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Fighting the Forever War
The Sociodegradable War Hero
© 2013 James LaFond
I paid $4.99 plus Aunt Maryland’s reading tax of thirty cents to buy the March 2013 issue of Esquire magazine!
No!! It is a Hearst publication and is chock full of ads featured gay twerps prancing around in clothes being marketed to rich twerps—Oh yes, I’m saved; some way-beyond-smoking-hot babe named Jenna Dewan-Tatum looking at me—no, that’s right, at the gay cameraman—from a kneeling squat…okay LaFond, deep breath and keep it open to this page, page 77, every time people board the bus, so they know you are not headed to the Pink Hippo to buy drinks for a dude…
Now what on earth could have gotten me to buy this New York fag-rag?
Yep, the cover; all black with white lettering “THE MAN WHO KILLED OSAMA BIN LADIN…IS SCREWED” followed in small red type by “THE TRUE STORY OF THE MISSION, THE MAN NOW, AND HOW THE GOVERNEMNT ABANDONS ITS ELITE WARRIORS. BY PHIL BRONSTIEN”
I had to pick it up and have read it twice, letting it sit and ferment between readings before writing this, a piece I had outlined months ago, after reviewing the book Imperial Hubris on this blog. [See Dictatress of The World.]
The War Geek
I have interviewed a few special operations military personnel. That was always riveting, and I never took notes, knowing it was such a special opportunity that I did not want to take a chance of ruining the discourse. Then, in 2009, when I was getting geared up for my fight in the dressing room at a Virginia Beach venue, I was interviewed by one of them. This guy was really intelligent, about 40, built like a god, very polite, and curious about my upcoming machete duels. He admitted to being a former Navy SEAL, who lived in New England but came down to Virginia Beach to instruct.
I had just read a memoir by a Navy SEAL who was the only survivor of two teams who were torched in Afghanistan—the guy in the dressing room knew them all. This stud won his fight by arm-bar and then stood ringside and cheered Damien Kestle at the end of our pipe versus chain bout, in which Damien wrapped me up in the chain, suplexed me, and finished me with an arm bar. I know I lost, but it was such a rush to have a real killer howling some war cry while I grunted out on the canvas that it ranks as one of my favorite fights…
Well, for the past few years now, the inward look he had in his eyes when I mentioned reading the book about his slain mates has haunted me. I have since read glossed over casualty stats with notes on Iraq and Afghanistan and cryptic mentions of casualties in ‘other areas of operations’. When I poke my nose into this pit of lies I can’t help and think about him, and my friend who was shot on a DEA mission in South America that never happened, and my brother…
…Back at the beginning of the U.S. versus Islamic War in the early 1980s my brother was stationed in Europe with the 82nd Airborne. I remember him telling me how surreal it was on the tarmac in Italy, waiting to get dropped into Beirut while he loaded himself down with so many claymores and so much other ordinance that he thought his back would snap when they jumped in to avenge the 200-plus U.S. Marines that had been slaughtered in the barracks bombing, only to have the mission scratched.
John Keegan, is a Brit, the senior military historian in the world, whose seminal work, The Face of Battle put him on the map at about the time my brother was deployed overseas in the early 1980s. Keegan came out with a bigger scope book in the 1990s that predicted that conventional warfare was on the way out and that future wars would be fought almost exclusively by small cadres of elite special operations troops, against terrorists. Now, with the United States having overtly embarked on a generations’ long religious war against Islamic militants, his prediction has come true.
I will not cover Phil Bronstein’s report on what really happened to Osama. I would rather address what is happening to the dude who martyred him. Even better, let me just give a general impression I have of how the wonderful U.S. military establishment has, is, and will, handle our best war-fighters.
The Forever Tour
A special operations warrior, just like the food prep guy and the laundry machine operator in the military, must serve 20 years to qualify for retirement. This term of service goes back to Roman times, and has traditionally assumed mostly downtime. However, unlike the Roman legionnaire, our modern special ops warriors are fighting 300 days per year.
Now, these men are naturally suitable for the task and highly trained and acclimatized, unlike the amateur U. S. soldiers of WW II, or the short term soldiers who fought in Vietnam. Keep in mind that an entire generation of our fighting men basically went nuts from year-long tours in Vietnam.
Although our current war-fighters are better shielded from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than their grandfathers, they must hang in there for the equivalent of 15 to 18 Vietnam combat tours before being able to retire! Even if these guys were genetically engineered for this they would break down after a decade or so. Now, they have a better material standard of living than the guy cleaning the base cafeteria, because of hazardous duty pay. But their retirement package is no better. Also, the military is banking on them quitting before retirement and going to work for a military contractor, so that they can be taken as off-the-books casualties; maybe served up as part of a dirty deal that gets the ambassador they are guarding killed in return for Islamic terrorists releasing a CIA agent…
When these men hit a high value target a price gets pasted on their head forever. They generally can’t afford to relocate without landing something lucrative in the private sector, and the enemy knows they live near base. The brass will not even authorize security door installation on their houses before discharge. Their wives and children will also not be permitted to find refuge on base after they have discharged, as they are no longer military dependents. Without even a concealed carry gun permit, these masters of the battlefield, once discharged, are left defending their families through drilling them on interior structure combat-shotgun tactics. The establishment wants these guys to be lost, vulnerable to assassination, and unemployable in the civilian private sector after discharge, so that they will be compelled to get into the private end of the post-modern war-machine; perhaps as off-the-books muscle for the CIA or some other scumbag entity, or as AK-food to bait or appease the enemy.
With the exception of some former military men who have made hugely successful transitions—like MMA fighter Brian Stan—lending a hand, not much will be done for the handful of men that are taking it to an invisible enemy on unnamed battlefields around the world. Phil Bronstein made an appeal on their behalf. However, I think any such appeals to reintegrate the postmodern war-fighter back into the mainstream economy will fall on keenly deaf ears. His masters want him to remain on the military leash as a private contractor.
My crackpot prediction is, when this U.S. versus Islamic war winds down in 80 years or so, every U.S. special ops combatant will be a private contractor.
Two hundred years ago the sailors of the British Navy defeated the fleets of Spain, France, Denmark and Holland, securing for their nation a hundred years of global supremacy. Most of these men were discharged without pay, suffering from grievous physical and psychological wounds. ‘Great’ Britain and its people then proceeded to turn their backs on the men that had saved their nation as assuredly as the RAF pilots later saved London from the Luftwaffe in the Battle over Britain. But the hero sailors, dying of exposure on country lanes and of neglect in poor houses, had no Winston Churchill to remind the world what they were owed. And, our Navy SEALS, Delta Force, and others, operate in a world that will never again permit a Winston Churchill to have a political voice. For these generations of men that have just begun fighting this expanding war, I see a long unappreciative night ahead.
I wish them better luck than the victorious British sailors of old.
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