Saturday, August 27, 2005
The Significance Of LTC Erik Kurilla
LTC Erik Kurilla or SGT Daniel LamaWrite 'em. Send a postcard. Do something.
9040 Jackson Avenue
Madigan Army Medical Center
Tacoma, WA 98431
Look, I'm angry at the horrible coverage of events in Iraq from the traditional media. I'm angry about the consistent and dedicated omissions amounting to outright lies regarding the military's achievements in Iraq and the achievement of the Iraqi citizens who are trying to set up a real nation. Anger doesn't help, though.
I think we all should contact our local papers and ask them to run Michael Yon's dispatches. I am not a warlike type, but I can see clearly that the stories of men like LTC Kurilla are stories that can't be told in our times, because they make the meretricious, lying, standardless bubble of complacency in which so much of our society lives just evaporate like smoke. So these are the stories we need to have told. You can't look (Gates Of Fire) at the picture of Kurilla on the ground still shooting, after having been shot in both legs and one arm without realizing that here is reality. And you can't read about Kurilla's concern for his men without realizing something about what the military is and what it should be and what it deserves from us.
You can see that bubble deflating in Juan Cole's reaction to the story of Steven Vincent, and if the reference doesn't ring a bell then see Vincent's wife's rebuttal letter.
Also see Minh-Duc's discussion of the bad effects of a split between the military and the Democratic party. Min-Duc quotes Thucydides "The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools" and also goes on to notice that the Peace Corps is somewhat hostile towards ex-military types. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that this is an unfortunate development and that the Democrats who support the military are a marginalized group in the national party. I agree with his statement of the effects:
It is also unhealthy for the Republican Party when the party has no strong opposition. The country needs a strong opposition Party that is not on crack. But I am very pessimistic about the state of the Democratic Party and the prospect of them supporting the military.So I am going down in person soon to talk to the editor of my local paper. I want them to run Michael Yon's reports from the front. If the angel Gabriel appeared on the campuses of Harvard and Yale trumpeting Minh-Duc's message, the administration and faculty would not change their knee-jerk suspicion and disapproval of the military at all. The majority of people running the Peace Corps believe that our soldiers are baby-killing murderers, so there can be no progress there.
But there really is not a split between the civilian society and the military society. Many of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are carrying forward programs very similar to the Peace Corps, sometimes even mounting their own collection drives to support them. Is it any wonder that the Peace Corps class doesn't wish to have it known? The military strongly encourages education and self-development, so it is hardly in danger of sinking into brutality or ignorance.
What we do have is a split between the elites of society and the military. The military ethos is about duty, honor and discipline in service to our country. The elite ethos is currently about self-excusing attacks upon those very same values. This is a culture war, but it is not a culture war between liberals and conservatives. It is a culture war about realities. The larger society is being systematically starved of discussion about economic and social realities, and only restoring that dialogue will enable our country to move forward.
Men like Kurilla and Peralta deserve to have their stories told. The story that is being told in our media is that they can't win. The reality is that they can't be beaten given their mission, which is to defend the majority of Iraqis who would like to set up a functional and independent nation. The majority of Iraqis are desperately trying to escape from a nightmarish three decades of massacres and abuse. The American military is defending them.
Something is terribly wrong with our country when everyone knows of a man like Michael Moore but no one knows of a man like Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith. The media can launch into an orgy of excitement about reports that the cast of Friends may be squabbling, but who knows the story of Raven 42?
About this time, three armored Hummers that formed the MP Squad under call sign Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn (Fort Bragg), 18th MP Bde, arrived on the scene like the cavalry.Read it all, write your newspaper and get them to cover real life.
But even in CA you do have smaller newspapers, and those are the ones that will be responsive. I doubt that they really exist in LA, but I don't know the market.
Don't accept THEIR premise by calling the poofters who run the universities and the Establishment infotainment media "the elites."
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