June 21, 2006

"We think of Kristian as a hero."

"You know, he didn't have to do this. He believed in what he was doing."

70 comments:

Al Maviva said...

Show of hands, how many commenters here served, serve, or know somebody (a good friend, close family member) who does serve?

David said...

GOD SPEED, Kristian!

"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;"

HENRY V by Shakespeare
Saint Crispin's Day Speech

al maviva; count me in...

wyatt gwyon said...

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

Truly said...

Al Maviva: Me, too.

Goesh said...

Add my name to the list, Al. Nothing mitigates the pain and grief the family is experiencing. Be the young man ravaged and killed by terrorists or cancer, it is devastating and impossible for the family to accept. There is just no political mileage to be had from the latter it and is sad commentary coming from our nation that the former prompts so much media attention in their time of great loss and suffering.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Al maviva: I served. My husband served. Our Best Man is currently serving in Iraq in a very "hot" zone with their local police.

God rest the souls of our fallen heroes.

Pogo said...

Wyatt,
I liked that line in high school, but it's more complicated as you surely know. Now I think the line is a cheap shot, especially when directed at the dead (as opposed to directing it at war supporters).

More correctly, it is honorable to die for one's country, but never sweet.

TWM said...

I am an Air Force veteran, as is my wife.

My father joined the Navy in WWII and was later drafted into the Army for the Korean War. I had two uncles who served. One got bombed at Pearl Harbor (fortunately they missed),and the other retired from the Air Force as a Chief Master Sergeant. Finally, I have a great uncle who was a US Army General.

Joe said...

I know several young and not so young men serving there now.

wyatt gwyon said...

The line is directed at the people who sent them there. I grieve their deaths too. Perhaps more so because for the life of me I can't figure out what we're trying to accomplish over there that can be accomplished at any acceptable price.

Abraham said...

I can't figure out what we're trying to accomplish over there that can be accomplished at any acceptable price.

That's because while you might feel their pain, you don't respect them as intellectual equals, and don't listen when they try to answer your question.

wyatt gwyon said...

Why do you think I don't listen? Because I don't agree their sacrifice, even though voluntary and perhaps even enthusiastic, is worth it? Tell me: what would victory in Iraq be? I presume it would be a stable, pro-American regime that is able to provide the minimal necessities to its people. Do you think we're going to be able to accomplish that at any acceptable price? I don't. But it's not because I don't listen.

Bissage said...

Wyatt Gwyon: You "grieve their deaths too"? Like the families? I call b.s. on that.

Pogo said...

Oh, wyatt, come on.
Let's instead have you fill us in on how you would address jihadi terrorism and islamofascism. And if you state that has nothing to do with Iraq, you are disqualified for being obtuse.

Your grief is like Dem "support" for troops: by disrespecting their cause, you fail to show support at all.

John said...

Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker: "'I'm going to defend my country,' Private Tucker said in the telephone message. 'Be proud of me.'"

We are! Thank you and everyone else who understands that freedom and liberty are not free.

wyatt gwyon said...

No, obviously not like the families.

As for not listening, do you listen to servicemen like Randy Myers? "I'm not sure we're doing a whole lot of good," Myers, 46, said of the U.S. presence in Iraq. "Everybody thinks we are. We're trying to, but we're not going to change what they want to do, and if they don't want to change, they're not gonna." (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060621/ap_on_el_ge/murtha_hometown_troops)

Look, we disagree about the war, but that I disagree it is worthwhile doesn't make me unfeeling and insensitive any more than your belief it is worthwhile makes you an idiot willing to send brave young people to deaths for no useful purpose.

Pogo said...

Re: "doesn't make ...you an idiot willing to send brave young people to deaths for no useful purpose."

Not that you're saying any such thing, eh Wyatt, just somehting you heard?

Tell me, what is worth defending, even to die for, in your view?

P.S. You look alot like Bob Dylan.

PatCA said...

Where do we find such men?

These deaths have affected me like no others, maybe because I listened to that phone call he left. Even at their age, I was not that good or that selfless. I thank all the people here for their service; I don't have anyone close who is military.

The NYT of course pities them when they should look to them for inspiration. I know I will from now on.

Wyatt, go to hell. Do you also stand outside funerals waving anti-war banners?

wyatt gwyon said...

