Rhett Butler: With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.
Gone with the Wind 1939
In November this blog will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary but two years before that on this day in 2006 I sent Glenn Reynolds the following email concerning a post he did on Hadita. He included it in an update
There is one aspect about Haditha that seems to be ignored by everybody.
Our press and the anti-American left both in this country and outside of it has been reporting “Hadithas” over and over again over the last three years.
Time and time again our friends have accused us of every possible atrocity that there is to the point that internationally people are already able to believe this or the 9/11 stuff or all the rest.
Because of this, internationally it is totally irrelevant if the Marines actually violated the rules of war. Our foes are going to say that we’ve done things if we do them or not, so the only people that it really matters to will be; the people killed (and family) and the people in our own country who support the military.
The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say “we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep”. At that point the left can celebrate that they have made our military and those who support it the people they claim we are. Once that happens however any compunction about respecting them will be gone, and remember one side is armed and one is not.
That is a fate that I don’t wish on any of us.
Our friends on the left then bombarded Glenn with emails saying that I was calling for violence and as this was back in the days when GWB was in office and I had a high paying job and money in retirement place before the Obama years put an end to both my follow up had to wait for my day off.
You know I’ve been re-reading the responses to that letter and thought about it overnight. It really bothers me.
When you look at military dictatorships and military oppression that has taken place in history there is one common thread, (something that you have written on over and over) one side is armed and one is not. Usually you have a homogeneous military consisting of a single group/race etc.
One of the great genius’ of the American system was the subordination of the military to civilian rule, and the concept of militia consisting of all able bodied men. Our military came from all over the country and from all walks of life mixing and getting together. It’s a lot like going to church, people of all walks and trades and classes together in one spot. My pastor politically is as left as they come, that doesn’t stop him from being of the finest priests I’ve ever seen. I very much wish the church had more like him. (but I digress)
As political fever drives both sides farther apart over time we are in great danger of having a military that represents only a single party and class of people. We got a tiny glimpse of this during the Clinton years as the troops did their best to separate the office from the man. What will happen in 20 or 30 years?
Since the 60’s two unifying forces, for good or ill, were removed from the country: the removal of Judeo/Christian values as the semi-official moral code of the public schools) and the death of the draft/aka Vietnam. (actually ending in the 70’s). These two changes had one thing in common, it took two generations for them to have the following effect:
It is now unlikely that a student going to school today, had a teacher or parent who 1. Served in the military or 2. Was taught that moral code in school. To a whole generation now being born these are things that belong to outsiders. This makes the military and religious people outsiders and strange to one group and vice versa. Since the military draws predominantly from those two groups it will become more isolated from the rest of the public as time goes by.
This is not healthy for our country. What is worse is that one group has slowly vilified the military assuming them to be all dupes or thugs. A lot of this was political rhetoric but it has grown as a matter of faith.
There is NOTHING more dangerous in a republic than this. In the old south you had a police force that was of a single race, how many people of color felt comfortable calling the police? Right now we are in a war with a group that ironically hates most of what the left loves. The people who are predominantly fighting that war are on the right, the primary targets of our foes are frankly those on the left.
Some guys like Andrew Sullivan understand that I might disagree with him on Gay Marriage but these barbarians would cut his head off and brag about it. A person like me might suffer 2nd class citizenship in an islamist state. Our friends on the left would be dead.
I am an anomaly. I was born in 1963 but my parents were in their 40’s at the time. That means my father served in the pacific and my mother said the Lord’s prayer in the public school that she went to. My father is long dead but my own sons are babysat by my 81 year old mother quite a bit, (active is too slow a word for her). The values I’ve grown up with were the values that were the mainstream of the greatest generation, however I grew up around people a generation ahead of me so perhaps I can see it a bit brighter than most. This has to be nipped in the bud before somebody in the future with power means what our left leaning friends think I did.
I see two simple solutions: The primary one is history. Let our friends in the left study the history of their grandparents and great grandparents. It is almost a certainly that they had family members in the military, belonged to a church and had the worldview that the right hold now. Look into this and see when you study their lives, how they lived without the wonders we take for granted, how they got by without TV or air conditioning or that 2nd car and see if you see what kind of people they were.
Second take a lesson from today. I would recommend to our liberal friends the book KEEPING FAITH A FATHER-SON STORY ABOUT LOVE AND THE USMC. by Frank Schaeffer (the sequel Faith of our Sons is fine too). It is the story of a man of the left who’s son decides to join the Marine Corps (1998). The reaction of the people in his community and his school are shock and dismay. The reaction of the teachers is where did we go wrong? It is a riveting read.
For our part on the right we need to not make the venom directed against our institutions make us unquestioning supporters of all they do, furthermore have some contacts with people on the left. Socialize, In the group I hang out with. I am the only practicing Roman Catholic, most are not religious, several have marched in favor of gay marriage, several have signed the petition to put it back on the ballot, yet we all are pals, we are all welcome in each others homes and would drop what we are doing in a second to give the other a hand. That doesn’t mean when a subject comes up we don’t argue politics but that doesn’t make us less friends.
Anyway I can’t believe I’ve spent an hour writing this on my day off but it was on my mind and wouldn’t get off of if until it was written and sent.
In the twelve years since my mother died at age 88 and my sons are now in their twenties but the divides I wrote about have only gotten worse and the target of the left ire had migrated from the military to all Trump voters who are tagged as racists simply for their vote
And was it just last year that I observed a “woke” mob go after two men one wearing a Trump banner and one wearing an Israeli flag for daring to think that they had the right to safely walk though the Boston Common? Back when I wrote those letters I was amazed at the left’s reaction, but having seen them up close, covered them at their worst and been part of groups targeted by them very little that they do surprises me anymore.
I see no sign and very little chance of this situation changing, however it needs to change fast because the longer it goes on the better the chance that this will lead to actual violence which is still a fate I don’t wish on us, but I suspect that there are a fair number of very ignorant leftists whose only experience with the effects of actual violence comes from their gaming console to whom that possibility is a feature rather than a bug.
And if pointing out these facts and other cause our friends on the left to consider me a Villain and cause them to call me a Nazi, a Racist et/all as a Sicilian American let me say I really don’t give a damn.
Closing thought, take a look at the last entry on that twelve-year-old post and note it ends with a leftist calling GWB a dictator. Every GOP president or candidate for President is a dictator, or Hitler or an idiot and remain so until they either start attacking republicans in general and or conservatives in particular or die and are no longer a threat to Democrat power.
Update: There was a follow up post at Instapundit two days letter containing a 3rd letter from me that you might find interesting:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Peter Ingemi sends a followup email:
I’ve been doing a little surfing today and for the fun of it did a Technorati search of me. It is a new experience to be villified all over the internet by a bunch of people who I’ve never met and am unlikely to.
I was about to start answering some of the nonsense when the Sicilian in me kicked in. It is a waste of time effort and pixels and the responses and counter responses would eat up time I would be spending actually having a life and like I’ve said before Sicilians are used to being thought of poorly. It is almost like reading newspapers from the old south pre 1860, there is a mindset so entrenched that nothing is going to change it and what’s worse it gets reinforced over and over again. It’s almost a cult. I’ve only seen this for an hour, you must get it every day by the bagful.
How do you put up with it?
Practice. Plus, like Jeff Goldstein, I crap bigger than them. Much bigger. . . .
It’s still a waste of time to argue with these people, that’s also why I never block them on twitter. I’ve found the easiest way to discredit the the left is to allow them to freely express in their own words unfiltered.