Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jay Nordlinger Observation

A couple of American officers who had served in Iraq were talking about their time there. And, in particular, their departure. An Iraqi said to one of them, “I can’t believe you came here and didn’t take our oil.” Another Iraqi said, “I can’t believe you’re leaving voluntarily. No invading army ever does that.”
One of the American officers said he had felt like the mayor of a town — responding to the needs of the people, keeping the town together. I saw this with my own eyes on a visit to Iraq: American officers essentially acting as mayors.

Say what you will about nation-building (and there’s a lot to say). But, after hearing this latest testimony, I got angry all over again, remembering a conversation I had with a prominent German in about 2006. He talked about American servicemen in World War II and after. They had helped the people around them, and formed bonds with them. This, however, was not happening in Iraq — or so said the German. We were betraying our best traditions.
BS. (That is not a bachelor of science degree.)
Oh, one more thing: An officer said, “You know how the press referred to the people who were trying to kill us as ‘insurgents’? We always just called them al-Qaeda.”

This seems about right.  If anything, our volunteer, better-trained, more-aware-they-are-being-watched servicemen are probably better-behaved than the Greatest Generation.  Heresy to say such things, I'm sure, as we all know the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, led by the completely irresponsible younger generation. 

Why, exactly, do we think Americans are worse now than then?  Okay, I know why, but it pays for everyone to think it through.


Gringo said...

Why, exactly, do we think Americans are worse now than then? Okay, I know why, but it pays for everyone to think it through.

By leading off with a German criticizing the Amis for me, you are waving a red flag in front of me. Having read David’s Medienkritik for years, I am all too familiar with German criticism of us Amis.

Consider Herta Däubler-Gmelin, formerly Schroeder’s Justice Minister, who earned her 15 minutes of fame back in 2002 by comparing President Bush to “Adolf Nazi” and calling the American justice system “lousy.” It turns out that Harridan Herta’s father was a Standartenführer and second in command to Hans Lublin in occupied Slovakia. Herr Gemlin was responsible for making sure that trains were available for shipping some 50,000 Slovakian Jews to the camps. Herr Gmelin spent three years in prison after the war, and later served 20 years as mayor of Tübingen.

Puts Harridan Herta’s gratuitous criticisms of the US in a different context, does it not? Such as: “In an attempt to expiate my guilt feelings over my father’s conduct in WW2, I will attempt to show that the Americans are as bad as the Nazis.”

Granted, the German you quoted was not looking at the US in the same manner as Harridan Herta.

I would also consider the Germans justified in not bankrolling the PIGS anymore.

Back to the question. We have gotten paralyzed in procedures and regulations. While the Empire State Building was built in a year or two, the World Trade Center is still a gaping hole. I find it ironic that some mad lib commentator- Rachel Maddow?- bewailed the fact that whild the Hoover Dam was build in several years, it couldn’t be built so quickly today. Thanks to all the regulations that the big-government fans have constructed over the years. Do you hear me, Rachel?

AVI- your "prove not a robot" is getting to be a pain in the neck. Words are much longer and they keep changing. I am NOT a robot.

Sam L. said...

I really like Jay's writing. He seems to bounce all over the 100-acre wood and find Pooh every place he looks.

Texan99 said...

We have different virtues and different vices now. I'd be hard-pressed to find modern humanity either better or worse than past generations on the whole -- which is not to say that I don't see huge changes for both the better and the worse. Sometimes the price of learning not to burn people at the stake for heresy is coming to believe that nothing is true enough to inspire real action. Or the price of not leaving young unwed mothers to starve to death in the snow with their babies is to encourage 14-year-olds to get knocked up regularly and go on welfare. We lurch from error to error, fixing old things with new mistakes.