Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Colonel Is Back

For a bit over a month, Jeff Coopers commentaries was on the fritz, but the good colonel is with us once again.

"It seems that the academic world is increasingly dominated by "those other
people." In this case I refer to the custom of replacing BC and AD with BCE and
CE. The idea is to get Christianity off center stage. This effort has another
aspect, however. When I see a historic paper using BCE in place of BC, I simply
reduce the credibility of the author by two or three clicks. It is not so much
that religion is not important in this respect, but that scholarship is. I find
that reference material using the traditional designators is superior. It is
just better scholarship than the more recent examples we get from the major
academic institutions. If a historian chooses to redo our traditional
terminology, he may quietly step to the rear of the class."

And Jeff doesn't get it because he steadfastly remains a man of his generation and without apology thank you very much.

Modern scholars and researchers and scientists abhor using what they consider to be mythological events to determine a particular period of history, and consider those that do so less than scholarly, no matter what a former old Marine might think about the matter.

One of the things I like about the Colonel is that he does think outside the militaristic/firearms establishment, and will comment upon anything that strikes his fancy. His fancy, however, is so severely dated that when discussing the merits of anything decided upon after 1960, one might as well be reading something created in 1950. Not that moving along with the times is an absolute must, merely because something is new does not of course mean it is any better, but if one feels the urge to comment on today one should live in today. There's more:

"English is a marvelously explicit language, and the US Constitution is
marvelously explicit."
"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor
prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It says nothing about a "separation of
church and state." It asserts that the Congress shall not establish religion,
and stops there. Yet there are those who insist upon some sort of barrier which
just does not exist. For Congress to establish the Baptist Church, for example,
would be unconstitutional. To display the Decalogue, or a star and crescent, or
a crucifix, would not be. This does not need interpretation. Read the
Constitution! It is marvelously clear."

See, once he gets back to something old he's dead-on. There was a time when separation of church and state simply referred to the Congress creating it's own religion, but that time is long since past as liberals now interpret it to mean NO religion where government work or funding is going on. This is their living-breathing constitution, and something altogether different from what the founders had in mind. Government of the people, and protection FROM government was the idea, not what we see more and more of today.

"It is widely asserted that we have the best army in the world - the best
ever seen - and we hope that is true. However, it may be short on physical
strength. When I was in high school, the infantry ROTC battalion was issued the
1903 Springfield rifle, which weighed about 9½lbs. With that rifle it was
customary to step off from the position of order arms to right shoulder arms on
a smart count of three. We did not fire the `03 but we handled it freely and
adroitly. It was not excessively heavy, yet today the Pentagon seems concerned
about the weight of our standard smallarm, as well as its recoil. For a long
time now I have taught rifle marksmanship at Gunsite without any recoil problems
for men, women or children. For children I suggest about age 14 and up,
depending upon individual configuration. It seems to be felt, however, that the
proposed new 6.8 cartridge is superior because it does not kick as much as the
308. The recoil of the 308 in a 7 or 8lb rifle is negligible, assuming a
reasonably healthy adolescent body. Wells of Prescott has long taught that
recoil effect is about 85 percent mental. It can be measured, of course, but it
is simply not much of a blow to a reasonably athletic body. This leads us to the
speculation that perhaps today's young people are to a considerable extent not
"reasonably athletic." Is this a function of screened entertainment? Touch
football, rather than television, was the prime after-school entertainment in
those days prior to World War II. At that time the military considered
55lbs to be a reasonable load to pack at good speed for short distances. Perhaps
they do not play much touch football today at the Pentagon."

Back to tackling something new, he trips again. The reason recoil is a consideration along with the weight of a particular weapon is the fact that the modern army is staffed with far more women than in Jeff's day, and it is a simple matter of physics to understand that a 130 pound woman will have less control over a large caliber weapon than a 180 pound man. Personally,I never thought the M-14 was heavy, but have to agree that the M-16 is far lighter. And Jeff forgets that the biggest and strongest men were selected as BAR-men or machinegunners, and many of today's weapon systems have full-auto capabilities and unless the round is smaller and the weapon is smaller, many men would have trouble using these firearms. Ya see, when you don't have a bone to pick or a point to make the answer to most things is quite simple.

But it makes pontificating impossible. But that's okay, the old warhorse is entitled to a certain degree of reverie and it keeps some of us on our toes to imagine being his age...85...and still having a go at sorting things out.

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