Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

On criticizing the military

Since I am sitting at home for the second day in a row, which I can't really afford, due to either a minor case of Food Borne Illness, or a rather nasty stomach flu, I guess I'm going to deluge y'all with some Random Firings of Neurons. So, sit back and observe what happens when I have too much free time on my hands. Just remember, people who live with me don't have the option of going to another page when I get started...

I have seen quite a few moonbats and LLL's question whether or not it is acceptable to criticize John F'ing Kerry on his military record, while giving President Bush (he's the president, whether y'all like it or not, please use his proper title. Laziness is no excuse for not granting the basic amount of respect that title is entitled to) a "free pass" on his military record. The question is not as easily answered as "yes" or "no". It actually goes a little deeper than that, and reveals a bit about the questioner and answerer that both may not realize, or just consider to be so obvious as to not merit mention. Which is why y'all are here. To get the long-winded answer to "yes" or "no" questions.

One of the things I have found to be prevalant amongst military personnel is a decidely "results oriented" outlook on life. If it worked, don't complain. If it didn't, don't do it again. This tends to be the result of training in an environment where a mistake can cost lives (many lives in some cases), and success or failure is rather easy to determine. In the combat arms of the military, your success or failure is determined by lines on a map. If you moved your colored line to where it was supposed to be, you succeeded. If your line didn't move to where it was supposed to, you failed. How much it cost to move that line, or not move that line, is totally irrelevant. Moving that line is all that matters.

During WWII, on the Pacific Front, Col. Lewis Puller was tasked with securing the right flank of the beachhead at Peleliu. There was a ridge seperating his landing site from the rest of the division's landing site. He needed to take that ridge to join the two landing sites, as that was part of his mission objectives for that day. He tasked a company to take that ridge. The company fought it's way to the top, suffering nearly 100% casualties along the way. What had started out as a company of about 200 men was reduced to 5 men at the top of the ridge. The Captain in charge of the company did what any mission-oriented commander would do: he radioed for support, as he did not have enough men to hold the territory he had just taken. Col. Puller said his response to the Captain was one of the worst commands he had ever had to give in his career. He told the Captain that there was no support available, and the Captain would have to hold that ground with whatever men he had at his disposal. The Captain replied "I do not have the men to properly secure this ground. We will hold this ridge at all costs". They held that ridge. Even though they were counter-attacked several times during the night. 5 men. Think about that. Their mission was a success. The cost, however high, was worth the success. Col. Puller's mission was a success, also, even thought he gained the distinction of being the ONLY Marine Regimental Commander to lose 75% of his command in one battle. The cost of that battle would haunt Col. Puller to the end of his days, both career wise, and personally. But, he was successful. He was later requested for the spearhead landing at Inchon, by Dug-Out Doug personally, because everyone knew he would succeed, no matter the cost.

Many (not all) people with non-military backgrounds are "cost-oriented". If something is too expensive, they don't buy it. If it is cheap, they will buy it, even if they may not need it. We see this complaint from the people who are pissing and moaning about the "high price" we have paid in Iraq. Let me tell you, the price we have paid in Iraq is cheap, compared to the price that was being paid while we didn't invade Iraq. The 1000 or so lives we have lost in the past year or so is an infinitesimal amount compared to how many we lost, JUST FROM ONE REGIMENT, in WWII. It also isn't all that high, when compared to how many US servicemen have died IN CAR ACCIDENTS in the past year. While I do not have the numbers handy, I would think that you would find that nearly as many servicemen have died in the US from car accidents as have died in Iraq from combat. So, we may actually be doing our servicemen (and women) a favor by sending them to Iraq. It just may be safer for them there than here.

Now, onto whether or not it is acceptable to criticize John F'ing Kerry, and not President Bush. John F'ing Kerry, by his own admission, failed in his duties. He committed war-crimes, and did not report war-crimes that he witnessed. If he was lying about those war-crimes, then he betrayed the military and it's members for personal gain. Which is as big of a failing as actually telling the truth about those crimes. President Bush, on the other hand, successfully completed his service, with no more mistakes than the average soldier. (BTW, fun trivia fact for the day, President Bush is the first US president to have served in the US Air Force) So, to the military mind, President Bush completed his mission successfully, no matter how insignificant it was, while Senator Kerry did not. THAT is why we criticize Senator Kerry, and not President Bush.

Besides, someone who writes himself up for three Purple Hearts, for wounds that most military personnel won't even mention to their medics/corpsmen, is rather worthy of scorn, for being a wimp. One should read the citations for other Purple Heart winners, and compare them to Senator Kerry's. It would be very instructive.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country