No, I don't stand outside funerals of servicemen protesting the war, nor would I. And my point was that dealing with my position (this war isn't worth the price we're paying!) is no more usefully dealt with by telling me to go to hell than by calling you an idiot willing to exploit patriotic feelings to send brave young people to their deaths. How would I fight the "war on terror"? For a start I'd finish the job in Afghanistan. I'd secure our ports and chemical plants (which we haven't done). I'd bust ass trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I'd provide social service and lots of money to the poor in Arab countries that support us. I would not send in our military to impose democracy at the point of a gun. I don't think it works. Do you? Is it working? What is vicotry?

TWM said...

Wyatt,

What is an "acceptable" price to you? We lost more Americans on D-Day -- one day -- than we have lost in the entire time we have been in Iraq. Was that an acceptable price then? My guess is the NYT and many,if not most, of the left would say it was not.

Thank goodness times were different then.

wyatt gwyon said...

Let me raise my hand here: my father served in WWII, was a POW, and came this close to dying. This isn't WWII.

Pogo said...

Re: "This isn't WWII."

Reasonable people can disagree about whether it was wise to go after Iraq. But the question is now moot. We are there, and must finish the job.

People who keep attacking the premise of the argument are delusional. The time for debate on whether is long past. Now we must finish the job, and secure our home.

Your posting the "dulce" quote is funny, much as it regards the First World War. Another pointless war, I suppose.

Why was US involvment in WW2 such a hot idea, in your view? Except for Japan's attack, what dog did we have in that fight? Was your Dad's sacrifice worth it? Why? What was the point?

TWM said...

Nope,it isn't WWII. Nor is it Vietnam. It is, however, probably the best chance we have of establishing a democracy in the middle-east and, in doing so, perhaps bringing some peace and stability to that region. Which, of course, makes America safer. Plus, it is part of the war on terror.

The men and women fighting there understand this, why can't the left here at home.

wyatt gwyon said...

To defeat Hitler it was an acceptable price. But 2500 soldiers, $320 billion, and god knows how many innocent Iraqis for what? Please tell me that? What do you see as a result in Iraq that would result in our being able to leave so that all these brave young people are not being exposed daily to death?

Jim said...

If it's so honorable, why aren't more women allowed to die for their country? Funny how poor blacks, hispanics and new immigrants are the most patriotic Americans. This is universally recognized after they die. Beforehand they were just guys who weren't fit for an academic or professional career for one reason or another.

Get real! Dying for one's country is like organ donation to benefit a stranger -- promoted by all the WASPs, especially doctors, who in their comfortable lives benefit richly by encouraging others to make great sacrifice.

It's time to call a spade a spade: donating an organ or serving on a battle line, especially to maintain a system that keeps you and your family at the bottom of the totem pole, is foolish behavior.

Pogo said...

Re: "To defeat Hitler it was an acceptable price. "

Really, Wyatt? Why? What was Hitler to the US? What threat did he pose us in the 1940s, before we declared war?

jeff said...

al maviva - my hand is in the air. A couple times.

Pogo said...

Jim,
Organ donation?
Good lord, the left is really quite mad.

RogerA said...

Jim: Altruism? Might want to consider that as a motivator.

Pogo said...

Sorry Jim, you could be Ayn Randian, or Leftist. hard to tell.

Wyatt:

Zarawi: Dead

Al Qaeda: Dying

Libya: gave up WMD

I call that sufficient.

al said...

al maviva - hand raised here. Family and friends.

If you want to read about more people like Kristian hike on over to Blackfive and look for the people you should know section.

wyatt gwyon said...

The point in WWII was to defeat an enemy who genuinely threatened western civilization. Neither Iraq nor (if you want to define Iraq that way) pose the threat to western civilization Hitler and his allies did.

retired randy said...

I served, proudly for many years, as is my son who is currently in harms way, overseas. But, I can't bring myself to support this occupation of Iraq. I pray each night that my son comes home alive to his wife and children, and back to the good life most Americans enjoy. My country's government has made me ashamed of being a citizen of this great country. The lies that have been spun to justify this war makes my heart heavy with sorrow for the sacrifice of so many of our best and brightest young citizens, who have paid the ultimate price.

wyatt gwyon said...

Pogo,

So can we please leave now, or at least pull back to our bases and let the Iraqis try to put together what can't be put together by us? And do you really think Al-Qaeda is worse off because of Iraq?

TWM said...

