TRIBUTE OR LAMENT?

Today is November 11, Veterans’ Day. What began as the marking of the armistice to end World War I on 11-11-1918 at 11 a.m. evolved into Armistice Day to commemorate that occasion. Later the observance was changed to Veterans’ Day to honor all who have served in the armed forces of the United States,

Today you probably have viewed on TV or read in local papers any number of tributes to those veterans, thanking them for their service and offering encomiums to them in appreciation of their hard fight to preserve the American way of life and our precious freedoms. 

However, what is wrong with this picture is that, since the end of World War II, not one American military person has been sent overseas and performed any act to “preserve our freedom”. We have dispatched millions to Korea and Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan and who knows how many lands operating openly but often in secret. Not one has protected me and mine or you and yours no matter what blather is spread about their missions and accomplishments.

Not one has sacrificed  life or limb for his or her country to spare us from invading hordes.

Whose fault is that? Well it most certainly is not the fault of those very veterans upon whom praise is heaped. It is the fault of the craven political leaders, Presidents and Congress alike, who have seen fit to deploy our uniformed services where they are not needed and generally not wanted and falsely justified their actions by invoking some nebulous threat to democracy.

There is no doubt that in some instances our armies forestalled other aggressors who had designs on those relatively primitive nations, but at what cost?

Korea (South of course) has managed quite well even though that police action resulted in a stalemate at the price of over 38.000 American lives, despite the succession of pint sized despots inhabiting and ruling north of the 38th Parallel.

Vietnam is a pretty thriving nation at present, a highly desirable tourist destination, reunited after our humiliating departure, having shed blood from over 58,000 dead during our presence. The inevitability of our defeat was foreshadowed by the words of the North Vietnamese Regular Army officer at the end of the Movie We Were Soldiers whose observation was that the American victory at Ia Drang would make not a whit of difference in the long run.

Our recent adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have added several thousand more names to the honor roles of our esteemed dead and many times more patients needing enough long term care to support battalions of doctors treating their wounds.

All of these wars have arisen from dubious rationales. The past two are notable in addition because they involved all volunteer armies…not draftees…making it far easier for politicians to promote these invasions without possible blowback from charges they escaped duty by evading the draft, however legal.

Now it is difficult to turn around without seeing another group of blowhards speak of their pride in our veterans and  acting high and mighty patriotically. But these blowhards didn’t have to serve and remained comfortably at home while our troops served, often with multiple deployments.

It is so easy to hide behind the American flag or the playing of God Bless America and pretend you have done your part to demonstrate appreciation for the hard sacrifices our troops have made. It is also obscene and scandalous to do so while proclaiming your “support” for those same troops, who far too often have come home from war with physical and mental injuries, often unseen, and who suffer disproportionate rates of joblessness and homelessness and alcohol and drug abuse and even episodes of violence when none of these consequences of war would have occurred if they weren’t sent off to fucking useless wars initially.

To me, true support of our troops, past and present, is best manifested by refusing to force them to be placed in harm’s way save under the most extraordinary of circumstances.

I do applaud the members of our armed forces for their service as they are not the ones who make the idiot decisions putting them in danger. Even if never in battle, since WW II untold numbers of them have faced having to uproot their families multiple times during their careers while operating under that Sword of Damocles which could drop and send them into danger at any time, supposedly no questions asked.

I respect those troops and obviously will never fully understand what they have faced. I despise the hypocrites who prefer to endlessly involve those troops in battle utilizing the flimsiest of guises.

I offer my tribute to our veterans while lamenting the fact their nation has devised so many false premises that create veterans.

Tribute or lament?

The empiness of many tributes appalls me and the necessary lamentations deeply sadden me.

I would prefer none of the above.

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Comments

  • toadsly  On November 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    It’s much harder to be a pacifist than a jingoist. But I fear violence is as much a human trait as speech and humor. A world free from warfare will be a world sans humans.

  • Devildog  On November 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks UMOC. Agreed Toadsly, and there are other human traits that Pd might want to expound on because disagreement between conservatives and liberals as to what those traits might be might explain the differences between the two camps. Pd, you’re so much better at it than am I.

  • Little_Minx  On November 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    What about Navy Seal Team 6, who took out Osama bin Ladin? Admittedly al Qaeda doesn’t employ “invading hordes,” but they consider themselves to be at war with the US.

