I’ve long had a few simple principles when it comes to the American military:
1. It is the most successfully integrated official organization in America, not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of an ethos that sees its members, not as skin colors, but as team mates.
2. It’s goal is to accomplish the mission.
3. It’s other goal is to assure that its members, no matter their color, do not die meaninglessly.
4. The troops are humane people, although this is subject to two caveats: (1) there are always bad apples who will do bad things, and they would have done bad things in civilian life too; and (2) in pressured situations, people make mistakes and, in a life or death battle, those mistakes can be bad ones.
It turns out, though, that I was totally wrong in each of those assumptions. According to Seymour Hersh (who pretty much single-handedly created the myth of the drugged-out, incredibly violent American soldier in Vietnam), nothing has changed since the 1960s, except that the military is now an extremely racist organization too. I kid you not. Go read Greyhawk and see what I mean. Greyhawk does the usual conservative version of a “smear,” which means that he uses direct quotations from Hersh to the effect that military’s sole mission is to destroy a black president and that, being comprised of horrifically violent and immoral people, it has no problem effectuating this goal.
Hersh’s musings would be only mildly offensive, but for the fact that he is much beloved on college campuses, where he gets to spread this poison to a youth already made malleable by years in a school system that has focused almost exclusively on self-loathing.