Jim,

That "poor blacks, hispanics and new immigrants" myth has been debunked so many times it is not even amusing any longer. Our military is educated, middle and upper-class, and mostly white. You really do need to do some research on the makeup of our armed forces, especially the Army.

TWM said...

Randy,

Tell us how your son feels.

TWM said...

See, this is the problem. The right,for the most part, believes Saddam was a threat (both regionally and in terms of his documented support of terrorism). The left doesn't.

The two sides will never meet.

monkeyboy said...

Raises hand, myself, and members of the familiy going back to the French and Indian War.

After my Dad left the Marines he became a policeman. It was pretty obvious to me that when he went to work there was always a chance that he wouldn't come back, especially as he did a lot of stuff like crawling into upside down burning cars.

I never remember him coming home saying "there was this familiy in a car wrecked in the river, but I didn't know them and it was dangerous, so I figured, whats it got to do with me? None of you were in the car. Maybe they wouldn't want to be rescued, so I let them drown."

We are all Kitty Genovese to someone else, I am forever thankful to those that lay their lives down for strangers.

John said...

Wyatt: "...god knows how many innocent Iraqis for what? Please tell me that? What do you see as a result in Iraq that would result in our being able to leave so that all these brave young people are not being exposed daily to death?"

And if we leave (or never went), how many innocent Iraqis would still be dead? How many innocents are dead or dying in Darfur? How many innocents are dead in countless other places because of an "enemy who genuinely threatened western civilization"?

Face it. You just don't like the fact that some people in this world, currently represented by brave US soldiers, are willing to defend freedom and liberty. Can you honestly say that innocent lives would not be lost if our soldiers never left our shores?

Internet Ronin said...

Is everybody happy now? Not content to merely spit on the poor men's graves, almost everyone posting so far has apparently derived great pleasure spitting into it, in the name, of course, of truth, justice and the American way (however narrow their personal definition). I, for one, am sick of the lot of you.

The memory of the moment reading a touching article about two young men who died in the service of their country has been visciously savaged by people only concerned with their personal partisan vendettas.

They died in service to their country folks. Whether you believe it was worth it or not should have been irrevelant, IMO. I suggest you all consider shutting off the auto-pilot political gamesmanship and say something that honors the dead. And if you can't manage that, then just don't say anything at all.

Let's honor our dead and not defile them any further.

Randy Rogers.

DaveG said...

The point in WWII was to defeat an enemy who genuinely threatened western civilization.

So your point is that we should have waited to see what Hussein did with his billions of oil dollars after the sanctions inevitably broke down? We should have waited until he revitalized his WMD manufacturing and provided the resulting weapons to terrorists to support his never-ending battle against us?

Others felt that the example set in the 1930's sufficient to ensure that we not head down the disasterous path of appeasement again. You did not. That's perfectly fair, and you are certainly entitled to that belief, and of course you have the enormous benefit of never being able to be proven wrong.

We will never know what would have happened had we not intervened, but as The Man said, we couldn't afford to wait to find out. The consequences of you being wrong were deemed to be far too high by our current leaders.

Having made the momentous decision to preemptively remove a tyrannical regime, our leaders also decided that simply removing the threat and allowing the entire country to sink into civil war and strife was not the correct course of action. Instead, they made the humanitarian decision to try to bring a more stable and free form of government to the region.

We're still working on that, but those opposed to the initial regime change cannot abide the idea that we might, might just do some long-term good over there, and that other people are willing to sacrifice their safety, and in some cases their lives, to support that goal.

Again, that's their right, but I personally believe more in a "lead, follow, or get out of the way" mentality when it comes right down to it.

Al Maviva said...

My only point was to thank those who have served and ask them, and others who know servicemembers, to think about and maybe share opinions on where we are in terms of how we view military service and heroism. I marvel at the fact that there are ~2 million mostly young men and women, in an otherwise predominantly conviction-free age, willing to serve their country and risk their lives on our behalf. It seems to me that merely making the conscious decision to do what used to be quite normal, is conceived of as heroic. Granted it is above and beyond what most do, but I'm not sure heroism consists of simply putting yourself in harm's way. To one's mother, or brother, the choice to go into harm's way is surely heroic, and that is good. That is as it should be. But in the historical and literal sense of the word, I'm not sure it is heroic. One has to wonder what societal shift of the goalposts occurred to make doing one's duty, in and of itself, an act of heroism in the eyes of so many.

