Opinion What Donald Trump doesn't understand about the difference between soldiers and 'warriors'
Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killed
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — An avalanche hit an Indian army post Monday on a Himalayan glacier in the disputed Kashmir region, killing four soldiers and their two civilian porters, the army said. The avalanche happened at height of more than 5,485 meters (17,995 feet) in the northern part of the Siachen Glacier. Rescuers pulled six soldiers and two porters from the snow, said army spokesman Lt. Col. Abhinav Navneet. They were taken by helicopter to a military hospital, where the four soldiers and the two porters died, Navneet said. The surviving two soldiers were undergoing treatment, he said.The group was on patrol near the post when the area was hit by the avalanche, Navneet said.
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President Trump claims he intervened in the war crimes case involving a Navy SEAL as a way to protect "."
"Warrior", as a descriptor, does not always call to mind scenes of Homeric bravery or Iwo Jima-like camaraderie. In some circles, it's a toxic word, a put down even, as it assume they are part of a class or caste onto themselves, to be worshiped. It also speaks to a certain level of gung-ho machismo shared by everyone who puts on the uniform. In other circles, it assumes a preference for brawn over brainpower, a Spartan jock culture versus Athenian intellectual worldview — why else would James Mattis have to be qualified as a ""?
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For most who wear the uniform it gives them a sense of purpose. The warrior nomenclature tends to diminish their value to ensuring peace and security, or defending the homeland. Or it conflates their role as being a purveyor of lethal violence.
Let's not sugarcoat what soldiers do — their job, in part, is to kill, if called upon to do so. Yet lumping all of them together as "warriors" cheapens the uniform. A mercenary or a Viking raider is also a "warrior" in the strict sense of the word. So is a Taliban fighter or ISIS recruit.
Soldiers' moral code
What makes our men and women, not just in the U.S. but in militaries across the globe, unique and "special" is their strict adherence to a virtuous moral code in the management of violence.
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The president asserted it was his call on providing the information. © Reuters/TOM BRENNER U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on honesty and transparency in healthcare prices at the White House. "I’m clean, and when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to election, it will only show one thing — that I am much richer than people even thought — And that is a good thing," Trump said, providing no details on his claims of wealth.
This is what President Trump misunderstands. He believes that warriors enjoy protected status. By interfering in the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, he is suggesting that soldiers, given they are part of the warrior elite, are somehow above the law.
I have spent the past four years on the military training side of West Point, surrounded primarily by special operators or Rangers who have fought multiple tours. What makes them extraordinary is not their bravery or toughness but their commitment to a set of values. They are soldiers first, warriors second.
Banish 'warrior' label
In some ways the "warrior" label should be banished from our vocabulary or downplayed when referring to the military. After all, changing norms and technologies may start to erode our contemporary notions of warrior. Are drone pilots as heroic as their Top Gun brethren wearing Aviator shades? Is somebody who branches cyber and codes for a living as brave and fearless as his infantry brethren? Do they get to cut the lines at airports, too?
Donald Trump says he will block military from removing Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher
Eddie Gallagher is one of several military justice cases that have become causes for conservatives who say the men were treated unfairly. On Friday, Trump also pardoned Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who had been serving a 19-year sentence for ordering soldiers to fire on unarmed Afghan civilians, two of whom died. The president also granted a pardon to Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who was charged with killing a suspected bombmaker.Critics have hit Trump for intervening in the cases, saying he is undermining the military justice system.
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This past month has shown us the best and the worst of America's "warrior" class. On one hand, we saw Lt Col Alexander Vindman, an immigrant from Ukraine who has a Purple Heart, a Combat Badge and Ranger Tab, who defended his notion of what was right by reporting an abuse of the system. On the other we have Chief Petty Officer Gallagher, who deserves praise for serving our nation but whose alleged war crimes, as well asin an interview he gave to Fox News, demonstrates the seedier side of our "warrior" class.
America's relationship with the military has always been a bit cartoonish and Trump's meddling is the latest embodiment of this. We have a public largely checked out and uninformed about the wars fought in its name, one that supports its troops and likes flyovers at its ball games yet also does not want to be burdened with bad news from the front lines.
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We rightfully venerate those who serve, yet we also seem to elevate them onto this vaulted status that they neither seek nor deserve. We should praise their sacrifice, yet not excuse them when they fall short or commit crimes.
Otherwise they will be seen as warriors in the worst sense of the word.
Lionel Beehner, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is an assistant professor and director of research at West Point's Modern War Institute.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, 69, said he told President Trump he’s “the chosen one.” © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.Perry said Trump is not perfect but, “God’s used imperfect people all through history.” “King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect. I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago. I shared it with him. I said, ‘Mr. President, I know there are people that say, you know, you said you were the chosen one.’ And I said, ‘You were.
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