A Great Dinner With Men of Honor July 31, 2008Posted by Michael in News.
I had dinner tonight sitting at an outside bar in San Antonio (where I can smoke), and struck up a conversation with Randy and Ernest , two scary dark people, and both of them looked really buff. They are both obviously lifting weights. So I was polite.
They are both born losers, coming from modest families, by my standards. Randy is from Puerto Rico, and Ernest is from Haiti. These are not great places to start out.
They are now both Captains in the United States Army.
What was so affecting about the ensuing conversation is their blatant pride in America as an agency of good in the world, and in the Army as an engine of opportunity where anyone can excel. These are both educated and intelligent men, and they were enthusiastic about the United States Army.
Ernest is currently stationed in Hawaii and figures he has a cushy job for now.
Randy just got back from Afghanistan, and he is waiting for his next command. He talked openly about how he actually cried when he got rotated out of Afghanistan and had to leave his command there.
He was very anxious for me to know that we are winning in Afghanistan. As he put it — we’re going to own Afghanistan just like we own Iraq (he assumes we have won there). Unlike Iraq, Randy said the Afghans are all on our side; they want us to help them clean up the Taliban and the opium trade. Randy says there is a mini-surge going on in Afghanistan right now, with the Army adding boots on the ground, as well as the Marines. (I was surprised that an Army officer mentioned Marines, but he seemed to think they might be useful for something.)
They both like General Petraeus a lot. They both are Republicans, and think “old man McCain” will be a better supporter of the military than Obama.
Randy has no doubt we can win in Afghanistan. His basic attitude is — nobody fucks with the United States Army and gets away with it. Nobody can really challenge us.
So, I tried something that was suggested in a post I read by RightwingSparkle. I shook both of their hands, made eye contact, and personally thanked them for their service to our country. I said to each of them that I was proud of them.
Sparkle says she makes a habit of this. Many of you know me well enough to guess that this is not a natural thing for me to do.
But, you know, it went OK. It was not really all that awkward. They both really seemed to appreciate it. I actually felt very good after doing that. It did not even register on my gaydar.
Overall, a great evening with interesting men who represent our country with honor. I was pleased to buy them some Jager shots.