This is not to denigrate anybody's service. It is laudable, and plain right too serve one's country. Yet I worry about our direction as a nation, however, knowing that ROTC is mostly exiled from the top university campuses, and knowing that we've made Jessica Lynch - a survivor - into a hero, while publicly mostly ignoring her brother in arms who earned a silver star defending her and others in the unit. Our sense of heroism seems to elevate victims as heroes, and to be very reluctant to discuss real, traditional heroism. Quick, name a Medal of Honor recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom*. If you couldn't, don't sweat it. Few people can.

I think the divorce between elite culture and the rest of the country contributes to this warping. I'm no hero to be sure, but I've known a couple, and the damnedest thing is that they've mostly had feet of clay annd probably couldn't measure up to our cultural standards - one fellow I know who did probably the bravest thing I can imagine would certainly be shut out of any cocktail party for being a drunken, politically incorrect lout. Oh yeah, and he smoked like a freakin' chimney, so if you made a movie about him, you'd have to work really hard to clean him up. The people I know who have done heroic things rose up to meet a challenge, but were basically pretty normal folks, and this doesn't really fit any modern narratives about what heroism is. I include a couple decorated great uncles, and my father in this group. At the same time, real heroes, along with those who did their bit, put themselves in a position - enlisting or taking a commission, being a cop or firefighter, or taking advantage of less formal opportunities - to do heroic things, and that seems somehow extraordinary to us nowadays. The discussion of soldiers who may have been ambushed and kidnappped as heroic, put me in mind of this.

FWIW, I occasionally sit on a hiring committee and have had the opportunity to interview and hire a number of young vets. They've been impressive across the board. The "greatest generation" stuff is sort of tiring after you realize the 24 year-old sitting across the desk is made out of the same stuff. Albeit often with a prosthetic arm, and a bit of attitude about having to leave the service before doing 20 years.

*There's one, SFC Paul Ray Smith.

stoqboy said...

Nobody I know, and nobody in my family, served or serves. Anybody know where I can send Oreos and wipes? Thanks.

TWM said...

I honor these guys and gals every day, so please no lectures on that, thank you very much.

Goesh said...

Al, I enlisted in the Marines and went to Viet Nam. I never regarded myself as any kind of hero, just an honorable man. War is mostly about dead bodies and nightmares with few real heroes. The ones I saw in Nam never got decorated for it and many just got a body bag. Ultimately a patriot does the right thing by his family, community and nation and for most that means working hard, paying the bills and taxes and not breaking the law. In the end, you get a few peaceful backyard b-b-qs and hopefully the kids don't turn into drug addicts, and it's maybe the best many can hope for. The effort of serving one's nation in time of war is on the heroic side but not a one over there now would regard him/herself as any kind of hero. It all goes to the wayside in the first firefight these notions of valor and the flag and freedom and patriotism and you just want to make it home alive and hopefully intact. It's a dirty business the islamofacists are bringing upon the West and we have no choice but to kill a bunch of the bastards. If I were a young man, I would most likely be in Iraq.

Pogo said...

Re: "I, for one, am sick of the lot of you."

Watch where you're swinging that stick, son. Some of this lot are lauding their sacrifice.

TWM said...

Goesh,

It is true that those fighting now and in the past do not/did not consider themselves heros.

But that is not what matters. What matters is that those of us back here think of them that way.

And, I, too, would most likely be in Iraq (or Afghanistan) if I were a young man.

David said...

Vet66; Viet Nam for me, 1968-1970;
My Dad; WWII/Korea, Pacific Theater;
My Uncle; WWII/Korea; Pacific Theater;
My nephew; Afghanistan.

They taught me you can't be truly free as long as someone else is under the boot.

I am comforted by the presence here of those who manned the battlements in the pursuit of freedom. I am inspired by those who paid the ultimate price!

My Brothers and Sisters!
David

Jim said...

TWM says:

"Our military is educated, middle and upper-class, and mostly white. You really do need to do some research on the makeup of our armed forces, especially the Army."

You are thinking of taxpayer financed university education. In fact, blacks make up about 23% of today's Army, twice their rate of participation in the general population and ten times their rate of participation in Law School, Med School, and Engineering School, not to mention Physics, Math, Chemistry. Their heroism, as indicated by their rate of participation in the Army is only surpassed by their depravity, as indicated by their rate of participation in our criminal "justice" system.

