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Heroes — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Everyone in the Village and media felt like they had to condemn Chris Hayes for questioning the use of the word ‘hero’ to describe everyone wearing a uniform.

I have a news flash for the people who think over-using the word is ‘supporting the troops’ – as veteran, from a line of veterans that goes back before the founding of the United States, the troops understand that it is a bullshit throw-away compliment that means less than nothing.

You normally hear ‘hero’ in the military coming from the mouth of someone with more stripes than a zebra that is millimeters away from your face in the form “DO YOU THINK YOU’RE SOME KIND OF HEEEE_RO!!!” Such things never end well.

There are people who do things in every walk of life that are truly heroic, and the word should be reserved for them, not debased by casual use. The military has known for centuries what people really think of them. Rudyard Kipling summed it up in a poem, Tommy. The truth of the poem is readily perceived as reality by those wearing camo BDUs as it was by the red-coated infantry of Victorian Britain.

“As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” – Donald Rumsfeld

If people really respected and supported the troops, they would insist that: pay was raised to point that the lower ranks didn’t qualify for food stamps; benefits weren’t constantly being cut or changed; there wasn’t a half-millon person backlog for VA assistance; and other problems and indignities that the troops constantly face.

The use of the word ‘hero’ is a free replacement for actually spending money on the people who get sent to war.


1 Badtux { 06.01.12 at 12:07 am }

In my job, the last thing I want to be is a hero. Because being a hero means I’m doing my job wrong. If I’m doing my job right, everybody else just does their job knowing that when they need what I’m working on, it’ll be there for them, last-minute heroics mean I didn’t do my job right and eventually it’s going to bite us. It’s the teamwork that counts, heroics just get in the way of getting the project done.

I can’t imagine that the military works much different in that respect. You have a mission, an objective, and you get it done. And if you’re doing it right, you get it done in as boring, methodical, and unheroic a fashion as possible, because heroics just get you killed and the mission blown.

– Badtux the IT Penguin

2 Bryan { 06.01.12 at 12:44 am }

The military works exactly the same way – if something requires heroics, it is because there was a major failure of some kind. Something was missed, and the military goes through extensive debriefing to find out what went wrong. You deal with a lot of really dangerous things in the military, but you train hard and long to use them so they are not dangerous to you and yours, but to the other guys.

We had thermite grenades available to ensure nothing was left of certain pieces of gear, and certain documents that we had. You release the handle on one of those suckers and you have entered hell. They were common, but everyone treated them with the respect they deserved, because you didn’t want to be inside the vault when one of them was melting the console and consuming the manuals.

Officers may like medals, but ‘zebras’ look upon them as failures. Senior NCOs want everyone to leave the zone in duty-capable condition, so they will climb one side and down the other if you screw up. Unit awards are good, but individual awards are bad. A major portion basic training is to get people to change their focus from themselves to the unit. The military is a group effort, or it doesn’t work.