Friday, November 30, 2007

Battle lines.

At the CNN/YouTube Republican candidate debate, Senator John McCain said, regarding the quagmire in Iraq that, "our troops want to finish the job." A commenter to CNN.com replied after in this way:
I have never in my few years as a young Soldier in both an active duty and reserve component heard anyone say such things. It is a soldier's job to be neutral and fulfill the duties that the American people task us with. I think it is wrong to fool the American people into thinking that soldiers actually enjoy the brutal environment in Iraq and wish to stay there.

Regardless of the shared military experience of McCain and those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, the fact remains that those currently serving in battle are the only ones qualified to speak to how they see their own military experience.

The poem below is based on the Epitaph of Simonides, which is engraved on a commemorative stone placed at the burial mound of the Spartans at Thermopylae. I think it's a good representation of the discord between those who serve in battle, verses those who move the pawns of war.


Perished by Sidney Nolan

Inscription for a War by A. D. Hope

Stranger, go tell the Spartans
we died here obedient to their commands

—Inscription at Thermopylae

Linger not, Stranger; shed no tear;
Go back to those who sent us here.

We're the young they drafted out
To wars their folly brought about.

Go tell those old men, safe in bed,
We took their orders and are dead.

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