Sunday, April 12, 2009

The AsunciĆ³n

Men prefer sorrow over joy
... suffering over peace!

--Ran (1985)


Ranger is tired of the warrior ethos overlaid upon our soldiers. Why the need to apotheosize their human undertakings? As though their transubstantiation from soldier to warrior will ennoble the entire corrupt undertaking.

Everyone offers the doxology.
Purple Heart Magazine awarded a Special Leadership award this year to senator Jim Webb, for among other things, his legislation to create a new G.I. Bill.

"Webb's legislation. . . will make it possible for today's young warriors and their families to live the American dream (Purple Heart Magazine, Mar/Apr)."

Sen. Webb is a great advocate for veterans issues, and it is through no fault of his that the New York Review of Books calls him a "warrior-intellectual" (imagine -- a thinkin' warrior?) though he has never referred to himself or our soldiers as "warriors" (aside from discussing the so-called "Wounded Warrior Project.)

Unfortunately, the P.H. Magazine and by extension, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, is endorsing a warrior mentality which is the opposite of the beliefs of our Founding Fathers.

The American dream used to be peace and prosperity and adherence to a set of core values. Both the concept of being a warrior and arriving at the American dream through warfare are gross distortions of the concept of a democracy.

George Washington, the originator of the Purple Heart, never branded himself or his soldiers as warriors. Like the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington fought only in a defensive posture. This is not the stance of the warrior!

Washington left office warning of the dangers of entangling foreign alliances.

We have run afoul of his vision.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i never much got behind that whole cult of the purple heart thing. by the third one i was just ready to quit getting my ass shot at.

i, probably better than most, can address the difference between warrior and soldier.

i happen to be both. at the time i joined up i was a "soldier" in the cloud society of warriors in the apache nation. i was not a full fledged warrior yet. there were things that had to be done. i had to defeat an enemy in single combat. i had to defeat an enemy in single combat and let him live. i had to steal a horse from the enemy (i was allowed to have stealing a jeep from the jarheads qualify for that one). i also had to make a kill on an enemy, and bring his scalp back.

only after that was i considered a warrior. in apache culture we use both terms, and we assign their proper, differing meanings. in our societies we call ourselves "soldiers" meaning that our group, which may or may not be comprised of only warriors, has a place in scheme of battle, and can be counted upon to do its duty as a group.

warrior is about single achievement. soldier is about the group.

warrior is about glory and personal acclaim. soldier is about getting the job done.

frankly, i prefer soldier.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 2:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


It is a great honor to have your input, since you speak as one from both sides. [Sometime you shall have to tell me about the scalping, preferably in some balmy SoCal clime :)]

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 4:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

"Victory breeds hatred
The defeated live in pain,
Happily the peaceful live,
Giving up victory and defeat."

-Buddha (attributed)

I was once a soldier, once a warrior...now though, I am a simple man in search of an elusive peace.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 4:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks , that's a fine distinction about soldiering being a group effort and warriors being an individual exercise . I'll remember this for future referance.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 8:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant L said...

I think there's another interesting thing going on in the psyche of the American, and that's the fact they seem to hold the belief you mentioned (making every soldier into someone larger than life) with the simultaneous conviction that people in the military have no options in life, are below average in most ways, and you don't want your child to be one or marry one. I base that observation on the reactions people have about different things, ie, some people want to buy me a beer sometimes but will make offhand comments about how their daughter has a thing for some guy in the Army who is no good.

I wonder why people are so crazy?

Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 10:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Grant L,
I confirm your belief to be valid and true.
Remember the old sign-soldiers and niggers are not welcome here.???
In my baby days at Ft. Benning Ga the womwn DID NOT want to date even a 2LT because we were low life forms. The high and tight was a brand on our heads that was similar to a scarlett A. Ours was a big S.
The exception to this was the yearly West Point social given by the community and post for the new West Point grads- they were a acceptable catch. We ROTC grads were ignored by all- our only function was to fill out the ranks.
Those were the days.!
Personally my daugther was a NG MP AL and I'm personally happy that she didn't marry a MP !

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 6:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Joe said...

Sadly things haven't changed much in that front. When I proposed to my wife they did an awful lot of persuasion for her to reconsider marrying someone who was THINKING about joining the military.

Once they found out they couldn't convince her otherwise they moved on to me to tell me I should only focus on taking care of her and that I'm better/too good to join the military.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant L said...

Oh, the high and tight is still a brand of shame in military towns, however, there are plenty of women who see it is a steady paycheck and look forward to deployments so they can do what (and who) they want.

I don't remember that sign, my mother was about 12 years away from having me when Saigon fell. Some of my earliest memories are of green pictures and white flashes (F-117s over Baghdad), GI Joe running around killing Cobra, and the parades when the guys came home from the Gulf.

But I think it comes down to "How do you get otherwise sane and intelligent human beings to get their balls blown off for something that is actually kind of dumb if they were to look too close?"

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 1:46:00 PM GMT-5  

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