The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Friday, January 10, 2003

From today's San Jose Mercury News letters to the editor, an interesting view on the proper relationship between American government and its military:

EARLIER this week, the aircraft carrier USS Tarawa sailed out of San Diego harbor, escorted by two other ships, headed for the Persian Gulf. On board was one of the most precious people in my life -- my 20-year-old grandson from San Jose.

Sixty-one years ago, I stood beside a train and watched my husband of three months head for the war in North Africa. I ran along the tracks. They had open windows on the trains then, and he would reach out and sometimes we would touch hands. I never saw him again.

Back then, Gen. George Patton led them in the fight against Rommel across the hot sands. On Jan. 22, 1944, he landed on the Anzio beachhead under constant strafing from the Nazis. The last letter I ever received from him was dated June 11, 1944, when the Nazis -- angered by the Normandy landing -- bombed the hospital tent where my husband was staying.

Alexander the Great always marched at the head of his troops. So did Teddy Roosevelt. Where was President Bush Monday when these Marines and sailors -- not really ready for battle yet -- were sent out on a trip to reach the Middle East? He was running around the country trying to make himself ``popular'' so he can win re-election in 2004.

Does anyone, besides myself, worry if these young boys will even survive until 2004?

I circulate among quite a few people, and I have not met one who doesn't think that this is a phony war.

Rosemary K. Breckler
San Jose

I'm sorry that Ms. Breckler's husband died. I'm also sorry that she believes that George Patton was President of the United States in the year 1944.

One problem that many liberals have when they debate is that they tend to throw any argument they can find against the wall in the hope that something will stick. Such people never seem to consider what it would mean if their arguments were taken to their logical conclusions:

  • Breckler seems to think that President Bush, like Alexander or Patton, should "march at the head of his troops." No president has ever done this, and it's a good thing; our military is separate from, and subordinate to, the civilian government. Does Breckler really want the president to be a warlord seeking glory as he marches with his troops, a la Napoleon?

  • Breckler states that American soldiers are "not really ready for battle yet". I doubt that to be the case but let's allow that America's armed forces are unprepared, for the sake of argument. The only way to get them ready for battle is to either fight a small war to gain some practice, or to increase the military budget to allow for additional training. Is this what Breckler and her wide range of acquaintences want?

By the way, why is it that all the peaceniks in the Bay Area are so old? It seems like whenever I see a car with a "Attack Iraq? No!" bumper sticker, the driver is late middle-aged or older.



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