Saturday, October 2, 2010

September 30; 2010

     Wilfred Owen, a British poet who saw combat in
 World War I had it about right when he wrote: "If  you could hear at every jolt the blood/ Come gargling from the froth-corrupted longs/...My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/ To children ardent for some desperate glory/ The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum ast/ Pro patria mori." Which is Latin for "It is sweet and proper/ To die for one's country.
     Maybe it's sweet when the war is good but we don't seem to have many of those anymore. What we do have, increasingly, is  not just servicemen being killed by the enemy by young Americans in the military killing themselves.
     The New Yirk Times had a story this week, :Four
 suicides in a week take a toll on Ft. Hood. Well, I should think so!. Ft. Hood, in Texas, is the largest base in the United States. So far this year, it  has had 14 confirmed suicides; six others are believed to have killed  themselves, but the cases haven't been decided yet. The previous higfh was in 2008, whenb 14 soldiers killed themselves.
    The Times quotes the Center for Disease Control says that works out to about four ntimes the national avaerage.
     It's understandable. When I covered Vietnam back
 in thr 1960s, most draftees did a one year tour there.
Now, with a smaller professional army, soldiers go back to thye war zone   for four tours, sometimes five. Sick to death of it? Sure they are.
     One solution would be to revive the draft. I'd  probably vote for it, but would Congress? I doubt it. The other solution is to  get out of these dumb wars. Let's.  

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