Friday, September 29, 2006

You Call It Faith

I call it blind obedience with an inability to adapt to changing situations, sort of like the way we are conducting the debacle in Iraq.
On one of my last days at West Point, I watched from the stands as the class of 9/11 took the art of parading to its farcical zenith. A high wind had blown a tall plumed hat off of one of the lead cadets, forcing the hundreds that followed in box formation to try to step over it without glancing down or altering their parade stride. As you can imagine, this did not work out so well. Cadet after cadet ended up stumbling over a hat that could have easily been picked up and tossed out of the way.

Even the West Point parents in attendance couldn't help but snicker at these proud ranks being decimated by a hat. But watching this, I finally was able to articulate something that I had only vaguely sensed before: This thing that West Pointers do — parading in unyielding formation, shining already gleaming boots, enlisting to sacrifice their lives on some unknown and unloved territory far from home — is not done out of ignorance, but out of faith. They have faith that the American values and resourcefulness do not lend themselves to meaningless death. They have faith that not only is freedom worth fighting for, but that we do not fight for any lesser end.
Four years of indoctrination will do that for you. Or as they say in the Babylon 5 universe "The Corps is mother, the Corps is father".

A promising life was snuffed out in an instant, all of the time, money and effort for her training went for naught. Her death is no less tragic than the many thousands of people who have died, and will continue to die, to satisfy some unholy need of power hungry people who aren't troubled by the trivial concepts of honor, justice or equality

As the Irqa war struggles on, with victory nowhere on the horizon, more and more valuable people will die. As the decimation of qualified people continues, our ability to defend ourselves becomes less. It isn't just the time and money spent training the troops, it is also the loss of experience, and to young troops that is more valuable than a photo op with a President and his plastic turkey.

We are conducting the Iraq war as if it is on our terms when it obviously isn't. How many more valuable servicemen and women will die for this administration's mistakes?

Cross posted at the Big Brass Blog.


  1. I have been in many formations when we stepped over something, like a fellow soldeir who had passed out.

    Blinding faith, the veiw that the way a person is living is the "truth" has always perplexed me even when in the Army. But, I was trainined as an intelligence analyst to think.

    I believe that the problem with many is that they have too much faith in the process or the establishment. They need to question more.

    I love it when my little nephews ask why. Thier father, a very conservative and staunch Republican gets angry at them and tells them, "Because I said so that is why"

    Their cool unlce Blue explains why, they listen to just about everything I tell them, they don't with anyone else.

    We breed intellect and the ability to question when people are young, lest they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

  2. Why happens to be my favorite question. Closely followed by how.

    I grew up in a household that allowed questioning. I didn't usuallly like the answers but they always made sense.

    Following the herd is not a valid excuse.