Happy Belated Veterans Day, But Not to Salon

My apologies to whoever actually reads my work. I have been contending with personal and family issues for the past week—specifically my gravely ill brother. But it’s time for a few words on an important subject, even if they are a bit late.

We just passed Veterans Day, and with the predictability of a coke freak reaching for a shard of broken mirror, Salon has published its annual teenage tantrum against the U.S. military. They must think this is still impressive and edgy to do, like wearing bell bottoms, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s slander is already commissioned and queued up. This year’s breach of good manners comes from David Masciotra. (I’m not linking to it.) The editors chose the headline “You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.” One wonders what “real democracy” is; it must be something like a true Scotsman.

The piece contains all the necessary cliches—references to the “military-industrial complex,” devious aerospace hucksters, and think-tank neocons. Here are the relevant lines:

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.”

This being Salon, the writer must hedge against his own readers’ accusations of racism by focusing on white soldiers. After some more hedging with talk about the inadequacy of veterans’ healthcare, Masciotra writes:

The last time the U.S. military deployed to fight for the protection of American life was in World War II […].

I don’t mean to afford this more attention than it deserves, but this is demonstrably false. Whose freedom do you think the Marines and Army Rangers were protecting when they landed at Grenada in October 1983, as 1,000 Americans, most of them students at the medical school of St. George’s University, were at the mercy of a gang of murderers who had just seized power in a coup and executed anyone in their way, including a pregnant woman?

There are more examples, but the Masciotras of the world always wiggle out of them by saying that the United States homeland itself has not been in danger of invasion for seventy years. Assuming this is even true, it is only true because we have a massive deterrent force, composed of ready and willing young men and women. Soldiers *do* protect our freedom, and they have done so not just at Bunker Hill, or during the war of 1812, or in the Pacific Theater. What do people like Masciotra think would have happened to the United States if its military hadn’t existed from, say, 1945-1991?

Enough of this. I shall return.

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