Monday, October 06, 2008


Word is out that Beau Biden, son of Joe Biden, is off to Iraq since his Reserve unit was called up.
To the colors and all that.

Some thoughts come to me.

Young Biden is the Attorney-General of the great state of Delaware. It is highly unlikely, and ill-advised, that he should be ‘at the front’ – by this time it is presumed that all American schoolchildren have learned that in Iraq there really is no ‘front’, or rather: the whole country is ‘the front’. Green Zone included.

To send somebody of such public significance ‘to the front’ actually puts any troops around him in even greater danger than they are now. The Brits realized this recently when they removed Prince Harry from ‘the front’ because his very presence constituted too much of a threat: not only that he might be wounded or killed, but that his very presence would ‘target’ that unit in the eyes of would-be assassins and those who – like Biden’s father in a way – love to make very public ‘statements’. Surely the Army cannot be serious in sending him ‘to the front’.

Additionally, as John Eisenhower, 80-plus year-old former Army officer son of Dwight D. Eisenhower has recently written somewhere that when as a young Army officer he wanted to go to the front in Korea when his father was running for President, he and his dad (a former 5-star general and career West Pointer, you recall) had a conversation in which Dad told Junior: if you go, and get captured, I will have to immediately resign the Presidency because otherwise it will create the impression that I am conducting the national business of war with an eye to my own very personal concerns as to your welfare. The agreement subsequently reached by Dad and Junior was that Junior would ‘make sure’ that he was never captured … i.e., that he would shoot himself if it appeared he were about to fall into enemy hands.

Now if the Army is about to send the Attorney-General of Delaware into harm’s way, then it is also about to send the son of a possible (probable) Vice-President of the United States into harm’s way. Let it be assumed that Iraq and Afghanistan will not be ‘over’ by November. The Army is going to send Beau Biden into the middle of that frakfest, he being son of the Vice-President presumptive?

But … the news reports that the unit whose departure Jawin’ Joe proudly saw off a day or two ago is actually going to a stateside base where it will ‘prepare and train’ for going to Iraq in several months. Ah. After the election. By which point, Pappy presumably having been elected Veep, it would be contrary to any sane national or military policy to send the son into harm’s way. Ah.

Additionally, the son is not a combat infantry officer. Or cavalry. Or artillery. Or air. He is – actually – a lawyer. A Jag officer. Ah. These types are staff officers. They stay at headquarters and do not go too close to the front or to the troops (excepting for that rather curious Jag, Lindsey Graham, who in his own telling, used to prowl about barracks full of sleeping women – and men – troops at night to see who might need a lawyer). Ah.

The military lawyers have not had too rough a time of it over there. Partially because (unless the troops are sleeping, it would seem) they are not around the front very much; ‘deposing’ Osama is not meant in the legal sense, and Saddam has already been, as it were, ‘deposed’. Perhaps also because – in their diabolic and inscrutably semi-oriental way – Osama’s folk or whoever have come to the astute conclusion that the military lawyers are more of a strategic asset to the cause than a liability. Diabolical of them to notice. No wonder the Fundamentalist chaplainry considers the whole region ripe for the righteous sword.

So if he were to go over there, Beau-boy would not be exactly at the cannon’s mouth. And by the time he might even be ‘ready’ to go over there, Pappy may be Veep-elect. In which case – as any general or diplomat could tell you – it would actually be endangering ‘the troops’ to send Beau-chik over there. And even if it goes the other way, Beau-boy is still Attorney-General of Delaware and the Army will suddenly profess itself shocked, shocked, to discover the fact and will with great reluctance cancel his orders to deploy. Though if that were to be the case, and given the modern Republicans’ penchant for revenge, Beau-Boy may be well-advised to go anyway.

But the chances in almost any case of his actually getting his ‘important’ butt onto a transport plane are nil.

And for reasons that are standard and conventional military wisdom in all the armies and governments of the civilized world.

Which then raises the question: What just happened in front of the adoring cameras here? Does anyone in authority in the pictures actually believe that this boy-chik is going over there? If they do, then they know squat about things military and diplomatic. If they don’t believe it, then what the frak was all this proud and choked-up ‘goodbye and good luck’ stuff in front of the cameras?


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Blogger David said...

Sarah Palin has a kid in Iraq now. McCain had one who just returned from there and another in the pipeline from the USNA.

Eisenhower at first refused to let his son John go to Korea because he said, if elected, he'd have to resign if his son were ever captured to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Ike relented when his son, by his own account, promised to commit suicide rather than fall into North Korean hands.

9:16 AM  

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