote in italics afterwards, and watch the video. The former is the ideal, the latter is the compromise with reality.

It is possible that this is a one-off instance. It is also possible that this individual is an "early-adopter". Soldiers are burned in effigy on a regular basis at anti-war protests. Rocks are hurled through recruiting station windows, and both recruiters and Soldiers returning from Iraq have been assaulted and their property attacked. This is a trend. Civil War is the end of this trend. It is a the logical extreme, but one that more and more people seem to be flirting with, even before you address the people who are openly and actively working towards that end and who provide the organization and leadership behind the "anti-war" protests.

6:24 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Okay, I think we're starting to get a bit cranky around here. John, Bill is usually pretty open to listening to what you have to say and trying to reframe it so he understands where you're coming from.

John, you need to do the same. This is a good chance for folx who *don't* get each other to actually try and communicate.

Somehow I doubt Bill is a member of TONC or Answer or whatever, although if he is, I'm gonna start giving him the hairy eyeball.

The analogy of role-playing games probably doesn't stretch far enough for you, and honestly, John, you've know what you wanted to be and who you are for long enough that it probably never applied, but I can remember a time when being lambasted for my "stupid" hobby did affect me, both mentally and emotionally.

I think there is a misconception that the anti-war crowd is all concerned family members, when they're not, and that doesn't do the anti-war crowd any favors. Once I realized how few folx actually have a dog in this fight, it made me a bit more cynical about the "bring the troops home now!" crowd.

I realize it's not nice to do, but for a lot of us, the folx who do have family members in the shit, or who have been in the shit, they're more likely to actually be listened to. No, it's not "fair," but seriously, how the hell am I supposed to actually believe they care about me and mine when the closest they come to a soldier is seeing one on TV?

It's also a problem I have with folx on the right who want to put us all on pedestals, and not realize we've all got feet of clay.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/03/re-inspiration.html

9:53 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

Anybody remember that line of Gene Hackman's in "The Package":

"What did you do, read a book?"

9:56 AM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

Soldiergrrl,

I'll be honest that I don't really deal with the portion of the anti-war crowd that doesn't have a dog in the fight. Being a member of IVAW, the only other anti-war groups I really have dealt with are MFSO (Military Families Speak Out), VFP (Veterans for Peace), and some elderly VVAW gentlemen. (Vietnam Veterans Against the War).

So my perspective may be skewed in that I simply don't associate with people who are't personally affected by this.

But I'd like to suggest that the reverse may be true for you. I think there are a lot of people in the anti-war movement who are personally affected. Some even requested deployment-because simply morally opposing the Iraq war and wishing for it to cease does not mean personal cowardice.

I am a soldier currently, and I'm against the Iraq war. I do believe Afghanistan was justified and is being far more ignored than it should be currently, but that's another story.

I believe in the reasons I swore my oath. I believe in protecting and defending the American way of life and the citizens of our nation. I don't believe the Iraq War accomplishes it. But while I might try vocally to express my personal opinions, when it comes down to it, I do my job, and my job until given different orders is to prosecute the war, even if I disagree with it.

How many times have you had to follow orders you disagree with? The answer isn't 'oh, get out of the military if you don't like the orders', or 'oh, leave the country if you don't like how we're running things'. That's a coward's way out, and members of the military are generally not cowards. If you believe in something, it's your duty to fight with all your might to make it happen.

I believe in America the great and good. I think we've gotten off track, and I want to fight with all my might to bring it back where it used to be.

I really, really, can't understand how somehow that's seen as un-American or uninvolved

3:21 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

You know, I really have a hard time with VVAW. It's an organization whose major "success," the Winter Soldier Hearings, was investigated six ways from Sunday and found to be entirely fraudulent.

Is this how the new "Winter Soldier" hearings are going to be organized? Vague accusations lacking specifics from people who couldn't possibly have been the places they claimed to have been? That when investigated by CID due to the accusations of war crimes, turn out provably false?

VVAW additionally supported and endorsed the enemy by using terms such as Provisional Revolutionary Government and attempting to enter into separate negotiations with North Vietnam. They issued statements that went beyond saying "We don't think fighting in Vietnam is a good idea" to "We support the PRG and DRV" Is this the intent of IVAW?

Anyway, this is the issue I have with modeling protest on the Vietnam model and using the old Vietnam-era protesters as the core of new groups.

As for the rest, sell me. Convince me that you have a plan that is superior to the current one. Convince me that the consequences of outright abandonment of Iraq's government, army, and people are NOT catastrophic. I've asked over and over and over what the "anti-war" (and brother, if you think I'm pro-war after two tours, you're cracked and you and I both know it) thinks will be the outcome of withdrawing from Iraq NOW and been met with resounding silence.

