...and I got Ds in American history when I was lucky...
To the right is an image of Ken Burns, one of my few TV idols. He does documentaries for PBS - mostly spellbinding 'before film' programs comprised of stunning photos, a few paintings, and riveting prose. I'd like to think that Matthew Brady is sitting on his shoulder. (Google Brady if you don't know who he is, please!)
The average soldier in the Civil War was amazingly brave, and uniformly noble. This is not to demean our current and 20th century warriors, but that was neighbor-to-neighbor, American against American. It must not have been an easy thing to do, to 'take up arms' against one's national peers. (Suggestion: rent "Friendly Persuasion" to understand a bit just how hard...)
I'm trying to figure out how to say something without angering people...I'm going to make an attempt...
When a country's military engage drone (pilotless) aircraft to bomb an enemy, it may be practical, it may be effective, and even warranted. However, to my mind it removes the term 'noble' from a description of the mission. No, I would not prefer that soldiers get killed...I would prefer the war and the reasons for it did not exist. But to my mind there is nothing noble about using computerized planes to fight without risk. It's fortuitous that we developed them first, we who are dedicated to the proposition that all people should be free, rather than some renegade country whose leaders believe that might makes right, or at least one's 'god' makes right. (I wonder which would make them madder - a person being of another faith, or those few who dare to be agnostic/atheistic...)
I've purposely declined to post before this about the current war. And what I do have to say has less to do with the cause or the warrior than it does the administration that sent them there. It took me until Bush landed on the carrier with his 'mission accomplished' horseshit (apologies to horses everywhere) that I 'chose sides,' so to speak, on the side of those who think there must have been a better way. But I'm no tactician, so I just sit and watch the news and try to keep my opinions to myself, except for two things:
1) Given that we have a volunteer military, at least for now, it really angers me that we keep 'redeploying' the same soldiers over and over again for tours (such a quaint word for cannon-fodder...) to the point that children born during their first trip are in elementary school before they can form any meaningful relationship with their dads (and occasionally their mothers). If I had my druthers, I would disallow consecutive deployments to combat areas. Allow them to breathe safely for alternate tours and I suspect we'd have a lot fewer shattered men in VA hospitals or psychiatrists' couches. Let them come home and be part of the family, or try to rebuild what is left of it, for a number of weeks, alternating with stateside duty nearby. Then, if necessary, send them back into combat reasonably refreshed. They might just have a heightened attitude toward the job at hand rather than being plunged into depression at the thought of a never-ending, hopeless cycle of consecutive battle redeployment.
2) On top of this, we insist on cutting every corner we can regarding armament and transportation. Tanks and vehicles should be impenetrable. While little can be done about those nasty buried roadbombs, we can at least make it so vehicles are reasonably safe from the kind of assault getting ever more common here at home - the drive-by shooting. Stop getting supplies and vehicles by lowest bid 'cause you're gonna get what you pay for.
That off my chest, I'm going back to what I was doing...crocheting a baby blanket like a good senior citizen.