February 3, 2013

AN AMERICA CRAMPED BY DEFENSIVENESS:

Since I returned home, a darkness has grown in me as both I and our nation have failed to live up to the sacrifices of these young men and women. I had no expectation of “victory” in Afghanistan or Iraq, whatever that would mean. Nor did I expect some epiphany of strategic insight or remorse from the nation’s brain trust.

I just found that I could not square the negativity, pettiness and paranoia in the discourse of our country’s elders with the nobility and dedication of the men and women I had seen and served with in Afghanistan.

Over time, as I listened to the squabbling, I realized that about the only thing Americans agree on these days is gratitude bordering on reverence for our military.

We have the worst political class ever, and our most respected institution is the military. That’s not a good set of circumstances.

UPDATE: Michael Walsh — no slouch at writing himself — emails: “Look how beautifully this is written. Can you imagine a college professor or some other state apparatchik doing as well? The fact is the officer corps – and in particular the Marines – is far better educated and more sophisticated than their civilian counterparts.”

Also not a good sign.