AlaskaJack said...

Wyatt, you avoided a key issue in your multi-step solution: would you open up negotiations with Al Qaeda?

dick said...

Jim,

Where are you getting those numbers? Blacks in the military are about 12%, 1 more than their share in the general population. Hispanics are 8.5%, half their share in the general population. The education of the soldier s higher than average for the country at their age level. Officers have to pursue education if they want to advance.

You need to talk to someone other than Code Pink to get your numbers.

wyatt gwyon said...

AlaskaJack,

No, I wouldn't open up negotiations with Al Qaeda. I would hunt them down and kill them wherever I knew they were (like in the mountains of Afghanistan). People I know died on 9/11. A friend lost her husband. I don't know what in the world Iraq had to do with Al Qaeda, except for Al-Zarqawi's training camp within the zone in which we could have killed him years ago. Now, it seems to, thanks to our invasion, there is a breeding ground for Al Qaeda in Iraq. No one has answered my question: what is to be accomplished in Iraq NOW? Is it feasible at an acceptable cost? We've freed them from Saddam. Now what? The only way the British and the Baathists managed to hold the country together was through terror and violence I don't think we're ready to impose. Or do you think I'm wrong? It's an honest question.

wyatt gwyon said...

And as to Hitler analogies, Bush 41 waged the war Chamberlain wouldn't in 1939, keeping Saddam from annexing Kuwait, in contrast to Chamberlain, who acceded to Hitler's own territorial annexation. Bush 41 had the good sense to realize that following through with an occupation of Iraq was a fool's errand. To think that either Saddam did or Islamo-fasicsm does pose the threat to western civilation that Hitler posed in '39 is, IMHO, ludicrous.

monkeyboy said...

Dick;

And add in that most NCOs need college once they get into senior leadership. I know more than a few E-7s and 8s with advanced degrees.

Jim said...

Dick:

http://www.prb.org/Template.cfm?Section=PRB&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13494

Jim said...

Dick:

Google this:

racial composition of the army

and go to the 6th entry. If you don't like what it says, nothing keeps you from providing your own citation. I'd like to know the truth as much as you do.

Palladian said...

"To think that either Saddam did or Islamo-fasicsm does pose the threat to western civilation that Hitler posed in '39 is, IMHO, ludicrous."

In your humble opinion? To keep your disjointed, attenuated characters-from-World War II metaphor going, you're a humble man, with much to be humble about.

Chum said...

I wonder if the 19 senators who voted for giving amnesty to any Iraqi who has killed US soldiers still holds the same perspective regarding the killers of these young men. Talk about your humbling experience!

TWM said...

Jim,

You are wrong on your numbers. The lower percent is correct for both hispanics and blacks. You appear to be posting numbers from 2004 and even earlier.

Education levels are higher than ever, with all officers having college degrees and with field grade officers almost all having masters degrees or higher.

Enlisted personnel have higher percentages of high school diplomas than the general population and most of the senior NCOs have college degrees and many have masters degrees.

This force is all-volunteer, informed, educated, trained, and ready.

vnjagvet said...

Jim:

Take a look at this:

http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/31/2/201

This study was from 2004, but contains both armed forces stats and combat arms stats broken down by race.

It includes combat death analysis as well and concludes that blacks are not overrepresented either in combat positions or in deaths.

Source is a study commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation out of Berkeley. Scarcely a right wing org.

On point to the Count's comment, I served in VN in 1987-1968, and on active duty from 1966-1970.

God bless these fallen young men, their families and all who serve now.

I had lunch last week with an Infantry Captain who has 12 years of service and is on R and R on his third tour in Iraq Theatre. He is a lifelong friend of one of my daughters, and now a friend of mine.

He is still enthusiastic about the mission and about the progress. He is neither a zealot or a nut, but is proud to serve his country.

I am proud of him and his fellow troops.

wyatt gwyon said...

Excuse me, Palladian, but if you could tell me why Saddam was or Al Qaeda is the threat to western civilization that is equivalent to that posed by Hitler and his allies in 1939, we could have a discussion, but simply insulting me isn't really a very useful way to go about it.

And that isn't to say I don't think Al Qaeda is a threat. It's to say I don't think we're dealing with that threat in a productive way. I do think the 2500 deaths and $320 billion we've poured into Iraq would've been better spent otherwise, and I think the money and lives yet to come could as well.

