Flag draped coffins


The President speaks at Arlington National Cemetery with the same old platitudes about what we owe the veteran, etc. Other politicians bluster on with their own versions of veteran-guilt. Literally, they are whistling past the graveyard.


The president, the congress and the presidential candidates from both parties are frozen to questions with regard to sending troops to fight the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS), in Iraq and Syria. Only discarded presidential candidate, former military lawyer, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is the only one willing to posit a suggestion in that regard. Even lone hawk Graham was forced to hedge his hawkish figures. He says that, in order for us to defeat ISIS, we would need ten percent of American troops to head a ninety percent (non-existent) local Arabic army! Nice try, Lindsey; apparently this question freezes you, as well.


The reason for the political deep-freeze on troop movement boils down to flag-draped coffins. Since the end of the draft, most of the enlistees come from the lower-paid segment of our society's responding to Uncle Sam's long, "I-Want-You" finger. The sons (and daughters) of the upper classes are free to loll on college campuses and pursue their lives undisturbed by the flag-draped coffins that Dubya went out of his way to screen from the public as they were being unloaded at Dover Air Force Base.


What has frozen our political class, is a case of class-guilt over combat casualties. One way to dissolve this guilt complex, is to establish a cross-the-board, military training regimen. In that way, our decisions to go to war would be based less on political expediency. We would go to war only when necessary, and do so with the full understanding that flag-draped coffins would affect every level of our society.


That which follows is part of a piece penned by this writer, on this subject, several years ago:


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We are all responsible for what happens to us, we should work toward the establishment of universal citizen training (UCT).


UCT should consist of two branches: 1) (UMT) universal military training for those who are mentally and physically sound; and 2) (UNT) universal national training (if one is at all trainable), for the physically and mentally handicapped, which would be tailored to fit the degree of individual physical or mental impairment. There is plenty of evidence, by now, of the self-worth and utility engendered by training the handicapped.


UCT would involve every resident and citizen of the United States. There would be no exceptions. There is no need for exclusive educational deferment. There is plenty of time to get into the job market and the professions. Because of the fact that we are living longer and retiring later, there is a bottleneck being created in that transition, anyway. There would be no distinction regarding sex or sexual orientation. Unlike the old days, when only the desperate would use the "gay-way" out, today's kids would have no compunction about accepting such an unprovable, free pass. Every individual, upon graduation from high school (or, if not in high school, upon reaching the age of eighteen), would be required to enter either the UMT or UNT program.


Those in the UMT would be required to do a two-year stint in one of the military services. After completing basic training, the individual would finish the rest of the commitment by continuing training in a field compatible with that individual's interests and skills. This training should be conducted throughout the world, and should include the culture and languages of the host regions. Upon discharge, the individual would have the alternative of entering the active or inactive reserve of a particular service.


Those in the UNT also would have a two-year commitment. They would be trained in a homeland service unit commensurate with the degree of their physical or mental ability.


Additionally, as regards the UMT, in conjunction with the post-basic, specialized training, there should be required civics, U.S. and world history courses. As to the specialty training, those who are adept at it, should be encouraged to learn any of a number of relevant foreign languages.


On the surface, this may seem harsh, but it is a matter of mutual survival. With no end seen to the current instability of the world, it is necessary to utilize our human resources to their fullest. When we realize that each and every one of us has a stake in the defense and progress of our nation, we will be more prone to scrutinize the people we elect to carry out the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America. Despite its shaky beginnings, that Constitution provides for the common good of every, single individual living under its jurisdiction.



Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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