no vietnam syndrome this time
July 28, 2004 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I don't think Americans regard this war the same way they did previous wars.
posted by raaka (69 comments total)
 
I don't think I'm registered for MercuryNews.com.
posted by papercake at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2004


cpunks@cpunks.com/cpunks works...

...but it's not worth it. First-class passengers give up seats for soldiers. Mefi-ite stretches this into a would-be political FPP. Film at 11. Nothing to see here...
posted by goethean at 1:46 PM on July 28, 2004


*wanking motion*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:47 PM on July 28, 2004


Try:
un:frig (or fred@frig.com)
p/w:fuckthis
the "point" of it: First-class fliers donate seats to U.S. soldiers
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:48 PM on July 28, 2004


First-class passengers give up seats for soldiers.

...a month ago. This was all over the news after it actually happened. I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed by the lameness of the Mercury News or this post.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2004


Google offers unrestricted links.
posted by trharlan at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2004




There's nothing wrong with patriotism.

However, there's a point at which obsessively flag-waving jingoism becomes a fetish and a substitute for real thought and awareness of the world outside of one's borders.

I think that we ran over that point with our red white and blue Hummers a long time ago.
posted by goethean at 1:58 PM on July 28, 2004


Maybe instead of giving them free beer and peanuts and an extra 8 inches of legroom we could, y'know, not send them off to be killed?
posted by jpoulos at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2004


Of course. Because anybody who is opposed to US foreign policy does so because they hate soldiers.
posted by swell at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2004


I can see all the old hippies being disappointed that civilians aren't spitting on returning troops.
posted by Trik at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2004


There has been no documented proof that Vietnam soldiers were spit on.
posted by plemeljr at 2:43 PM on July 28, 2004


Just to add, there has been no corroborated proof that Vietnam soldiers were spit on; all of the stories are always, "a friend of a friend was spit on, but I don't know his name." It was a Richard Nixon dirty trick campaign.
posted by plemeljr at 2:47 PM on July 28, 2004


What j-po said.
posted by adampsyche at 2:48 PM on July 28, 2004



I can see all the old hippies being disappointed that civilians aren't spitting on returning troops.


hey! some of those hippies put thier lives on the line in chicago in 1968 for your freedom, bitch!
posted by quonsar at 3:07 PM on July 28, 2004


It's a nice story. But, I don't think that you can extrapolate it into a corollary about the American public's opinion about the war. That would be like me giving a donut to a homeless person and then saying that everyone in the United States cares about the homeless situation.
posted by trbrts at 3:08 PM on July 28, 2004


"Vietnam syndrome" was propaganda for the most part. The right did its part is spitting on , yelling, etc at troops who dared question the validity of the vietnam war after coming back. Look what they have to say about Kerry today.

Media Myth: Vietnam Vets and Spit.
posted by skallas at 3:09 PM on July 28, 2004


The statement "I don't think Americans regard this war the same way they did previous wars." got me wondering about public opinion polls for various wars. This is as far as I got:

support for the Vietnam war from 1965-1971.

support for current war 1/03-7/04

Executive summary:

Highest support for Vietnam War was 66%-- in 1965. Low point was 1971 at 29%. (Poll data ends with '71 although the war ended in '75 or so)

Highest support (so far) for current war was 76% at 4/9/03. Lowest point (so far) was 44% at 5/9/04 (Abu Gharib story broke?)
posted by gwint at 3:11 PM on July 28, 2004


the "point" of it: First-class fliers donate seats to U.S. soldiers

well, no shit. who do you think these soldiers are protecting? you and me? they're protecting US economic dominance in the world, at any cost.

damn right those rich folks should give up their first-class seats.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:18 PM on July 28, 2004


goethean: I frequently hear sneering at "patriotism", but I'm not entirely sure that most of the sneerers know what "patriotism" really means.

Defined, patriotism means a person who strongly supports their country and is prepared to defend it. (Oxford English)

Strong support for a country is sometimes called "nationalism", again, often derisively. A patriot therefore cannot be an "internationalist", or a "religionist", or pledge his loyalties to any organization or belief system that challenges the authority of his nation over himself as a person. A Jehovah's Witness cannot be a patriot.

