I have been thinking a lot about today’s veterans and I have to hand it to each and every person who gets on an airplane to go to war to defend our or any country.
I think, however, that the culture has changed so much that we back here tend to think in ‘who is to blame’ far more than we should.
I have been told that there is a quote from the Civil War that “War is Hell” and I was recently watching a documentary on television about World War I where several veterans said yes it is Hell on Earth.
However, I think one big difference between culture then and culture now (NOT the troops the culture here) is that in the first World War the soldiers and everyone knew that every single time there was a firefight or battle that not every soldier was going to come back. They knew it. Now we get really mad at our politicians if a soldier goes into battle and dies.
I don’t want them to die. I am a veteran. NO ONE wants them to die. But SOLDIERS go into these situations knowing that it is possible. They don’t want to but it can happen. They know it. Yet they go. That takes a real sense of duty. I think they should all be commended for facing this fear so we don’t have to. We must rally behind their feeling and accept that risk but only if we have to go to war. War should be the LAST resort. If the current wars are the last resort or not is for people smarter than me to figure out. I hold no sway nor will I render an opinion on the validity of the conflicts we are in merely accept that we are in them.
Second, in some of these interviews the WWI vets states almost uniformly that going to war caused them to appreciate life and get the most they could out of it. THey learned to work hard and sacrifice. Something as a country we need to work harder at.
Third they knew it was kill or be killed. This is something we mess up today I think. We go into war and have rules that come down from politicians who are safe and cozy that killing is a last resort. I think WWI had it right. If that guy wants to kill me…Well I really want to kill him. That is war. We are at war, and our soldiers should be fully in the mode of those from previous conflicts when it comes to those who mean to do them harm.
Also several interviewed veterans said something that stuck me as missing from most of the current dialog. They believed that contry came before self gratification. How many people today would make that statement? I suspect it is VERY few.