Without further commentary on my part, I want to start the week with it - and I'll let you hash it out in comments.
I publish it here, as otherwise besides just a handful of people, no one lease will read it.
If you want to know what the initiating event was, click here.
Via a great guy with one of the better nom d'plume out there, Andy Wahl. If you get it, you get it.
Standard Kristen warning below - a few tough but necessary words by Andy.
You do not have to agree, but you do have to listen. What Andy outlines is what a lot of those who serve/d feel. Some just some of the time, some all of the time.
Over to you Andy.
I'm struggling to understand why Iraq is strategically irrelevant. Unless you were just being glib, of course.
I understand the emotional response to Dempsey's words, but it's more than just the words.
A few years ago, thousands of men were told to go and secure that province, those cities; because they were important. Men gave their lives because those places were important. Now, suddenly, they are unimportant. Now, their sacrifices are cheapened.
The value put on life is entirely emotional. There is no monetary value. There is no amount that can buy back the dead. Try as we might, there is no universal standard price on human life. There isn't even a national standard price. It is entirely emotional. The value of the sacrifice is also entirely emotional, and in this case open to much interpretation.
When we raise our hands and take the oath, we place trust in our leadership and our nation not to sell our lives and health cheaply. We ask that our lives not be risked for frivolous reasons, nor to satisfy the ambitions of one man or a small group of them, but only for the good of our nation. We also trust that our nation will not abandon us in the middle of that fight or piddle away what we fought for after the fact. War is political, and that will always be the case. It always has been. We, the veterans of this war, share some things with our brethren from Vietnam.
We fought in a war with no discernible outcome. If one were forced to label what we see, it would have to be called a failure because the job was half done. We won in Iraq before we lost. We fought to win, but the gains we made were abandoned for one man's vision of a superpower-less world. All gave some, sure, but some gave a hell of a lot more. Yet, after the blood has dried and the wounds are scarred-over, what was earned? What was saved? What was gained or lost? We are right to ask, "Why?"
I don't know about the rest of you, but I wonder. Perhaps some can see it merely as a temporary job in a longer career, but I can't. People died because of what I did. Real human beings who no longer live and breathe. This wasn't some drunk driving accident; it was for a purpose ... and now, it wasn't.
"I support the troops, but not the war," is an equivocation that led to the asinine withdrawal and squandering of the gains ... and therefore the lives and health of those who were hit.
This supposed ambivalence wasn't support at all. It was a socially correct door, left ajar so that those sacrifices could be made to mean nothing in the end... for convenience sake.
This country can retroactively reduce the value of your effort, your pain and even your life to zero without batting an eye. Our own countrymen do it, and they do it selfishly. They want safety, security, but they are unwilling to pay for it. Certainly not with their blood, sweat and tears; not even with their wallets.
A few of them do seem to enjoy donning accoutrements and mocking us, though. They like to pretend they paid the bill.
What we fought for, what we lost of ourselves or to ourselves to whatever extent, means more. It should, anyway. If it's not important, why do so many struggle with the meaning? This is a question that Vietnam veterans struggle with, and now so do we.
It didn't have to be this way. We have been sold out. I think perhaps this is ever the American way going forward; to "support the troops but not the war," until the political tide turns as it always does. Then, the troop's lives can be rendered moot after the fact.
I love this country, but I don't trust it. I don't trust the people. I don't trust the mass of this mall-going, Kardashian-watching, small-minded, consumer-driven, superfood-eating nitwit nation to keep a thought in its collective head for more than a couple of weeks.
This country will waste your time and your life and walk away from it like it never happened.
After that, they will seek to change the deal on what you earned, like your retirement, so that they can give free shit to those who won't do a thing for even themselves, much less anyone else. Tossing loaves into the crowd at the colosseum so they won't be hungry and bitching when you feed Christians to the lions ... or Bruce Jenner's testicles to the Kardashians or whatever mindless bullshit Americans are on about this week. Nevermind what we said to entice you, we've got other priorities. We got what we want from you, now we will welch on you ... because we can.
Because 1% ain't much of a voting block. Oh, and because fuck you.
They don't deserve what we did. Mindless, self-absorbed, superficial fucks. Remember; these idiots elected the bastard who pissed away what we fought for. Twice. We are sheepdogs for fat, retarded sheep ... and a smattering of retarded screaming goats.
They talk about the gulf between the "military class" and the rest of the citizenry. They blather about how to solve the conundrum. Bleh. I'll give them a clue; stop wasting our lives with your equivocating. You were all behind it when it started. Have the endurance to not drop the ball in front of your TV's. Have the endurance not to buy into Code Pink's bullshit. Have the courage to support the troops through it all, and never tell yourself that withdrawing IS supporting the troops. We know when you turn on us and sell our lives cheaply after the fact, and we disdain you for it. Fucking sheeple. I hate them.
GEN Dempsey has the job of explaining what is going on and why our response is what it is. Unenviable. Difficult. Saddening, I would think, unless he is heartless. He, of all people, should understand the impact of those words on those who sustained losses that can only be valued emotionally. At this point, he is a willing participant in the slamming of the door in the face of the few who went and the even fewer who have lasting, crushing pain as a result.
This war, and this administration, have made me distrust generals as much as I distrust our own memetic, soundbite society. Dempsey is just another one. No one should be surprised.
This wasn't the war to satisfy their boyhood dreams of martial glory, and so they couldn't be bothered to deal with the asymmetry. No, instead they preferred to argue over whether COIN doctrine was sound or counter-guerrilla doctrine was really needed instead. They did neither well enough to prove or disprove any of it, other than to confirm to the world... and our enemies... that we can't deal with asymmetry.
Apparently, it's exculpatory to disbelieve in the efficacy of any doctrine. So while you're fucking it up like a Stryker brigade in the Arghandab, your personal doctrinal proclivities are absolutely what need to be indulged. You are, after all, like the love child of Clauswitz and Sun Tzu. Oh, and it turns out that failure IS an option, and apparently it's quite legitimate.
The generals knuckled under to turn the military into a social petri dish in the middle of a shooting war, stressing an already stressed military to the breaking point. They turned the fight into a fight with ourselves for political and social correctness, just as they threw a war and garrison broke out.
We spend more time getting briefed on how to welcome gays than in learning to deal with asymmetric warfare and counterinsurgency. Rather than adapt to a type of warfare that we aren't good at, but are faced with and will continue to be, we are forced to adapt to gender-norming the combat arms. Because THAT can't wait until the shooting is really over with, which it isn't.
And we thought reflective belts were stupid.
Our society wonders why troops commit suicide. They put us under a dispassionate lens and examine us as if we were odd varieties of potentially dangerous insects. Myriad examinations of our suicides, relationships, domestic abuses and drug/alcohol dependencies litter the news and the web even as they tinker with our very construct. They don't even bother to correlate or compare these events and transgressions to the rest of society; because we are by our nature not part of the whole. They busy themselves with defining us as a class, even as they approve of reengineering the framework that provides any stability.
They separate us out, sell us out, then they wonder how to bridge the divide.
No, they don't deserve what was paid on their behalf. They are spineless will-o'-the-wisps who have the directional stability of a pebble in a blender and the solid character of a marshmallow in a kiln. The only fucks they have to give are reserved for Honey Fucking Boo Boo or whatever is #trending at the moment. Fuck these sheeple.
There. Now they have a fuck to give. They'll probably spend it on a #kardashian. Idiots.