Nine Rows of Ribbons!

One of the more popular articles at BV is this one on the U.S. military’s propensity to give everyone a trophy — in the form of lots and lots of ribbons — regardless of results. Illustrative of this are the uniforms of America’s generals and admirals, which look much like over-decorated Christmas trees. Shouldn’t these officers be busy, well, leading, rather than collecting ribbons and badges and other, mostly empty, symbols of praise? Often, ribbons and medals simply show that someone’s been there rather than done that. Military members get awards for changing station, or simply for enlisting, or for time served in uniform. It’s often all show, no go, to go along with no clear wins in any major war since World War II.

There’s little reason for most of these ribbons and medals and badges. They are a sign of grade inflation, of course, but also of severe narcissism and serious self-deception.

It’s time the U.S. military stopped chasing bits of cloth and metal and started focusing on defending the U.S. Constitution.

Bracing Views

General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, is in the news since he told Marines to get ready for a big fight.  This doesn’t really alarm me.  A military exists to be ready to fight, and the Marines place a premium on combat readiness.  No — what bothers me is the nine rows of ribbons General Neller is sporting on his uniform.

marine He may need a bigger chest for all those ribbons

And compared to the other services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), the Marines are usually the most reluctant to hand out ribbons freely.

I wrote about this back in 2007: why medals and metrics in the U.S. military mislead. A big offender back then was General David Petraeus, whose uniform was festooned with ribbons and badges of all kinds, most of them of the “been there” rather than “done that” variety.

Petraeus with Broadwell Petraeus: 10 rows…

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17 thoughts on “Nine Rows of Ribbons!

  1. Reading this brings to mind how too many mortals make Faustian deals consciously or ignorantly, for so little, compared to the Original Temptation,

    Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
    And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.

    Then Jesus said to him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shalt you serve.
    Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

    America will never divorce it’s love for the Weapons of Death and Destruction, Business, and MONEY, until the US Christian Establishment wakes up from their deep sleep, and magnifies these Scriptures in their Bibles.
    It seems Not likely when the US Mega-Maga Christian Establishment Leaders live the lifestyle of the rich and famous in their Mansions and private luxury jets.

    ‘Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.
    Those words of the Living God in the Book of Books are indisputably explicit so there is no debate.

    It seems to me the Christ Spirit the Christian Leaders claim lives in them is weak and powerless, otherwise the Churches would at least raise their Voices together and prepare The Way for The Christ to judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

    Blessed ARE the Peace Makers for THEY shall be called the Children of God

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I started writing my comment, I was going to post this Video and realized Imagine is more appropriate in the whole context.

      Here’s my 2nd choice of a video I sharws on Twitter and Facebook with this intro:
      A protest song lamenting the Morman LDS Church having $100,000,000,000 CASH in the Bank, instead of helping People in need as Christ Jesus instructs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There was just an expose of the LDS “beneficence.” It seems that the state of Utah officially counts the Mormon Church’s assistance to communities in its tally of aid to citizens, so the state can claim that it receives less in federal funding. Meanwhile, the choices about who can receive LDS aid are made by local church leaders, who often require conversion to their church and attendance at services. And apparently, they actively track such things.


  2. The military is a reflection of the people that it is made of, which is us. This is the line that made me take notice: “There’s little reason for most of these ribbons and medals and badges. They are a sign of grade inflation, of course, but also of severe narcissism and serious self-deception.”

    The American public certainly are participants in ” severe narcissism and serious self deception”. How many people do we see taking ‘selfies’ posting their latest ( boring ) activity on Facebook or texting something worthless on Twitter. These are all extraneous material things that some how are suppose to make them a great person.

    I came to the realization about 10 years ago that all of humanity’s problems are spiritual problems. A lack of a spiritual foundation will lead to deep insecurity which will manifest as narcissism and self deception among many other negative things such as militarism. When a people have no faith in something higher than themselves to guide and protect them, they will invest heavily in weapons and the military to keep them safe. This is why when one starts talking to one of these spiritually bankrupt people about reducing the military budget, one is met first with amazement then out right hostility. They have been threatened by someone who wants to take their security blanket away.

    What to do? As Ray said above: “America will never divorce it’s love for the Weapons of Death and Destruction, Business, and MONEY, until the US Christian Establishment wakes up from their deep sleep….” I would only add ‘until all Americans wake up from their deep sleep’. I do not promote any particular religion or faith, rather all of them that provide a firm foundation for peace and respect for all our relations, that is all being on this earth, including our first mother, Mother Earth.

    Happy, Healthy and Harmonious New Year to Everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. Guns and the military as a security blanket — how true. Saw yet another article on rising gun sales in the USA since the onset of Covid, as if we can somehow shoot the virus with a .44 magnum.

      As MLK said, it’s a form of spiritual death. And it’s driven in part by “elites” who do their best to keep the people divided, distracted, and downtrodden. A people that’s distrustful and disunited is a people open to fear and exploitation.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. your 3rd paragraph is an accurate portrayal of trumpians, for whom i have the deepest, dead-down sympathies; they never were gifted the unconditional love we all hunger for, nor did they ever find it on their own. my trumpian-besotted sister was strapped black and blue. allegedly, trump’s father, like my father, was a seething, embittered, hypocritical troglodyte.


