Are we the Baddies?

I was reading an entry on The Firearms Blog that had a photo of some Peruvian soldiers in skull warpaint that made one commenter post the following video:

I have to wonder how many Germans during WWII actually had this conundrum. I would imagine quite a few. In the modern era Germans seem to be decent people, and their current prohibition of anything Nazi shows their repentance to an extreme.

The current American situation, fighting an ambiguous war against “Terror” in which we can point to no nation as our enemy while engaging religious fanatics on their own soil, makes me wonder: Are we the baddies? Our enemies, a contingent of followers of the Islamic religion (I am told they hold a minority opinion within that faith) have declared a holy war against us. They call America the “Great Satan”, yet in our modern, secular, and borderline atheist culture, we cannot rally around God to renounce the claim, for far too many amongst our population have never known Him.

In the scheme of Divine Providence, is America just the latest iteration of Babylon or Assyria, a great power being utilized to accomplish the Lord’s works against the unjust, only to find itself destroyed when it has fulfilled His objective? Are we so consumed in our idolatrous worship of science, celebrity, and self that we cannot see this? I only pray that just as God spared a remnant of the kingdom of Judah, who then turned back to Him, He will spare a remnant of America as well when the day of His judgement comes upon us. We are not a covenant nation, as Israel of old was; our only hope is in the covenant God made to all through the blood of the Christ.

In the light of this it is imperative to realize that whether Americans are the baddies or not is irrelevant, each has a personal accountability for his own actions, and while punishment in this life often rains down on the just and the unjust alike, each will account for his own actions in the life to come. No matter what national allegiance one holds on earth, those of us who desire citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven must remember this teaching:

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40, ESV)

Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? In many ways, I would contend, that America, in general, does. Even when we “invade” a country, we make great efforts to improve their infrastructure, assist their needy, and practice a form of benevolence. Is it out of our selfish, national desires? Maybe so. However, for the soldier in that foreign land sharing the candies he received in his latest care package with the children he meets on the street, I would argue that he is loving his neighbor as himself.

We are told:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these,you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46, ESV)

Hurt feelings report

Last month I ran across a “form” on the Sarah’s Daughter blog that I had never seen before. It is the Hurt Feelings Report, which gathers such pertinent information as:

  • Whiner’s Name
  • Date feelings were hurt
  • Time of hurtfuleness
  • Location of hurtful incident
  • [Person] sympathetic to whiner
  • Name of real man/ woman who hurt your sensitive feelings
  • Which ear [sic] were the hurtful words spoken into
  • Did you require a tissue for your tears
  • Reasons for filing this report (Mark all that apply)
  • I am thin skinned
  • I am a whimp
  • I have woman/man-like hormones
  • I am a crybaby
  • I want my mommy

My wife already accuses me of being too militaristic in my approach to being a dad, but I thoroughly plan to implement this form when my kids become teens 🙂

Death of the Fobbit Medal

I’ve written about the Distinguished Warfare (Fobbit) Medal in the past, here and here, and it pleases me exceedingly to be able to share this message:

Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Distinguished Warfare Medal

The Department of Defense announced on Feb. 13 the establishment of the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the achievements of a small number of service men and women who have an especially direct and immediate impact on combat operations through the use of remotely piloted aircraft and cyber operations. I agree with my predecessor Leon Panetta that such recognition is justly warranted for these men and women and thank him for raising the level of awareness of their hard work and critical contributions.

When I came into office, concerns were raised to me about the Distinguished Warfare Medal’s order of precedence by veterans’ organizations, members of Congress, and other stakeholders whose views are valued by this department’s leadership.

After consulting with the service secretaries, along with Gen. Dempsey and the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I directed them to review the Distinguished Warfare Medal. The medal was originally conceived to be awarded only to those men and women who, while serving off the battlefield, have an extraordinary impact on combat operations. While the review confirmed the need to ensure such recognition, it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the concurrence of the service secretaries, have recommended the creation of a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions of this small number of men and women. I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal.

The Joint Chiefs also recommend further consultation with the service secretaries, the service senior enlisted leaders, and veterans’ organizations regarding the nature of the device as well as clear definition of the eligibility criteria for award of the device. I have directed that within 90 days final award criteria and the other specifics of the distinguishing device be developed and presented to me for final approval.

