In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail
--Don't Give Up, Peter Gabriel
I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine.
It is only those who have neither fired a shot
nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded
who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell
--William Tecumseh Sherman
The pain of war cannot exceed
The woe of aftermath
--Battle of Evermore, Led Zeppelin
Max: I'm just here for the gasoline
--Mad Max II, The Road Warrior (1981)
Definition of ''warrior'' :
''A man engaged in or experienced in warfare, and especially in primitive warfare or the close-combat typical of ancient or medieval times. A person of demonstrate courage, fortitude, zeal or pugnacity. An advocate of war.''--Webster's 3rd International Dictionary
''A person habitually engaged in combat. In tribal societies, warriors often form a caste or class of their own. In feudalism, the vassals essentially form a military or warrior class, even if in actual warfare; peasants may be called to fight, as well. In some societies, warfare may be so central that the entire people may be considered warriors.''
Lately the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Pace and all his little warrior buddies invoke rhetoric of the warrior as a U.S. military value. In addition, the Walter Reed Army Hospital has a new name--the Wounded Warrior Facility. Wrap that around your tongue--Wounded Warrior. It almost makes your pecker hard just saying it. (And for an old soldier, that's quite a feat in itself.)
Now, Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Geronimo--those were warriors. Warriors always fulfilled a need in primitive societies to protect the non-warriors. As such, they stood apart from the general society and occupied a place of honor, and were treated with awe and respect. These men lived only to fight and die so that the tribe could survive. That was then.
This is now. A soldier is a needed, and should be respected, vocation. Soldiers fight, kill and/or die, and possibly are severely wounded performing their function. This is when they must fight
I wore crossed rifles in time of war and never, ever, in my wildest imagination considered myself a warrior.
I volunteered for the regular Army, the Airborne, the Infantry, Ranger and Special Forces. I further volunteered for RVN, but never did I consider myself a warrior. I did these things because they were necessary, and not because the warrior battle cry beckoned.
All reasonable soldiers fight reluctantly, and those that revel in war are indeed material for serious abnormal psychological studies.
Soldiers are representatives of a society and reflect the values of that society. Warriors stand apart and adopt values separate and deviant from the general population. Most citizens are fearful of actual combat veterans--indeed warriors would provoke an even greater discomfort.
So why is the Department of Defense creating a new climate that embraces warrior values? Every true hero hates killing and violence, but for a warrior it is just another day at the office.
Have we transitioned in our society from a citizen Army to a professional volunteer force, into a warrior class?
Soldiers do not torture. What about warriors? Think Geronimo. Think Apache. Think capture. Is this the appropriate U.S. response to the terror threat?
Let's slip over to the Wounded Warrior Center at Walter Reed. Generally these personnel are so FUBAR'd that they will never return to active duty service. After stabilization, they will be dumped on the Department of Veterans Affairs and will never be soldiers again. So how are they served by being called ''Wounded Warriors''?
Hell, the VA won't even address you by your rank if you are retired or medically retired.
Question: ''What do you call a wounded warrior once the DVA inherits them?
So where do wounded warriors go? To the civilian VA. It would serve their successful transition to accustom them to this fact before they get shocked by reality.
Our society does not need warriors, nor do we need a warrior class or culture. What we need are soldiers sharing the values of liberty and justice for all. That does not mean killing everybody who disagrees with or resists our all-encompassing love.
Calling military personnel warriors is another way of justifying repeated frequent useless combat tours and forced separation from families. On a more insidious level, it is a way to acclimate a society to the permanent emplacement of a warrior caste in their midst.
More subversive yet: Warriors are made to fight and die. He may be mourned, but it will be for fulfilling his destiny. Like Odin's warriors, he will be feted at Valhalla where crossed swords serve as roof beams. So, the loss of a warrior will not be felt as deeply on a human level as he is already separated from society by virtue of his designation. He deals in death, so he has one foot in the grave already.
Warriors are impervious to hardship; soldiers aren't.