The War Czar

The War Czar.

I didn’t hear the details but I heard it in passing on the radio.  I don’t know whether to lie down screaming with laughter, or just screaming.

 Just got back from a sci-fi convention, Norwescon

Women in the Military panel rather had my mouth falling open — the first thing that happened was “No politics!”  Which, to a Vietnam era vet like myself — where people threw off uniforms to go on off-duty protest marches — was a bit staggering and shocking.  Then I recognized the syndrome, from my own study of history:  professional-cadre apolilitical tradition.  The past in action!  Opened up HUGE answers to why and how our military thinks the way it does now.  The General Staff of the WWII German army decided that they would be so apolitical the soldiers wouldn’t even have the vote.  Rommel had to discuss his wife’s vote with her (catch a guy being so magnanimous as Fr. Rommel!).

I’m always totally amazed how people say, “They taught us to shoot, but didn’t emphasise what we’d be shooting at.”  It took me about three hours to catch my breath after than one, or I would have blurted out, “What did you think you would be shooting at — ELEPHANTS!!!???” I was quite boggled.

But these were children — they were all soft and pretty and big-eyed; no wonder their parents still think of them as their “kids,” regardless of what they’ve gone through. 

We must remember the human brain does not fully develop until 25 years out of the womb.  It’s why they take youngsters for the military.  I don’t think most of them can actually visualize anything at 18 or 19.  I could when I was in the army, but I’ve always been the class weirdo, and had been practicing combining words and pictures at the same time for quite a while, by then.

One of them — lovely girl, big and dark — said she joined the military because she “wanted to be like me.”  She’d obviously never read any of my books.  I make huge fun of the military — it’s wonderful grist for comedy.  The goofiness, short-sightedness, the narrow vision, the pure cloud-cuckoo-land isolation from other people, the in-jokes, the massive use of alcohol — who couldn’t write about it for years?  I wasn’t even in combat, and I have loads of nuttiness to report.

I am waiting for the first Iraq returnees to chew through the madness and semi-recover some drop of sanity and turn out his or her first Catch 22.  No, wait — they’re already doing that on blogs and web-comics.  And the first movie that isn’t a remake of Kelly’s Heroes (a huge hit with Vietnam vets) or some WWII propaganda flick is going to be huge.

I hope it scares the crap out of everybody.  Better than Fox news, anyway.


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