Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An American, North Korean, and South Korean Soldier

The above image posted on these pages three-and-a-half years ago, "however [obviously] staged for propaganda purposes," is bringing in lots of hits in recent days, for obvious reasons — USA, DPRK, ROK. It's laughable not only because the North Korean is so small but because those flanking him seem to think themselves so big.

Sorry, but unlike neocons, I refuse to melt at the sight of a man in uniform. My beloved Mississippian Yellow Dog Democrat granny, who wore a P.O.W. bracelet, advised me, rather commanded me, at a very young age, never, ever, to become an government employee by joining the United States military. Thus, the fact that ours had for genereations been a "military family" ended with me, God bless her.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Very similar advice to that I received from my father, a WWII and Korea vet (Omaha Beach, Iwo, Okinawa, occupation in Japan, in the Korean theater all three years of the war). He was dead set against any of his children joining the military. And he had a 17 year career as a DoD employee as well. He didn't want his kids going through any of the kinds of meatgrinders he went through from 1943-1953.

When I was a teenager I told him that I was interested in joining the air force. Not a happy discussion. Eventually, he was willing to talk to me about joining the coast guard (!) but even that he didn't like because the cg merges with the navy in time of war. Eventually, thanks to him, I stayed a happy and unindoctrinated civilian.

1:01 AM  
Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

I never served either, despite having my father & all my uncles serve in WWII or Korea. Closest I ever got was doing yard work as a teen for a retired Army recruiter, who had been a rifleman in France, 1944.

Still, I have to nod at this line from Chesterton: "There is a corollary to the conception of being too proud to fight. It is that the humble have to do most of the fighting." - Everlasting Man, 1925.

And this from Solzhenitsyn:

"At no time has the world been without war. Not in seven or ten or twenty thousand years. Neither the wisest of leaders, nor the noblest of kings, nor yet the Church — none of them has been able to stop it. And don't succumb to the facile belief that wars will be stopped by hotheaded socialists. Or that rational and just wars can be sorted out from the rest. There will always be thousands of thousands to whom even such a war will be senseless and unjustified. Quite simply, no state can live without war, that is one of the state's essential functions. ... War is the price we pay for living in a state. Before you can abolish war you will have to abolish all states. But that is unthinkable until the propensity to violence and evil is rooted out of human beings. The state was created to protect us from evil. In ordinary life thousands of bad impulses, from a thousand foci of evil, move chaotically, randomly, against the vulnerable. The state is called upon to check these impulses — but it generates others of its own, still more powerful, and this time one-directional. At times it throws them all in a single direction — and that is war." -- "Father Severyan", in the novel October 1916

2:23 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Thanks for the stories and quotes.

I'd be glad to join a militia, or even a standing army, to fight off foreign invaders. Serving in foreign wars where no American interest is at stake is another story.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

My main reason for not joining the military was simple: I was hardly what anyone would call athletic back in grade school -- really terrible actually in Phys Ed class -- all the way from elementary school through high school.

So I concluded that if I wasn't skilled at the kind of activities demanded of us by our shouting gym teachers, I'd probably be even less qualified for the military world's even more demanding drill instructors.

That -- and the film Full Metal Jacket (whose boot camp sequences scared the hell out of me as a teenager, quite frankly) -- convinced me that if Uncle Sam really, really needed me -- if things ever got that desperate -- he would let me know, and I would answer his call.

10:14 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Glad I'm not the only one who for whom P.E. was not the top subject in school.

Our emphasis on P.E. is our schools reminds me of Sparta, which, it should be remembered was a highly regimented society that promoted pederasty, hardly a model for a free people.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Unlike neocons, I refuse to melt at the sight of a man in uniform

Joshua, the way this metaphor turns grown men who are probably proud of their toughness into the stereotypical starry-eyed and swooning women of such a scenario will keep me laughing all day! =P

12:13 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Western confucian writes : "Sparta, hardly a model for a free people."

But yet a people cannot be free if they don't adopt the basic premises of that society.

And not p.e. class, but the better organized rituals of war such as football or lacrosse. In Herodotus there's a passage where one of the Persian generals despairs when he finds out that the Greeks are competing against each other not for material prizes, but for the honor of wearing a laurel wreath.

We on the other hand are like the Persians who forgo the honor of the wreath while going one step better by cheating for temporal goods.

btw, there's a very nice audio talk by Tom Fleming at Mises institute which references the same passage. I always here Tom Flemings voice in my head when ever my children ask me what the prize in any competition is because I make it a laurel wreath in remembrance of that same passage.

1:36 PM  

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