July 26, 2005

A BENIGN MILITARY AIN'T MUCH USE (via Rick Turley):

The Best Army We Can Buy (DAVID M. KENNEDY, 7/25/05, NY Times)

[B]y some reckonings, the Pentagon's budget is greater than the military expenditures of all other nations combined. It buys an arsenal of precision weapons for highly trained troops who can lay down a coercive footprint in the world larger and more intimidating than anything history has known. Our leaders tell us that our armed forces seek only just goals, and at the end of the day will be understood as exerting a benign influence. Yet that perspective may not come so easily to those on the receiving end of that supposedly beneficent violence.

Don't we want it to be a lethal influence for those on the receiving end and a beneficial one for us?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 26, 2005 3:29 PM
Comments

The man has a point. The Nazis sure weren't all that happy about it. Nor were the Japanese.

Maybe he should ask most Germans or most Japanese whether they regret the Allied victory in WWII.

Or closer to our day, maybe he should just go to Iraq (or Afghanistan) and find out just how much hatred the Iraqi man or woman in the street feels for the US soldiers who are trying to protect them and get their governments back on their feet and able to protect their own citizenry.

On the other hand, that might require some research.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at July 26, 2005 3:41 PM

The Military's job is to kill people and break things with the least amount of damage and casualties to our. Lofty goals of diplomacy and determining ancillary benefits are somebody else's department.

Posted by: John Resnick at July 26, 2005 4:18 PM

The Military's job is to kill people and break things with the least amount of damage and casualties to our own. Lofty goals of diplomacy and determining ancillary benefits are somebody else's department.

Posted by: John Resnick at July 26, 2005 4:18 PM

For those who require it nemesis is never welcomed. But Kennedy's article adds insult to ignorance by suggesting America's military is populated by avaricious mercinaries. Whole lot of moralistic preening going on inside that blue state cocoon that is Pinch's Organ.

Posted by: Luciferous at July 26, 2005 4:29 PM

Clausewitz was right: "war is the continuation of politics by other means". There are always considerations beyond "breaking and killing" at stake. It's always, ultimately, about politics.

That said, Prof. Kennedy's piece is insulting to anyone this side of Michael Moore.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 26, 2005 4:34 PM

I don't know what history he is a professor of but it certainly never required him to study much about Rome, Britain or China, and how their empires operated.

Luciferous, there's nothing really wrong with being an avaricious mercenary. Think of it as merely the legal profession but with a code of honor and behavior.

Posted by: bart at July 26, 2005 4:49 PM

bart: ....and some really bitchin' weaponry, dude.

Posted by: John Resnick at July 26, 2005 4:58 PM

There is another reason why the hairnet-Kumbaya approach to military science is a bad trip. Just talking this way is going to have an effect on how people, and military leaders are people, think about violence.

If expressing the warrior ethos becomes like being critical of affirmative action, something you can be dinged for on your fitness report, commanders are going to start ignoring the principles of war. This in turn has two disasterous results. First, you lose battles and take needless casulties. Worse than that, however, is the fact that the deterrent effect of your force is diminished. The other side begins to believe that you are too sensitive and too nuanced to use the power that you have, and war becomes more and more likely.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 26, 2005 5:03 PM

Prof. Kennedy does not want a warrior culture. He wants to undermine it via poor pay and/or the draft.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 26, 2005 5:07 PM

I love watching my tax $ at work.

Sniff.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 26, 2005 5:43 PM

"But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits - a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify."

German mercenarys weren't all volunteers; many were conscripted by and for their Prince and were treated sadistically. What an insult to our Armed Forces.

"But the modern military's disjunction from American society is even more disturbing."

There is no disjunction from American Society except for the blue city Democrats ... and that's what really bothers them, for this isn't the first time I've heard this. Having a draft (Wrangle) is a way the Demos can create a dysfunctional military that they could coopt (ala Fonda/Kerry/Nam) with their sympathy. This will become a recurring theme for the bastardistas through 2006.

"Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army," but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary."

Here's the money quote. A Moveon.org sophisticate. No Michael Moore he. And in case you don't agree, where's he going with this: " War is too important to be left either to the generals or the politicians. It must be the people's business."

EEEYAAAHHH!!!

Posted by: Genecis at July 26, 2005 5:50 PM

Well sure those who believe in America and American values want it to be "a lethal influence for those on the receiving end and a beneficial one for us" but that hasn't been true of NY Times writers in my entire adult life.

Posted by: MarkD at July 26, 2005 7:14 PM

"Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army," but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education . . . . ."

I don't know about Mr. Kennedy, but if folks on the left hadn't spent so much time vilifying soldiers, laughing at national pride and the notion of honorable military service, and doing their utmost to prevent recruiting at top-tier schools, maybe the recruiting draw would be a little more diversified than it is.

When I was growing up in South Carolina a military career was never off the table for the sons of the more successful and well-off. Nobody would blink if, say, the top student at one of Columbia's private schools intended to go to West Point or Annapolis, or just plain old ROTC. I know more than several folks who signed up for a stint of basic service as raw Marine or Army recruits after college, just for the challenge or because someone in their family had been military.

Posted by: Twn at July 26, 2005 7:50 PM

The Democrats noticed that the Vietnam draft created a whole generation of loyal leftists, and would like to recreate that experience. Republicans noticed that the Vietnam draft created a whole generation of loyal leftists, and aren't cooperating. Leftists like Kennedy are reduced to fantasizing about a draft.

Posted by: pj at July 26, 2005 10:23 PM
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