Tuesday, December 01, 2009

When I was just a lad of 18, I was in Basic Training/OSUT at Fort Knox when George Bush (the elder) authorized US troops to invade Iraq.  Throughout the barracks, cheers when up and we collectively went nuts.  As Cavalry Scouts, our chosen profession has a life-span measured in seconds in combat.  And yet, when the clouds of war were ominous on the horizon, we cheered.

Maybe it was because we were so young we didn't consider our own mortality.  Maybe it was because we really needed an outlet for our stress.  maybe it was just groupthink, because at some level we all knew just how much danger we were in.

19 years later, our President is again announcing that he has (finally) decided to place an additional 30 something thousand troops in harms way.  The venue he's chosen to announce this (formally) is the United States Military Academy.  Given that by now, this is old news, his administration could have announced this from the White House briefing room, but instead the PR folks chose The United States Community College to make the announcement.

Now why do you suppose they chose this venue?

I imagine the cheers of support, from many who have never seen the elephant, but are eager to prove themselves, and realize that many of them may end up with the opportunity to do just that, will be deafening.

I admire their willingness to jump into the fray, to lean into the tasks set before them.  In another, I know that those who do go off to war will return--some in a box, some in a bed, some in a airliner--but they will all come back changed.  And it is the change that they face that worries me the most.


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