Accuracy in Labelling

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James in Louisiana writes that a recent flight “was filled with obnoxious army and air force enlisted men. During the boarding process … , the Delta gate attendant announced boarding for ‘first class’ passengers. Next up? You got it. Military personnel. There were two young men … in fatigues … and, to my amazement there followed a dozen or more men and women in … jeans, sweat suits, flip-flops, and the like. Only then were the remaining passengers allowed to board.

“Once on the aircraft, I was shocked at the loud talk and generally boorish attitude of ‘our troops’ during the flight …. I was equally shocked that no officer or higher-ranking non-com stepped in to tell them to knock it off. When I traveled in the Navy in the 1970s it was in a dress uniform or a coat and tie, certainly not combat boots and desert camouflage! Back then, despite being a sailor, I did not ‘cuss’ like one in public and certainly not in an airliner. What louts! God help us all.”

Throughout history, troops have swaggered among and abused the civilians whose looted wealth supports them, usually with open bullying, more rarely with mere rudeness. But perhaps liberty is better served when warriors dress and act like slovenly oafs: certainly they portray the State’s cravenness and cruelty more accurately than James did.

9:02 am on February 27, 2013