When Rudyard Kipling penned these words nearly 80 years ago, he described the British regular soldier as he was traditionally viewed by his countrymen. Though the United States of 1970 bears no resemblance to Kipling’s Victorian England, the words could nonetheless be applied today to America’s fighting men. In fact, some phrases now being tossed about are much more vitriolic than the second line of the above stanza.
Those who currently wear the uniform of the nation’s armed forces are being branded as everything from idiots to conspirators. Military men—together with a large group of “conniving industrialists”—are charged with having formed an insidious coalition designed solely to extract unending self-enrichment horn the labors of the American people. This conspiratorial concept holds that the military man’s payoff comprises large amounts of money and liquor, the favors of co-operative women, and promises of lucrative jobs following retirement. Moreover, his basic perfidy is compounded by a narrow-minded and potentially disastrous willingness to destroy all life on earth if Communism—man’s ultimate enemy in his benighted view—seems to be a serious threat.