It was about a year and a half ago — just after July 4, 2007 — that I posted a brief rant which I had written thirteen years before, when US troops were withdrawn from Somalia. If you don’t remember the time and the events, you can read about them here and here and here.
The truth is this. The world is an ugly and dangerous place. Most of us are too old or too wealthy or too afraid to face the horrors ourselves. We recruit young women and men, put uniforms on them, give them guns, and send them to the frontiers — to kill for us, or to die for us.
The rest of my rant is here.
I had intended to bring this up later, as part of the prolonged essay which began a couple weeks ago with Nightmare on Every Street, but a new installment of TomGram presents an essay by William Astore, making exactly the same points I was making. Part of what he says:
An American Foreign Legion
A leaner, meaner, higher tech force — that was what George W. Bush and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised to transform the American military into. Instead, they came close to turning it into a foreign legion. Foreign as in being constantly deployed overseas on imperial errands; foreign as in being ever more reliant on private military contractors; foreign as in being increasingly segregated from the elites that profit most from its actions, yet serve the least in its ranks.
Now would be a good time for President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to begin to reclaim that military for its proper purpose: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now would be a good time to ask exactly why, and for whom, our troops are currently fighting and dying in the urban jungles of Iraq and the hostile hills of Afghanistan.
The rest of the essay is here. I urge you to read it.
The connection between this and the previous post, the one about Nagasaki, should be obvious. The connection with the next one will be less obvious, but please bear with me. The topic is ranging far beyond the original metes and bounds. I’m trying out a couple of outline/mind-mapping programs in an effort to find a coherent structure. Suggestions and advice welcome.