Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fundamentalist Nutcases Take Over The US Military

I used to work at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. I was a staff artist for an audio-visual training program to train pilots how to fly the F-4 Phantom Jet. Yes, that's me in the picture and no, I don't look that good anymore.

I remember all of those military guys. And I liked them very much. From the pilots all the way up to the top brass. I didn't just work with them, I hung out with them on the base. I've always liked straight shooters and people who don't have time for bullshit. I was raised in the construction industry, and that was another place full of straight shooters. Until you got to the architects...then you ran into the bullshit. In America, I always figured that the politicians were like the architects in the construction industry, and the military were like the construction workers.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, this little fantasy, this little naive generalization that I have carried around with me for umpteen years, this hopeful trust in the common sense of the military guys and gals, has finally crumbled. It started long before Petreus. I kept hanging on, waiting for the voice of reason to rise up against the Commander In Chief, but Bush would fire the guys who disagreed with him. He calls that "listening to the commanders on the ground." Some of the fired generals have begun to speak out against the administration. That has been encouraging too. But my fantasy died a sad and final death when I read this TruthDig article.

It's written by David Antoon, a retired Air Force Colonel and Vietnam Vet. His son wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, which made Dad proud. His son was invited to attend the Air Force Academy. So David and his son went to the orientation and were changed forever from the experience. They discovered that the US military is being run by religious fundamentalists. That's all we need. Give a religious fanatic a gun and well, you have, um, Al Queda. Mr. Antoon's son, with much regret, decided not to attend the Air Force Academy.

I live in France now. A while back, I was talking to my Dad on the phone and I told him that it was Sunday, so everything was closed. He asked me why. I said, "Probably because France was originally a Catholic country." Politically, I guess you could say it's a socialist country. But it's culture and history is steeped in Catholicism. My Dad, one of those Latin Mass goers (that's a nice way of putting it), guffawed. It was hard for him to understand that those bloody socialists could be practicing Catholics too.

But France is secular, politically. They have managed to keep religion OUT of politics. And no lightening has struck, that I know of. I can see the dome of Sacre Coeur out of my window and it has yet to burst into flames. This church, at the top of the hill at Montmartre, is too busy frowning down upon the Moulin Rouge and all the flesh spots in Pigalle, nestled at the base of the hill. The two opposites have managed to live together in harmony all these many years.

I seriously doubt that part of France's military training regime includes hand-holding prayer circles and Monday night bible study groups. You can push the ejection button if I'm wrong.


Mauigirl said...

I'm not surprised. I feel as if more and more of our country is being taken over by these fundamentalists.

I think France keeps its Sundays off so people can enjoy their real lives with their families. Here in the U.S. where the real religion is Capitalism and the Protestant Work Ethic, taking a day off is considered immoral.