Thursday, November 11, 2010
One of my favorite poems, for the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
WW1 is why my respect for the military - any military - isn't absolute. the generals on both sides were stuck with the same problem: an enemy who was well dug-in and protected by hundreds of yards of barbed wire, and lots and LOTS of zeroed-in artillery and machine guns.
so they did all they could think to do: send the lads over the top, to be butchered. again and again. and when it didn't work, when it was obvious to a blind-and-deaf man that all that would do is get men killed, they....did it some more. week after week, month after month, for 4 freakin' YEARS.
using the precise same logic that corporate morons use to justify *their* profoundly stupid & costly decisions: "hey, we can't just sit here and do nothing!"
it's easy to laugh at the WW1 high command. they all had ridiculous mustaches; they wore silly-looking uniforms; the movies prove they walked all herky-jerky. but they were the cream of their respective armies. highly trained, well-seasoned, graduates of war colleges and (considered to be) the finest military minds on the planet. and they were never even worthy of carrying an enlisted man's kit for him. i dearly hope that haig, especially, is screaming in agony in hellfire, getting ready to charge the machine guns *again*, right now and forevermore.
i rather suspect today's brass ain't so different. the US military, at least, has never been so cavalier with the lives of their men. but they ain't perfect, and they ain't angels, either. just consider mcchrystal and the tillman coverup. God bless and God rest the vets. the brass.....not so much.