Thursday, June 02, 2005

On naming vehicles of War

A couple of days ago there was a couple of emails from Marines to Andrew Sullivan posted on his blog. Andrew had gotten upset because of the name of this Marine Tank.

For some reason this really bugged me and I felt it necessary to send him an email about it.

Well Andrew I think your Blog has sunk to a new banal low.

After reading the two “Emails of the day” from marines, I reread through your blog to find the topic of such shattering import that generated such responses and found nothing more then a picture of a tank.

A tank named “New Testament”
That’s it?
Warriors have been naming their implements of death and destruction for eons. Somewhere is the past some soldier of UR probably named his spear ”Sally” or something like that. It’s what people do. And the names will reflect the personality and culture of their owners/operators.
I take it that your response is due to the biblical meaning behind the name. Fair enough. But please point us to the sudden change in the universe that requires such a reaction.I served as a Marine LAV crewman in Desert Storm. Our vehicle’s name was “The Seventh Sign” A biblical reference to be sure, even though I came up with the name and I’m not a Christian. In fact during my deployment I was studying Zen and I currently consider myself s Taoist. But naming our vehicle “Joshu’s No” probably wouldn’t have been supported by the rest of the crew. The name simply was a reflection of our personality. We made no political statement; we simply meant it as a moral booster, since naming a vehicle helps to form pride and attachment to a 14.5 ton piece of metal. I don’t expect you to understand. But when you’re sitting down with what has been termed your “Band of Brothers” the simple thing such as picking a name can have a big meaning to you. It’s a bragging point a chance to show off and basically a way to show how much of a badass you are to the Marines around you.

I sincerely hoped that any Iraqi close enough to read and understand “The Seventh Sign” truly realized that judgment had come for him, and that he should repent of his sins and throw himself upon the mercies of the Marines.

And I’m quite sure that the Arabic script on the side of the destroyed and captured Iraqi vehicles had equally creative phrases and ideas behind them. Perhaps “Sword of Allah” or “Infidel Slayer”

I know the whole song and dance about winning the “Hearts and Minds” of the people of Iraq. But why are you getting all bent out of shape over a few minutes of bravado by scared men thousands of miles away from home?

This IS a more PC and sensitive military. Could you see a vehicle being named “Kraut Killer” or “Jap Smasher” today? How about “Towelhead Terror” or “DuneCoon Dawg”

To get all bent out of shape about something as trivial this is really beneath you, and frankly less then what I have come to expect out of your blog. But I also see it as another symptom of what I perceive as a decline in the quality of your postings. I really think your getting silly about the Christian Right, getting worked up about little things like this.

You can of course tell me to fuck off. It’s your place. I’ll just go read Maureen Dowd. At least from her I expect it.


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