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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Eagle Cried

Saturday, March 30, 2013, was the official Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in New Hampshire.  The NH Patriot Guard Riders participated with a Motorcade, and then by forming a flag line for the one-hour ceremony.  We stood across the back of the hanger of the New Hampshire National Guard at Concord Airport.  We listened as a series of politicians gave speeches of regret about the way the veterans of the Vietnam War were treated upon their return from their tours of duty.  Most of those who spoke were left-of-center in their politics.  I could not help but suspect that they, or their parents, were among the protestors who derided our soldiers as they returned from battle in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Their words rang hollow for me.  The one point that many made that did make sense, was that it was those very same slighted, disrespected veterans who have led the movement to see to the honoring of American soldiers returning from foreign soil, under the watchwords, "Never Again!"

This song says well what they were trying to say:

 As Thomas P.M. Barnett has so ably argued in The Pentagon's New Map, the number one export of the United States over the past six decades has been security.  A 64 year-old Norwegian businessman said to me in 2011 following a dinner cruise on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary, that "Every European should get down on his knees and say a prayer of thanks to America."  I was touched by his remark.  Shouldering the security of the Free World has been costly to us Americans, and our Vietnam and Korean War soldiers and sailors, as well as those who've defended Kuwait, and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, are those who've paid the highest price in their time, in their health, and in their blood, during that era.  I, for one, thank God for the loyalty and bravery of our military.


  1. Greetings, Professor, and may I congratulate you for all your very insightful posts.

    If I'm allowed, may I come with a more nuanced approach: since as early as its inception as a nation, the US had as a doctrine the subordination of the military to the political establishment - which is undoubtedly a good thing, as it ensured an uninterrupted period of civilian, democratic government, of over two centuries.

    A corollary is that soldiers do not question the motives for which they are sent on the battlefield. They do their duty and acts of heroism beyond the regular call of duty are not infrequent - and for this, indeed, they deserve our respect and appreciation.

    I had once the occasion of attending a commemorative parade at the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC - and may I say it was a moving experience (I blogged about it in Romanian on

    However, my question would be whether the military are always sent for the rightest and soundest motives - or that they may die in vain, only in order to assist to irresolute decisions of the politicians - as it was in Somalia, where 18 elite rangers died in an attempt to capture the same warlord for which other rangers were ordered, several months later, to serve as honor guard during (another) tentative peace talks.

    1. Whether the war is righteous or not, the soldiers who honor their duty and risk everything to fight in their country's cause do not deserve to be spat upon when they return.

      Of course, the righteousness of any war is debatable. War is Hell. Hell is evil's home base. I suspect that all wars have plenty of evil in them to protest against. But when the troops return, they deserve to return to a loving people, who respect and honor their sacrifices.

    2. Duncan:
      As always, well said, you possess insight and a method of articulating it that few do.

      You sir are spot on.


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