Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!


Be Thou At Peace....

Last night I posted that I had a friend whose husband was missing in Iraq......a typo. It was Afghanistan...I knew that, just typed Iraq instead.

This morning I found news of the missing aircraft on At that point, the reports were acknowledging that an aircraft was missing, but that an emergency locator beacon had been picked up, still leaving hope. Unfortunately by this afternoon, the beacon had been found at a crash site in the Hindu Kush mountains. The report was not optimistic, the word survivors wasn't used.

Later this afternoon I got the terrible news that my friend's husband had in fact been on that plane and was confirmed as one of the passengers lost.

The reference to "Be thou as peace" comes from West Point's Alma Mater. This Saturday, following the annual Army-Navy football game, stay tuned as both teams will stand at rigid attention for each school's Alma Mater. As a matter of fact, watch closely and you'll see big, hefty burly football players singing matter how good or bad the voice. Here's my "title" in context from the final stanza of the West Point Alma Mater:

And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said, 'Well Done;
Be Thou At Peace.'
E'er may that line of gray
Increase from day to day,
Live, serve, and die, we pray,
West Point, for thee.

Well done, Mike. Be thou at peace. Jeanette and the kids...try to be at peace. Your brave husband and father died for the most noble of causes, trying to set other humans free.

Sadly from the high ground...


There's more....

Today the war hit very close to home...but it doesn't shake my belief that what we're trying to accomplish in both Afghanistan and Iraq is the right thing to do. While the liberation of Afghanistan from the grip of the Taliban and Al Qaeda seems a little more accepted when compared to the campaigns in Iraq, the work in both countries is setting men and women free.

I know that some will argue with me that we're causing carnage and mayhem at every step, but I just can't believe that's true. We have wrestled two countries away from despotism and given millions the chance to live in a world where execution, torture, and abject poverty don't need to be the order of the day. I hope that we don't try to FORCE our way of life on these people, but I do have to believe that many of the people just coming out from under the yoke of oppression have to appreciate the fact that we continue to try to make their lives better.

When it comes to the use of force, I honestly believe that for the most part, the coalition forces in both countries are using overwhelming force...but only when the risk of collateral casualties is as limited as possible. Thugs and warlords are not tolerated in our societies, why should this be any different in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you lived in a neighborhood that was being overrun with gangs and drug dealers, wouldn't you call the police? And if the police failed to respond, wouldn't you hope that someone did?

I believe that in my heart of hearts, that's what the American and British led coalition have done. The calls had gone out to the nations of the world...and a brave few answered the call after the UN sat fat and complacent in New York City. Someone has to clean house when human beings place others into the situations such as pre-9/11 Afghanistan and pre-invasion Iraq.

The folks fighting hardest in Iraq are those that have lost the most by the deposing of Saddam Hussein. Being a Sunni and a member of the Baath Party was a pretty sweet deal as long as Saddam was in power. Now that he's is up to the Sunni population to take their place in Iraqi society...members of the population and not the ruling class.

Things get even more complicated when you consider that the Sunni moslems are in the minority, with the Kurds to the north and the Shia to the east. I am not going to try and lecture or pretend that I know much about the different sects, but I do know that there are radicals in all the camps. The key to a peace in Iraq is for the multiple factions to learn to get along and share in the future of Iraq...more or less to learn to play nice. For neighboring Arab countries, with their own religious factions (Iran - Shia and Saudi Arabia - Sunni) to meddle in the fortunes of Iraq wouldn't be right either.

America has been pretty fair with the handling of post-war situations...we've helped to rebuild Europe twice, we've stood by in Korea, we did in fact help rebuild Vietnam (albeit a little while after the fact) and I think we'll do the same here. There are those that do not want to support the fledgling interim government...and I think that's a shame. After hundreds of years of monarchy and despotism, you would think that they would consider trying something new.

