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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

On Service

pecunium has some things to say about whether someone's record of military service is an appropriate target for denigration.

You don't get a bigger Purple Heart for losing a leg than you do for getting a scratch. You get it because it might have killed you. Sometimes your family gets it because it did kill you.

I'd also like to point out, as an aside, that I see no hypocrisy at all in a returned serviceman or woman speaking out in opposition to a war in which he or she has fought. And I can't imagine that anybody who understands the nature of military service would find hypocrisy in that.

You go where your country tells you to go, and you do your best there, and when you come home--if you come home--you have more than earned the right to speak your conscience, if your conscience needs to be spoken. That's why they call it service.

I'm not a drum beater, and I am deeply saddened by war, but I believe that this earned dignity cloaks every man and woman who has served in the military and been denied the respect they have earned by that service, that sacrifice, no matter what his or her political leanings are. John McCain, and John Kerry, and George Bush the elder.

It shames me to think that my country and my government have forgotten that, or are choosing to ignore it for political expediency.

Comments

Amen, Sistah, Amen.

Interesting story last night on NPR, interviewing some Marines in Iraq. One of them said (paraphrased) "We'll do whatever our commander in chief asks of us, but the one thing he can't do is tell us how to vote in November."
That's it exactly.
I'm so angry that this is the central "issue" that has emerged from this campaign. It's clearly a distraction on so many levels. :P
Amen. And you know, my closest connection to the military is that I have family members and good friends who served--in war and in peace--and I write what could be termed military SF.

And I'm just... aghast.

If somebody spoke of the peace-time service of a friend of mine in these terms (nevermind the wartime service) i would probably degenerate into a shouting match very quickly.

Press?

Press? We have press over here to have an agenda? And here I just though they wuz a propaganda machine!
It makes me think the press have an agenda.

Cha, y'think?

I'm just... disgusted.
"I'd also like to point out, as an aside, that I see no hypocrisy at all in a returned serviceman or woman speaking out in opposition to a war in which he or she has fought. And I can't imagine that anybody who understands the nature of military service would find hypocrisy in that."

I think you'll find that as a general rule, people who have been in a war are less anxious to go to war than those who have not. I never saw combat, but enough of the aftermath rubbed off on me that I don't mourn that gap in my military experience....
"The men who love war are mostly the ones who have never been in it."

Which is why I think old warriors can make very good leaders, if they're the right old warriors.
There is someone I know who seems to feel...I don't know, from the sidelines, it appears that he feels unmanned by the fact that his military service didn't include combat. He's become a screaming warhawk, and I find it utterly disgusting.
I totally agree with you. And I am not sure what else to say. :(
I gots like a billion things to say.

One is that I saw Bush on the tee-vee denouncing the Kerry service ads. I think that's significant. Some might say it's all misdirection and stuff, but as has been pointed out, Bush doesn't really stand to gain from a comparison of military records, and I'm sure he knows this.

Another is... on the subject of awards. This happens to be a raw subject right now because I know, for a fact, that people get awards for stuff that they don't deserve. I know of an officer who tried to put himself in for a Purple Heart because he pulled a hammy tripping on some concertina (razor) wire toward the end of some minor skirmish. I know of an NCO who put himself in for a Bronze Star for, basically, pointing out where some more sandbags might be helpful. A buddy of mine received a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (With Combat V for Valor), in which the citation stated that he personally killed four attackers. The dude doesn't know if he hit anyone.

That said, there are awards that are deserved; a Marine officer received a Silver Star for single-handedly clearing out a flanking force during the invasion last March. And there are people who never get awards, because no one (including them) were left alive to witness their heroism.

So, for me, the question of awards is problematic. Anyone who points to their awards, furthermore, is suspect in my mind. I don't like people who point to their Stars and their Hearts and say, "Lookit me, I'm King Shit of Turd Island. Vote for me." Not saying, exactly, that this is what Kerry is doing, but I'm not really listening that closely to him. It's just that, for me, the question of who deserves what, and what that means, is far too problematic for me to make a decision based upon it.

Got something else to say, but I think I'll reply to the appropriate comment.
Back in the Trojan War (late 'Nam), I served with a guy who was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with a "V" (similar to the Navy/Marine decoration you mention) for distributing gas masks to his platoon while under fire. He just shook his head and laughed when talking about it -- the CS gas attack came from his own M79 grenade launcher....

Don't blame the grunt for depreciated awards and decorations. Handing out medals makes Command look good.
Fuming is sort of my default state, these days.