A patriot is prepared to defend his country. The two key words being "prepared", that is, not just philosophically defending what your country "represents", but physically as well, to whatever their abilities; and "defend".

"Defend" is the more interesting of the two. Defense is what is used to counter attack. "Protection", complementary to "defense", is defending something *before* it is attacked. And here is the great argument of "patriotism."

A patriot does not necessarily support protecting his country from attack before it happens, because "protection" is too subjective a term. For some, protection is an outgrowth of paranoia: seeing everyone who is not "us" as "them--the enemy".

But a patriot rallies to defend his country after it is attacked. Once a true enemy--an attacker--has acted, then and only then will you see the difference between real patriots and those who are not patriots.

And real patriots deserve to inherit their nation, because that is what they love.

Someone who can admit to themselves and others that they are not, and never shall be patriotic, look to a possible future, or order, where nations do not exist. But they have no place in the parade celebrating those who defend what is now.

So the greatest misunderstanding of patriotism is what it defends: not "ideas", but a nation; not "beliefs", but the people of that nation; and not "rights", such as the right to protest, but responsibilities.
posted by kablam at 3:20 PM on July 28, 2004


Maybe instead of giving them free beer and peanuts and an extra 8 inches of legroom we could, y'know, not send them off to be killed?

Agreed, but still no harm in treating them well.

The spit myth/hyperbole aside, Vietnam Veterans were treated poorly by both their own government and by citizens who simply wished to forget the war ever happened. Regardless of one's position on the current war, I don't think that there's many people looking for repeat of that.

Someone who can admit to themselves and others that they are not, and never shall be patriotic, look to a possible future, or order, where nations do not exist. But they have no place in the parade celebrating those who defend what is now.

Not neccessarily. Even someone who detests the concept of nationalism can at least hypotheticall appreciate the sacrifice of laying down one's life for one's fellow man.
posted by jonmc at 3:25 PM on July 28, 2004


I couldn't agree with you more, kablam, excepting that last paragraph or two.

I don't understand what a nation is, if not a collection of ideas. If it was a set of people, it would not persist past their lifetimes.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:29 PM on July 28, 2004


So the greatest misunderstanding of patriotism is what it defends: not "ideas", but a nation; not "beliefs", but the people of that nation; and not "rights", such as the right to protest, but responsibilities.

kablam, dude, i had no idea you were so fucked up. get help.
posted by quonsar at 3:39 PM on July 28, 2004


the sacrifice of laying down one's life for one's fellow man.

whose lives are being saved? whose lives are being destroyed? Any soldier that is given a task by a government is saving lives? by default?

22 million people dead from AIDS btw
posted by Satapher at 3:40 PM on July 28, 2004


Satapher, I may disagree but in the minds of many soldiers they are fighting to protect the world from terrorism. I may disagree and think they being manipulated but I still respect the resolve. Plus any man who has faced combat gets a certain amount of respect from me by default.
posted by jonmc at 3:50 PM on July 28, 2004


I don't think Americans regard this war the same way they did previous wars.

Or perhaps, more reasonably, they have matured sufficiently to separate a "war" from those forced to fight it?
posted by rushmc at 3:57 PM on July 28, 2004


"I don't think that you can extrapolate it into a corollary about the American public's opinion about the war."

I don't either. I do think that, anecdotally of course, Americans' opinion of soldiers has changed. I would wager this has more to do with 30 years of retrospection than the the current war.

It's entirely possible some Vietnam vet somewhere got spit on, but the larger point is that the vets were treated badly on all sides. The politicians who drafted them (or made the mistake of fighting in the first place); the divisive nature of those who dodged the draft or fled and those couldn't afford to do either; a VA that was underfunded, under-staffed and simply not competent enough to deal with all the different problems that the vets had to deal with, notably mental health.

In the political arena, there seems to be a race to show how much one cares for and cherishes the troops. Witness Tommy Franks telling a soldier's mother that he loves his son too (can you imagine Patton or LeMay saying that?), or the DNC claiming they know the best use of the military because they make more delibrate decisions, or Bush on the aircraft carrier (trying to make the point he was one of them or something -- I never understood that).

