The Nature of Things: A tribute to our military

The Nature of Things: There's more than one kind of SPAM

Most of America's major institutions are not functioning very well. Our federal government is in disarray due to political partisanship over the economy and the war against terrorism. State and local governments are struggling with indebtedness and insufficient funding to maintain their services. Our judicial system is running roughshod over our Constitutional parameters, and most of our public educational institutions are failing to turn out students who are properly prepared for a competitive society. Too many families can be described as dysfunctional, and even our churches are not functioning properly.

I am not usually a purveyor of doom and gloom as no one cares for a curmudgeon. But there is one extremely important institution which is performing so efficiently that it overshadows most all the pessimism that is dominating the media. And thankfully, that is the U. S. military. This is in spite of the contempt that the radical elitists have for our armed forces. They have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon, or even the ROTC which they kicked off the college campuses. All the far left predictions of another Vietnam quagmire have been proven wrong by what might be called the most proficient performance of military might in history.

So, if the U. S. military is the most competent of all this country's institutions today, maybe we should try to find out why. Perhaps one would have to start by saying it has to do with the quality of the men and women who volunteer for military service. I think it's safe to say that they are mostly from mainstream America, and as such, probably bring a stronger level of patriotism and dedication towards their service.

Remembering back to my days in Marine boot camp in WWII, the three most important things they stressed in our training were hygiene, discipline and pride (esprit d'corp). All three of these are so essential to becoming an effective warrior, especially the discipline. Even though the military is far from being a democracy, in fact it is a hierarchy, it actually functions more efficiently than most of society's institutions because each individual learns where he fits into the scheme of things. By learning group discipline it helps towards forming habits of self discipline which is so lacking outside military life.

The other thing that is rarely understood by people other than combat veterans, is the bonding of young men under the stress of battle. Being a soldier is more of a macho profession than most, yet these guys look after each other in total disregard of rank, race, social status, politics or physical stature. Of course, it's not just the case of ground troops in the trenches.

Think of the precision teamwork that has to take place on an aircraft carrier where sailors are launching roaring jet planes in the middle of the night, where each pilot has a designated target to destroy while taking great pains to avoid collateral damage. Some people think this is a push button war, but don't tell that to the men and women who are doing the fighting. Our nation's military units are successful because their dedication and discipline is superior to our enemies. All the "smart" weapons we have won't win wars without this.

And it's not just their superiority in warfare which makes today's military unique. They are being called upon to do operations that go beyond what they were trained for. They are in the streets and countryside pacifying the Iraqi citizens and physically rebuilding their infrastructure. They are doing this while under the stress extreme desert heat and daily sniping by radical terrorists that inflict casualties on our troops at the rate of one or two per day.

We should be proud and thankful to have this kind of military force fighting to preserve our freedoms and also willing to put their lives in danger in hostile lands so that less fortunate people can get their first taste of freedom and a chance for a degree of prosperity.

But we have far too many from the far left in this country who haven't learned the lessons of history and seem to go along with the "Blame America First" club. If we ignore these doom-sayers who want to turn everything over to the United Nations with their membership of anti-American Third World countries, we have an excellent chance to create a functioning democracy in the heart of Islamic tyranny. This will change the political dynamics for the betterment of world peace for generations to come.

If this occurs, and that's the direction we are going, we will owe a huge debt of gratitude to our military forces who defied the critics while performing their mission with courage and dedication.

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