When Trump appointed Kelly, Mattis and McMaster to high posts in the government, a chill went through me. There's a solid, history-based reason for insuring civilian control of the military. There are only a few thousand good histories of the phenomenon, available in any University library, or I suppose these days, online. We now have an ignorant president, with a childlike admiration for high ranking military figures. Far too many commentators took solace in that fact, imagining that they would bring intelligence, discipline, and common sense to an otherwise chaotic administration. There is no reason, no reason whatever, to believe that's true. Trump hiding behind generals means we're in deep trouble in this country. Those are totalitarian techniques, and I think it will get a hell of a lot worse in the next few years.
Our bloodthirsty, military-worshiping news media declares the president's swipe at his predecessors and dead soldiers as "rock bottom." Not pussy grabbing. Not "both sides." Not the white nationalists had "permits." No, rock bottom has to be his swipe at dead soldiers. That's bad. I get it. But this is not rock bottom Trump. This is not the worst he can get. This is the US news media showing its military-worshiping ideology. Worshiping military service members and even military hardware has become our official religion behind the worship of money.
The majority of people who enlist in the US armed forces come from poor families. And after a few wars, what has emerged is a warrior caste. You ever hear how just a handful of families have ruled the Philippines for the last 600 years? Well some tens of thousands of US families have done virtually all our fighting since the Vietnam war.
Vietnam poisoned the idea of a large military draft, feeding an endless and stupid ground war, for millions of Americans. The citizens of this country are unlikely, any time soon if ever again, to tolerate the existence of a conveyor of healthy young men, fed into a war machine. The draft enabled Johnson and Nixon to pour young lives into an unwinnable and unjustifiable conflict in Southeast Asia. The lesson the political class learned from this was to establish an all volunteer force, largely removed from the great majority of the population. Now, when these wars are fought, justifying the immense defense budgets which enrich an entire industry and securing the professional opportunities of our military elite, the mass of voters hardly notice. The wars go on and on, the money and the promotions flow, and the politicians don't even have to explain to the taxpayers. Genius!!
It's nothing personal. I don't mean fuck you, personally. I mean it in general terms. Fuck you. You know who you are, even though I don't know you personally.
I will not stand up for you. I will not salute you. I will not call you a hero. I will not call you a first responder. I will not thank you for your service. I won't fantasize of being anything like you. I repeat, I will not use the word hero.
It's not your fault. I have been told to worship you. I strongly reject that. Politicians have told me. Movies, going back to Backdraft have told me to idolize and honor you. But I'm 44 now. And I think I know better. And I think I see through all the bullshit that has been sold to me in the last 16 years.
I will not stand for the Star Spangled Banner. I will not face or salute the flag. I am not down with your program. I am not down with the USA's program. It's a broken and cruel republic. The only thing it has left is its empire. And I'm supposed to say "thank you for your service," to the men and women who maintain that empire? Bullshit. Fuck you.
To the police. I will not thank you. I will not call you when I need one. I will not respect you. I will not ask you to pose in a photo with me. Fuck you. You do not protect and serve me. You exist to police black people and make me and other white civilians feel safer. And for that politicians put you on a pedestal, and direct me to honor you. Fuck that. And fuck your evil unions, too. They are the worst.
To the firefighters. Fuck you too, although I admit I hate you less. We do need firefighters. What we don't need are fire departments full of white supremacists. But because politicians tell me that you need to be worshiped and idolized, I have to lump you with the soldiers and cops. It's nothing personal. Fuck you.
I'm not quite sure how nationalism became intertwined with worship of "first responders," in addition to our soldiers, but here we are. And here I am. Fuck you.
Fuck nationalism. Fuck hero making, hero narratives, and hero worship. Fuck flag lapel pins. Fuck the flag. Fuck the president (all of them since Carter). Fuck this.
We almost never post about events here, as this is a small blog with infrequent posts. But right now in London, The Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest artillery regiment in the country, is staging an event in East London. They have soldiers doing drills, a parachute drop, a chinook helicopter, and at least one howitzer.
And this weekend is something even more special. If you are in London between May 15 and 17, you can go see the surviving little ships of the Battle of Dunkirk.
Leave it to the British to convert one of the most thorough defeats ever suffered by the United Kingdom into a glorious "victory". As some readers know, the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium in 1940 was as badly mauled by the Germans as the French had been. When the soldiers got back to England, they had left all their tanks and heavy guns behind, and only the Channel, the RAF, and Royal Navy stood between Hitler and the U.K. Still, the many ordinary citizens who sailed these little ships saved many lives, and displayed undaunted courage. It would be fascinating to see them in the Thames. My annual trip to London has already happened. But you are there, go see them.
Just wanted to point-out three recent events that have not been covered in the mainstream media - two big and one small.
1. You may have noticed that pictures, videos, and coverage from Galveston, TX have not been plentiful. Ike was a devistating hurricane - on-par with hurricane Andrew and close to Katrina in terms of the cost of damage. In terms of how many homes were destroyed, it was on-par with Katrina. But you probably didn't see much of the aftermath. That's because Galveston's mayor, Lyda Ann Thomas, kicked the press out and prohibited city employees from talking to the press.
2. Glenn Greenwald at Salon is one of the only journalists to point this out: For the first time since the end of the Civil War, a US Army brigade has been assigned for duty in the US mainland. Didn't hear about that? Read about it here.
3. And in Anchoridge, AK, back on September 17th, there was a good-sized anti-Palin rally. Hundreds showed-up. Pictures below.
China proved that it can be done in January 2007, and they successfully made a lot of dangerous orbital debris, which of course, can damage other satellites, spacecraft, and possibly the International Space Station.
I'd love to see the missle miss its target. Let's see how this clever idea plays out...
I actually thought the tours were already more than a year. But this makes it official, effective immediately.
Now I'm not naive enough to think that this will turn more Americans against the occupation of Iraq. But I do think that those Americans who stop and think about this will realize that extending tours is another sign that Bush is breaking our army. He's breaking it. Watch Joe Biden address this during a brilliant moment of rage from March 14th:
Update: I was right.
"Some units had already been extended beyond 12 months by varying amounts. The new policy will make deployments more equitable and more predictable for soldiers and for their families, Gates said."
Predictable? If you mean that families now know to lower their expectations of seeing their loved ones soon, then yes, it makes things more predictable. The comments at the BBC are piling up, and the families posting comments sound pretty damn pissed.