RANGER AGAINST WAR: To Sir, With Love <

Saturday, June 28, 2008

To Sir, With Love

Wrong or resolute but in the mood to obey
Station to station desensitizing the nation

where'd all the good people go

Going, going, gone

--Good People
, Jack Johnson

_____________

It's a cold, hard world out there beyond the comfort of our little corner of the blogosphere, but there is warmth out there, also.

Particularly I'd like to tell MinstrelBoy (both of you), Mike, Publius, FDChief, DK, tw, Mr. Oblivious, CT, Gordon, Fixer, Arkhamite, Labrys, GSJ, FNord, jo6pac, UndergroundCarpenter, Martin K., Spiider, Ranger Hazen, BadTux and Lurch (posthumously) how much I rely upon their positive regard and presence in my life.


The order listed in no way implies a preferential bias. All are equally true and great American heroes and it was worth the ride just meeting these guys (you too, Labrys.)


I also salute Claymore of the Texan National Guard, who was banned from our site due to his unfortunate proclivity for ad hominem attacks. Although he is not present for duty, Claymore too is a patriot. We didn't agree on much but he does and did put his balls on the line for his beliefs. That is far more than most.


The dialog we have established has brought me strength to persevere in these troubled times.

Ranger Hruska

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11 Comments:

Blogger Arkhamite said...

I always put my balls on the line. A painted line on the highway, a line of cocaine, the checkout line at the grocery store: pretty much anywhere there's a line, my balls have been on it. Some people think it's a weird thing to do, but I say, "Everybody puts their balls somewhere. Even women; they just keep their balls on the inside." Hopefully someday people like me who are always putting our balls on the line will be granted all the rights and privileges normal people have.

Okay, I have to go now. There's a line of latitude near my apartment that's just about ready for some balls.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 1:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

arkhamite, putting your balls on the line is a great metaphor.

the one that always caused me the most pain, and the most satisfaction, was when i put my heart on the line.

if you ever get around to reading xenophon's anabasis, you'll come across one of the most significant passages ever written about the soul of a soldier.

hint: put aside what the japanese said about the sword being the soul of the samurai, even a closeness that borders on anthropomorphising weapons does not constitute a soul.

xenophon talks about a dark night, around the campfire when the soldiers, far from home, and if not lost, they are certainly unsure of exactly where they are. both in relation to immediate presence and how much further they have to walk. that's not what they are talking about though. they are talking about things like philosophy, duty, and fear. some are recounting stuff from history of the great greek heroes, ajax, achilles, theseus, diekenese, agamemnon, and heracles.

a grizzled old veteran says that these are not the type of men he wants in the phalanx. he does not want men without fear beside him. those kind of men create uneccesary dangers for those around them. they break the integrity of the line of battle to seek single combat and glory. that can spell glory for one and death for the phalanx and the army.

no, the absence of fear does not make for courage. in fact, for courage to be present, fear must be present also, for what is courage if not the overcoming of fear?

courage has been said by some of our great philosopher soldiers to be the knowledge that there are things that matter more than one's own fear.

he is asked, what then matter more than fear? what is the opposite of fear?

the veteran sighs and says,

love.

we, who have fought, for the most part find that when things are at their most dangerous, confusing, and intimidating, it isn't any slogans, songs or patriotism that keeps us on the line when every fiber of sense in our being is screaming run! run! run!

no, what keeps us there, what sends us through the rote repititions of drill and duty is love. love for the guys to our immediate right and left. the guys behind us who will take our place should we fall.

we don't love the guys who send us into battle. we don't love the staff pukes who come up with all these great fucking plans.

we love the guys who lace up, ruck up and walk right into the teeth of hell beside us. they will do so much more than easy stuff like dying for us. they will kill for us.

they are truly our brothers.


ooh-rah ranger.

oooh fucking rah.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

The Minotaur and I are happy to put our balls on the line...I mean, it isn't like we had other plans, now, is it? (And if you believe that, lol...)

But yes, keeping the bastards from getting us down, that is the thing! (And not the play, Hamlet was wrong.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

returning salute!  GSJ

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 1:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB,

Lisa and I were discussing the infantry today and your cmt. fits in perfectly. Your response to Arkhamite is poetic and true.

The blog post was one of respect and appreciation for the friends that have rallied at this point. (Incidentally my reckoning puts us at rifle sqd. size.)

Our conversation this morning on the Infantry concerned how service in that branch changes a man. When I finished my Benning training i was mean and willing to hurt people at any time or place. This was not combat-motivated, just a result of training.

Simply being in the infantry is significant in a man's life; then add combat. You're pointing out a bond that is difficult for the average citizen to grasp. The "No Fear" logos on the T-shirts are not what courage and bravery is about. No fear = obliviousness (no slam on Mr. O.)

Yep Arkamite it's all about putting your balls on the line - your Grandfather understood this and it changed him forever. It's not the balls as much as the lines you put them on. And then I'd suggest you be careful. hruska

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 2:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Arkhamite said...

MB, i thought they didn't let gays in the military back then ;-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 6:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,
I'm with Anonymous. I return the salute, too. Even though my carpentering on Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas doesn't leave me much time for commenting these days, I still read each of your well-written posts and give each the thoughtful consideration they all deserve. Thanks for saying the things that need to be said.

Dave

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 7:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

UC,

Thanks for the update and we're happy to hear from you. As always, we're glad you've got us covered.

Hope your work is going well in Sin City, and you're hope you're able to get back to your writing, too. My house is almost finished which will give me time to devote to other projects. jim

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 7:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ark,

I'm afraid you're out of line on this one, young'un.

MB's piece was eloquent and heartfelt, and jocularity is out of line on this one. This is a seriously sober matter. The love of which he speaks is foreign to most civilians, but it must be respected. To make light of it is to disrespect the most profound human emotion.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 7:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the love i was talking about goes far beyond sex.

and though there was an absolute ban on homosexuality (it was a sure fire cashiering) i served with at least two gay men.

the only discernable difference between them and the rest of us was our choice in bangkok hookers.

Monday, June 30, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Absolutely no thanks needed, Jim. You and Lisa are the ones driving the train. I'm just a passenger.

Arkhamite, you sure you understand what this is all about?

Monday, June 30, 2008 at 6:33:00 PM GMT-5  

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