But, apparently, you don't have as much to be humble about as I. Good for you.

wyatt gwyon said...

And it's not as if the troops in Iraq are unanimously in disagreement with me. What about this, from yesterday's NY Times:

"The War Tapes," a documentary about — and filmed by — a New Hampshire National Guard Unit stationed in Iraq that opened in theaters two weeks ago.

Specialist Mike Moriarty is filming his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Kevin Shangraw, as they bounce along in a Humvee. He asks his leader for his take on the broader mission, and Sergeant Shangraw comes straight off the dome with a government-issue rationale.

"Well, I think it's a fantastic opportunity for the Iraqis to establish a new history in the country and be able to be a free and democratic society, which in turn should stabilize the whole Middle East and create a freer and more stable earth as we know it."

"Tell me how you really feel," an unseen Specialist Moriarty prompts.

Sergeant. Shangraw waits a beat as the bleak landscape flies by in the window before answering.

"Then, after that happens, maybe we can buy everybody in the world a puppy."

Palladian said...

Wow, that's a scathing anti-war statement by our soldiers!

You've never been around military guys, have you?

monkeyboy said...

Ah the law of unintended consiquences. I think that the Al-Qaida fighting us in Iran right now would not be sitting there, but instead would be fighting us in Afghanistan, or Pakistan or Saudia Arabia, or any other place people think we should be fighting instead. Remember that when you change plans the enemy tends to change as well.

I was thinking about Somalia last night. Would it have been worth five years and 2,500 lives to truly restore hope to Somalia? Not a lot of relevance to defense of the US at the time, but it was a major reason why Bin Laden thought we were a "weak horse" and 911 would bring us to our knees.
Leaving Iraq will be seen as another victory for the enemy. The lesson is kill 3,000 at once and they come after you, kill 2,500 over a few years and they won't. Expect a lot more USS COLEs, Khobar Towers and African Embassy attacks.

DaveG said...

To think that either Saddam did or Islamo-fasicsm does pose the threat to western civilation that Hitler posed in '39 is, IMHO, ludicrous.

And, like I said, that's your right. Others disagreed, and weren't willing to make the massive wager on being correct that you apparently are. Again, that's your right, but that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else is wrong.

I also think it makes a difference that today a single bomb can do what it took 10,000 B-17s to do in 1940. I'm sure you don't, but I didn't vote for you to decide that for me, did I?

wyatt gwyon said...

The assumptions some commentors have made due to my views are breathtaking. Palladian, I've been around military people all my life. One thing many have expressed is that, precisely because of their unquestioning loyalty to orders, they don't like being sent on missions doomed to fail. Wilfred Owen, who wrote Dulce et Decorum Est, was expressing exactly that sentiment. I think our mission in Iraq is an impossible one. Sgt. Shangraw seems to feel the same way. I guess time will tell whether he and I are right.

dick said...

More statistics just from the military in Iraq:

Myths about the US Military
Over the last few years, I've read and had repeated to me by anti war, anti military elements, many myths about today's Military. Predictably, I've also seen plenty of these myths advanced by the MSM as well. I thought I'd share a few that I'm sure we've all seen and heard numerous times, and then give you the actual facts that contradict these myths. The next time you have someone come up and start spitting any of these at you, hopefully you'll remember this post, and be able to hit them with real facts.

All or most soldiers are rednecks from the South.
In reality, at the end of fiscal year 2003, there were 176,408 soldiers in the force. Of these, 100,467 came from the North or West. 75,941 Came from the South or South West. From my own experience, in my battalion, the only "Southern" states that were highly represented were Texas and Virginia. I personally was born in Michigan, and lived in Canada for about 20 years until I joined the Army. A large number of the people I knew were from Ohio or California. There were two, yes two soldiers from states other than these in the South. In fact, many Virginians don't even consider themselves Southerners. The fact is, the Military is not made up of a bunch of "good ol' boys" from the South.

Minorities are being used as "cannon fodder" on the front lines.
I've heard this one plenty, and in my opinion, it's the dumbest one. It's simply a ploy to call up the Vietnam war, when minorities actually were overrepresented in frontline combat positions. This calling up the ghost of the Vietnam war is a favorite of the anti-war crowd. First off is the obvious fact that it's an all volunteer force, so people sign up on their own, and choose their job on their own.

