Sex and Other

Drugs and
Rock 'n' Roll

Media and

Society (and

Politics and Other


Casual Fridays

Rantings and

In and Out:
Sex Advice from our Staff Dominatrix

Employee of the



Who We Are

Write for Us!

Invest in Anti-

Play Our Theme Song
by Simon Inns
(MP3 format; 1.5 MB download)

Donate to the Cause!

We Band of Brothers


Who's With Us


by Robert L. Bateman



"We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers...For he who sheds his blood today with me shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition. . ."
Billy Shakespeare putting words in the mouth of King Henry V just before the battle of Agincourt.

It took until two mornings after the events of 9/11 for it to hit me. In the forty-eight hours that elapsed since I had sat and stared at the symbol of my profession and my nation wrapped in smoke I was very busy. I had been looking at the Pentagon at the start of those 48 hours. I am a soldier. Only when I awoke that morning two days later did I allowed myself the luxury of contemplation. With that came emotions I expected my professional training and personal inclinations might have held in check. I was wrong. I am 6 feet tall and 188 pounds of airborne infantry ranger. That morning I found myself unable to control my tears, even in front of my children. Emotions heaved themselves to the fore and washed over me, exposing those around me to what I perceive as a weakness in myself. Anathema to somebody like me. That 70's "Sensitive Guy" stuff is crap. Men don't cry. We may yell, we may shake in rage, we may do some really stupid stuff, but we never, ever, cry. Save that crud for Alan Alda.

Well, that's the theory anyway.

I am a U.S. Army infantryman, an officer, and a historian. My profession is supposed to inure me against such displays. Sometimes, I am finding, a decade of training is not enough. I was crying that morning. I hated it, but there didn't seem to be a whole heck of a lot I could do to stop it consistently.

It is now clear to me that I lost a couple of acquaintances, and one personal hero, on 9/11 in both the Pentagon and the WTC. I am afraid that if I can feel the way that I do today then perhaps those less prepared than I for the reality of loss, which includes a fair percentage of the American population, may unintentionally slide us in a direction that is not optimal for our desired endstate.

Translated from militareese that means if passionate people commit us, in haste, we may unintentionally become the objects of our own worst nightmares. Take my word for it. Historically speaking, young American men like me have demonstrated that capacity. The pre-conditions for this are shaping up already, and I worry about the future. I expect, and so should you, they will hit us again. I don't know how, I don't know where, and I don't know how successful they might be. But evil does not mean stupid. Our enemy is intelligent and adaptive. We must assume that, and as much as we may pray that all future attacks will be stopped, well, that's spitting in the wind. So think about what your reactions will be then, now, before they overtake you. Believe me, when the human cost hits home it can take a hold and whip you around like nobody's business.

We are a nation of ideals and idealists. One of the purest ever to exist upon the face of the planet, but we are individually humans. Our grief, our sadness and rage, our explosive emotions are just as liable to find expression as any other peoples'. Please, at this very early point, while there is still time, consider holding yourself in check. Ours is a terrible sword, but it need not be a swift one.

On 9/11 several thousand Americans paid with their blood. On 9/12 more than a million of us marched down to Red Cross stations around the country and became their brothers. Over the next several days millions more, so many in fact, that we literally flooded our nation's blood banks with our most precious commodity. The blood ran from our veins in a swollen river of love and grief. Shakespeare was right: "For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. . ."

On 9/10 we were Americans. Today we are brothers.

We will accomplish our goals. We have all the time in the world. Let me assure you, personally, that those that did this to my brothers no longer have that luxury. Their hourglass is running out and it is only a matter of when, not if, they will learn that their obscenities have earned them an eternal reservation in Gehenna.

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism."
—Winston Churchill



Robert Bateman is a Major in the U.S. Army.


Posted November 22, 2003 4:57 PM






Copyright 2001-2010
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
Logo design by Molitorious