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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Most Depressing Veterans Day I've Ever Spent

I woke up around 3:00 AM and could not get back to sleep.

We seem to be locked in an ever-expanding series of actions on an ever-expanding series of fronts, with no exit strategy. And these are the worst possible types of venues.

We're fighting a holding action.

The only conclusion I could come to all day was that the performance overall of the line troops has been unbelievably good. The line combat officers - mostly superior. The brass - not always so good.

The political brass? Fort Hood. 'Nuff said.

About the only thing we can do to repay these people for their sacrifices (and even if never hurt or injured, the endless grinding deployments are sacrifice enough) is to try to tighten things up on the home front and deal with our own problems. No matter how bad we think we have it, we don't have it as bad as they do.

So thank you, veterans. The words are not enough. Nothing can ever really be enough.

Indeed. Nice post.
We owe it to them to have a clear understanding of our situation, without the blindfolds of political correctness and ideology that denies reason because reason will destroy it. With a clear understanding, we cannot chose the ends to which we would act, nor act effectively toward any end. And if we cannot, and cannot, then we will not use our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines well, and will almost certainly ill-use them.
Oops! That should be "WITHOUT a clear understanding ..."
Indeed, MOM, indeed. I'm very thankful for the efforts of those at the sharp end.

At the political end, not so much. One piece of family lore is grandfather's story of firing artillery support on Armistice morning as the doughboys went over the top. 1500 casualties on his sector on Armistice morning because the political class wanted to have the armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. He didn't think much of the politicos who delayed the armistice or the brass who ordered attacks that morning.

Grandfather's last act of WW1 was catching a live 3" shell. When the ceasefire order came, the gunner flipped the breachblock open and grandfather caught the shell - you couldn't leave the shell in the gun because the gun was so hot from rapid fire that the shell would cook off.
How eerie. As I was reading your post, the computer queued up Louis Prima's "The White Cliffs of Dover".

Let's hope the day comes soon when "Jimmy will sleep in his own little room again".
Somehow, catching a live 3" shell seems like a metaphor for us all these days.
John - it's a metaphor for us, our safe little worlds are being blown up by reality.

But basic human decency should require us to recognize that for many of these soldiers and their families, there is nothing metaphorical about it at all. It's literal.

There is a difference.
NJCommuter - well said.
Just another case of the eternal principle: without truth there is no freedom.
Senior military officials "top brass" at the level of general officer are nominated from the military, but they are commissioned by Congress.

That explains a lot about the last dozen years of "brass"
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