  3. Speaking of “shooting the virus,” I saw today a story about someone nicknamed “Gunslinger” on Facebook and Twitter (avatar was a long-barreled revolver, naturally), who, unvaxxed, died from Covid. His family had endlessly solicited prayers from friends and relatives, to no avail. When Gunslinger passed away, his son took to social media—using the same avatar—and viciously abused the doctors and nurses who took care of his father, threatening to break their necks, among other violent acts. Obviously, Gunslinger’s weapons cache did not help against the virus.

    This juxtaposition of weapons, delusion, and unbridled anger doesn’t bode well for our hospitals and healthcare workers.


  4. As usual, right on the money WJA!! Let’s take all those ribbon trays away from the generals and admirals and weave a great big peace blanket with them! Peace. Why can’t we have peace? Oh my that blanket would be colorful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The best thing about being retired at 77 is I can take a nap anytime when I’m tired.
    By chance I woke up to at 5am last Thursday, just when President Putin’s Annual Presser started and watched it Live.

    If only Western Leaders were as competent and humbly humane as he showed himself to be in the 4 hour exchange with some 500 Russian and International Media.
    He is not the demon Western Propaganda constantly portrays him as being so the Military-Industrial Complex gets richer. It can be seen on YouTube.

    Patrick Lawrence sees him the same way I did!
    PATRICK LAWRENCE: Putin Speaks
    December 28, 2021


    1. long-live putin, rjc! he has been the US’ scapegoat for too long, and will continue to be so now that hussein, gadaffi [khadaffi], bin laden, and yeltsin are long dead. the lies the US bleats [see prof. john mearsheimer’s interviews at the univ. of chicago] against leaders who refuse to bow, scrape, and play by US-mandated rules are beyond criminal. the gullible media and half the US citizenry march right along in their malfeasing, mendacious, jack-booting wake.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I, too, read the essay by Patrick Lawrence mentioned above. Especially the following:

      “U.S. and British naval maneuvers off Russia’s Black Sea coast are now routine. Western military officials now talk of deploying potent new technology, all the way up to nuclear-capable missiles, along the alliance’s Russia-facing eastern front. We now have Russian reports that British mercenaries have joined the forces from NATO members already deployed in Ukraine. The numbers Russia is (unofficially) putting out: 10,000 troops and mercs from NATO members on Ukrainian soil, 4,000 from the U.S.

      NATO–schmATO, if you see what I mean. The thought in Washington, London and Brussels seems to be, Well, we can’t put Ukrainian membership to paper — that might be a provocation too far — but, the hell with it, we can treat Kiev as more or less a member anyway.”

      Here we have the crux of the matter. NATO — the Nefarious American Terrorist Operation — will continue to establish ever-more-belligerent “facts on the ground” while calling them something else and protesting innocence of any hostile intent. The Russians have made it clear that they understand this delaying tactic and will under no circumstances allow it to continue. They have stated their security requirements and await only the recognition and acceptance of these by the United States and its pack of yapping vassals — within a short and inflexible period of time. Put up or shut up. Shit or get off the potty. That sort of thing.
      So now we wait and see . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops. I should have closed the italics HTML after “anyway.”

        Anyway, what I have to say next does relate to the subject of unaccomplished-but-festively-decorated military officers – whom I like to think of as Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle personified – but first a bit of background.

        Over the holidays, I’ve spent many hours following the launch and unfolding of the James Webb Space Telescope (or Observatory) currently on its month-long journey to a stable orbit beyond the Moon (Lagrange Point 2) almost a million miles from earth. From that vantage point, the JWST will study far-infrared light coming to us from the farthest reaches — and earliest moments — of the universe. Not quite there yet, but so far so good. As Dr Robert Zubrin (President of the Mars Society) wrote recently in The National Review (December 2021):

        “The Webb Telescope shows what a purpose-driven space program can accomplish.”

        Dr Zubrin goes on at some length in his article NASA at Its Best to contrast government programs that he calls “purpose driven” from “vendor driven” ones. The first, he says, spends money to do things. The second does things to spend money. The U.S. military, obviously, belongs to this second category. I think its so-called “leaders” deserve the epithet “bleeders,” as in “leeches,” who feed off a ballooning national budget while accomplishing no thing of value for the nation or world.

        Anyway, I highly recommend Dr Zubrin’s article for its critique of what NASA does best and what it does not do so well at all — with obvious analogous application to the U.S. military. I could have done without the little bit of religious Bible thumping in comparing Cathedrals to the JWST near the end of the article, but that aside, I thought Dr Zubrin’s comments deserve a place in any discussion of scientific exploration and its value to our civilization.


        1. It’s embarrassing. There must be some inverse correlation between ribbons/baubles and war-winning effectiveness. Our military today is the Soviet military of the 1980s. Ships look the same. Of course, the real point is the money game…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. It all starts with Cub Scouts and merit badges. : )

    That photo of Petraeus…is that his trophy standing next to him? So the medals have some appeal, I guess.


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