Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Heroes! We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Heroes!

Okay now, here’s a quiz. Identify the following individuals: 1) Lt. William Calley; 2) Lt. John Bobo; 3) Lynndie England; and 4) Paul Ray Smith. I am guessing that individuals 1 and 3 are better known than 2 and 4. To learn the answers to the quiz and why 1 and 3 are better known than 2 and 4, look here.

In this piece, I argue that Americans have forgotten how to honor its heroes. I trace the problem to Vietnam. Although Americans fought bravely there, the press, if not the American people, began to treat those who fought in Vietnam as either moral monsters, victims, or both. The dysfunctional Vietnam vet became a staple of popular culture.

The conventional wisdom concerning Vietnam has been absorbed by today’s press, even by those too young to remember our Southeast Asia misadventure. The result is that, despite the mantra of "support the troops," there is a troubling predisposition to believe the worst about those who are willing to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan.

My piece, republished here from the current issue of The Weekly Standard is a review essay of three books about the soldiers and Marines who are fighting the war. As Bing West wrote in his riveting book about Falluja, No True Glory, stories of soldierly courage deserve "to be recorded and read by the next generation. Unsung, the noblest deed will die."

Discussions - 4 Comments

Mac, if the msm doesn't bring heroes to the attention of the American people, then they can hardly be faulted for not properly honouring them.

The American people would honour their heroes, but they're never informed of their heroics. Americans heard of Alvin York, they heard of "the boy Colonel," Captain Eddy and Audi Murphy. But how many Americans could name a member of the Armed Forces who received a DSC or a Navy Cross for actions in the misnamed war on terror.

When was the last time the Bush administration PUBLICLY awarded America's 2d highest medals, and did it in front of the cameras, in a way they couldn't avoid carrying live.

And this administration has never fully and publicly honoured the bravery of the troopers in the field, except on rare occasions when Bush presents a CMH posthumously. Posthumous is too little, too late.

Little things like that would have gone a long way towards bringing the war home for the American people. It would have provided names and faces to the heroics.

But that's exactly the kind of TRUE reverence that has always been wanting in this administration. There's no way you can say you honour the troops while you're forcing guys to go on multiple tours, {and we're talking fourth and fifth tours}. All because they refused to grow the size of the Armed Forces. Congress allocated the money, {even they saw that the force needed to grow, but the administration that came in saying "help was on the way," has only impeded the growth of our military power, -------------- and that's not counting what Bush has done to the Navy and the Air Force}.

Public presentations of high honours is precisely the kind of media savvy that simply can't be expected from a gang of not-ready-for-primetime players.

As for Vietnam, Conservatives allowed the Liberal's 'Nam narrative of carnage, futility, waste, rape, gang rape, drug use, pathology and not infrequent outright murder to gain credence with the American people. When did Conservatives seriously contest the 'Nam narrative. Which Conservative rose to do justice to America's fighting men? 'Nam's history has been chronicled by Liberals like Karnow, Sheehan and Halberstram. Why did Conservative authors concede them the field? Ed Kennedy sealed over millions of Vietnamese to death and to re-education camps, and they were fighting for their independence. But how few Americans know that Congressional Democrats tied the hands of Ford, {although Ford was such a wimp that he allowed his hands to be tied, instead of simply ordering the Air Force in to support the ARVN, and forcing the Democrats to do something about it}. Why have Senators like BIDEN and KENNEDY gotten off? They've blood on their hands. It's that simple; it's that stark, they have blood on their hands.

It's only been recently that some true revisionist histories have emerged, taking on the prevailing Liberal 'Nam narrative, written by men such as Lewis Sorley and Mark Moyar.

Conservatives conceded the ground to the Left, and we shouldn't be surprised or shocked that a very Liberal media constantly churns out propaganda by repeating falsehoods about 'Nam.

The media hasn't any intention of thoroughly covering the professionalism and the courage of the most important weapon in America's arsenal, the inherent aggressiveness of the American combat infantryman.

Every Conservative anticipated the media turning against this war sooner or later. And most Conservatives anticipated that The White House and the GOP already factored that in to their war plans, and devised a strategy to forestall it, and to get their message out despite that media hostility.

But Conservatives were wrong. Dead wrong. The Bush administration didn't have any intention of waging a media campaign.

Such a dereliction of duty is so great, so breathtaking, ------------ as to shock the conscience. It's not ordinary negligence, it's not even gross negligence. It's criminal. It's criminal folly.

That review is very good. I wish it had been published in the NYT or 100 local papers or anywhere that more readers would see it. Somewhere, months ago, I saw a statistical breakdown of attitudes on the war which said that those who know people involved in the effort are much more likely to have a positive attitude towards the war.

Perhaps the young veterans I know have it wrong, but they say they are told not to talk about what they saw or did or what happened to them. Is this true, or do they misunderstand?

(As a BTW, I just found this about current war support.)

I am in the middle of reading Michael Yon's book. The American soldiers fighting for our Freedoms in the Middle East against our enemies which are far more frigthening than Hilter, Stalin and Mussolini will be the next "Greatest Generation". The MSM is unable to recognize their valor, respect, bravery, dedication, honesty and willingness to lay down their life for their brother, even if that brother is an Iraqi soldier, because the members of the MSM would not be able to recognize any of those traits even if they were hit on the side of the head with them. The MSM is just plain stupid and unfortunately, you can't fix stupid.

Bing West's book "No True Glory" is being made into a movie staring Harrison Ford as Lt. General Mattis. I think that will help our culture appreciate hereos.

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