I didn't post this to make a political point. I felt it was more interesting in a historical context regarding the shift of public opinion.
posted by raaka at 3:58 PM on July 28, 2004


Plus any man who has faced combat gets a certain amount of respect from me by default.

That's just silly. Merely showing up doesn't earn respect, though what one does there can.
posted by rushmc at 3:59 PM on July 28, 2004


So the greatest misunderstanding of patriotism is what it defends: not "ideas", but a nation; not "beliefs", but the people of that nation; and not "rights", such as the right to protest, but responsibilities.

Blind allegience to a political unit is as immoral as blind allegience to an imagined diety or a dedication to cronyism. One's highest responsibility should always be to truth, decency, and justice, whatever hat they may be wearing.
posted by rushmc at 4:04 PM on July 28, 2004


That's just silly. Merely showing up doesn't earn respect, though what one does there can.

I don't know about that. Merely "showing up" in what can probably be descibed as one of the most dangerous situations a human can find themselves in does take a certain amount of bravery. Especially considering that many (for reasons both honorable and not) go out of their way to avoid just showing up. It's a situation I've never faced and the idea of facing it, frankly scares the hell out of me, so those who have get my respect, even "enemy" soldiers to a degree.*

But I can see your point. Some soldiers have and some continue to behave deplorably in combat. But I will give most veterans the benefit of the doubt, because I realize that I haven't been where they have and that acknowledgement of those circumstances must have some impact on how I judge them or their actions. Certainly we're all still entitled to our opinions but that crucial difference must be acknowledged.

*Vietnam Veteran W. D. Ehrhart wrote a book on this very subject, saying that aside from his fellow American Vets, the only people he felt he could truly realte to regarding the war were former VC and NVA. Even though he may have residual anger at some of them for their actions, they had been over the same ground.
posted by jonmc at 4:10 PM on July 28, 2004



"What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -Adlai Stevenson

"The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war." --Sydney J. Harris

posted by keswick at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2004


Or as John Greeley puts it:

Those who have personally faced the terror of war and survived it carry with them throughout the remainder of their lives a special kind of wisdom, one that others who have never experienced war do not possess. It is a sad, tired understanding of the world and how it works, and how it does not work. It is an understanding of life sighted down the wrong end of a rifle barrel and the sure knowledge of its brevity and frailty.
posted by jonmc at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2004


Merely showing up doesn't earn respect, though what one does there can.

Maybe it doesn't earn your respect, but it earns mine. "Merely showing up" isn't a trivial thing, when it could cost you your life.

My coworker, a Marine reservist in a combat arms unit (LAR), recently returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq, and will probably be sent back again next year. He's seen significant amounts of combat each time. He's not happy about going back, and is not in favor of the war itself or how it's been handled, but he has committed himself to honoring his contract regardless. Frankly, as an ex-Army volunteer, every day I'm thankful I haven't gone through what he has - I'd rather not show up.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:52 PM on July 28, 2004


So the greatest misunderstanding of patriotism is what it defends: not "ideas", but a nation; not "beliefs", but the people of that nation; and not "rights", such as the right to protest, but responsibilities.

Ideas change, even the Constitution changes. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought, not for the "idea" of slavery, but to defend their homes, and the confederacy of their states as a nation. The Union fought, as Abraham Lincoln said, not for the idea of "freeing the slaves", but to preserve the greater Union as a nation. Both sides were patriotic.

Beliefs are even more tenuous. Millions of people have died for beliefs, and yet a patriot does not seek to force his beliefs on others--he fights for his loved ones, for the people of his land, for his comrades in arms. A true believer fights to convert others, more than not because he doubts his true faith. To fight for people is patriotic, to fight for your beliefs shows you value them more than people.

And Patriots do not fight for "rights." Rights are the prize that may be won by the patriot, but they are not the end in itself. The fight is to preserve the responsibility to continue to fight for rights. Rights do not exist without responsible defenders of those rights.
posted by kablam at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2004


And Patriots do not fight for "rights." Rights are the prize that may be won by the patriot, but they are not the end in itself.

