Keith Boyea's Blog

Notes & Commentary on National Security, Current Affairs and Bourbon

A Satirical Proposal: The Military Hall of Fame*

Thesis:  The war in Afghanistan has become so divorced from national defense that it has ceased to have meaning.  In short, we prosecute the war just to prosecute the war.

The war in Afghanistan has long since gone on without any real effect on national security.  Despite our most patriotic desires, the war does nothing to “keep America safe” nor does it promise an outcome that would benefit Americans or Afghans.  The original justification for invading Afghanistan–to destroy Al Qaeda and the Taliban government that hosted them–has long passed its sell-by date.  Osama bin Laden is dead, senior defense officials claim Al-Qaeda is nearly destroyed, and we are spending $12 billion a year to build an Afghan Army that’s only function is to “protect” Afghans from themselves.  While the Taliban has shown a remarkable ability to reconstitute itself, the Taliban poses little threat to the United States.

Since the war has become so divorced from national defense, we are prosecuting war simply to prosecute war.   In that manner, it has become sport.  Sports have no real meaning–we do them simply for the joy of doing them.  It matters little to the world if the Yankees or Red Sox win the World Series, just like it matters little if we spend another $100 billion on the Afghan National Army.  Superficially, the way we talk about the two is similar–both the Afghan war and baseball have “seasons. ”  (Since we have all the money, we are close analogs to the Yankees and Red Sox in the war league.)

That is why I propose we commit ourselves to building a Military Hall of Fame over the next five years.  This will allow Americans to properly enshrine our greatest war heroes in a hall of ultimate honor.  Our greatest war seasons can live forever in the Military Hall of Fame (MHF).

The possibilities here are endless.  I would immediately appoint Tom Ricks as the head of the selection committee.  His committee would be in charge of enshrining our most decorated military veterans and civilians  into the MHF.  For certain people, say General Petraeus, Ricks could waive the normal five years post-retirement waiting period and induct them immediately.

We could develop a cottage industry around the Hall.  How about MHF Talk Radio?  The hosts could debate which heroes (they are all heroes) should be first ballot guys (General Ray Odeirno, First ballot guy?) , and if Benedict Arnold should be included.  (Arnold would be the MHF’s Pete Rose.)   I envision the Museum somewhere near the Pentagon, but I could be persuaded otherwise.   Want to see the actual gun that killed bin Laden?  Come to the MHF!  Want to see the suit that Bob Gates wore on his first day as SecDef?  It has that too!

Every year before the kickoff to the latest fighting season, we could gather on the National Mall and have the induction ceremony.  I think the weekend at the end of the Cherry Blossom festival would be nice–tourists would already be in town–and it corresponds nicely with the beginning of the snow melt in Afghanistan.  The first class could include legends like George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, John Pershing, U.S. Grant, and George Patton.  Eventually we’d catch up to the more contemporary guys, like P5, and he could come give a teary speech about how much the military meant to him and generally reflect on his many military accomplishments.  It would a moment of both high patriotism and reflection; something worthy of America’s greatest national pastime–war.



* If it wasn’t clear, this is not a serious proposal. Though I think if I wrote it as such, I’d get far more readers.



Written by keithboyea

August 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Interesting look on the waste and abuse that’s called U.S. war in Afghanistan. The problem is the general public in the U.S. is not in tune with what’s going on overseas and consequently people don’t understand how much money we are wasting over there. It doesn’t help that Republicans are hell-bent on keeping strong defense, even though money in coffers is all dried up.

    Just curious, what is the purpose of your blog? To bring legitimate complaints about issues as you see them develop?

    Denis Grigorov

    August 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    • Denis,

      I’ve written about the waste in Afghanistan before, but I’m mostly concerned about the lives wasted. Money is sort of secondary to me. It is very easy for me to become cynical about Republican politics–they have to know how disconnected Afghanistan’s war is from our national security. And if they honestly think Afghanistan is vital to our national security, then we have delusional representatives.

      As for the point of my blog–there really isn’t one. I need an outlet for some of my ideas, and submitting them to “serious” publications seems like too much work for too little reward. I guess sometimes I needed more than 140 characters (I’m big into twitter) to make a point.


      August 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      • I see. I tend to be critical towards a lot of things I see wrong with our government and use facebook to get my message out. So it’s similar to your blog idea. We need more people expressing their concerns to make sure people understand that real changes are needed to our current gov’t. Too many people have this laid-back attitude where they don’t bother to learn what’s going on, then they complain when their way of life goes is threatened. The bottom line is we can’t afford to be ignorant citizens anymore. Not when our country is literally falling apart because of our idiot career politicians.

        Denis Grigorov

        August 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

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