Monday, March 08, 2010

Imperial Grunts

I'm reading Robert Kaplan's 'Imperial Grunts'.  The military is out there doing what we ask them to do, sometimes making up policy on the ground.

When guys like this are put in play stuff happens.  I hope you're paying attention.

Pg 19
.. like the Marine lieutenant colonel I had met briefly at Camp Pendelton, Adolph didn't know how to be subtle, or how to dissemble.  He was brutally, refreshingly direct.  Dealing with him saved time.

Pg 77
Braun, Perez, and Wynn were three well-spoken men with tattoos, guns, and serious reading material all over their hootch: Bruan had been dipping into the complete works of James Fenimore Cooper.  Wynn, through frustrated by the timid military-diplomatic policy of the previous days, nevertheless told me that "everyone has his place and I accept mine.  I'm just happy being a sergeant. What do I know?"  His tone was truly humble.

I was beginning to love these guys.  They had amassed so much technical knowledge about so many things at such a young age.  They could perform minor surgery on the spot.  Yet each had such a reduced sense of self compared to everyone else I knew in the media and public policy worlds. In the barracks, egotism was expressed purelyi in terms of team pride.  Here hierarchy and authority were looked upon as supreme virtues, giving each officer and noncom a role and function in a noble cause.  Everyone had read Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers, and related more to World War II paratroopers in the story than to their contemporaries in civilian life.

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