Yes, often soldiers do fight to fend off hostile invaders. Self-defense of one's physical self, home and family is a motive for entering a war.

But ultimately that is not what embodies patriotism. Without the rights embodied in the constitution and the ideals behind them, ultimately a country is just a place.
posted by jonmc at 6:43 PM on July 28, 2004


kablam, i'm trying to follow you, but i'm a little confused. did you just respond to your own previous post?

when i think of patriots, i instinctively think of America's battle for independence from England. were they not fighting for "rights" and "ideas?" what i mean is the English weren't attacking the colonists, nor trying to eliminate them. there was no need to defend the colonies from England. they were fighting for the "right" (perhaps not the right word?) of proper representation in their government, no? were those not "patriots?"

fwiw, count me in with those who "look to a possible future, or order, where nations do not exist." i've seen enough parades. not my thing.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:43 PM on July 28, 2004


fwiw, count me in with those who "look to a possible future, or order, where nations do not exist."

Yes, but that of course begs the question of what we'd have to sacrifice in terms of principles and ideals to get there. I'm honestly not being argumentative, I'm just...well, just saying, as they say.
posted by jonmc at 6:51 PM on July 28, 2004


kablam is freakin' me out, 'cause I'm agreeing with him. I think.

A patriot fights for the survival of his country: to protect the land and its citizens from attack. The attacking force may be internal -- vis a vis the English, who were implementing taxes and laws unwanted by the citizens. The attacking force may be external -- vis a vis the Canadians, when they burned down the White House.

A patriot wouldn't, I think, be over in Iraq attacking citizens and soldiers who have posed no threat to his country.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2004


As for the nationless world: hey, it's where we're headed PDQ.

There are signs of it already: walled enclaves with private police forces; walled enclaves owned by a corporation for its workers; counties, states, and nations that change their worker/environment safety laws to benefit corporations; governments that imprison people on behalf of corporations.

In the future the national borders will be a mere formality, retained for the sake of tradition and deception.

The real borders will be determined by the extent of legal influence of a particular corporate presence. The "nation" in which you are in will be the intersection of the corporate agreements and laws that define what you may or may not legally do at that location.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2004


fff, I dunno if what you describe is the "nationlessness" people have in mind.

I remember when discussing 9/11 via email someone told me that since he lived on the west coast the WTC's destruction might have well have happened in Tokyo for all it affected him. My gut reaction was "But they're fellow Americans!" Basically because I understood that it was their Americanness (at least on some level, and I don't mean in that stupid "they hate our freedoms" way) is what made them a target.

In the "good" (for lack of a better word) nationlessness would have induced in me the response of "But they're fellow humans."

But then agian the removal of official boundaries has not erased old nationalisms. Look at the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Israel & Palestine.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2004


jonmc - those cases serve as cover for the new internationalism of monied classes.
posted by troutfishing at 7:39 PM on July 28, 2004


mrgrimm: Before the Constitution, outlining our rights, was the Declaration of Independence:
http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html
which stated that the British nation had failed in its duties to the colonies, as a nation, and so a separation, to create a new nation, was in order. The patriotism of those who fought against England (not all the colonists, I might add), was based in patriotism to the new nation, *not* to the new order that that new nation would eventually enact.

You'll also note that most of the grievances listed in the Declaration are against "the people" of the colonies. My second point--the fight of these patriots was not over "beliefs", but to defend people, their loved ones and friends, from oppression and even murder.

While mentioning rights, it does not state them as such, that was for later, in the Constitution. And, as my third point stated, the purpose of the Constitution, while enshrining rights, granted, was *not* to limit what government could possibly do, and this is an important point, but to express ALL that the government is permitted to do.

People today tend to think of it as the other way around, that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are meant to stop the government from taking away the rights of the states and the people. But that has only been de facto since the New Deal. The original intent was that the federal government was supposed to stay very small, that it was *forbidden* for it to take on responsibilities not expressly permitted in the Constitution.

My last argument is that the patriotic people of this country *failed* in their responsibility to defend their responsibilities from an illegally ever-growing federal government. Many, many of their rights became forfeit at that time, and our hold on them since then has become tenuous at best. Rights only exist with responsibilities.