    While I don’t condone foul language, I understand Mark Wahlberg’s recent outburst against Tom Cruise’s contention that making a war movie is as hard as fighting in Afghanistan. Especially those two hours that our troops spend in the makeup chair before they go out on duty — right, Wee Tommy?

    • toadsly  On November 14, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      Oh…the insular world inhabited by many Hollywood stars.

  • Little_Minx  On November 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Toadsly! I’m enjoying the reruns of “Doc Martin,” since I didn’t see the first two seasons the first time around; even Mr. Minx, who had watched them, is enjoying being reminded of how the characters developed.

    • toadsly  On November 14, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Ditto for me, regarding the reruns.

  • Little_Minx  On November 14, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Tourist, I hope you haven’t had to grapple with that early snow. Luckily, we didn’t have to go anywhere the day the Pgh. area received a couple of inches of the white stuff this week, plus our power and heat remained on so we were fine.

  • Little_Minx  On November 14, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    “Lessons from the humanities and social sciences”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lessons-from-the-humanities-and-social-sciences/2013/11/14/7441f9b6-4655-11e3-a196-3544a03c2351_story.html

    By Mary Sue Coleman and John L. Hennessy, Thursday, November 14, 7:54 PM

    Mary Sue Coleman is president of the University of Michigan. John L. Hennessy is president of Stanford University.

    Improving U.S. education in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — has become a popular cause. With U.S. competitiveness in the global economy at stake, educators and policymakers have championed increasing the number of college graduates in these fields, reducing attrition among students interested in STEM fields and even discounting college tuition for STEM students.

    The overall objective is important. We — one of us a biochemist who leads a large, public university in the Midwest; the other a computer scientist who leads a private university in Silicon Valley — believe deeply that our country’s scientific and technological capacity is critical to its economic future.

    But we also have cause for concern. Amid the push for science and engineering and the pervasive pressure on many students to obtain, above all else, career skills from their undergraduate education, our country risks marginalizing the humanities and social sciences. We cannot allow that to happen. These disciplines play an important role in educating students for future leadership and deal most directly with the human condition.

    The humanities — history, literature, languages, art, philosophy — and the social sciences focus on the lasting challenges relevant to all of us: creating lives of purpose and meaning, appreciating diversity and complexity, communicating effectively with others and overcoming adversity. Ultimately, our ability to work meaningfully with others will determine the success of our enterprises, and that ability is honed through the humanities and social sciences.

    That is why the humanities and social sciences are an essential part of undergraduate education. Most successful careers, including in technology and engineering, do not result simply from technical knowledge. They require leadership skills, social and emotional intelligence, cultural understanding, a capacity for strategic decision-making and a global perspective.

    Put another way, success in life requires a sensibility about the world and one’s place in it that the humanities seek to cultivate, as well as an understanding of economic and societal context that the social sciences provide.

    Surveys conducted this year for the national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences confirmed that most U.S. employers are looking for these broad-based benefits of a liberal arts education in their workers.

    Leadership today requires addressing the challenges of an increasingly complex and interconnected world, whether the challenges are in business, health, education, technology, law, social justice, environmental protection or dozens of other fields. Most students today will have careers in multiple fields across the span of their lives. Our universities should develop students with skills and capacities that will serve them well in multiple settings and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning, which they will need to thrive in a world requiring constant adaptation.

    One of the lesser-known stories in higher education is the extent to which the humanities and social sciences are evolving and innovating to meet this objective. Time-worn distinctions between “hard” and “soft” disciplines are blurring as faculty develop new ways of integrating technology into research, pull multiple disciplines together to solve problems, and apply the knowledge created to challenges in the broader world.

    At Stanford, much of the academic enterprise is interdisciplinary, in areas as diverse as international studies, improving K-12 education and preserving our environment. In undergraduate education, all our students — including those in computer science, now the most popular major — receive a liberal arts education including a foreign language, courses in the humanities, social sciences, ethical reasoning and creative expression. Many students easily cross the boundaries between the STEM fields and the humanities and social sciences. We believe that such intellectual flexibility will have great value over their lifetime.

    At Michigan, students in the STEM fields increasingly turn to minors in the humanities and social sciences, and humanities majors embrace minors in the natural and social sciences. Integrative courses allow students to explore and consolidate their degrees not in a specific major but in the liberal arts and sciences. Problem-based teaching demands that students learn and practice multi-sided approaches — sometimes in collaborative teams but also as individuals with the breadth of knowledge and mind to see the big picture.

