There is no end to it! I knew the military was being dumbed and watered down. I didn’t want to know it. I certainly didn’t want to believe it. But it’s true, despite the official gas from the Pentagon.

Tennis shoes instead of combat boots? Blue cards for “time outs”?
Maternity uniforms? Different standards for men and women, officially and unofficially. Sensitivity training. Polite DI’s? Women onboard ships?

It’s all clear evidence of drastic changes in the military mindset. Not in the minds of recruits but in the minds and actions of those training these young people to be SOLDIERS! SAILORS! MARINES! AIRMEN! COAST GUARDSMEN!

I don’t use the capital letters lightly. When a person volunteers for the U.S. military, the goal is to turn them from a civilian into a military man — oops, ‘scuse me, military person. Nah, forget that. Military man. Regardless of sex, it is and has been a designation of honor.

Yes, I know. We’ve all heard the line that the job of the military is to kill people and break things. Perhaps, that’s true when they’re finally called to do the ultimate. In reality, when they are called to do the ultimate, their primary duty historically has been to protect and defend — the country, the Constitution, our people and our way of life.

Granted that over the last eight years, the assignment of the military has been changed. We are being told now that our men and women in uniform are “peacekeepers” and their assigned roles more and more often involve such mundane tasks as directing traffic, building roads and schools and monitoring a forced truce on peoples who hate each other.

While this goes on, the military continues misleading the general public as to what they are doing to our young people. Making military training easier both by lowering standards and changing training equipment, encouraging young people to be so thin-skinned they need a time out (I thought that ended after first grade!), encouraging young girls to be offended and claim harassment if young men look at them and find them attractive and allowing men and women at their most virile age to bunk and live in close quarters is asking for trouble in more than one way.

First of all, it’s not real life. In real life, you put young people together and you get sex. And babies. And disease. And requests for abortion. Just ask the military. It knows. But it’s done anyway.

Secondly, this is not the Army, Mr. Jones. In real life, the military is not supposed to be fun. It isn’t college. It isn’t easy. In real life, in the real military, when you get done with the training, you are truly a man or woman, strong in mind, body and spirit.

You have been taught discipline and self-control; you have learned to work together and yet to think for yourself; you have learned to be self-sufficient and how to survive; you have learned how to use weapons against aggression and for the goal of peace; you have learned to aim for the best and most often, attain it. Sort of like the old Army slogan “Be All You Can Be.” For some idiotic reason, that slogan has been dumped in favor of “An Army of One.” What does that mean? If it turns out to be every man for himself, we are in more trouble than I thought.

A clear sign of the drifting military was the command by Army chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki in October to change the headgear for the troops. Rather than finding a new design, he took the honored black beret of the Rangers and said everyone should wear them. According to him, the conformity would be a symbol of the ‘transformed Army for the 21st century.” Whew! With lines like that, he should also supply hip boots. It’s really getting deep in here!

The Rangers went ballistic, especially the vets; some even marched on Washington. They had reason to be angry. The black beret was a symbol of the elite service, honoring their long history of bravery and sacrifice. Just as the Special Forces wear the green berets and Airborne units wear maroon berets, the Rangers black berets are a symbol of their special skills, challenges mastered and heroism.

But of course, in the Army of One, we are all special. If we aren’t, our self-esteem may just be shattered. We will all feel just so good if we can wear the beret. Just think, everyone in the Army of One is elite!

Despite the flap, the General hung in, one of the perks of rank I guess. The Rangers caved and will switch to tan berets (sorry guys — wrong!) and the military loses again — all those people running around in berets will just look plain silly. The whole point of a beret was that is was different. The whole military is based on visible differences in grade, rank and privilege, not uniformity.

The general is facing flak from Congress. It seems that military uniforms are supposed to be made by American firms with American materials. The contract for the 2.6 million black berets couldn’t be filled in time for the Army’s birthday on June 14, so more than half will be made overseas, most of them in China! (Slave labor?)

The flap continues, the orders are being filled, the Army party plans are under way, and the good general is still wearing his stars. Why do I have the sickening feeling he’ll retire just in the nick of time, collect his generous pension and leave our military suffering from a swift kick in the esprit d’corps.

Mom always said “life isn’t fair.” I agree, but it doesn’t have to be this stupid.

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