I never considered myself a warrior, per se. Not in the sense of, like, a real soldier – an Army infantryman, or a Marine. But I did serve. A six-year hitch in the Navy, back forty-odd years ago. No combat, just a technician showing up for work every day, some shipboard, some landlocked. Having had a couple of years college, I quickly made petty officer, but in boot camp I was just another grunt, and I remember the PT and seamanship training everybody had to go through, and the basic instruction on handling and firing small arms. See, no matter what type of conflict the US Military (as in “Military”) was involved in back in the good old days, or whether there was a conflict at all, or what branch of service or job code, everybody had to have a minimum level of proficiency in things…..military.
As I was driving my granddaughter to her summer job this morning, an ad came on the vhf marine radio for the US Navy. Actually, they kept saying ‘ America’s Navy’, which I thought was a little odd. Anyway, the narrator started talking about various units in the Navy, like the Seabees, and different individuals, like captains and Seamen First Class. Several scenarios were presented and I don’t recall the exact details, but they were along the lines of ‘Seabee unit such-and-such making a difference in (fill-in-the-blank third world country) village; or Captain so-and-so making a difference in the life of a small (fill-in-the-blank third world country) boy.’ And so on.
Having been only half asleep the last few decades, I have read and heard about such things as ‘the New Army’, the New Air Force’, the ‘New Navy’. As once a technician myself, I certainly understand the need for different professional qualifications and skills, and perhaps nowadays even a modicum of social awareness in modern …….warfare. Everybody who studies war these days is hip to pacification programs, and of course, US service people have always been expected to be good ambassadors when not out there going at it. Women got really mad and patriotic all at the same time a few decades back and demanded to be allowed to kill. Assimilated that. Then, of course about a decade-and-a-half ago we had the silliness of the ‘Don’t Ask Mommy, Don’t Tell Daddy’ method of maintaining order in the ranks. Weathered that. And now we are in the Age of Openness. Don’t even need a jury for that. The foot has to come down at some point. But we’re holding our fire today.
For some reason, it all just congealed like something in the pit of my stomach when I heard that radio ad this morning. The thought struck me that people are being asked to join the US Military to be ……social workers. Sure, they might be Seabees, or clerk-typists or bosun’s mates, but the motivation factor seems to be ‘making a difference’ , as opposed to the erstwhile ‘serving, or defending, your country’. Outreach. Everything these days is ‘outreach’, even apparently in the ……military…….services. It seems that the Beatles’ signature anthem of their psychedelic days, “All You Need Is Love”, has become the marching tune for …….America’s Navy….and America’s Air Force…….and increasingly for America’s Army. Last time I heard anything on the subject in the news, of which military organizational analysis there is not much these days because 20,000 journalists all want to write about the debt ceiling, the Marines were still somewhat recalcitrant in making adjustments in the mission statement area, but of course they are continually harassed and goaded and cajoled into …….coming into the 21st Century, as the Progressives say.
Well, the older I get the curioser I get, so I did it. I googled “America’s Navy”. Yes, they have a website. The banner reads “AMERICA’S NAVY – A Global Force For Good“. Global ……..force for ………..good. And yes, the website looks like an ad for…..the Peace Corps, or the United Way, or the Agency for International Development, or UNICEF, or the cover of a Hillary Clinton book. Even the website www.navy.mil( as in “military” ) while offering a couple of cool photos of a fighter jet and a few ships, features prominently at the top the Number One Photo of………Michelle………..holding up a picture book ………in front of a classroom of small children. Please.
Okay, this is the 21st Century, and things change, and Progress is our Most Important Product, and All We Really
Need Want Is Love. But……………………who is going to………….protect us?