    It is easy, perhaps, for university presidents to say these things — even university presidents from the sciences and technology. We believe that the role and importance of the humanities and social sciences needs to be discussed elsewhere: at dinner tables where families talk about college and career choices and in Congress, statehouses and government agencies where funding decisions are made with an eye toward what is “useful.”

    More than anything, we collectively need to get away from inflexible, binary choices. The crucial issue is not whether a student will be a “science and technology person” or a “humanities and social sciences person,” or whether one or the other is more important to preserving the United States’ global standing and maximizing a student’s job prospects. The critical issue is that a person needs both types of skills and knowledge to innovate and lead in a rapidly changing world.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On November 16, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Why is O forcing millions of people to go back to their substandard plans?

    • Little_Minx  On November 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      I thought you preferred ‘em not to have ANY health insurance to the ACA.

      • Little_Minx  On November 21, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        And now you weep big ol’ crocodile tears. We are not deceived.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 21, 2013 at 6:31 PM

          Uh, I am pointing out the hypocrisy. One week, these policies are substandard. When it is ‘realized’ that progressivism is being set back generations as a result of a failed policy, suddenly those policies aren’t substandard.

  • Little_Minx  On November 21, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    “Conservative Activists Plan to Elect Shadow President if Obama Doesn’t Resign by Black Friday / Revised Declaration of Independence, ‘government-in-waiting’ plans shared at ‘second American revolution’ kickoff”:

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/19/conservative-activists-plan-to-elect-shadow-president-if-obama-doesnt-resign-by-black-friday

    Approximately 100 conservative activists gathered in front of the White House on Tuesday for a kickoff of what organizers call “the second American revolution.”

    The event could easily have been mistaken for a tea party rally, with American and Gadsden flags, a smattering of biker jackets and a few lawn chairs.

    Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman, who emceed the event, told attendees if President Barack Obama does not resign by Nov. 29, conservative activists will meet in Philadelphia to elect a shadow government.

    “We’ve got God on our side,” Klayman said. “He’s going to make sure we win this revolution.”

    The so-called revolution will be nonviolent, he said.

    Klayman is suing the Obama administration in a bid to end the National Security Agency’s phone and Internet surveillance programs. He said at the rally that Obama “has broken into 300 million homes” with the programs.

    “In the end [Obama] will feel the force of the American people, just like King George did,” he said to applause.

    The forthcoming convention in Philadelphia, Klayman said, will be organized within the next several weeks. A so-called “government in waiting” will be elected there, including a president, representatives and a cabinet, he said.

    Nearly all speakers invoked their Christian faith to condemn Obama.

    Bishop Dan Johnson of the Heart of Fire Church in Louisville, Ky., prayed with ralliers, asking God to “cause [elected officials] to get on their knees, not to Allah, but to God almighty.” In his prayer, Johnson denounced homosexuality, permissive parenting, pornography and welfare.

    Former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., told the crowd Obama should be impeached. Barr spearheaded the successful impeachment campaign against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

    “We have a scoundrel living in that building,” Barr said, pointing at the White House, “and need to do something about it.”

    Barr was the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential candidate and is currently running for a U.S. House seat.

    Other speakers included WND editor Joseph Farah, 2004 Constitution Party presidential candidate Michael Peroutka and retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Lyons. Belinda Bee, a principal organizer of the Sept. 11, 2013, motorcycle convoy into Washington, D.C., also attended.

    A George Washington impersonator read from the stage a revised Declaration of Independence composed by organizers. “Mister Obama and his collaborators,” the man declared, should be personally responsible for the national debt.

    The new declaration says Obama must “immediately step down from his usurped office and seek refuge in a nation more of his liking.” Grievances against Obama include gun-control proposals, immigration reform agitation, a departure from “Biblical morality,” alleged help for al-Qaida associates in the Middle East, an allegedly fabricated birth certificate and executive actions that loop around Congress.

    Activists seek to dissolve the United States until Obama is forced from office.

    “He’s kind of like a skunk,” one attendee joked. “He’s half white, half black, and everything he does stinks.”

    • pittsburgh_dad  On November 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Would you prefer they act like the rapists in the Occupy movement?

      • Kevin Nord  On November 21, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        Pd, I thought you once said that you should have followed my advice. Unusually so, I am following my advice.

