Monday, April 17, 2006

Tilting windmills

My reaction to last week to Kevin's call to arms actually elicited a response from the subject. I was flattered as well. Aside from a handful of people (Hi Mom!) I don't believe what I write gets a lot of eyeballs. Actually having someone read something, and then care enough about it to comment back is really quite flattering. Unfortunatly I wasn't a good enough writer to make Kevin go "Wow, I'm so very very wrong. Thank you SFC B for helping me see the error of my ways. Do you have any free time next week? I'd like to set up an Army Interview because I want to come back into the service." Honestly, I wouldn't care whether he changed his mind, but I could sure use the contract.

As often happens in the bloggy things I find myself unable to just let it go. In defense of his views Kevin quotes James "Father of the Constitution" Madison. This is why I hate getting into arguments like this. I'm going to lose. I dropped out of college. I don't read political theory or history for fun (quiz me on Dirk Pitt novels and I'll amaze you though) so I lack the vast library of pertinent quotes with which to attack others or defend myself. To make matters worse I don't often have the right combination of time to write, motivation to write, or inspiration to write. I do have to put people into boots, and trying to defend my opinion against someone like James Madison is quite the task.

One I'm not up to.

Luckily I don't always see the windmills.

James Madison was an ungodly brilliant man who'd be Inner Circle in the fictious Pantheon of American Political Heros. He wrote the Constitution, it doesn't get more awesome than that. He was also a shrewd politician who knew how to compromise and that when it comes to humans "good enough" is the best you can hope for. He was an idealist, but he was also pragmatic. That he doesn't get the love that his Consitiutional peers Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Hamilton get is more a function of his being good at everything rather than being a charismatic leader, philosophier, or whatever.

However hiding behind a quote from him on a subject completly unrelated to the argument at hand strikes me as... a... I think it's a strawman. I'm not sure though.

Madison was addressing the legislature about not authorizing a standing Army because of the fear that such an entity would lead to tryanny (I'm simplying). I'd like to point out that arguing against a standing Army is kind of a moot point since we've now had a standing Army since, what, WWII? And Madison would go on to support the creation of an Army by the end of his Presidency.

But enough talking about great Americans. Why don't we get back to a not-so-great one.

"First, I make no apology nor do I need to clarify. I DO THINK the military, as it currently is being led and used, is a danger to our way of life, the officers have become political (i.e., the blogs) and they are beginning to exert an influence on American Society that they never were intended to do (although many warned us that this could happen with a long standing Army)."

You think the military is a danger? Your opinion, you're entitled to it. Want to fix it? Do better in the elections. May I suggest you start by not saying the military is a threat to the Nation. I know that doesn't make sense, but in a free country like ours,people are free to vote as they wish. Soldiers tend to not vote for people who say we're a bigger threat to freedom than the guys blowing up polling stations and flying planes into buildings. And those who support us will tend to vote against those folks as well. As for Soldiers becoming political, well, we're allowed to be. I'm allowed to volunteer my time to political campaigns. I'm allowed to attend rallies. I just can't do them in uniform or make anything I do seem to represent an official view. Would you prefer that Soldiers simply be automatons who do not see, think, or act for themselves? As for unintended consquences, I guarantee that the Founding Fathers never envisioned the PRESS to become a self-styled fourth branch of the government. The "fear" you mention relating to a long-standing Army has nothing to do with the Army being long-standing. Instead it's because the tools now exist for people to be heard. The opinions have always been there, the ability to get them out had not.

The Army is perpetuating war to their benefit and they are publicly supporting one candidate over another, not as individuals, but as a collective "Army". Can a right wing, fascist Central American style coup be far behind?"

I'm curious how the Army is perpetuating the war to their benefit. But that's a minor curiosity at best. What I'm more interested in is how the opinions of Greyhawk, Blackfive, and any other milbloggers who disagree with you happen to represent the United States Army as a whole. That a bunch of writers relate their experiences and personal opinions that support one candidate over another, or one politcal party over another somehow comes together to form one massive "Army" is a stretch I'm not getting. If I may be so bold as to suggest that the support is because one side is pretty consistent in saying they support the troops, while the other says they wouldn't join, or that we're as bad as Saddam. Who would you support? As for your question about a coup... um... yeah. It would be very, very, very far behind. Since nothing is impossible it is posible such a thing would occur, but then again it's also possible the sun won't rise tomorrow or that we'll experience total existence failure. I'd have to say the chance of a military coup would be an very, very tiny, non-zero chance. As I'd said in my original response, it wouldn't be easy to amass the force necessary to do something like that. That you don't realize that is why you're wrong.

