Memorial Day ’13: Noted

Just a few articles for those who are not celebrating the mark of summer/ outdoors BBQ/ being patriotic might browse through today, in honor of Memorial Day (articles are meant to incite reaction, only):

Honoring Muslim American Veterans on Memorial Day, By Craig Considine, Ph.D. candidate, Trinity College Dublin, Huffington Post

Under George Washington, several Muslim Americans served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Bampett Muhammad, for example, fought for the “Virginia Line” between 1775 and 1783. History also denotes a man named Yusuf Ben Ali, referred to by his slave name Joseph Benhaley. Ben Ali was descended from North African Arabs and served as an aide to General Thomas Sumter in South Carolina.

The presence of these Muslim Americans in several of Washington’s most defining moments suggests that Washington cared little for the religious makeup of his army and cared more for their devotion to freedom and independence.

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart, By Karl W. Eikenberry and David M. Kennedy, New York Times

…these developments present a disturbingly novel spectacle: a maximally powerful force operating with a minimum of citizen engagement and comprehension. Technology and popular culture have intersected to perverse effect. While Vietnam brought home the wrenching realities of war via television, today’s wars make extensive use of computers and robots, giving some civilians the decidedly false impression that the grind and horror of combat are things of the past.

Military muscling: With the civil war long over, the armed forces are busy with beauty salons,” The Economist

The army’s grip is spreading across Sri Lankan society. Activists talk of a general effort to promote military culture among the young, especially among the ethnic Sinhalese majority… Skeptics say all this kind of stuff should be curbed. In the north and east, where the Tamil minority bore the brunt of war, the presence of military men breeds worry. No good reason exists for them to breed crocodiles, run school seminars, conduct whale-watching tours, or operate nurseries. The government retorts that it is better to use servicemen and -women for development than demob them. Their cheap labour, it argues, saved the country 1.5 billion rupees ($12m) last year.