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A Vietnam Veteran Chides a British Air Force Pilot

A Vietnam Veteran Chides a British Air Force Pilot



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Published by Anthony St. John

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Published by: Anthony St. John on Aug 02, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Soldier to Soldier 
Musings for My FriendAndyBritish Air ForceFighter-Pilot
15 February 2001
t was nice to meet you, Andy, and Sara your wife Mondayevening, 12 February 2001. Being a terribly curiousindividual, I was enthused to know about your mission inItaly and some of the workings of a modern military forceperched on the threshold of the new century. By just talkinga bit with you, I was able to ascertain that things havechanged enormously—as I might have expected—fromwhen I was an artillery officer in the United States’Army inthe 1960s.
 There are a few of my observations that I wish to share withyou and your comrades in arms. The first is that it is verymuch obvious that military engagement is no longerexecuted in the way it was during World War II even thoughreactions to political conflict are still very oftencornerstoned on the thinking which predominated foreignaffairs more than fifty years ago. Except perhaps for Korea,the Vietnamese, Falkland Islands, Gulf and Kosovan- Yugoslavian incursions have been more akin to massivepolice actions than old-fashioned textbook wars, but therallying cries have remained quite similar to those of before: “We are the
guys; you are the
guys.”And, unnaturally, these new forms of hostility all have hadto bear the brunt of a prodigious opposition—for us, Andy,at home in both the United States and England—led bydissenters who deemed the intrusions unjust, illegal,
undeclared legislatively and, after Vietnam, discharged byprofessional forces and not volunteers taken from themainstream of Northamerican and British societies. Theseirruptive actions have not generated the will to win(Why?) that others of their kind in the past took satisfactionin having: World War II citizen reaction was both compellingand overwhelming. As a consequence, defencedepartments have been forced to upgrade the quality of their personnel and keep marijuana-smoking schismatics athome far away from the troops isolated and indifferent inrelation to their make-love-not-war leftist-minded peersand, consequently, more gung-ho as do-gooders are oftenwont to be. The arms used by the Northamerican and British forces arethe most technologically sophisticated ones, and in no otherperiod in history has the world seen so much disbursed forso many different kinds of weapons bent to mass destruct.At the same time, the trumpeted enemies of the United(Disunited?) States and the United (Disunited?) Kingdom (adeclining communism in Vietnam; a
nationalism inArgentina; a religious zealotry in Iraq; and, a who-knows-what in Kosovo-Yugoslavia) have had to defend, very oftencourageously, their points of view with six-shooters verymuch more rudimentary than the swinging ones you, Andy,carry attached to the holding racks of the phantasmagoric jet bomber you pilot. I ask simply: Is this fair? Is right onlymight? Do your actions conform to international law?Andy, when was the last time you read the GenevaConvention? Have you read it?At one point in modern history, the United States andEngland were under the aegis of some somewhat moralauthority—however indistinct—and this was recognised asbeing what was the best for the moment by even some of the two military giants’ enemies of today. For example,their actions were “sanctioned” more or less on a world-wide scale during World War I and World War II (World WarIII?). No more does this “privilege” exist. Nowadayspolitical dissension is often more pronounced in Washingtonand London than it is by the enemy on the battlefield!Military power’s aggressiveness is blessed very often these
days only by the “lifers” themselves—much as if they aretoo busy mirroring their images in the self-reflecting poolsof arrogance and pride. Northamerican and British militaryhierarchies medal themselves just as members of TheAcademy of Motion Picture Artists do. No one else wouldever think of doing so! Where is the overruling entity readyto shrink their egos—if necessary? Or, are our leaders god-like, without faults, technically perfect as are yourcomputer-guided missiles, Andy? Then, too, are our leadersmaking very big political mistakes? Did it make commonsense to pluck on the nationalistic heart strings of theFalkland Islands and incense 500,000,000 Southamericansor do the same in Iraq and Kuwait and taunt 1,000,000,000Islamics throughout the world? And, of course, what doAsians think today about the bombings of Northvietnam inthe 1960s and 1970s? You can find people all over theworld who
Northamerican and British soldiers. But, Ikeep asking, where are the people who
Northamerican and British soldiers? Only in Northamericaand Britain? You have been selected, numbered, tagged, inspected, bar-coded, examined, analysed, scrutinised, instructed,trained…and what have you? You, Andy, are the bestspecimen from the crop. Your abilities guarantee that thatmulti-million dollar jet aircraft you jockey will return safelyand soundly and unscathed and unscratched. Theinvestment has been insured through your intelligence. Youknow what is expected of you, you know you are programednot to err. Your superiors control every moment of your life. There is probably nothing they do not know about you. They think for you. You, my friend, are the last stage in thepassage to The Robot Soldier.If you are called upon one day to attack and risk your lifefor the United States and England, there is one thing youmust know. Not one citizen of the United States or England—in his or her right mind—would want to trade places withyou during that moment of danger. (Just ask Bill Clintonand George W. Bush!) Citizens will say they would want to,but they are not being sincere with you. And the mostvociferous of them will scream chants and national anthems

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