The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

deja vu


My Democratic friends are understandably concerned that there are unidentified soldiers roaming the capital.  These are soldiers without any apparent identification.  It is unknown what military service or what unit they represent.  There is no way to determine where they came from.  I understand how unsettling that can be, but it is not the first time.

When I graduated from Special Forces Officers Course in Fort Bragg and was awaiting transfer, it was 1968, and Martin Luther King had just been assassinated.  We were ordered to nearby Pope Air Force Base.  Waiting on the tarmac, we were ordered to use our bayonets to cut off our military patches, including our service, unit, rank, and name.  Then, they took our brand new hard-won berets, which we hated.  When we boarded the C-130’s, we were quite unidentifiable, except for dog tags.  All night, we circled DC, waiting to jump.  When the plane banked, we could see the city below us burning.  It was a sobering experience.  Fortunately, we never got the order to jump and returned to Pope the next morning.

To my Democratic friends, the unknown soldiers in the capital now are not the first.  It is essential to protect the anonymity of individual soldiers.  They are unidentifiable tools, like your hammer or screwdriver.  Your time and concern are better spent on the pandemic or the protests or most anything else . . .

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