Memorial Day

Posted in Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 8:30 am by George Smith

The general American attitude toward war: Our troops are the greatest as long as I donít have to serve and I promise to make appreciative mouth noises or go to parades on key days of remembrance … The honest approach: Admitting you donít give a ratís ass about Memorial Day as long as you get hot dogs and hamburgers. I donít buy the argument that anyoneís fought for my freedoms in the last ten years.

The military, our political leadership, and the people all wanted a fighting force that was unrepresentative of the nation and only a sliver of the population. One that would insulate the country from Viet Nam-style war protest because the sacrifice is not shared.

And that’s what they have.

And this is impolite and churlish but accurate:

The US military, despite being the largest, most well-equipped and capitalized of any in world history, is BAD. It smashes weakling countries and bombs the guilty as well as the innocent who have nothing in the desperate places of the world, delivering it all with a special brand of American pomposity that tolerates no soul-searching or regret.

It is thought to be led by men deemed the best and the brightest. So best and bright the majority of Americans cannot name one general, admiral, or even the guy who led the force that invaded Iraq a decade ago.

And, finally, making my point, Elisabeth Bumiller at the New York Times, interviewing officers, whose names you don’t recognize and won’t remember, who have written books no one will read who isn’t required to as part of a West Point course, drawn from battles no one who wasn’t there knows about. (Note that we’ve been at war so long a child who lost a father on 9/11 is now graduating from cadet school. That’s serious evidence of fail.)

If these guys are scholars of anything making arguments worth consideration by anyone outside their insular profession of national war-making, I’m Ernest Hemingway.

Good news, lads! Good news. It’s Memorial Day.


  1. Chuck said,

    May 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I used to attend Memorial Day ceremonies at the local cemeteries. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.

    Then the politicians and military brass discovered them. When an army general spent 30 minutes talking about himself and his programs, I stopped going. The posturing by government officials who had never seen a day of military service was bad enough, but the general put such a bad taste in my mouth, I never have been able to attend another.

  2. George Smith said,

    May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am

    The pro forma: We’ll continue to have the biggest military, ever, despite the cost to everyone else.

    “We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow in the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs …The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.”

    In San Diego, the only place outside the sticks in California where they’ll vote for him. He knows it, too, so the only reason he was there was to have the military gear in the background.

  3. Chuck said,

    May 29, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I think it’s interesting that very little has been made of the fact that it’s the bicentennial of the War of 1812–a blatant attempt at a land-grab by the US that failed miserably.

    I didn’t see any mention of the “fallen of the 1812 war” in any of the Memorial Day squibs.

  4. George Smith said,

    May 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Ha, yeah. Contributing factor — historical recognition is now so bad in this country I’d reckon about 90 percent of the population couldn’t even tell you who it was against.