Thursday, October 18, 2007


No Fragging, No News

Associated Press reporters Estes Thompson and Mike Baker undertake a comparative analysis between Vietnam and our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and breathlessly report:

American troops killed their own commanders so often during the Vietnam War that the crime earned its own name - "fragging."

But since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has charged only one soldier with killing his commanding officer, a dramatic turnabout that most experts attribute to the all-volunteer military.

The headline of AP’s version of disappointing news from Iraq? “’Fragging’ is Rare in Iraq, Afghanistan.”

Rare? How about non-existent? Were it not for two questionable exceptions -- a fundamentalist (and mentally unstable) Muslim, and a soldier whose alleged act of multiple homicide may have resulted from criminal activity -- there have been no “fragging” incidents in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Why write the story at all? How rare does rare have to be without falling below any reasonable criteria for recognition?

Only when it stands athwart mainstream media (MSM) efforts to portray our military’s efforts as hopeless, and our military as increasingly opposed to the war, of course.

Story via Memeorandum. Also commenting:

Wretchard at the Belmont Club:

While morale is determined by many physical things it is also driven by intangibles such as leadership, the perception of victory and the "justness" of the struggle the combatants are engaged in. Soldiers in Vietnam were materially better off than their fathers in World War 2 but due to factors too complex to discuss here, it was the intangibles which they lacked. Some were eventually convinced their service was futile, unappreciated and even criminal in nature. Wikipedia describes what John Kerry did upon his return from Vietnam.

On April 23, 1971 John Kerry and other veterans threw their medals, ribbons, discharge papers, photographs, citations and articles of their uniforms over a fence at the Capitol building at Washington, D.C. in protest. One disabled veteran even threw his cane. The stated purpose of the demonstration was to show that this protesting group of veterans thought the war was unjust, and that the administration had betrayed them.

That demoralization may have played a role in fragging. And therefore if fraggings are so rare as to be almost nonexistent in Iraq and Afghanistan it maybe due in part to a perception by men serving there that their cause is meaningful, just and ultimately destined to be victorious. It's a possibility at least.

Jules Crittenden:

Iraq is in other ways not like Vietnam at all. Low KIA rate, virtually non-existent offensive capacity on the part of the enemy beyond murderous harassment of troops and terrorism against civilians. And no fragging.  Also, a virtually non-existent anti-war movement.  Well, OK, there is a majority in Congress that is to varying degrees anti-war.  I guess I meant a thus-far entirely ineffective and virtually irrelevant anti-war movement.

Don Surber:

Yes, imagine that: People who are forced to be in the military resent the hell out of the military. Perhaps this is why so many lefties support the draft. They hate the military and want to recruit more military-bashers.

After a slow start, the all-volunteer Army has been a huge success. As witnessed by the end of fragging.

Confederate Yankee:

Estes Thompson and Mike Baker of the Associated Press note that America's all volunteer military isn't taking advantage of opportunities the way their predecessors did.

You can almost feel their pain.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang:

When you read the report, you can't help but feel as if the reporter is disappointed with this trend.

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