Monday, May 30, 2016
Memorial Day 2016
"We are always at war. We spend twice as large a share of our GDP on the military as the world does in general. It’s the longest sustained period of open-ended combat in our nation’s history. And yet the country as a whole is barely affected. We have halftime ceremonies honoring the heroes. We let them get onto commercial airlines earlier, but we don’t think seriously about what they’re doing, the missions we’re asking them to undertake.
And, as a result, in my view, we have embarked on a series of unwinnable wars. We call people heroes and then send them to do things they can’t do....
When I was a kid in the ’50s and ’60s and then older in the ’70s, American pop culture reflected a country familiar enough with its military to make fun of it at times. You had shows like 'Gomer Pyle,' or 'Hogan’s Heroes,' or 'McHale’s Navy.'
You had works of art like 'South Pacific' or novels like 'Catch 22' and even movies like 'MASH,' respected the importance of the military and the important things it did that were heroic in the large scale, like World War II, but it was still made of real people with their real foibles.
But we — now we have started to have this artificially reverent view of the military that’s also distant and disengaged."