So the greatest misunderstanding of patriotism is what it defends: not "ideas", but a nation; not "beliefs", but the people of that nation; and not "rights", such as the right to protest, but responsibilities.
posted by kablam at 7:44 PM on July 28, 2004


jonmc - those cases serve as cover for the new internationalism of monied classes.

Perhaps the instigation of the conficts has that as a motivation, trout, but the fact the old regional passions were so easily stirred tells me that nationalism and regional identification is far from dead. Forget countries, here in America we have people who kill eachother for coming from different blocks, never mind countries. You think it's any accident that gangs like the Outlaws refer to themselves as the "Outlaw Nation." An old freind of mine's older brother belong to a Harlem/Bronx gang called the "Zulu Nation."

I frankly wonder if that kind of stuff isn't somehow built into the human character, for better or worse.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on July 28, 2004


jonmc - "nationalism and regional identification is far from dead" Oh no, of course. You're absolutely right on that.

But, I'm talking about the rise - over several centuries at least (and probably more, but never comparable to the current mass-phenomenon ) - of a new elite global class of hyper-rich who have far more in common with their fellow class members than with their recent class and ethnic origins.

And, I would not paint this class in an evil light. Were that things could be so simple.
posted by troutfishing at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2004


I don't think it's necessarily wise to conflate "patriot" with "soldier." A patriot defends not only the border of his land, but people within it as well as the ideals by which the nation is defined. A soldier -- at least a soldier in the modern, professional armed forces -- is an instrument of policy. Obviously, a part of the job is defense.

In a less free state, "patriot" and "jingoist" might be somewhat more equivalent terms than they are in the United States and other democracies. A literalist could characterize a strong supporter of, for example, a malevolent dictatorship of an oppressed people as a patriot, but I'd be inclined to disagree.
posted by majick at 8:50 PM on July 28, 2004


respect to jonmc
posted by Satapher at 9:04 PM on July 28, 2004


"Merely showing up" isn't a trivial thing, when it could cost you your life.

It is trivial indeed if one is not there by free and considered choice. Many are; others are not. Therefore it is silly to paint them all with the same brush.
posted by rushmc at 10:26 PM on July 28, 2004


put the lotion in the fucking basket
posted by clavdivs at 10:30 PM on July 28, 2004


'I-don't-think' Americans regard this war the same way they did previous wars.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2004


jonmc: the Zulu Nation was not a gang, dude. Try a WAY OF LIFE.
posted by shoos at 12:03 AM on July 29, 2004


For what it's worth, I can't live without the BugMeNot bookmarklet anymore, and that Moz extension looks awesome.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:16 AM on July 29, 2004


rushmc: i'm sorry, when did we reinstitute the draft? they're all there by choice. they all deserve respect.
posted by keswick at 8:20 AM on July 29, 2004


five fresh fish has a very valid point about patriotism and the Iraq war. A strong argument can be made that Iraq is not a patriotic war.
And likewise, majick's comment distinguishing a soldier from a patriot I would also agree with. While a US soldier can be a patriotic fighter, most of the time he isn't.

If you were to poll soldiers in Iraq as to their reasons for being there, you would probably only find the least of the patriotic reasons: to defend their comrades in arms. Many might make a linkage to 9-11, but only in a vague, intellectual way, not with the fervor of a patriot say, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I would expect them to agree that they were *primarily* an "instrument of American foreign policy", with little patriotism attached. Most of their emphasis would be in "restoring" Iraq as a "democratic nation."

And yet, if you poll soldiers more directly involved with "the war on terror", who are fighting al-Qaeda fighters on a daily basis, 9-11 would be at the forefront of their feelings, and they probably would directly associate what they are doing with patriotism. al-Qaeda did attack America, and has stated it wants to do so again.
posted by kablam at 8:31 AM on July 29, 2004


they're all there by choice.

Clearly, anyone who would say that is not paying attention.
posted by rushmc at 9:02 AM on July 29, 2004


kablam, I think you should make every effort to continue to promote and refine your message about patriotism. It is one of the essential messages that the public needs to learn and take to heart if they expect to regain control of their country.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on July 29, 2004


Clearly, they CHOSE to VOLUNTARILY enlist in military service. No, they didn't chose WHERE to by deployed, but that's never been an option. Otherwise we'd have 99% of our military in Tahiti, instead of Godforsaken-stan.

