They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...


These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Oct 25, 2010

1000 Words On The Draft And How We Treat Our Troops...


Watch that, and then read the following...


And now my 1000 words.


Today, October 25th is St. Crispin's Day.  Any man or woman who has ever served their time, or anyone else's time in the military has heard that speech.  Without fail, no one has escaped its magic.
Now I posted the video because I wanted all of you to see and hear those words.  There is a bond between soldiers that cannot be broken.  And the bond between soldiers that have seen combat together cannot be explained.  Only God and the soldier will ever understand that bond. 
And I used the clip from the movie “Renaissance Man” because its got a bit more personality than the Kenneth Branagh movie “Henry V”
Many have asked me about instituting a draft again.  To which I have always answered with a resounding FUCK NO.
The author of the NYT Op Ed seems to think that a draft would raise awareness of the war because it would be hanging over the heads of all this nation’s young men.  I’m not really sure if women have to register for selective service, I’m pretty sure they don’t.
Is he right?  Probably.  
Do I care?  Not in the slightest.
One of the greatest bumper stickers I ever saw was one that my mom had me have made for her.  On the left hand side it had a silhouette of a soldier marching with his rifle and on the right hand side it had the words, “My son serves, so that yours doesn’t have to.
Is that sappy? Yeah, and a little obnoxious too.  But it doesn’t reduce the truth of the statement even one iota.  In today’s military you serve because you want to.  You ask to be there.  You go so far as to request the honor and then follow it up with a trip to basic training, followed by a stint in Advanced Individual Training and then on to a duty station and near constant training in the years that follow.  
You travel to the far corners of the earth before most your age have even left the country.
You endure hardships that would break the back of your average American your own age.
You adapt to the most challenging of circumstances without so much as a whimper.
You go where you are told to go, and you do what you are told to do.  Not because you are a mindless automaton as so many would like to call you, but because you are a patriot born of the idea that there are things greater than yourself.
You face unspeakable horrors in the midst of combat, and you come back to a barrage of questions from the knuckle draggers of, “Did you kill anybody?”
You live under constant threat of death, and in it you not only find humor but some of the greatest friends anyone could ever have.
You come home to a disinterested populace, and you can’t help but keep on thinking that you want to go back...as soon as possible.
You look around and see a decadent, self absorbed, and generally ridiculous culture and you find yourself wondering what you really went over there to defend.
Then you remember its not about them.  It never was.  Its about your boys.  Its about the man next to you.  Its about the guy who never left your side, regardless of how many bullets were flying or how many bombs were going off or how many rockets were coming in.
Sleepless nights, going hungry, endless guard shifts, convoys that stretched on for days, firefights, IED’s, fear, apprehension and abject terror.  Combat is the fire in which that bond between soldiers is formed.  Combat forms the tightest bond any human could ever feel.  
Henry said that, “Any man that sheds his blood with me today, shall be my brother.”  With all due respect to Shakespeare I would modify that statement slightly.  “Any man who volunteered to shed his blood with me, was, is and always shall be my brother.”
So to anyone who thinks there should be a draft, I say; oh hell no.
I don’t want anyone to go into those fires with me that doesn’t want to be there.
I don’t want anyone in those fires with me that doesn’t understand the bond.
I don’t want anyone in those fires with me that doesn’t think that there are things greater than himself, that there are things worth dying for.  And those things will be standing to your left and right as the bullets start to fly.
Could we treat our troops better?  Of course, but until we have ourselves a culture that cares more about its members than the Jersey Shore that’s nothing more than a pipe dream.
In the meantime my boys and I will continue to fight for you.  We will continue to do as we’re told.  We will continue to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
And for this we will never apologize, nor will we ever invite you in.  Honor cannot be bestowed by a draft.  
If you want what we have, then volunteer.  Join our band of brothers, come and shed your blood with us.
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made...And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks 
Of all the things that we have been doing.  Gladly, and without reservation for all the years of war that have been thrust upon us.  We shall never waiver, nor shall we ever fail you.  
But you will never be a part of us...
So in closing, I say no to any draft.  And I say no to anyone who thinks it would help.  The desired effect it would most likely have.  It would thrust the war upon all young men and would most likely raise public opinion against the war until it was ended.
My honor doesn’t ask for the end...it only asks for a chance.

5 comments:

  1. As the mom of two Airman and the VirtuaMom to one Soldier...I say "HELL NO" to the Draft. I want my sons surrounded by other Soldiers who want to be there, who will share a brotherhood like no other bond in this world!
    I believe it is the power of that bond..which is the glue for these guys to remain strong. As much as I can try to understand, even as Mom...I'll never get it.
    Reinstate the Draft??? Never!
    Let those men and women who have no desire to serve our Nation...simply stay home.
    It's all good. I pray they serve mankind in some capacity...because we owe it to each other to be kind and to be giving...and we owe it to our Soldiers (past and present) to keep our Country the best it can be. We won't get there if we are only taking care of ourselves and not taking care of fellow Americans.
    Once again...excellent post!
    ~AM

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  2. Mud Puppy, you are a great American. FYI, I was a draftee in 1960, then when I found the bond you speak of I became Regular Army for the next 26 years.

    Keep up the good fight, we are with you.

    I agree with AM, this is a great post.

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  3. Coming from the draft era I respectfully disagree with some of your statements. Namely not wanting to go into a firefight (or bar fight) with someone who didn’t want to be there. MP, there am many MOH, Silver Star, Bronze Star, etc recipients that did not want to go into the military. There are millions of men who fought the good fight with bravery and honor who were drafted.

    Growing up, we knew that we either joined a service or would be drafted. It was a fact. You don’t have to love the service, just do your job, get your discharge and go on with your life. Sarge Charlie is one, too. So many of us probably would not have gone in the military if we had had a choice. But we didn’t, so we served, did our job, some made a career (which may have surprised them), some went home. All of us who did feel the pride of serving.

    I know there would be a huge outcry if the draft was reinstated, but the following generations would come around. And the draft would also help eliminate multiple tours and the metal stress of your young men today. You want to go back, fine. You can volunteer, but most would do their time and get out.

    I guess my thinking is outdated, but I also have faith in our young people. Given the proper training, the biggest pussy on the streets today could be the sgt leading a group of men going door to door as you did.

    That is one of my favorite clips in any movie ever made. Thanks for reminding me it’s St Crispin’s Day, too. Though, being a sailor, I never faced combat, I will still toss back a brew in your honor tonight. Thanks, dude.

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  4. Thanks Airman Mom your words are always appreciated. But this is for Sarge and Coffeypot.

    If I offended either of you by insinuating that draftees were any less a soldier than a volunteer I'm sorry, that wasn't my intent.

    I know that draftees did many heroic and wonderful things during their time, and many did just what most of us did. Our jobs.

    I am simply making the point that in my view being a volunteer shows that you made an effort to put yourself into the situation. And as such, are better prepared mentally for the rigors of what you will face.

    Besides, I didn't get to this inside my 1000 words but I think that a draft is un-American. When this country was formed it was formed on several principles that all pointed toward a government that didn't determine your life for you. You could make your own choices in life.

    There are many reasons to reinstate the draft, none of which are worth sacrificing what I view as the ultimate American ideal of being free to do with your life what you please.

    Which in some twisted sense is one of the things that all of us are fighting for to begin with.

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  5. Great words GREAT GREAT words and I appreciate each and everyone of them. Thanks.

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