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01 November 2012

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Basilisk

"Sometimes the national interest requires the acceptance of a lot of risk. Ask soldiers about that. Ask them that rather than chanting the meaningless mantra of your thanks at them."

This really strikes home. I volunteer at the USO at Dulles. We handle problems large and small for servicemen and their families.

Some volunteers insist on saying "think you for your service" to every single person—wounded warrior, rear echelon clerk, wife and child. I believe we do owe thanks, but somehow saying that over and over like a parrot kind of creeps me out. I have never been able to say it. I think actually being there for those who need help is the right kind of payback. If you can't do something in person to help then cash is always accepted at the USO website

I try to say something personal to those I assist, but not that mantra. I thought all along I was being weird. I am glad to see this expressed in print.

Fred

Far too many use the courage God gave them to complain about their tax burden as an American and assuage their guilty feelings with a trite 'thank you for your service'. I’ve asked half a dozen people her to stop saying that to me.

"If such aerial firepower had been available should it have been used against unknown enemies on the ground without regard to the effect on the inhabitants of Benghazi?" Those same courageous taxpayers I mentioned aren't considering this painful truth you point out.

Lars

Neither was Baron Munchausen's fanciful means of travel available and neither was Cassandra, or her modern echoes, the political pundits, available to tell everybody what would be happening.

Hopefully, some lessons were learned and applied to mitigate future incidents of that nature. The reality is that dangerous places are indeed dangerous.

The Moar You Know

"We should be talking about these factors not some Baron Muchausen nonsense about magic carpets that span the globe in an instant."

But Colonel, that doesn't fit the narrative that Obama wants to destroy America. And that "he called on the SEALS, but hung up on the SEALS when they called on him", and all the other irrelevant and untrue tripe that the wingnut Wurlitzer has been cranking out over the last few weeks.

So we can expect talk of the magic carpet gunships until 2016, and quite possibly for years after that, depending on who takes the dubious "prize" of the presidency after Obama. A job that you could not pay me enough to take on, I might add.

The Twisted Genius

You're a good man, Basilisk.

The Twisted Genius

Not much to add to what Ignatius and PL have said about Benghazi. As my father would sometimes say, "That's where the bear shit in the buckwheat."

Charles I

Not for me to calculate risk/benefits. Muscular hardening of diplomatic facilities and ramped up rapid manned or unmanned intervention potential sounds like a winning business strategy though.

Walrus

Charles, what you just asked for is not Physically possible let alone economically possible. Do yourself a favor and visit the nearest armored museum. A little old RPG easily cuts through a foot of steel.

Patrick D

"Sometimes the national interest requires the acceptance of a lot of risk. Ask soldiers about that. Ask them that rather than chanting the meaningless mantra of your thanks at them."

This transcends the specific topic. "The national interest" and "risk" are two things most Americans don't understand, don't want to think about, and the political class does its best to keep it that way.

I'm sure it is more difficult to maintain that mental state the closer one is to "the tip of the spear." However, no doubt most soldiers are absorbed by their duties and doing what they can to manage their personal lives long-distance. How much thought do you think the typical soldier gives such topics, Colonel?

turcopolier

patrick D

How very condescending you are to the "common soldier." pl

Patrick D

Serious question, Colonel. No condescension. Just an empathetic view that they likely have their hands full with their day-to-day responsibilities even more so than the typical civilian American.

Walrus

How much thought?

A great deal, since they have a lot of time on their hands.

The infantry motto is:"hurry up and wait"

turcopolier

patrick D

Soldiers are dedicated public servants in a way that few civilians can match. Being a civilian is about taking care of number one. Being a soldier is the opposite of that. pl

blue

Space Marines to the rescue. Supported by swarms of robotic gunships also deployed from orbit! Hmm actually that sounds kinda expensive. Yeah nah.

John

“There are 25 such gunships in the whole USAF.”

Indeed, and they scattered widely around the world. A number are still held here, stateside, just for training. Furthermore, although they do enjoy a very high, full mission capable status percentage, one can be sure at any given time a number of them are not mission ready.

Some will always in the midst of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, rendering them temporarily unavailable. That is normal. And it is a real world consideration.

Basilisk

TTG,
I can't get over how young they all look.

turcopolier

basilisk

They were always young except in SF. you are just old like me. pl

Basilisk

" you are just old like me."

Yeah, you're right about that, and lots more as well.

turcopolier

Basilisk

Thanks. I feel particularly old today. I am struggling with the Long Beach meeting between SL and his nephew. pl

The Twisted Genius

PL and Basilisk,

You guys have a few years on me, but my old injuries are "reminding me of the good times" more and more often. I'm heading down the same road you're traveling down.

My wife and I usually see at least one multiple amputee whenever we visit the Quantico Commissary. They are usually accompanied by their wives and young children. These Marines are still young, but they look a lot older than their contemporaries. I guess serious physical trauma does that.

turcopolier

TTG

I was trying to be nice to Basilisk. I am leaving next week on a diving trip to Greece with someone nice. pl

The Twisted Genius

PL,

Pretty adventurous for an old man. You sound like the most interesting man in the world. Soon you'll be telling us to "Stay thirsty, my friends." Have a safe trip and a wonderful time.

turcopolier

TTG

TMIMITW? I thought you knew. The royalty checks are useful. pl

Walrus

Didn't know you dived.

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes, that is also my thought each day I walk over to post to teach those who will commission.

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