Tag Archives: military

In seventeen and forty one

In seventeen and forty one,
my family reached these shores;
each generation since that time
has fought this country’s wars.

Against the French, and then the Britons,
then in Union blue;
the Spanish, Mexican and Natives,
when each call came through.

In Europe, twice, and then, Korea,
Laos, Vietnam;
and last, Kuwait, Iraq,
against the dread Saddam.

Can those brave leaders say the same
who now say we must fight,
not for a principle, but money?
It does not seem right.

How many simple farmers’ sons
must fight the rich men’s wars?
How many inner city youths
die while prep school kids keep score?

My family ranks with DAR,
and led Marines through Seoul;
with no excuse or privilege card,
we marched, and payed the toll.

With Washington and Jefferson;
with Lincoln, Grant, and Polk;
with Roosevelt and Eisenhower,
marched our simple folk.

With Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush,
our sons went off to war;
but now, I think the marching’s done
and we will fight no more.

For battle without honor,
in the name of greed and pride
turns soldiers into mere machines
with no heart left inside.

If you would wage such wars,
keep all your smart bombs and new guns;
and for your cannon fodder,
find some other family’s sons.

29 May 2005

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One from General Eisenhower…

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961

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Decoration Day: a complaint or lamentation

Bang the drum and sound the horn!
Wash and press the uniforms.
From each window flags are flown;
now the troops at last come home.

Proud young sons and daughters, too;
freedom’s torch they’ve borne for you.
Through the world they’ve marched and roamed;
now the troops at last come home.

In the face of unseen dangers
they went forth, and fought with strangers,
giving of their flesh and bone.
Now the troops at last come home.

For the cause of pride and nation,
each assumed their assigned station
in the name of some unknown;
now the troops at last come home.

Trusting in their leaders’ visions,
never doubting their decisions;
each one thinks now of their own.
Now the troops at last come home.

Used as pawns in plays for power,
missions logged in countless hours
’til last reveille is blown;
now the troops at last come home.

Cheered and thanked and decorated,
from the headlines they have faded;
in battalions, or alone,
now the troops at last come home.

Limousines in long lines creeping,
sounds of countless children weeping.
No more battlefields to roam;
now the troops at last come home.

Bang the drum now, slow and loud!
Drape your flags as funeral shrouds,
speak in low and somber tones:
now the troops at last come home.

Fold the flags and thank the grieving
for their service, for believing;
wrapped in concrete, wood and chrome,
now the troops at last come home.

10 APR 2004

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Another Volley in the Battle of the Sexes

When I was in Switzerland in 1994, I attended a number of lectures (it was learning abroad thingie through Ohio State University). One of those lectures was from the second in command of the Swiss Army, who said something very interesting. He said that women in the Swiss military could attain any rank that a man could, that all non-combat positions were not determined based on the sex of the applicant. However, women were NOT permitted to participate in combat. Not because the women were not capable, determined, qualified or willing to participate. But because they found that the men in combat were psychologically unable, by and large, to withstand the thought of a woman under torture, or in harm’s way. They restricted women’s activities in combat solely on that basis – that their male soldiers could not be relied upon to withstand the pressures of combat if they were concerned about the well-being and safety of their female counterparts.

BTW, women in Switzerland got the right to vote in 1974. Women in America got the vote in 1929. And today, the place of women in society in both countries is very similar.

Any thoughts on this from anyone?

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