Heroism in America, Then and Now

Bookworm posts about America’s cultural journey from an age in which the heroism of Audie Murphy was widely recognized to one in which Bowie Bergdahl is referred to by a senior Administration official as having served with “honor and distinction.”  With references to George MacDonald Fraser’s excellent WWII memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here and thoughts about the Oprah-ization of America.

5 thoughts on “Heroism in America, Then and Now”

  1. Key observation:

    “This realization meant that Leftists could no longer use demonizing the troops as an anti-War tactic. They had to come up with something else, and the therapeutic culture offers just what they needed: America’s troops were recast, not as citizen soldiers, but as soldier victims. Each and every one is a sensitive soul who is traumatized merely by donning the uniform, never mind actually having to fight, survive, and kill.”

    My father was very anti-Lew Ayres who wrecked his Hollywood career with a decision to be a conscientious objector in WWII.

    >i>He served as a First Aid instructor in the military before requesting a drop in rank in order to serve as a medic and chaplain’s assistant in the Pacific. He was one of 16 medics who arrived during the invasion of Leyte to set up evacuation hospitals under fire, and he there provided care to soldiers and civilians in the Philippines and New Guinea. He donated all the money he had earned as a serviceman to the American Red Cross.[5]

    This did him no good with most movie fans and I don’t think his career ever recovered although he did become a bit of a hero to the left when Vietnam came along. He did make some movies but was never a star again.

    John Kerry, a far worse liar and fantasist about US atrocities in Vietnam, is now Secretary of State and ran for president with quite a few votes.

    Times change, as the Bookworm said.

  2. >>Bowie Bergdahl is referred to by a senior Administration official as having served with “honor and distinction.”

    That is only because it serves their political ends to do so. He was used as a tool to achieve an end that was predetermined.

  3. The future will marvel at a century and more of people allowing, encouraging, participating in the destruction of the clarity of their own language, the bureaucratization of their own language by factions determined to force their crackpot and crazy theories into action.

    The worst offenders are socialists; the second worst feminists. (But then, feminism’s most important founding mothers were Stalinists.)

  4. I have and had a lot of older relatives that fought in World War II and Korea that I only knew later in their lives. Most of them until recently never liked to talk about the wars. You almost had to pry the information out.

    I’m not sure if you can apply my unscientific findings from my kinfolk to the entire generation, but the impression I got was generally the war was considered a different world with different emotions, attachments, behaviors, and expectations then civilian life. If you couldn’t make that transition then you just wouldn’t make it through, so you did. Period.

    When it was over, like those Cambodian women, they just wanted to get on with their lives. What happens at war stays at war. I always thought that Truman verbalized and exemplified this attitude when he famously told a guilty and remorseful Robert Oppenheimer that you just don’t go around bellyaching about it.

  5. Thank-you very much for recommending “Quartered Safe Out Here”,which I picked up at my library. In his introduction Fraser properly skewers the inability of most of our current critics to understand anything at all because of their arrogant ignorance of history.

    I think we have gone wrong with the idea that making people sit in classrooms will put wisdom in their heads. The effect has been to keep people from assuming adult responsibilities rather than to create educated people.

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