Friday, January 31, 2014
We Applaud The People We Broke
But while that moment reflected limitless credit on Sgt. Remsburg, his family, and others similarly situated; and while I believe it was genuinely respectful on the president’s part, I don’t think the sustained ovation reflected well on the America of 2014. It was a good and honorable moment for him and his family. But I think the spectacle should make most Americans uneasy.
The vast majority of us play no part whatsoever in these prolonged overseas campaigns; people like Sgt. Remsburg go out on 10 deployments; we rousingly cheer their courage and will; and then we move on. Last month I mentioned that the most memorable book I read in 2013 was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. It’s about a group of U.S. soldiers who barely survive a terrible encounter in Iraq, and then are paraded around in a halftime tribute at a big Dallas Cowboys game. The crowd at Cowboys Stadium cheers in very much the way the Capitol audience did last night—then they get back to watching the game.
We collectively absolve ourselves of guilt by "celebrating" the "heroes" so the debate about going to war doesn't have any real gravity, That's even more true now that we have smart weapons and drones wherein we put fewer lives at risk and make violence seem antiseptic, but those we do send into harm's way still come home dead or broken, and cost our society a great deal in the long run. Not to mention, of course, the innocent people we kill thousands of miles away generally without a second thought.
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Now, let's go back to what's really important the Super Bowl!!!
Posted by: Grung_e_Gene | Jan 31, 2014 11:40:55 AM
I saw/heard more than a few comments about that, mostly centered on the "10th deployment, what the hell?" part of this good man's story.
I wish to take nothing away from him, but "What the hell?" 10 deployments, he gets shredded on the 10th one, and for what? We should look at Sgt. Remberg and ask ourselves: "Why are we doing this to such good people?"
Posted by: Rmj | Jan 31, 2014 12:07:36 PM