Compleat Idler, Free Society

Memorial Day

(c) 2012  Earl L. Haehl  Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.


Memorial day is usually less obtrusive on my mind. This year the flags were flying at half staff beginning Friday. It is not that I have an objection to the flag at half staff, but the symbolism is that the flag is hung at half staff on Memorial Day until noon in honor of the dead, and at full mast until dark to recognize that the Republic lives. As my flags have no means for half staff, they go up at noon.

The early morning included, as usual, a visit to the Vietnam War Memorial at the University. There are the names of the dead and missing—my classmates, a couple of whom I knew. And then I dropped by to a local McDonalds where I get the senior coffee and see friends. I am in a generation that is dying faster than the previous, so every year there are fewer to remember.

I did not go to Vietnam and so I feel a twinge of guilt; yet there is nothing I could have done then or now to change that—the military said, we do not want you. And I know that had I gone I would likely have gotten some of my fellows killed through my inability to perform at standard. So there is nothing to do but remember.

And now this could be our last time to remember. In the midst of our remembrance, we hear from the Secretary of Defense that the United States is capable of and ready for an attack on Iran to prevent them from obtaining a “nuclear device.” At the present time, the military and naval forces of the United States are stalemated in various military adventures—the intelligence community is working with “our NATO allies” to destabilize and overthrow the government of Syria to the point of a manufactured atrocity similar to the one that justified the bombing to overthrow the Milosevic regime in Serbia. Troops that are rotating home are exhausted and have low morale. And yet the United States is ready to go to war.

Discounting the fact that the evidence of Iran’s nuclear military intent and capability is unclear to anyone not of neo-conservative or AIPAC orientation, what does readiness to attack entail. Yes, we could dispatch a B-2 flight out of Whiteman AFB, MO, refuel in mid-air and drop a whole lot of tonnage on Iranian facilities before going on to Diego Garcia, we would have committed acts of war on Iran as well as those countries whose air space has been violated. Further, Iran, having been attacked could ask for assistance from its allies, among whom are Russia and China. China, in the not too distant past, held as doctrine that it could, because of its size and population, prevail in a nuclear exchange.

The magic mushroom cloud is not an option I would consider, but then I do not speak for Messrs Panetta and Obama. The problem is that once the genie is out of the bottle it has no retreat. The victory will go to Chaos—that god of destruction lurking beneath our veneer of civilization and waiting his time to burn our world–or to the eternal winter in the Ragnarok..

On a Memorial Day long ago I recall watching an interview with General of the Army Omar Bradley who was asked about the irrelevance of infantry now that we have “air power.” The answer was that you have not accomplished victory without infantry in place. In a war with Chaos or Loki even infantry is not enough.


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