"How about the discretionary power of the executive (i.e., wiretapping??)"

Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus twice, and had people arrested for critisizing the steps he was taking to preserve the Union. Americans were arrested and held by military authority for offenses including discouraging enlistment. On the scale of "executive overreach" listening to the communications of known or suspected terrorists calling into the United States pales in comparison. Particulary since such action really does seem to be something the President has the authority to do, or at least is enough of a gray area that it needs further clarification.

"I question whether Detailed Recruiter knows all that is going on in the Army but he says that an older enlistee must meet all the same standards. Maybe, but what about the back door draft? The Army waived all requirements for weight, blood pressure, etc. etc. for IRR soldiers who are being forced back in to the Army."

When did I say anything about IRR transfers? IRR Soldier's original point in your post was that the Army was lowering it's standards by accepting people over 35. I counter that they're not since there are no provisions lowering the enlistment standards for people between 35-40. They're not allowed to have a lower AFQT. They're not allowed to enlist with a 3 in their PULHES. Increasing the age limit might be a sign that the Army requires more people, but it's not an indication of the Army lowering their standards to meet the mission.

Since Kevin brought it upthough, I've always been curious how people who who signed a contract saying "8 years" on the front page, then being given orders to the IRR 6 years later, find themselves surprised when orders come pulling them into a unit. It's like getting those IRR orders makes people forget they're still in the Army. How low does someone's QT need to be to think they're honestly being drafted when they're already in the service? Surprised I could see. Upset, sure. Even think it's unfair, but a draft, nah. As for being "forced back into the Army", that's a misdirection at best, and a lie at worst. No one was being forced back in since they're already in the Army. It's a personnel action, involuntary (forced if you prefer), but a personnel action nonetheless.

"If I were in the military, what I would really be concerned with is the fact that the mismanagement of the military and the MISUSE of the military by Bush, will cause people to review why we have them in the first place. My prediction is that if the military does not start working towards correcting what is happening , they will be caught in the "back blast" of the protest against this administration."

In the second paragraph of his post Kevin questions the possibility of a right wing coup. What he fears isn't a military coup, it's a coup by the wrong side.

"...if the military does not start working towards correcting what is happening," and by "happening" he means Bush's management and use of the military, "[the military] will be caught in the 'back blast' of the protest against this administration."

How, pray tell, does the military work toward correcting the perception of it's actions under the commander in chief? Does he actually want/expect active generals and other leaders to come out and question what the commander-in-chief does? That's insubordination at best, treason at worst. Maybe he expects more military bloggers to come out against the commander-in-chief, but earlier in his post Kevin called it dangerous that military officers were taking such a politcal bent, if it's dangerous for pro-Bush people to do it, it wouldremain dangerous for anti-Bush people to do it. So, obviously the military can't work towards correcting by issuing statements. As the old saw goes "actions speak louder than words." Kevin already supports Soldiers disobeying lawful orders, so it's really not that much of a stretch to see him supporting the military overthrowing a President he doesn't support.

It's late, I'm tired. I'm not good at arguments like this, and I know that most of my six readers (Morning Rider) don't like it when I ramble on and on. I expect Kevin will chalk this up as a "right wing nut" thing and ignore it as most will. If he does respond I have no doubt I'll be picked apart and he'll pick another great patriot or Founding Father who has a very fitting quote. I don't think John Adams gets enough love, maybe he can find a quote from him. I used to drive through Braintree and it's a pretty place.

**minor quibble below feel free tostop reading if you made it this far you poor, poor soul**

It's SFC B, not Detailed Recruiter. I do write under that name as well, just not here. It changes nothing, and it's probably my own fault for not being consistent across sites, but it's something that just annoyed about the post.


Post a Comment