A matter of life and death

Ann Hull is on my excrement list.  I had never heard of her.  I don’t read the Washington Post much.  I stumbled upon A matter of life and death while trolling for submissions for Maritime Monday.   linda_22003 tells me this article ran in the WAPO 4/9/06. Well, I missed it that time.  It was titled Call To Duty when it ran in the WAPO.  Hell, somebody has blogged this already, and identified it as agitprop, which it is.

So I start reading Ann’s article in this Chinese news site, and I get pissed.  This is my clan she is dissing.  I went to school in Mississippi.  Meridian is not very different from most of the towns in my stompin’ grounds.  

This boy doesn’t appear to be all that different from my boys, or all the other boys that have hung around my house for years.  The concerns of Blake’s mama are not unique to her, but the mother of my sons came to opposite conclusions.    Countering stuff like this is the mission of this blog. 

Patriotism and bleak demographics make the young men of Mississippi ideal cannon fodder for the war in Iraq.  That’s how she starts out.  Cannon fodder.  Good Flanders Fields quagmire imagery.

Sticking out of the mailbox across the road from Johnson’s trailer were two recruiting letters, one from the Army and the other from the National Guard – the Guard offering a US$10,000 signing bonus.  Just about every anti-Southern canard you’ve ever heard is in Ann’s piece.

The men in his family operate cranes, install cable and lay telephone lines. His father was mostly absent from his childhood. His mother held the family together, going back to college for her degree. She now works as an IT specialist at Peavey Electronics. They live in a mobile home on about a hectare of cleared land that cost US$3,000.   More of the “trailer trash” meme.  I’ve lived in trailers.  I may end up living in a trailer again some day.  Lots of good people down on the coast are living in trailers right now. 

Johnson jokes about being a hick, but the powerful realities in his life are hunting, church, Confederate soldier memorials and American flags. Hunting and church, yep, but boys that age don’t pay much attention to statues in front of the court house, and American flags are so much in evidence as to not be particularly noteworthy except to urban liberal citizens of the world.

Two houses down from where we live there’s Glenn Pugh,” Diane says. “His son got the Silver Star on Saturday. Another mile down the road is a young man who died in Iraq, Chris Mabry. I used to give him a ride home from football practice. I don’t want a flag. I don’t want a star. I want my child.”  Pardon me ma’am, but boys grow up.  Many grow up to be men.  Not as many as I would like, possibly because of too many apron strings tying them down.

Free Republic thread here.

Rough Draft: The gross unfairness of an all-volunteer Army

More to follow.

More of Ann Hull’s stuff here:

U.S. military ousts gay linguists

Gay Youth

Young and Gay in Real America

Related story at Shrinkwrapped:  “The Military Scares Me”

If we sit by and do nothing, so will our young men. Their’s won’t.


1 Comment

Filed under Morale Operations, Old Media

One response to “A matter of life and death

  1. I’m with the Cannoneer on this one. Mississippi is part of the South. Texas sometimes doesn’t fell like it used to be part of the South. Many people believe nothing which was strongly felt so long ago can have any importance today. Those kids are like my son, and they are like I was when I was their age. Average folks with a love of their country. And loving this country doesn’t make you a sap just because you join the Navy instead of moving to NYC and getting a job writing for the NY Times. The idiots at the NYT and WaPo think Southern kids are stupid or misguided.

    They are wrong.

    Those who lived through the 1860s felt very strongly about slavery, states’ rights, big government telling them what to do but not taking care of them. Those who lived through WWII felt very strongly about the Japanese and the Germans. My father fought Japs in the war, and called them Japs until he died. There was no way you can tell anyone who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and Korea, VietNam and most of the Cold War that the struggles of the times weren’t about survival of the fittest and advancing the cause of Justice and Honor amongst Men. My father knew his enemy. He knew the Japanese and had seen what they did to Americans they captured. He knew what Communists did to their enemies and their own people. He saw what the Korean and VietNamese people suffered at the hands of their Communists. There was no clearer manifestation of evil and what was wrong with the human race than those regimes.

    Southerners revere Men who fight against tyranny, Men who fight against long odds, and Men who have the courage of their convictions to join a cause because they believe it is the right thing to do, even though they KNOW they will end up dead or will lose their battles and, ultimately their war. Robert E. Lee stood on his convictions and honorably served the state which he loved so much, because they called him. The Union offered higher rank, more money, and more support to him, but he chose, after agonizing soul searching to join the Confederacy and do his best to succeed for them. That is what Southerners admire in the Civil War. That is the tradition we are taught to uphold. Whether the Men at the Alamo did or did not like Mexicans (many of the defenders were Mexicans who hated Santa Ana) matters not. What matters is that they fought and died to win Texas time to defeat Santa Ana and become a republic. They fought for their family’s freedom, because they most assuredly knew they would eventually die in that place.

    A Man can live a long time running away from responsibility, and from the honorable stands in Life. But he won’t live peacefully nor honorably if he runs away. It is better to be shot in the face than to be shot in the back (while running away). And it looks better. Our history is full of Men who made hard decisions, and gave their lives when our country needed their lives.

    And today’s generation of Men who volunteer are NO DIFFERENT than the Men of WWII, VietNam, Antietam, Shiloh, Gettysburg and Valley Forge in the sacrifices they make to serve their Country. At least they died “while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know Victory nor Defeat”.

    Blake Johnson may be looking for something better than serving his country. And he should have it. But one day he may grow to regret not having made the same commitment his lesser gifted peers have made to their country and to their families. Many men I know have made the same calls and rationalize the choices they made in avoiding service and sending their peers to serve in their place. And I do not count George Bush in that same group because he joined the National Guard which is a helluva lot more honorable than burning one’s draft card and running away to Canada or the UK. The bulletholes (or lack thereof) in those Men’s backs are a lot less attractive than the bullets in the chests of the Men whose names are inscribed on the VietNam Memorial.

    I’ll remember the Heroes a lot longer than I will remember the names of the draft dodgers. My father and grandfather taught me where to find Honor and where not to. I find it in the struggle of brother against brother, father against son, in the Civil War, the 4 yr commitment to total war of the WWII generation of Men, and the willingness of Korean and VietNam veterans to place themselves between my young 10 yr old ass, and the oppression of Communism and Stalinism which has produced Evil Men whose likeness is exemplified by Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse Tung, Nikita Krushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Joseph Stalin, Gen Tojo and Adolph Hitler.

    I’m not the least bit confused by this war or any other war America has been involved with. Anyone who can say my neighbors, totally innocent of any political wrongdoing or foreign policy decisions, deserve to be oppressed because ragheads, Muslims, Japs, Communists, or South Side Snake Handlers don’t like what our country does needs a swift kick in the ass and a broken jaw to shut them up. But Southern Men don’t do such things to people who are too stupid to recognize they are defending folks who would rather string them up by their heels, cut them a thousand times with a knife blade, and beat the soles of their feet, stuff a rubber hose up their rectum and yank it out pulling out a few feet of intestines with it, and then cut their heads off because they don’t pray to the same god as the godless or the god headed. Southern Men take action and stop those who kill, rape, pillage plunder or burn.

    And I’m not ashamed to admit it.