• December 7, 2021

Just because it’s symbolic doesn’t mean it’s unimportant

In this post I write about two quite different things, linked by the issue of the importance of symbols. First, the Taliban fighters took the American army uniforms left behind in Joe Biden’s disorganized run from Afghanistan and used them to create a mocking image of Iwo Jima:

It can be said that this is “only” symbolic, that we have not actually been humiliated by a group of primitive terrorists. But symbols can be powerful, and this one is especially irritating because it capitalizes on the fact that the Biden administration didn’t even bother to bring our war materiel with us – not just uniforms, but planes, helicopters, guns, ammunition. , night vision goggles, etc., when we left Afghanistan. To the victor goes the loot, but the loot did not have to include millions or billions of dollars in military equipment.

Then we have inflation in military honors. Increasingly, it seems that the fewer battles military commanders have won, the more medals adorn their chests. A friend sent this graphic, contrasting the medals of Dwight Eisenhower, victor of World War II and organizer of the Normandy invasion, still the greatest logistical feat in world history, with those adorned by David Pretaeus, architect of our strategy in Afghanistan :

You also think of Ulysses Grant, my favorite historical character, who usually wore a soldier’s shirt with stars on the shoulders and no other decorations. When you win the Civil War and preserve your country, you don’t have to search for additional ribbons to adorn your uniform.

To be fair, if you do an image search, you may find a photo or two of Eisenhower with a few more medals, although nothing even remotely like the modern standard, as exemplified by not just David Petraeus, who I think had considerable merit, but also by Mark Milley, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was in charge of the Afghanistan fiasco. Milley, in my opinion, should immediately resign:

Has Milley ever been a successful commander? Have you ever won a battle? I don’t know, but I’ll confidently say that it’s not Dwight Eisenhower, and it’s certainly not Ulysses Grant. The inflation of military honors is symbolic and may be considered unimportant by some, but I think it is part of the general deterioration in standards that we see everywhere in our country.

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