Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Post: Striving to Achieve the Ideal (Part Four)

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Welcome to Part Four, the resounding conclusion of April's guest post series! Part One is available here. Enjoy!

Likewise Colonel Tom Kratman, who co-authored "Watch On The Rhine" with John Ringo, one of the most controversial (if not the most controversial, outright) modern science fiction stories yet conceived.

He continues to write, unapologetic works which not only examine in minute detail the philosophical guides of our day and how they could affect the future our great-grandchildren will inherit, but does so with a sense of humor.

There are those who like to lambast him and what he says. Google "Tom Kratman, Space Marine" and you'll find plenty of material. I would have been one of those critics, but for the fact that I have been on the front lines and have experienced what he talks about.

Had I not spent months on the gun line of a Marine artillery battery I would never have believed the humor we find in everything. Even death. Or the music we sing and play to pass the while. John Ringo has single-handedly introduced me to more music than MTV and VH1 combined! Never mind my love for Kipling.

The most important thing about these military writers is that they speak of truths, some of which our modern society is reluctant, indeed wholly unwilling to admit exist.

We speak of transnationalism: a world without borders; cosmopolitanism: a singular world identity without regard for skin color or religion. It sounds wonderful, till we dig deeper and realize that these ideas are just that, pipe dreams mouthed by corruptible (or already corrupted) people.

At the end of his books, Colonel Kratman provides his own personal afterword on topics brought up through out the course of the novel. And the more I look at the world around me, the more I find myself agreeing.

We may dream of perfect little societies where all is good and all is right, but we cannot accomplish them. Least ways, not how we envision. For human nature is the great, immovable object against which speeding theories collide, crashing and burning spectacularly. Free, open society, cannot, will not force equality amongst races or genders. It is impossible.

But step onto the parade deck where a marine battalion is reporting in. Witness black men in positions of authority, receiving the roll call from white men, finding German, French, Dutch and Irish last names alongside the Stepanovs, Ikedas, SotosGarcias, Yans and the Marubes. Most are citizens, some have only a few months till they are naturalized and become Americans. There are Jews and Catholics and Protestants and Baptists, Methodists, Mormons, Buddhists and Wiccans. All working towards a common goal.

I had never considered any of this, till I began to read the work these men put out. It has changed how I think, how I act, how I feel. It is not to say that these men are perfect, far from it. They are mortal like any of the rest of us. But their work is immortal, for it provides us with understanding and insight, gathered altogether in one effort- to enlarge the mind.

When we are exposed to the true harshness and realities of war, do we so eagerly seek to cause strife, on any scale? When we come to know how human beings truly think and interact, do we cease to try and force counter-productive beliefs on them? When we understand human nature, do we not seek to guide it intelligently, with realistic principles, not simply wishful thinking?

Military men write not simply of war and strategy and tactical acumen (though this we will find aplenty, indeed the US Marine Corps encourages it with a list of books tailored specifically to educate and professionally develop all ranks), they speak of what makes us charge the guns on Breed's Hill, to fight against human waves in the snows of Chosin, to crawl through darkened tunnels in Vietnam, to man the guns all night long at Kandahar and Fallujah and Baghdad.

We may ignore what them, that is our right. But they speak of humans and humanity. This we ignore to our eternal detriment.

After spending 19 years a virtual prisoner in the People's Republic of California, Jonathan LaForce escaped, spending two blissful years serving as a missionary for his church in Dallas Texas. Upon completion of this assignment though, he returned to California and found himself once again impoverished, despite working as a security guard at the Six Flags Theme Park.

Refusing to remain in this state and having nothing to tie him down, he enlisted in the Marines. Three years later, with deployments to the Orient and Afghanistan as an artilleryman in the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, he spends his time running riot in his truck all over the island of Hawaii while destroying what little hearing he has left with bagpipes and classic 80s rock.

A Guide to The Modern Military Writer

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