Within the Western military tradition we deploy a subtle disassociation signal to minimize the psychological risk of developing spree killers within our own ranks. This signal is made of cloth and anchored to the uniform with a simply constructed design. These colorful signals are displayed on the upper left chest. The service ribbons are small. But the colors tell a legend and the contribution of each soldier resides within the history of the battlespace in which he (or she) served.
As a Navy nurse my signal was small. I was honored to wear the National Defense Ribbon. I displayed it with pride. Generic in nature, this ribbon traveled with me from Guam to Puerto Rico, Ghana, W. Africa, to the various military installations across our nation, and into our own capitol. But the ribbon was a reminder of my oath, the cost I was willing to incur on behalf of a nation which I deeply love.
Perhaps the most recognized ribbon is the one from the Vietnam conflict. Its colors are still displayed on bumper stickers across the nation. Yellow background, book-ended by green, and with three red centered stripes – we all know the story of Vietnam.
The splashy Kuwait Liberation Medal can be seen on the uniform of our service members. It was during that era my heart first leaned toward military service. A friend went off to war…. and I was hooked.
In the most distinguished category, members of the military sport a Navy Cross, Legion of Merit, a Purple Heart, and other devices. The signal sent from the aforementioned is one of superior service and valor in the line of duty.
So when noting an old vet wearing a ribbon from World War II we do not congratulate him for “killing the Germans”. The congratulation is tied to the battlespace within a timeline. The sailor who served in the Pacific theater of operation is honored for his life on the high seas. The elderly Air Force bombardier with the Air Force Cross who flew multiple missions over Dresden is congratulated for his service. But today? We like Germans! We just could not “like them” during World War II. Bring on the river cruises and the bratwurst and beer!
The vet wearing the service ribbon for Vietnam is not congratulated for “killing Commie Viet Cong”. He is congratulated for serving within a battlespace during a different era. We love the Vietnamese! Especially their delicious noodles!
So the ribbons serve to disassociate the violence and carnage of war and place the acts of war within a time-space capsule. We go to war to target threat and safeguard our population. We do not sit around at the Pentagon targeting nationality or ethnicity. That is beneath us. In fact, not only is it beneath us it is totally repugnant.
Islam is different. And therein, lies the problem.
The combat service ribbons of Islam target non-Islamic (or non-Islamic compliant) groups of people.
Islam is different.
The enemies are eternal and the battlespace is not tempered by time.
lethal when it comes to her service ribbons.
Let’s talk about Islam and her combat ribbons in the next post.