From the mailbag -- a letter to the general.
It’s Tom Stone again, that pesky old Vietnam vet. Remember me? I wrote you some time ago with the suggestion that perhaps it would be more fitting to rename some of our armed forces to more accurately reflect the strategy that you espouse in Afghanistan. Remember? The Marine Corps becomes The Peace Corps, the Army becomes The Warmy, The Air Force The Air Farce, and The Reserves The Reserved. Yes, you remember now. But as I wrote to someone once before, “alas, no response forthcoming, a query to no avail.” No one contacted me or took me up on it. But now I think I understand why.
When you look into your McChrystal Ball I see what you see. It’s a cheap crystal ball, plastic probably, and when shaken the fake snow swirls around the snowman and the little house that has plums of cottony smoke coming from its chimney. It’s a picture of peacefulness and calm. But also inside your crystal ball is one word, in large letters, on a flag waving above the house, which is why you bought this crystal ball. The word is “INCLUSIVITY”. That describes your strategy, inclusivity, all included, the Taliban, Tribal Chiefs, Sunnis, Shiites, Civilians, America Forces, et al, all one happy let’s-have-a-big-group-hug family – can’t we all just get along? That is what you are striving for. And that’s probably why you did not respond to my suggestion – I was not inclusive enough with all the American Forces when I only included a few and did not include others, just being plain unfair and insensitive – exclusive, I guess. So to convince you of the potential benefits of my suggestion, here are a few more.
The National Guard. They have fought, and continue to fight, bravely in Iraq, but I didn’t think that was their mission – to fight foreign wars. But hey, what do I know. And yet they sometimes get out of hand, you know, shooting their guns, fighting back, seeming at times to you I am sure, well, irrational. So let’s change their name to…..The Rational Guard. They’ll get the point.
And the 101st Airborne, affectionately known as The Screaming Eagles. God, what a terrible image on their decal, a fearless nasty eagle, just ready to pounce. Can’t have that, oh no. Too scary for the sensitivities of their foes. So I got it, let’s call them….. The Screaming Beagles. Gosh, everyone loves a cute puppy, so the Afghanis will just melt when they see them coming, welcome them as the tender hearted warriors they should be.
Are you using the Seabees over there? They are just the cat’s meow when it comes to building nifty things. And I am sure they are doing just that in Iraq and Afghanistan, just constructing their little hearts out, building monumental lasting things for those countries, and best of all, ALL FOR FREE! So there you go, label them…..The Freebies.
And it warms the cockles of my heart to see my male and female Marines as of late dressing up in their finest Afghani attire to assimilate more dramatically, and I must say, emotionally, into the culture and spirit of the Afghanistan Nation. Gee, they look great, so stylish, so, well, Afghani! But maybe they need something with a little more splash, a little more flair. How about supplying them with colorful feather boas to wrap around their necks. The style I am sure will take Afghanistan by storm!! Leathernecks?? No siree. From now on….Feathernecks.
And those darned U S Navy Seals. Gosh, I bet you cringe every time they go out on a mission. Lord knows what they are up to, and who can control them. They are the toughest of the tough. We have got to tone their image down a little I think, get them to be a little more loving and sensitive towards the feelings of the Afghani people. You know where I am going with this don’t you, you frisky little peacenik. That’s right, we’ll change their name to…The Sealpups.
OK, I got more, but maybe this is enough to convince you. Make the changes. I am right behind you 120%. All that will be left is to change the name of the entire military establishment to something that will reflect your determination rebuild, unite and save the Afghanistan Nation, even at the expense of American lives. Ready? We simply need a much more caring and charming military presence in Afghanistan, agree? So no more, The United States Armed Forces – the word “Armed” is anathema to you I’m sure. No. It’s got to be….The United States Charmed Forces.
Know your Naval History? To paraphrase David Farragut at The Battle of Mobile Bay….”Damn our soldiers, full speed ahead….”