Wednesday, June 09, 2004

D-Day Musings

Alright! So I'm a few days late...sue me!
Slate posted a great article last Friday which I just recently read that talks about how we need to move beyond the whole D-Day worship. It was an important battle...yes. It also could have been a debacle, yes. However...it could have been fought a year earlier had Churchill not overestimated German strength in France in '43 and drained Allied resources with a rather pointless campaign first in North Africa (to bail out British oil and colonial interests) and then in Sicily and Italy. Moreover, it denegrates the contributions of American forces on other fronts (those mentioned above as well as the entire Pacific Theatre) and the contributions of our allies, in particular the Soviets.
It also raises a point that pulls heavily at me, and that is the 'militarization' of our culture and society. Listen, I find the military interesting at times (particularly the historical military). But...we have evolved somehow into a society that worships the military and the martial...to a point where it is not considered a great mistake in "polite society" to ever question or disrespect men and women in uniform. We place them on a pedestal that they do not always deserve, ascribe to them higher morals than they probably should have. Not all of these men and women have joined the military for some sort of altruistic vision of "defending freedom" and public service. For many, its the only job they're qualified for and can obtain (particularly for minorities in America). For others, its glory hunger and for others its a way they get to play with guns and machines.(Edit: I left out ROTC. Some people use ROTC to help pay for college. I meant to include that but neglected to. Many apologies.)
I'm not knocking everyone in the military - far from it. I'd just like to see some balance. They're neither all bad nor all good. They're people.

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