        Sent from my iPad

      • Little_Minx  On November 27, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        No matter how many times pd repeats that meme, the two are NOT morally equivalent — because the rapists were not acting or speaking on behalf of the Occupy Movement, they were criminals exploiting an opportunity to commit a violent crime unrelated to the Occupy cause — whereas attendees at that rally were saying vile things precisely in support of their cause.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

          OK, let’s say I agree with your point about whether it is related to the cause matters (Although I don’t know if I could support a movement in which ‘everybody’ in the movement is a rapist. If I believed every priest in the Catholic church was a child molester, I would be looking for a new church).

          What you are saying is that you agree that everybody in the Occupy movement is a rapist and you are OK with that.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM

          BTW, I don’t accept that it matters. Both assumptions (all tea partiers are racists, all Occupiers are rapists), if true (which I have to admit, I don’t believe it is true), would completely de-value the movements

          I believe each movement has legitimate arguments based on their philosophical beliefs. I just believe Occupiers are clueless.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 27, 2013 at 4:45 PM

          Being a rapist tells me something about a person. Wouldn’t you agree that a rapist is a selfish person who does not care about the effects of his actions on other people? I think this is directly related to their supposed beliefs. They say they want to redistribute income and civil rights (etc…) so everybody could be better off. How does being a rapist consistent with this stated goals?

  • Little_Minx  On November 21, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    5 Herblock cartoons from the week following JFK’s killing. “‘Our President Is Dead’: How The Post reacted to John F. Kennedy’s assassination”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/11/19/our-president-is-dead-how-the-post-reacted-to-john-f-kennedys-assassination

  • Little_Minx  On November 27, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    “Dinesh D’Souza and his vile Trayvon tweet”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/11/26/dinesh-dsouza-and-his-vile-trayvon-tweet

    “I am thankful this week when I remember that America is big enough and great enough and great enough to survive Grown-Up Trayvon in the White House!”

    Just think, until D’Souza got caught shacking up with his mistress before divorcing his wife, he was the head of a Christian college.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On November 27, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Where is the comment in which you demonstrate your outrage over this?

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/martin-bashir-says-sarah-palin-is-an-idiot-and-suggests-someone-should-defecate-in-her-mouth-8946426.html

      • Little_Minx  On November 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        pd, you’ve got to keep up. Not only did Bashir apologize, Palin accepted his apology. End of story.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On November 28, 2013 at 6:26 PM

          He should have been fired.

          • Little_Minx  On November 29, 2013 at 2:17 PM

            By your logic, Palin should have been fired from Fox for her attack on the Pope, right? Which is worse: insulting Palin or insulting the Pope?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On November 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM

              For what? For saying what the Pope is ‘kind of liberal’? We must alert the town elders. Palin should be burned at the stake!

              • Little_Minx  On December 1, 2013 at 1:52 PM

                In tea-party circles, “Liberal” is the greatest obscenity.

                • Little_Minx  On December 1, 2013 at 1:54 PM

                  If “Liberal” weren’t a terrible insult, then Palin had no need to apologize. So why did she apologize?

                  • pittsburgh_dad  On December 1, 2013 at 8:20 PM

                    The word ‘liberal’ has a deservedly bad connotation and calling the Pope ‘liberal’ offended her base. It is only offensive if someone interprets it as offensive. Liberals were probably thrilled to hear that the Pope is a liberal.

                    What Bashir said is offensive to anyone who has any common sense.

                    • Little_Minx  On December 2, 2013 at 4:09 PM

                      But the Pope is vastly more important than Palin, even to non-Catholics.

  • Devildog  On November 27, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Can’t you guys refrain from this bickering on the eve of Hanukkah-let freedom ring. Oh, yeah, and also on Thanksgiving eve.

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me!

  • Little_Minx  On November 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Wishing our host a Happy Thanksgiving, in hopes that your health continues to improve.

    • toadsly  On November 28, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      Ditto from me to our host!

  • Devildog  On December 5, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Ola Senior Alfonso. Como esta?

  • Little_Minx  On December 12, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Toadsly! Did you catch the pledge special on “Doc Martin”?

    • Toadsly  On December 12, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      No.

      Just a thought: You should consider getting a Facebook. Many of the Reg-ulators have one. You can have complete privacy and still interact with old pals.

      • Little_Minx  On December 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        Ix-nay on the Acebook-fay.

    • Little_Minx  On December 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Did you catch tonight’s “Doc Martin,” the première of Season 5? In case not, I won’t divulge any spoilers, other than to say I didn’t see THAT coming.

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