“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

the just say no resistance

If you want to know why the Democrats will most likely blow the best chance they’ve had in a decade in 2006, read the Kerry op ed in the NYT. It is of his special “I voted for it before I voted against it” brand of politics – one that so delights the D.C. power pointers. Basically, Kerry is taking the position of supporting everything Bush stands for, in Iraq, behind pseudo-tough talk about the Bush mistakes. As for a timetable to leave the country – like in the next six months – forget it. The Kerry plan is an infinite process plan, a perpetual filibuster filled with Iraqi and American corpses.

However, much more interesting is the op ed by Lucian Truscott about the coming apart of the military’s middle ranks. Truscott wrote a memoir of his West Point training, which occurred just as Nixon’s ‘secret plan’ for Vietnam was in its Cheney-esque “last throes.” Truscott’s idea is that West Point is special because of the code to which officer trainees must swear:

“But the honor code was not just a way to fight a better war. In the Army, soldiers are given few rights, grave responsibilities, and lots and lots of power. The honor code serves as the Bill of Rights of the Army, protecting soldiers from betraying one another and the rest of us from their terrifying power to destroy. It is all that stands between an army and tyranny.

However, the honor code broke down before our eyes as staff and faculty jobs at West Point began filling with officers returning from Vietnam. Some had covered their uniforms with bogus medals and made their careers with lies - inflating body counts, ignoring drug abuse, turning a blind eye to racial discrimination, and worst of all, telling everyone above them in the chain of command that we were winning a war they knew we were losing. The lies became embedded in the curriculum of the academy, and finally in its moral DNA.”

And this is what he thinks is happening all over again:

“The mistake the Army made then is the same mistake it is making now: how can you educate a group of handpicked students at one of the best universities in the world and then treat them as if they are too stupid to know when they have been told a lie?

I've seen the results firsthand. I have met many lieutenants who have served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, practically back to back. While everyone in a combat zone is risking his or her life, these junior officers are the ones leading foot patrols and convoys several times a day. Recruiting enough privates for the endless combat rotations is a problem the Army may gamble its way out of with enough money and a struggling economy. But nothing can compensate for losing the combat-hardened junior officers.”

Resistance by way of the established parties is futile. There isn’t enough courage in the whole of the House and Senate to fuel the revolution of an oiled wheel in a gerbil cage. Tearful apologies about offending the chickehawk crowd are more in order. Remember, the best resistance is simply not to go along. Here, again – perhaps LI should make this our sign off line – is the counter-recruitment site: Youth and the Military.
To paraphrase the VP, "We have other priorities in the '00s than military service." Remember, joining the army is simply another opportunity for hawks at home to get ahead: they will take your jobs, your education, and your comfortable life. They will leave you with bitterness, medical bills, and recurring trauma. It isn’t worth it. Friends don't let friends sign up.

ps -- LI wrote that post and then went to Slate, where we had the pleasure of seeing this site's resident scarecrow and jack of all popinjays, C. Hitchens, has written a nice little column that should be entitled, "let the servants fight the war while I drink with Bungalow Paul W. in Georgetown." Totally funny. It is almost an anti-recruitment ad in itself.

Die bungy cord jumping. Die drinking and driving. Die in a drug deal gone bad. But don't die for this filthy crowd. They aren't worth a hangnail.


Deleted said...

Here's something you might like, Roger. Stan Goff.

roger said...

Excellent link! I'm going to quote two excerpts from that speech here:

“Americans are waking up, and members of Congress who let themselves be stampeded into this war need to put their wind meters back out, because while Bush doesn’t have to run for anything again, every member of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are running in 2006. Americans are waking up, and they are in a very bad mood about this war, and as Bob Dylan once sang, it don’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. I’ll tell my Democrat right now from the platform, if he doesn’t fight to bring them home now, I’ll vote a Republican who says he or she will. People are dying, and we will not respect on election day those who sat on a fence while the coffins arrived at Dover, and the cries of pain echoed off the walls at Landstuhl and Walter Reed…”.

“Don’t sell us any more fake milestones, George Bush, that major combat is over, that Saddam is captured so the resistance will stand down, that sovereignty exists under a military occupation, that a constitution is being written under the careful eye of the US Ambassador, or that the insurgency is in its last throes, as Dick Cheney continues to insist in the face of all this blood and fire.
Here are our milestones. They are numbers.

500 is a milestone, when we count returning bodies. 1,000 is a milestone. We will soon enough see 2,000, after 250 more families blanch at the sight of a military sedan pulling up in front of their houses.

Our milestones are names, like Abu Ghraib, like Fallujah, like the Downing Street memo.”