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11 November 2006


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In mourning for Sgt. Mock, it is very difficult to remain positive. I am sure that he, himself, would wish us to remain positive however.

The political tsunami that hit the Republican Party on election day must continue. The people who put that victory together, and I assure you it wasn't Hilary Clinton, Schumer, and Emmanuel, must continue to be supported.

What a horribly depressing tragedy.


Very powerful and moving tribute, Col. Lang.
God bless you, Sergeant
Mock and may there be some solace and comfort to your loved ones in knowing that you exemplify the best our country has to offer. I pray that my words do not diminish the sacrifice you have made.
May His angels enfold you.
Robert M Murray

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Why did you choose this poem?

To me, it is a romanticization of the horro and ugliness of war.

And the utter waste of it all.


from the link

US Civil War verse

The minstrel boy will return, we pray,
When we hear the news we all will cheer it.
The minstrel boy will return one day,
Torn perhaps in body, not in spirit.
Then may he play on his harp in peace,
In a world such as Heaven has intended,
For all the bitterness of man must cease,
And every battle must be ended


Babak, I don't think you understand why some of us choose to serve, even in times like these.


Perhaps some of the greatest human qualities are revealed only in horror, extreme adversity and even apparent futility.

Did anyone see/hear Mr Lehrer's remarks at the USMC Museum opening at Quantico yesterday? The Decider seemed to me less comfortable as the speech proceeded -- perhaps he took some of it it personally?

(sorry -- can't find a transcript yet)

See also




another story of a solider's death. Somehow, my guess is, this version will get less play than the previous versions.


Babak Makkinejad


No, I do not.

But I understand that the all voluteer force has made it easier for the politicians to play with other people's lives.

I regret the young people's death; they were sworn to defend their country and not to die for some one's (neo-conservative) fantasies.


This is not some "neocon" wetdream; it goes as far back as the Carter Administration.

And we do not serve our country for political reasons; we are professionals.


Rudyard Kipling

THEY shall not return to us, the resolute, the young
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?

They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?

Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide—
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?

Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour?
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?

Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take council with their friends,
To confirm and re-establish each career?

Their lives cannot repay us—their death could not undo—
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?


Friendly Fire

More poetry

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph :
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
'Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of pride and power of being alive;
Men's biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.'
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

Siegfried Sassoon


"...we do not serve our country for political reasons; we are professionals."

I think we should remember that the majority of our founding fathers preferred patriots to professionals when it came to defending our country. As much as I admire the professionalism of today's all-volunteer force, it represents a danger to American liberty. The war in Iraq is just one example of how a small, professional army can be misused by those in power.

Political awareness should be a prerequisite for military service in a democracy.


The Minstrel Boy was written in memory of the dead from the United Irishmen rising, a rebellion by a ragtag band of essentially unarmed men (many armed with spears due to the lack of firearms) who took on one of the best professional armies in the world at the time--the British--and were, predictably, slaughtered. I confess that it's not the first poem that comes to mind when I think about our involvement in the world these days--the circumstances just don't seem congruent. Kipling, on the other hand, seems far more appropros. Here's what I have to chip in (Epitaphs of War, available on the web via University of Newcastle):


W. Patrick Lang


I was thinking about how this soldier would think of his fate.

I have no interest in your political view of this or anything else. pl


"Political awareness should be a prerequisite for military service in a democracy."

"Political awareness" for what? To subjectivly determine their political slant?

This is a republic- not a democracy.


"'Political awareness' for what? To subjectivly determine their political slant?"

Yes, exactly. I took your first post to imply that soldiers should be apolitical. I strongly disagree. The military as an institution should be apolitical, but individual soldiers in a democracy (even a Republican form of democracy) should be politically aware.


The Minstrel Boy is sung to an Irish Air, "The Moreen." It was featured prominently in Ken Burns' "Civil War." It is a sad, haunting yet very contemplative tune.


In fact, they do check our 'political awareness'; during inprocessing, there is a security interview. They ask if you are a communist.


" The military as an institution should be apolitical,"

You can thank one particular party for that one, alienating the military with their elitism and anti-patriotism.


And the theme music to John Huston 's "The Man Who Would be King" - based on the Kipling story - and starring three of the twentieth century's greatest actors - Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Saaed Jaffrey.

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