Old Soldiers Should Sometimes Shut The Hell Up

June 21, 2007

When anyone attempts to compare Iraq with any other horror show, except maybe Vietnam, and then draws parallels between them should undergo a brain scan: Intelligence has leaked into the biosphere.

Even from veterans who ought to know better.

One of these warfare, motor-mouthed individuals is retired General Barry McCaffrey, one of those hard-fisted, clenched-jawed guys who believes might is right, despite all the contrary evidence. He’s currently on NBC a lot and fires out tough-eyed, seemingly-insider opinions about some military event. He’s been right on occasion: He was one of only a few who reckoned early on the heavy impact of continuous, 24/7/365, combat would have on US military personnel and equipment in a prolonged insurgent war. And we’re fairly sure McCaffrey understands the one-sided history of such wars.
In an overwhelming majority, the aggressor/occupier was always defeated by any kind of insurrection. Examples: The US, Vietnam, Somalia, India, Israel, etc.

McCaffrey, though, can annoyingly display that same smug look Decider George produces when relating some small data-nugget from an authentic, highly-secret intelligence report, and only he as commander-in-chief fully comprehends the whole picture. The general shows off the old ‘I know way-more than I’m really saying’ routine. In McCaffrey’s favor: He just can’t exhibit Decider George’s dumb-ass, shit-eating grin.

We think now, however, McCaffrey has crossed into cold-hard, asshole land responding to the story US troops would not be getting any time off from combat duty: A recommendation had been made to allow one month off for every three months in the field. But the plan has already been judged unacceptable by McCaffrey’s former war buddies still in active service and now calling the shots in Baghdad.

The story about a possible short, but vital time-off from killing for US boots on the ground surfaced Tuesday on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country.

Instead of being any kind of somewhat-sympathetic for the troops (12 month-tours recently extended to 15, soaring killed-in-combat numbers), McCaffrey played a hard-ass:

“It’s a tough life. If you can’t embrace the brutality of combat, you shouldn’t be in the infantry. These are the toughest, most courageous combat troops we’ve ever fielded.They are mostly not damaged by their combat exposure. In fact, they come home grateful for hot water, for living in this country, and for their families, not the victims of PTSD.”

McCaffrey’s ass should be busted back to at least bird colonel, no, maybe back to captain, no, back to being a civilian and not another word on TV. Recent reports from several medical agencies�reveal more than 30 percent of troops returning from Iraq experience some kind of mental problem. The Army can’t find enough mental-health workers: A continuous involvement in hideous, violent cruelty will indeed do wacky stuff to the mind. The good general should know that, but instead coughed up a comparison to Battle of the Bulge.

“In World War II, there was no tour length. You went for the duration.”

What a shit-kicking spasmo! McCaffrey cites a battle 60 years ago in a conflict with set lines and somewhat staged combat pieces, to an insurgency coupled with a civil/religious war that has no bounds in its horror. And has endured more than four years, longer than WWII itself.

If the US soldier kids in Iraq aren’t given some relief soon, things could become even worse. In the heart of any rational person is the words: ‘Get them the hell out of there!’

And warrior/pundits should keep their freaking’ mouth closed if they can’t say anything nice. Or has any heart.

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