4 thoughts on “Veterans Day 2014”

  1. Thanks. Those guys really went the full measure. So few remain, they were everywhere growing up. The old-timers, had been in “The First War”. My older uncles were all in Europe or the Pacific. The younger ones, in Korea. My older cousins, Vietnam. Me, post-war. I still remember not being served at NYC bar because I had a “baby-killer” haircut. “We don’t serve baby-killers here”.

    That slight was nothing compared to what actual war veterans then and now have had to endure, but because those same bastards are now running the country, I’ll be down at city hall tonight to celebrate those who made it all possible.

    Thank you all for your service.

  2. A big schism in American society resulted from Lyndon Johnson’s decision to fight the Vietnam war without calling up reserves or limiting student deferments. The only college students who all served were doctors. The doctor draft was in effect until age 35 and the deferment included only one year post medical school and internship. Of all the guys I knew in college in the middle 50s, the only ones who served in the military were doctors and a few volunteers.

    The result has been the huge split between the left and right. I have read that the majority of troops who served in Vietnam were actually volunteers. Certainly, there were lots of draftees killed but there were also many volunteers. Jim Webb’s book about Vietnam makes this clear.

    I wonder, if we get a significant terrorist attack in the next two years, he will be a candidate for the Democrats for president. I have heard a few rumors that he is interested.

  3. A classic on the civil-military divide is The Soldier and The State by Samuel Huntington. In it he argues that the liberal values of a democracy are often in conflict with the values and expertise necessary for a successful professional military.

    Basically he said that since the military’s main skill was “the management of violence”, it should stay away from social projects and humanitarian missions. He makes the case that the civil-military divide started after the Civil War, and advocated for an autonomous, de-politicized, and sort of corporate military.

    It’s a tough message, reflective of when it was written in the middle of the Cold War, but it resonates now in our era of civilian mismanagement of military operations – back to the basics, wheat from the chafe, and return to core mission.

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