Memorial Day is the day that we Americans honor those who died serving their country in the military. Usually, we think of that as honoring people who died in one of the wars or other military conflicts the United States has been involved in since it’s inception. Which of course, is true, but we should also honor those who died in peacetime from non combat causes. Or who died in time of war in non combat activities, such as training or even just being transported. They took the same oath as combat casualties and took similar risks. Being in the military is inherently dangerous since it puts service members outside of the the normal safeguards of the civilian world.
Lately, the scope of the remembrances has extended to what are now called “First Responders”, which includes police, fire, and EMS. In and of itself, this is open to debate and disagreement. While engaging in police, fire, and even EMS activities entails risk above what many other occupations normally see, none of those occupations breaks into the top ten most dangerous jobs in America. I think the difference is that all three public safety professions involve purposely going into harms way for the benefit of others. Whether or not that is a sufficient distinction to make public safety deaths similar to military deaths is a question to which I have no answer. There is no doubt sacrifice if you work in public safety. Lousy schedules, inherently dangerous work conditions at times, pay, and so forth. I just don’t know if they are sufficiently more severe than non public safety jobs to approach the risk of military jobs.
Maybe someone else has that answer, I don’t.
This Memorial Day, I’m thinking as well about the future casualties we are no doubt going to see. Which means I’m going to delve into some political thoughts, so those of you who aren’t interested might want to stop reading here and just comment on the first part of this post.
We have been engaged in the current war for almost all of this century. Of course, our enemy has been engaged in this war for much longer, during which time most Americans, especially our putative leaders and the media didn’t even realize that we were in a war. As far back as 1993, Islamofascists staged an attack on the US homeland.
On February 26, 1993, a truck bomb was detonated in the parking garage of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The goal of the attack was to topple one tower into another and cause them both to collapse. Sound familiar? For a number of reasons the attack failed, but lack of trying was not one of those reasons. The perpetrators were jailed, tried, and imprisoned. The Presidential Administration of that time treated this attack on the Continental United States in much the same manner as a bank robbery. The perpetrators were not agents of a foreign government, but rather were Non State Actors who owed their allegiance to a theology, not a government. Despite that distinction, they were attacking the United States for political reasons, not financial gain.
That was the approach the Clinton Administration took during it’s eight year existence. They were more worried about political and legal ramifications than protecting the US and it’s citizens from an act of war.
During the first several months of the Bush 43 Administration, it appeared that the same approach would be used in dealing with foreign terrorists who staged attacks against US citizens and interests.
Then September 11, 2001 happened. The Bush Administration realized instantly that this was an act of war against the US and acted accordingly. The people who could be caught were jailed outside the US and subject to military tribunals, not civilian courts. Which is exactly how it should be.
The government of Afghanistan was warned that it housed enemies of the United States and given some time to hand those enemies over for trial and punishment. Said government refused and as a result was invaded and toppled. Whether or not we should have tried to do nation building there or not is outside the scope of this post, so I won’t venture there. While the main perpetrator of the attack was not captured at that time nor for several years, the approach disrupted further attacks, killed or captured a number of enemies of this country, and probably did the Afghani people some good.
Iraq was given a similar choice in regards to their activities, refused, and suffered a similar fate.
Neither war was particularly easy, both lasted longer than anyone anticipated, and Iraq was to say the least controversial. Despite that, at the end of the Bush 43 Administration, both countries were relatively (especially for their parts of the world) stable and on a reasonably good trajectory.
Then came the Obama Administration. Which has more than undone the work and sacrifice of the previous eight years and has without doubt, put the United States in more jeopardy than it has been at any time since World War II.
Even the Cold War was less dangerous than the current situation and that’s saying a lot.
Not only has much (if not all) of the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan been undone, but Libya, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, and other countries are far less stable than they were seven years ago. Egypt was at great risk and was only saved by a military coup that expelled the Muslin Brotherhood controlled government. Iran is a much larger threat and the Obama Administration is intent on making a deal that will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Which they will use.
Our military is far weaker than it was when President Obama was inaugurated. Read some of the posts over at Nobody Asked Me. Old NFO knows what’s going in the military in terms of preparedness, retention, morale, and everything else far better than do I and likely far better than do you.
All of that is bad enough, but there is even worse information.
There are foreign terrorists in the United States, right now, planning and carrying out attacks against Americans. That’s who the Boston Marathon bombers were, despite what anyone says. They weren’t terribly competent, but they still managed to kill or injure over 200 people. None of whom were active duty military. The Islamofascists consider every one of us to be legitimate targets. Men, women, kids. Cops, firefighters, EMS personnel. School crossing guards, the lunch lady. You get the point.
They are not barbarians, they are savages.
… the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
The savages are not only at the gate, they are inside the walls. Many have crossed illegally, others have taken advantage of the lax immigration policies of which this administration is so fond to embed themselves in our country and use our liberties, our institutions, and our values, against us.
Those who worry about overmilitarization of the police are likely to be thankful them in the near future.
Although the Administration doesn’t want to admit it, we are all potentially on the front lines. There will be more attacks like the Boston Marathon Bombing, or the attempted murders in Garland Texas, not fewer.
So, this Memorial Day, I’m thinking not only of the military casualties in past wars, I’m worrying about the military and civilian casualties that are yet to come in this war.
A war which I am not certain that we will win.