The service men and women, who operate and support our remotely piloted aircraft, operate in cyber, and others are critical to our military’s mission of safeguarding the nation. I again want to thank my predecessor, Leon Panetta, for raising the need to ensure that these men and women are recognized for their contributions. 

I think I can better support a device to be attached to an existing medal for the purpose of recognizing our cyber warriors and joystick jockeys, and I have a few suggestions:

For meritorious piloting of an unmanned vehicle in a combat zone: A bronze drone
For meritorious remote management of non-vehicular combat systems: On a bronze scroll, a binary letter “F”

 All kidding aside, this is a much needed move in the right direction.

Militarized Mer-men

Maybe they can get the Fobbit Medal as well:

Ukrainian Attack Dolphins Are On the Loose: Hugh Pickens writes “The Ukrainian Navy has a small problem on their hands. The Atlantic reports that, after rebooting the Soviet Union’s marine mammal program last year with the goal of teaching dolphins to find underwater mines and kill enemy divers, three of the Ukrainian military’s new recruits have gone AWOL. Apparently they swam away from their trainers ostensibly in search of a ‘mate”‘ out in open waters. It might not be such a big deal except that these dolphins have been trained to ‘attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads.’ Dolphins were trained at Sevastopol for the Soviet Navy as far back as 1973 to find military equipment such as sea mines on the seabed as well as attacking divers and even carrying explosives on their heads to plant on enemy ships. The U.S. has its own dolphin program in San Diego with 40 trained dolphins and sea lions and another 50 in training. U.S. Navy dolphins were deployed in Bahrain in 1987 during a period when Iran was laying down mines in the Persian Gulf to disrupt oil shipments. No word yet on whether ‘sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached’ have been added to the U.S. arsenal.”
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Does a nation need a standing army?

Below is an excellent post from the Russian newspaper Pravda:

Does Russia need its own army?: If we have a conflict like the one with Georgia, it requires a professional army. But if we have a conflict like the one in Syria, which is somewhat forced upon us, then we need every man in the country to be able to use a gun, prevent an invasion of the terrorist enemy forces on the territory of the Russian Federation

Ignoring Pravda’s place in history as the voice of the communist party, this article is worthy of discussion. It seriously debates the matter of having a standing army vs. a ready militia. I can’t think of a  mainstream news outlet in the US that would even consider running such an article.

Such a discussion needs to take place within the United States. “Militia” has become codeword for “domestic terrorist” here in the U.S.A., but this should not be so. We were founded on the premise that all males of a certain age should be prepared to defend their home and homeland. Colonial militia service was compulsory and “everyone” was expected to maintain certain equipment and be ready to take up arms should the need arise.

Most people assume that the National Guard is the militia, but it ceased to be, in my opinion, when the National Guard was federalized under the Militia Act of 1903. During WWII many states saw a need for a non-federal militia and established Home Guard units that formed the basis for modern state defense forces(SDFs)[1]. Many of these SDFs have limited support from their states and are a hint of a memory of a notion of a militia. They are un(der)funded and most are unarmed. They take backseat to FEMA and local EMAs in emergencies. For a period of time I “served” in the Alabama State Defense Force, and I commend those who serve in their states’ SDF. They hearken back to the colonial era where every able-bodied male was a member of the militia (SDFs have males and females amongst their ranks today). I support the objectives of the SDFs, but I question their effectiveness due to the neutered capacity that they exist in. This is unfortunate.

Amendment II of the United States Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 Most people just focus on the right to keep and bear Arms. While this is important, it overlooks the fact that the Founding Fathers believed it necessary to maintain a well regulated militia. This is foundational.  Compulsory service in the militia placed a vested interest in the survival of the State into the hands of the citizens. They had “ownership” and a share in the corporate body that is the United States. We were and are a republic, res publica, literally in Latin the “public thing”. We are not subjects of the Federal Government. We are the sovereign, and we elect those who are sent to represent our will at a national assembly. I think we have lost track of that concept, and thus relegated our common defense solely to the professional Armed Forces, and less consciously to local law enforcement.

As we progressed from a primarily agrarian society toward an urban lifestyle, we determined it better to pay others for our defense, both domestic and abroad. There are many merits to this, but we surrendered quite a bit of freedom in the process.

