Will it COUNT for Anything?

Blog Post
During my military service and during other service I rendered to my country, I have been placed in dangerous circumstances and though I might have lost my life, I (obviously) didn’t. At least I haven’t yet. I have never been bothered with trading blood for genuine freedom or the welfare of the American People. The value of the one is subsumed by the benefit to the many. However, if I was to fall, I always wanted my death to have some meaning.
I am very bothered by wasted lives. We wasted tens of thousands of American and allied lives in Viet Nam, for example. They didn’t die to make the world safe. They died for no real reason. Do the Americans who continue to die in Afghanistan die to rid the world of terror or do they spill their last blood – giving their last full measure of devotion for a meaningless effort? When the dust settles, how will history judge the war and the value of their sacrifice?
Was the blood we shed in Iraq worth what we have now as a result of the mountains of dead and the tons of treasure we spent?
You’ll notice that I don’t care about enemy dead. Not one whit. I only care about American and allied dead. However since Japan is presently an ally of the United States, I want to reflect for a moment on their fateful decision. 
On December 7, we contemplate a horrible war and I’m sure many surviving Japanese must ask themselves why they did it. What hubris and ego must have been present when the decision was made to attack America at Pearl Harbor?
Mankind’s march of folly rolls forward and those who don’t read and work to understand history, are bound to repeat it.

5 thoughts on “Will it COUNT for Anything?

  1. I doubt the Japanese would have attacked Pearl Harbor if they had known about the atom bombs. There would have been MANY more lives lost without those, and at some point, in alliance with Hitler and his group, world domination was conceivable.

    I remember a story about the Jews who fled the holocaust to live in Shanghai, China. At one point during the war, the Germans demanded that even those Jews be handed over for slaughter. Negotiations saved those lives, but it was very close for them. There were fewer and fewer places to hide at that point.

  2. LL: You raise a critical point here.

    I suspect that in your active duty past, you accepted – or perhaps assumed is the better term here – that your civilian leadership, specifically CINC, but also his cabinet were basically moral men genuinely acting in the best interests of the country rather than on base personal interests rooted in a lust for power and wealth. I'd venture to say that in the past, such an assumption was mostly justified, even though some or even many upper echelon civilians (and even senior military men) became wealthier due to their access to power and information.

    Today however, given the apparent corruption that seems to run virulently throughout this Administration (and even the last one), faith in the motives of the civilian leadership must be at a very deep low within the military rank and file. Accordingly, a reduced willingness to sacrifice oneself for the greater glory of the Power elite would be entirely understandable and even forgiveable.

  3. The sacrifice demanded (as LA suggests) rests on a foundation of American principles. Where those principles are eroded the will to put it all on the line is diminished.

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