Oo-rah: War and the Free Will of Pool Balls by Fred Reed

Publisher’s Note:  I spent my entire adult life until 2003 in the military.  The last half of my career was saturated by doubt and philosophical dissonance mixed with the moral cowardice of failing to simply resign.  Soldiering was what I knew.  The incomparable Fred Reed writes in a few words what many feel but cannot articulate.  Much like cops are the enabling arm of the state, the military is the muse through which politicians can mouth platitudes while having murderous works conducted in their name.  When folks discover I am a veteran, they rarely hesitate to thank me for their freedom to which I have to laugh and heap scorn on their misdirected goodwill.  You would be hard-pressed to find any conflict America has participated in that did not make the world safer for bigger government…anywhere or anytime. -BB

I read frequently among the lesserly neuronal of the supposed honor of soldiers, of the military virtues of courage, loyalty, and uprightness–that in an age of moral decomposition only the military adhere to principles, and that our troops in places like Afghanistan nobly make sacrifices to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Is not all of this nonsense?

Honor? A soldier is just a nationally certified hit-man, perfectly amoral. When he joins the military he agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill, regardless of whether he has previously heard of the country in which he will kill them or whether the residents pose any threat to him or his. How is this honorable? It is cause for lifelong shame.

It is curious that so many soldiers think that they are Christians. Christianity is incompatible with military service, if any Christianity is meant that Christ would have regarded with other than repugnance.

The explanation of course lies in the soldier’s moral compartmentation. Within his own tribe or pack, these usually being denominated “countries,” he is the soul of moral propriety—doesn’t knock over convenience stores, kick his dog, or beat his children; speaks courteously, observes personal hygiene, and works tirelessly for the public good in the event of natural disasters. A steely gaze with little behind it and a firm handshake amplify the appearance of probity.

In conflict with foreigners, he will burn, bomb, rape and torture indiscriminately. His is the behavior of feral dogs, which humans closely resemble.

Sacrifice? GIs do not make sacrifices. They are sacrificed, sacrificed for big egos, big contracts, for the shareholders of military industries, for pasty patriots in salons who never wore boots. They fight not for love of country but to stay alive, and from fear of the punishments meted out to deserters. If you doubt this, tell the men in Afghanistan that they may come home on the next plane without penalty, and see how many stay. Troops are as manipulated as roosters in a cock fight, forced to choose between combat and the pot.

See the rest: https://www.fredoneverything.net/Oo-rah.shtml

6 thoughts on “Oo-rah: War and the Free Will of Pool Balls by Fred Reed”

  1. All the way and then some sir….was our chant behind the wall in Berlin, East Germany. Unfortunately, I must agree with RFC Reed. The Cold War was much like a hot war, without the cordite smell. Politics and mismanagement ruled the day. We even got to eat lobster when the Congresswoman from California showed up for a photo opp. SNAFU. She must have impressed her constituents with her vast knowledge of military knowledge after talking to hand picked troops who answered her yes and no ma’am on command. Same as it ever was.
    We did not get to rape and pillage in Deutschland but we did get to watch our first sergeant blow up a dam in a pond while fishing on private property illegally with a hand grenade. Get some.
    An eighteen year old kid got thrown in prison for a loooong time for being A.W.O.L. after the Army gave him a month’s pay and a three day pass. This was Berlin; drugs, alcohol and prostitutes were legal for an eighteen year old. FUBAR
    I could go on and on but from what Mr. Reed said it looks like little has changed. BOHICA
    Whatever happened to all those hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars missing in Iraq?

  2. I am currently active army and I agree with this. What it comes to down to for me is my family has to eat and this pays the bills. As long as the people we are fighting aren’t Americans I do what I’m told. I don’t claim to be a christian though. I don’t even claim to be a good person. For me my family is the priority and if some people that aren’t Americans have to die for my kids to eat so be it. A lot of guys think they are defending the country. I personally don’t think the wars are serving a purpose but i consider my families needs and wants to be more important than an Afghan or Iraqi life.

  3. At least anonymous is honest in his way about his motives. I would suggest he go all the way and be a true mercenary. That would dispense with any illusions and I hear the money is better though if you get killed or screwed up big time I’m not sure of the bennies.

  4. Having been in the Air Force all I can say is that it was one big dysfunctional all smothering family. Drugs, alcoholism, domestic violence, adultery… you name it… it was there in spades. Now that’s what I saw and knew was going on even though I didn’t participate… being too scared and naive to do anything more than get blitzed on one of those rare occasions. Too poor to blow it all on beer, too. Back then I actually thought I was doing something important but now looking back I realize it was all a lie. Now the Army is leaving calls on my answering machine looking to talk to my son. Damn it all.

  5. Chris,

    That is a beautifully crafted bit of writing. I share the same sentiments. There is something that despite the horrific potential of the professional soldier can bring out honor and virtue in the best of them. The briar patch is the stark reality that a citizenry that turns its back on martial skills will become slaves in their near future. I have rather simply concluded that the only just war is a defensive war on your own soil. One can still have honor in conflict if one does not abuse, maim or kill non-combatants which has become the American way of war.

    I look at a historically great but obscure Battle Captains like COL Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck in Africa in the Great War who bedeviled and evaded fifty times his number for four years to emerge as the ONLY undefeated German commander on Earth in 1918. Resourceful, independent and honorable, he bested almost 140 Generals arrayed against him with their hundreds of thousands of men…for nearly four years.

    There is no other human experience that brings all of that together. Hellish but magnificent.

    I cannot share my combat experience with non-soldiers nor do I attempt to, they will NEVER understand.

    In the end, Fred is right, government turns self-defense into mass murder; into a dishonorable and industrial mess.

  6. Long interesting history for L-V. He helped suppress the communist uprising within Germany; years later told Hitler to go F himself and survived. Meanwhile, his sons fought for Germany in WWII and did not.

    Definitely some good lessons we can all take away from that.

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