Today, the act of enforcing the laws and ordinances of a local have been delegated to professional police forces, a concept that would have been quite foreign to our Founding Fathers[2]. This is a supercession of  the common law concept of posse comitatus. As we have accepted less and less responsibility for the welfare of ourselves and our communities, the police forces have had to step up to fill that gap. This assumption of power relegated to them by an inability of communities to police themselves internally has led to many of the egregious oversteps by that we have read about in recent years. The problem with a select few enforcing the law is that rogue elements amongst them fall victim to the notion that they are above the law. I am confident that they are the minority of law enforcement officers. I would be remiss, however, if I did not stop and thank those who have stepped up and put themselves in harm’s way to “protect and serve” their communities against those who would willfully and violently disobey the law and harm their fellow man. It is a thankless job, and I am thankful for those who are willing to do it.

We also have relegated our National defense to a professional force, which in modern society is also necessary. Due to downsizing in active components, many of those serving in combat are National Guardsmen and Reservists. These citizen soldiers are put on Active Duty for extended and repeat deployments. They attend the same training that everyone else in the military attends and are indistinguishable in combat. They are a far cry from the rag-tag militia that General George Washington lamented over in the early years of the American Revolution. Militarism has advanced to a precise science, as is attested by our service academies. We have a strong, well-educated, and dedicated professional military. We should ever be proud of those who serve. As excellent as our military is, however, it is comprised of only a fraction of our overall population.

The majority of the populace reap the benefits without ever making any of the sacrifices. Maybe this is a benefit of professional domestic and national defense forces, but it offloads one’s civic responsibilities and makes the society stagnant. Without a vested interest, people begin voting for those who offer them “bread and circuses” and public interest gives way to self interest. We forget to “ask not what our Country can do for you” and we never ask “what you can do for your Country”. We are more than willing to send the sons and daughters of someone else to die to protect our liberties. I think this is one of the reasons Roman citizenship was tied so strongly to military service. I’m not saying that America should limit its citizenship in such a manner; that is foreign to our Nation and should be. We should be shareholders in the nation, we each have an obligation to ensure its continued success.

So back to the question of does a nation need a standing army? That’s a question each nation must answer for itself. Does it plan to engage in foreign conflict perpetually? If so, then yes, it needs a standing army. Is the population at large capable of defending its own borders? If not, then it needs a standing army. Is it at peace with its neighbors and those capable of doing it immediate harm? Can its militia defend its own borders? If that is the case, then maybe it doesn’t need a large standing army. What say you?


[1] I can’t speak for other states, but the Alabama Code still allows for a state militia. You can read more about it in my post on Honorary Colonelcy in the State of Alabama.

[2] The notion of modern police forces was invented by Sir Robert Peale in 1829, when he established the Metropolitan Police Force in London.

Veterans Day

I didn’t have a chance to comment Sunday on Veteran’s Day, but I wanted to share a post from a French heraldry blog I follow:

Signed on 11 November 1918 near Rethondes Armistice put an end to the First World War in which more than one million deaths and nearly six times more wounded and maimed among the French troops. Despite the extent of destruction was immense relief and joy seized each municipality.

On 11 November 1920, the remains of an unknown soldier was buried under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the flame is rekindled every evening by the Committee of the flame and representatives of associations.

Day of homage and reverence, November 11 each year resulting in commemorative ceremonies at war memorials of communes of France. The Poppy (poppy) is the symbol of remembrance for the Anglo-Saxons. Annually families and veterans of the British Army come to lay poppies on the graves of soldiers killed in combat.


All municipalities in France have their memorials in tribute to the fallen soldiers on the battlefield, but few are those who criticize human folly and clearly express an opinion against the war, in contrast to monuments focused on the glorification of heroes died for their country. These memorials appear timid peace after the First World War.

One of them was outstanding, I know well, is the memorial of Saint-Martin-d’Estréaux, a small town located in the department of the Loire, near Roanne, which consists of three panels with one column. Presents a list of the war dead with their photo. Amid these names, a mourner was sculpted in bas-relief. On the other side of the monument, three panels resolutely pacifist. A sign says: “Si vis pacem, para pacem” or “if you want peace, prepare for peace.” A second panel ends with “Cursed be war and its authors.” The third panel provides an overview of the war, detailing the deaths (12 million) and the suffering of the people. Finally, with the inscription: “The Innocents to the firing squad,” he is reported the plight of soldiers shot for example. To respect the grief of the families and of the nation, the monument was inaugurated in 1947. This text was the subject in the 1930s, which were accused of degradation members of the French Action, right-wing movement.



If vis pacem, para pacem!If you want peace, prepare for peace!