The American Soldier Defined

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“There was a time when the profession of arms was honorable, but that is surely no longer true in America.  The corps of officers of the United States Army seems to be fast sinking to the estate and dignity of a gang of longshoremen.  One never picks up a newspaper withoout reading of the arrest of some officer or ex-officer for an offense involving dishonor.  Not long ago one of them was hanged for murder.  A few days later another one, in prison for the same crime, asked for a pardon on the ground that, in the region where he was brought up, murder was not regarded as criminal.  Swindles, defalcations [i.e., embezzlement], rowdyism, drunkenness, extortions, cruelties — such offenses are so common that they pass almost unnoticed.”

–H.L. Mencken, in The Smart Set, Jan. 1922, in The Second Mencken Chrestomathy, pp. 168-169.

4:15 pm on January 31, 2013