To argue "we should not invade Iraq" should have been a discussion for 2002-2003. It's 2008, we DID invade Iraq, and we don't have the ability to just take our ball and bat and go home and pretend it never happened.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

"Some even requested deployment-because simply morally opposing the Iraq war and wishing for it to cease does not mean personal cowardice."

http://ivaw.org/warresisters

Hrmmm. . .

There seems to be some overlap, however. IVAW seems to officially support desertion. Do you? If not, how do you square your obligations and professional duty as an NCO with membership in and support for an organization that promotes desertion?

5:39 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Soldiergrrl,

I'll be honest that I don't really deal with the portion of the anti-war crowd that doesn't have a dog in the fight. Being a member of IVAW, the only other anti-war groups I really have dealt with are MFSO (Military Families Speak Out), VFP (Veterans for Peace), and some elderly VVAW gentlemen. (Vietnam Veterans Against the War).


Okay, so that's *you.* I work in Austin, land of the hippy Texans and you know what? I'd bet you a dollar that 99% of those "bring the troops home now" signs I see in the yards belong to people who don't have a tangible connection. Hell, I've been approached by a lot of folx, and *two* of them have had any connection to the military at all. One, his son was in the Navy in the early 90s. The other, her daughter was dating a Cav officer.

That's it.

But I'd like to suggest that the reverse may be true for you. I think there are a lot of people in the anti-war movement who are personally affected. Some even requested deployment-because simply morally opposing the Iraq war and wishing for it to cease does not mean personal cowardice.

*snerk* Dude, half my unit was opposed to the war and when we deployed, I got to hear all about how evil it was. In fact, at one of our later going away parties for an NCO, one of our NCOs wore an IVAW shirt. I think he expected to piss a few of us off, but it didn't. It just kind of made me roll my eyes. He's also got an art exhibit up, using some of his photographs as the basis for paintings.

I am a soldier currently, and I'm against the Iraq war. I do believe Afghanistan was justified and is being far more ignored than it should be currently, but that's another story.

Skippy for you.

How many times have you had to follow orders you disagree with?

Enough times to understand the difference between illegal orders and ones I find distasteful.

The answer isn't 'oh, get out of the military if you don't like the orders', or 'oh, leave the country if you don't like how we're running things'.

Don't put words in my mouth.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

I know it's been forever and I should have responded earlier: my only answer is that I was very busy, but that's not an excuse.

Just A Decurion: IVAW does not officially support desertion. If they ever made that a part of their platform, I would have my resignation in that day, despite having a lot of jobs and roles within the organization. I do not support desertion.

I know what you mean about the Vietnam model. It's something I'm continually frustrated with myself. This isn't Vietnam, and we have a lot of new ideas. Like anyone, we're happy to learn from the successes and failures of others, but that doesn't make us them, if you follow.

I am myself often tempted to follow the "you break it, you buy it" model, but I recognize that's a dangerous road to walk down, and it leads to no end in sight. I don't know that we are capable of "fixing" Iraq, especially given that it was a created country.


Soldier's Girl:

Was your NCO Aaron Hughes? Curious..he's the only one I know to do paintings.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Yes, IVAW does specifically support desertion and deserters on the IVAW website.

Read your own website.

http://ivaw.org/warresisters

"IVAW supports war resisters and conscientious objectors."

"After 14 months being AWOL, Sgt. Clousing turned himself in to authorities at Ft. Lewis, WA and is currently facing charges for desertion. Find out more about IVAW member Sgt. Clousing at www.couragetoresist.org."

"So I made the difficult decision to go AWOL, for political, spiritual, and personal reasons."

"Spc. Aguayo went AWOL on Sept. 1st, after his unit tried to forcibly deploy him to Iraq. Currently, Spc. Aguayo is
awaiting court martial in Wurzburg, Germany. His trial will be
held March 6-7. Support this courageous war resister by visiting www.aguayodefense.org/, and agustin-aguayo.blogspot.com/."

"Facing the possibility of a second deployment to Iraq, Darrell’s conscience kept him from returning to the military. He fled to Canada rather than face that possibility."

Funny how I can read your own organization's website better than you can.

Whatever you have to do to soothe your conscience and tell yourself that you can, indeed, serve two masters. But either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will love the one and hate the other.

IVAW membership is utterly incompatible with any definition of professionalism I am aware of, because IVAW supports desertion. If this is not true, then why does the website include these statements?

2:46 AM  

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