The learned warrior......there were such creatures; Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Lord Nelson. It was not enough in the minds of these men to know how to kill their fellow man and take what was theirs; you first find purpose in your conquest, you find method in your madness, then you turn your enemy upon himself, and in the end, the conquered become one and the same with the conquerors. Thus the world was changed at various intervals of human history, perhaps not necessarily, but strangely beneficially.
Young men seek the uniform, the weapon, and the attendant glory, for they will live forever, with stories of glory to pass on to their children, and put to rest any accusations of less than manly character. But the ranks swell with those that look no further beyond this characteristic hormone storm; very few that seek the whys and wherefores and context of their adventures. Most, I think thankfully, will have the impact of their actions realized as their friends drop beside them, or return home with pieces missing, or have children drill looks of hatred into their soul for having taken their parents. This is a price needing to be paid if we are to remain citizen soldiers called to defense of our own, rather than centurion mercenaries who find death a mere commodity. and become accustomed to the stench the rest of us could never tolerate.
Politicians who never served, who never went in harms way, who never stared down a barrel or bomb sight or periscope need not imagine themselves capable of crafting policy that will place warriors at the reapers disposal, yet they do, and the results of such blasphemy is now evident in the mounting toll of this big mistake we call a war on terrorism. The learned warrior knows a twisted truth, and will speak against it at first opportune. Not enough learned warriors seem to be with us these days, and that is the shame we will suffer for, for generations to come.
No, I did not wear gold braid upon my shoulders. No, I did not happen upon circumstance which would have branded me with valor. And no, I was not tested in such a way that I dare not dream for the horrors it could visit upon my slumbers. But I remember the mission, I remember how we carried it out, and I now know of the honor I wished we had realized in those days spent on a razor's edge. I am a learned warrior after the fact, and I second-guess with reckless abandon, and will continue to do so with confidence in my right and ability to do so, until such time that a learned man steps to the forefront and puts right this waste of lives and waste of honor which is Iraq. I am a veteran, and I stand by my judgement.