The Fightin' Dainties?
I’ve spent a lot of time of late with military people, and I am reminded of Tocqueville’s observation that the best Americans generally do not go into politics or the academy; they go into business or the law or religion, and, in times of war, the armed forces.But a month ago he was saying that we were doing poorly in Iraq due, in part, to the "substantial number" of our troops who were lazily "sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee." Which is it?
Also, he writes that "Military people are not happy with the media or with the American public. Many of them say, I think quite accurately, that most Americans view them — the soldiers — as an annoyance." Of course Ledeen offers no evidence for this claim, but I'll say this: In my experience military people often aren't happy with the American public or the media and it's not because they're seen as an annoyance. It's because the vast majority of the American public and the press are so disconnected from the military that they just don't understand them.
Soldiers were always bitching to reporters about stories that would misunderstand their mission, the rank structure, the way combat units are apportioned, etc., basic stuff reporters should probably have at least looked up before arriving in country. But just as annoying are those who write paeans to service members' glorious service or call them all heroes. Soldiers know that every unit has some pogues, that not all who serve serve heroically (or even adequately) and that saying everyone's a hero makes no one a hero.