But let's look at some other facts. The fact is that as of 2006, white Americans made up well over half of the total military force, coming in at 67%, and have so far suffered 74% of the deaths in the GWOT. Minorities make up 33% of the total force, and have suffered only 26% of the deaths in the GWOT. This is due to the fact that an even higher percentage of white American's, over 70%, choose a combat arms role in the Military, and the percentage of white Americans in Special Operations is even higher, over 75%, while for whatever reason, minority soldiers tend to go into support occupations such as health services, which tend to feature valuable job training over bonuses. This is not to say anything about any particular group.

Hell, I always thought the guys that didn't go into the infantry or other combat arms must have been smarter than we were. They sure didn't have to jump out of a perfectly good airplane then go slogging through the mountains or desert for weeks on end with 100+ pounds on their back!

Soldiers are uneducated, or less educated than their peers outside the Military
Pretty much completely untrue. Between 93 and 95% of current soldiers have a high school diploma, compared to 75% for their civilian counterparts. And according to numbers released by the Defense Department, “Nearly two-thirds of today’s recruits are drawn from the top-half of America in math and verbal aptitudes.” Additionally, soldiers are all taught to be leaders, and to operate independently.

From my own experience, I had one soldier who was previously a registered nurse. Two others in my company had IQ's over 150 and were members of Mensa. Two more were had law degrees. Several were published authors and poets. And that was just the enlisted soldiers. One of the Platoon Leaders was a mormom, a graduate of BYU, and had been a missionary in tPhilippinesnes. One was a Russian, who had served in the Russian Army, then came here and completed college. Of course, most were West Point graduates, which is one of the most selective schools in the nation. And these were all Infantry guys. Imagine the soldiers in a computer field or something equally technical. In truth, soldiers of today have to know so many skills that it's ridiculous to think that they are in an way "uneducated."

Recruiting is down
Actually, it's not. In four of the last 5 years, the Army, which usually struggles a little more in recruiting, has met and exceeded it's goal for active duty recruits. For 2004, the Army's active duty goal was 77,00. They exceeded that by nearly 600. During the same 5 year period, The Navy, Airforce, and Marine Corps met or exceeded their recruiting goal. Oh, by the way, they've all done that every year since the terrorist attacks of September 11th. As for the numbers for this year. The Army made 104% of it's goal for March. The Air Force and Navy, 100%. The Marines, 102%.

These are the ones that I hear the most. As you can see, they're all pretty much rubbish. I'm sure you've noticed that the anti-war/anti military crowd thinks they've found something, they like to stick with it, even if it's proven to be completely untrue. So hopefully the next time one of these people come up to you and give you one of these lines, you'll have the ammo to at least shut them up for a few seconds.

http://combatjumpstar.blogspot.com/2006/06/myths-about-us-military.html

Jim said...

vnjagvet:

Table 5 of your citation shows that 23.3% of Marines and Army are blacks, twice their percentage of the general population. Yes, it shows that they suffer casualties at about the same rate as whites per enlistee. This means, however, that a black American is over twice as likely as his white counterpart in the general population to suffer injury or to die for his country! I can help you with the math if you can't figure this out.

So, as I said, black Americans are the most patriotic Americans!

People like to talk about the "ultimate sacrifice" being offered by those patriotic Americans who die just months after the manage to find Iraq on the map for the first time. Mohammed Atta, Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale and MLK Jr, to name a few, would say that sacrifice of liberty or some other principle is the "ultimate sacrifice."

There is so much patriotic hogwash around that standing anywhere near an American flag puts you in pretty dumb company.

dick said...

And if you are wrong, then will you apologize to all the people who have disagreed with you or will you then go onto another talking point of the LLL dems. Will you then call it a fake but true moment that we got lucky? That seems to be the MO of the LLL left.

And what about all the military who do disagree with you - and that is most of them. The LLL made a big deal of the 7 or 8 generals who disagreed with Rummy. The Retired Flag Officers and Generals just had a meeting a month or so ago. They backed Rummy up completely. They also thought that the war was the right thing in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately like most things that favor Bush that did not make it into the papers.

dick said...

Reference on the Retired Flag Officers and Generals meeting in Fort Carson:

http://rofasix.blogspot.com/2006/06/notes-on-iraq-from-retired-flag.html