Resistance by our soldiers in the field to that discredited war was hardly reported at the time, so they don't get the credit they deserve for ending it. Joining the Army is the functional equivalent of selling oneself into slavery for a few pieces of silver. Our military has little tradition of democracy, and the assumption is that wisdom resides in the rank, not the person.
Discipline in the ranks is always more important than any independence of thought or action from below. "Rank has its privileges" was the common expression when I "did my time," to use the also quite-common prison metaphor.
Of course, the military is not unlike our corporate world where CEOs are rewarded with multi million dollar pay packages, obscene perks, and speaking engagements as if they were celebrities, while the rank and file are de-unionized and de-humanized.
Neither corporations nor platoons willingly tolerate organizing in the ranks. So, the 19 soldiers who would not run a fool's errand in Iraq will be court-martialed while the bozos that dreamed up this war, and who will not properly equip it, will be interviewed on Fox TV and glorified for how tough and resolute they are.
By what twisted logic can this be called a volunteer Army?
J. Russell Tyldesley
This story was published on October 18, 2004.