They CHOSE to serve our country, to possibly lay their life on the line. That deserves respect. While the morality of the war in which they are engaged is highly suspect (to say the least), while the actions of those individuals at Abu Gharib are reprehensible, the fact that the average solider deserves respect for his service is not. It's more than what I've done, and I'd wager, more than what you've done.
posted by keswick at 10:14 AM on July 29, 2004


There's voluntary, keswick, and then there's "I don't really see any other way out of this goddamn ghetto" voluntary.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:33 AM on July 29, 2004


...you're reaching.
posted by keswick at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2004


They CHOSE to serve our country, to possibly lay their life on the line. That deserves respect.

You're still assuming way more than is warranted. Many who joined up will freely admit that these were not their motives.
posted by rushmc at 1:28 PM on July 29, 2004


So does that make them any less deserving of our respect?

"They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?"
posted by keswick at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2004


So does that make them any less deserving of our respect?

If they don't join for idealistic reasons and don't perform honorably while enlisted—sure, that makes them less deserving of respect than someone who does both. Stop playing dumb.
posted by rushmc at 5:18 PM on July 29, 2004


If they don't join for idealistic reasons and don't perform honorably while enlisted

That's stating the obvious. But even someone who joins for mundane reasons and behaves honorably is deserving of a "certain measure" (my words) of respect for surviving a dangerous situation, since he has first hand knowledge of what that situation does to someone, which you and I do not possess, and that I respect.
posted by jonmc at 5:31 PM on July 29, 2004


Hey Jon, are you reading my mind again?
posted by keswick at 7:00 PM on July 29, 2004


I'm reaching? Oh, for fuck's sake, keswick, have you ever left the comfy and safe environs of mommy's house?

You go take a good walk through one of America's poverty districts and tell me that those kids have any other realistic options. When you're dead poor and not too bright, there aren't a whole lot of options.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2004


If, as I suspect, you actually meant "dishonorably," jonmc, then it is clear to me that you and I define "respect" differently.
posted by rushmc at 10:24 PM on July 29, 2004


no I actually meant "honorably," rush. Soldiers who behave dishonorably (like any other citizen) need to be, well, dishonored.

I'm reaching? Oh, for fuck's sake, keswick, have you ever left the comfy and safe environs of mommy's house?

Have you?

I've known plenty of people who have come from poverty-level backgrounds, and while the military offerred a way out for some, others took academics or just plain old day to day working life as a means of improvement. The effectiveness of all these paths is certainly open to debate fff, but let's not make blanket statements.

I may be coming on a bit strong but when I hear white folks pontificating about the ghetto I'm always reminded of that episode of All In The Family where Archie and Meathead surprise two black burglars. After one of Archie's rants Meathead says "Don't listen to him, he dosen't know what living in the ghetto can do to a man."

The burglar answers, "and you do?"
posted by jonmc at 6:47 AM on July 30, 2004


no I actually meant "honorably," rush. Soldiers who behave dishonorably (like any other citizen) need to be, well, dishonored.

Then you're missing my point, which seems to be pretty much the same as your point.
posted by rushmc at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2004


Then you're missing my point, which seems to be pretty much the same as your point.

More or less, although the "idealistic reasons" bit seemed odd. A guy who joined for college money or to learn aircraft mechanics, but wound up serving honorably in combat gets my respect, too.
posted by jonmc at 9:04 AM on July 30, 2004


Okay, my "and" there could have easily been misread. I was speaking in an "and/or" sense to counter some of the claims of others above that merely wearing a uniform was enough to deserve respect, regardless of why the wearer was wearing it or what he did while wearing it. Obviously, that is simplistic and just plain wrong. Would one respect a serial killer who happened to be serving in the army? A soldier who burned villages and killed civilians in Vietnam (or Iraq)? It's not the uniform, it's the man.
posted by rushmc at 7:09 PM on July 30, 2004


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