I know that they don't want to be expsed to the decadence of the West...and honestly, that's their choice, but for people to live in fear of their lives for the religious beliefs or their political opinions just doesn't sit right with me. As people that are enjoying their right of free speech, free travel, and other freedoms we take for granted, I would think that you'd have to at least semi-agree that I have a point. Those rough men and women stand guard around the globe tonight to protect those freedoms.

See y'all on the high ground. I'll be the one with tears in my eyes.


Read the rest of the longer story!


At 7:49 PM, Blogger Joe said...

If it helps, I must admit that if I could choose a way to die, it would be in the service of others, like the man you mentioned. For his sacrifice, I have the utmost respect and admiration.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Joe said...

And when you mentioned the matter of post-war reconstruction, MajorDad, I couldn't help but enjoy the gratitude America has received for the billions in waived debt and capital invested (although unrequited generosity has gone both ways across the Atlantic). We can always hope for another South Korea; that wouldn't be half bad, as long as they don't build cars as trashy as Hyundais.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...

Joe...thanks for the comment.

As far as Hyundais go, they've made alot of headway from the time I bought one of the first in America. Gee, what a lousy ride.

See you on the high ground.


At 8:02 PM, Blogger Jenni said...


My deepest sympathies to you and to Mike's family. You all are certainly in my prayers tonight, as are our troops across the globe.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...


Thank you so much. Sorry if we got off on the wrong foot. Like I said, sometimes I get a little too animated for my own good.

Like I think I said, Mike's wife and I worked on a testing program for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle about 5 years ago...maybe only met Mike once or twice. I just hope that the family's doing as well as can be expected and that they can find some peace.

Take care...


At 5:04 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Very sad loss, I hope the wife and kids of Mike find healing and peace.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger the urban fox said...

What a terrible accident, Major Dad. My deepest sympathies to Mike's family and friends and all those who knew him.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Godspeed, Mike. And may your grief be gentle, Major Dad.

It's always hard to lose someone you know in the call of duty. Thank you for your willingness to share this with us.

with great respect,
Daniel in Brookline

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Rachel Ann said...

Condolences to you and Mikes family. I am so very sorry for the loss of such a good man.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathies, MajorDad. You'll all be in my prayers.


At 2:09 PM, Blogger SwissToni said...

Sorry to hear that news Major....

Deepest sympathies to you and to Mike's family.

In all our debates here and elsewhere, let's never forget the human side of this (and every) war. Let's hope the killing - on all sides, everywhere - will stop soon. For good.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

The loss of a soldier, I believe, is a pain felt by all. I am a bit sadder tonight for knowing this.

Heavy sigh... quiet thoughts... thank you for sharing.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger AFSister said...

Major Dad,
Sorry to hear about your friend's loss. What a tragic event. Every time we lose a soldier, regardless of when or where, our nation grieves with those who survive them. We all mourn with you, even though the loss hasn't hit us personally.

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major Dad,
Though I was not assigned to his squadron, I knew LTC McMahon am an honored to have served alongside him in the same brigade. Along with him were two other soldiers from his squadron who also tragically perished in that plane crash. I will be attending a prayer servirce for all three tomorrow. Thank you for your tribute.

Sgt Hook.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger texasbug said...

Please pass along my sincere condolences to his wife and family. I will think of Mike and his sacrifice tonight, when I look in on my sleeping children before going to bed. Thanks to him and other brave men and women, my children can sleep peacefully in their beds each night without fear. Thank you Mike, from the bottom of my heart. I will cherish my freedom even more in light of your sacrifice. May God Bless your family and give them peace.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Gerry said...

My deep sympathy for your loss. May he rest in peace.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger blaster said...

Cadet McMahon was company commander of my Beast company.

He was certainly one to venerate and emulate.

Well Done. Be thou at Peace.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger MajorDad said...


I'd have to think about who my beast company commanders were...the squad leaders are seared into my brain. Mr. Reich and Mr. know who you are.

Thank you for your posting...and of course....



At 11:56 PM, Blogger Marguerite said...

May Mikes' memory be Eternal. Thank you for putting a name to the statistics that we read and hear of.


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