17. February 2006 · Comments Off on Memo: Heroes of the Day Before Yesterday · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Good God, Military, Pajama Game, Rant, Wild Blue Yonder

To: Ms. Jill Edwards, Ms. Ashley Miller, Student Body Senate, University of Washington
From: Sgt Mom
Re: “The University of Washington’s student senate rejected a memorial for alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington of “Black Sheep Squadron” fame amid concerns a military hero who shot down enemy planes was not the right kind of person to represent the school.”

1. How very, very precious, and I do not mean that in a complimentary way, Ms. Edwards & Ms. Miller. It does not reflect well on the education for which someone is presumably paying a great deal of money, to be so casually dismissive of the qualities of someone who of someone who— along with a great many of his contemporaries— risked his life decades ago in order to make it possible for you to sit in a quiet, well-appointed classroom and pass judgment… and a factually misplaced judgment, at that.

2. I really can’t, at this distance, make out what you and your peers may have been taught or not taught in your comfortable, academic Eden, but it appears that history, ancient and modern, is most decidedly not on your personal study plan. If more than anything can be learned in a… ahem… a real history class, not the thinly disguised Marxist polemic so in fashion at certain establishments, it would be the truth of the old adage that “Peace is the dream of the wise, but wars are the history of men.” And by “men” of course, I mean humankind as a whole, not the gender in particular. So sic the Women’s Studies Department on me for not using the approved PC phrase du jour… like I give a flying F**k anyway.

3. Since war is lamentably a certain constant, much as we might wish and hope and pray otherwise, warriors are also a constant. Let me break it to you gently, Ms Edwards, Ms Miller, the common experience of a lot of your fellow humans down the ages has been that of being hapless, inoffensive, hardworking and peace-and-quiet loving… prey. Yes, my dear, sweet innocent student body senators, they wound up having their peaceful happy little agrarian communities or states smashed and ravaged, burnt and sacked, and themselves and their families murdered, raped and/or enslaved by every robber gang, army or larger, more un-socially aware human organization… unless the community, state or kingdom which they happened to find themselves resident in had the ability and the will to prevent this from happening.

4. Yes, my dear innocent students, peace is not the natural happy state of humankind… it is a rare and dear-bought commodity, purchased in blood for, and sometimes by the citizens of the state or city in which they lived. The first, and most original obligation owed by the free citizens of ancient Greece and Rome was their duty to defend their polis, their city, their community and their fellows and families with arms, as soldiers, according to their means. This, alas, was a necessary duty, for people who just want to live in peace and quiet, with their families, communities and livelihoods all secure. If you don’t believe me on this, just check any of the recent news stories about Darfur. Just because you are not interested in war, does not mean that war is uninterested in you.

5. Of late, in this age of specialization, we have tended to farm the job of military defense of the polis out to those who are truly interested in doing it, and who have a natural skill. There are, and have always been people who do not mind going into danger, and in fact rather enjoy blowing stuff up. They are good at it, for the most part. Warriors, like war, and the poor, are always with us; wishing it weren’t so won’t make it all go away. The whole purpose of a military, as I have written before, is to kill those designated as our enemies. Think of our warriors as another blogosphere essayist did, as they are our sheepdogs, protection against the wolves, the wolves that always threaten any community.

6. Yes, I can see why Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington would not exactly be the beau ideal of your pretty little campus: he was crude and rude, an unrepentant killer; a rowdy, undisciplined and brawling menace; a drinker and alleged wife-beater, cheerfully willing to go to China as a mercenary… not exactly anyone’s notion of a model citizen. He lived fast and recklessly, and was probably the most surprised of all that he lived long enough to die within a breath of old age; No, Ms. Miller, he would not have been your set’s cup of tea at all. Very probably in some vast imaginary late 20th century dictionary, there is a picture of him, next to the entry for “Politically Incorrect.”

7. And yet… there you go; he had a certain set of skills; as a pilot, a leader, and a warrior. For whatever his reasons, he served, in China and in the Pacific. He and his ilk kept the wolf of the moment from the door of the peaceful, the harmless and the inoffensive, in such security that they could begin to think their shelter owed everything to their own honest good will, and not the blood and dedication of those who secured such for them at such cost. For all his faults, and in company with his peers, “Pappy” Boyington might have done more to protect the defenseless than all the college senates and interest groups ever convened.

8. Frankly, I am enjoying a mental image of a statue of Colonel Boyington coming to life and delivering a good old-fashioned and profane Marine Corps ass-chewing. Such might be a truly educational experience to a student body which, lamentably appears to be a collection of sheltered, spoiled, candy-ass yuppy puppies… and one which seems to exist in ignorance of the means by which they can continue to be sheltered, spoiled, etc cetera.

Sgt Mom.

(Link courtesy of The Belmont Club.. BTW, Cpl/Sgt. Blondie points out that most USMC Medal of Honor awards were made postumously)

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