“Are Americans Ready For War?” Good Question. Chilling Answer.

 

We were exchanging small talk with a group of friends and someone asked whether I had done something — read a certain book, seen a movie they had seen, done my gardening, etc. — and I jocularly, albeit with a bit of seriousness the comment deserved, responded that I had been too busy staving off World War III. A strange pall dropped over the conversation, just for a few seconds but long enough to be a materially noticeable phenomenon, as our friends were almost certain that I had gone around the bend and that maybe I should just be humored along like the most famous (and dangerous) Alzheimer’s patient at liberty today. The attitude, not expressed in words but clearly palpable, was that anyone who would be talking openly, with no trace of embarrassment whatsoever, about even the possibility of another World War certainly should not be allowed to be out in polite company to express such outlandish thoughts.

Those were certainly reasonable attitudes considering I am just a used-up old lawyer with not a shred of pretense of being an expert on foreign relations, warfare or any similar areas.

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  1. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    A somber slap in the face. WAKE UP! Great post, Jim.

    • #1
  2. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Sigh. I suppose I’ll read it now.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    cdor (View Comment):

    A somber slap in the face. WAKE UP! Great post, Jim.

    I thought Russia invading Ukraine did the wakeup-call first, but I guess it wasn’t enough for some people.

    • #3
  4. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Americans have been shielded from the costs of war.  No budget item was cut to pay for war and people doing the fighting and dying are volunteers from the lower classes.    As long as “blood and treasure” are paid by someone else, Americans ready for more war.

    • #4
  5. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    The majority of our fellow Americans are living within the fallacy of “splendid isolation,” that what ever is happening culturally, politically, economically anywhere – if we simply don’t like what’s going on around us, we can make believe the situation is not as bad as we think it is, and just simply ignore it and move on.  We can not ignore the world because the world is not going to ignore us.

    Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That does not mean we have to go around looking for fights to start, that’s being a bully and sooner or later bullies get their ass handed to them.  It’s been my experience that you don’t have to go looking for trouble, trouble will find you soon enough.  However, you should always be ready for when trouble comes.  That takes rational thinking, resolve, resources and effort, on both a individual and national level as a people with everyone taking responsibility for their actions.  Good leadership would also help.

    Unfortunately, we are lacking in all these things.  We are no longer a serious people.

    • #5
  6. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    I form my opinions on going to war on a case by case basis, based on oft-cited metrics: 1) What is America’s direct interest; 2) Is the war winnable; 3) Is there a clear moral imperative; etc. The past couple of decades has taught me  that Americans are no longer willing to sacrifice for war. No matter how much they might support it, in a few weeks they lose interest and resolve. The focus quickly turns from winning to ending (i.e. losing) the war. This consideration has moved the bar for supporting a war much, much higher than it used to be. 

    • #6
  7. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    The majority of our fellow Americans are living within the fallacy of “splendid isolation,” that what ever is happening culturally, politically, economically anywhere – if we don’t like what’s going on around us, we make believe the situation is not as bad as think it is, and just simply ignore it and move on. We can not ignore the world because the world is not going to ignore us.

    Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That does not mean we have to go around looking for fights to start, that’s being a bully and sooner or later bullies get their ass handed to them. It’s been my experience that you don’t have to go looking for trouble, trouble will find you soon enough. However, you should always be ready for when trouble comes. That takes rational thinking, resolve, resources and effort, on both a individual and national level as a people with everyone taking responsibility for their actions. Good leadership would also help.

    Unfortunately, we are lacking in all these things. We are no longer a serious people.

     

    Thank you for this thoughtful comment and thank you also for reminding me of  a quote I had intended to put at the end of the post but forgot to do so; senior moments strike whether you want them to or not. That quote is apparently usually attributed to Trotsky although there do seem to be some other possible sources and it is: 

    You May Not Be Interested in War, But War Is Interested in You

    And I must, reluctantly, sadly agree with your statement that we are no longer a serious people. What could evidence that better than all these entitled brats with their $1,000.00 iPhones and nice clothes driving to the riot in their BMWs and Mercedes calling for the elimination of an entire soverign nation- the very definition of genocide- without having the slighest idea of what it means or, as they chant “from the river to the sea”,  what is the river and what sea? Unserious, indeed. 

     

    • #7
  8. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Freeven (View Comment):
    The focus quickly turns from winning to ending (i.e. losing) the war.

    No better illustration of this than the disgrace in  Afghanistan and the pitiful excuse we have for a Commander in Chief. 

    By the way, if you read the novel mentioned in the post, you may see a remarkable similarity between the fictional President in that story and the – well, fictional as well- “President” presently occupying the Oval Office. 

    • #8
  9. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Right on the money Jim.  Clinton began our descent and Obama quickened the pace.  Now, Biden and his crew are on steroids to relegate this country to second rate status; or worse.

    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.  A Navy that has less than 300 deployable ships.  An Army that resolved it’s recruiting problems by lowering the number of troops (and calling that a victory).

    It goes on and on.  Troops, sailors and airmen who do not even belong in uniform and a civilian defence force that may as well be in the Department of Transportation.

    “Ready for War”?  I’m reminded of the drill for nuclear attack.  Put one’s head between the legs and kiss the a&& goodby.  We’re not much better than that.

    • #9
  10. TBA, sometimes known as 'Teebs'. Coolidge
    TBA, sometimes known as 'Teebs'.
    @RobtGilsdorf

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Right on the money Jim. Clinton began our descent and Obama quickened the pace. Now, Biden and his crew are on steroids to relegate this country to second rate status; or worse.

    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes. A Navy that has less than 300 deployable ships. An Army that resolved it’s recruiting problems by lowering the number of troops (and calling that a victory).

    It goes on and on. Troops, sailors and airmen who do not even belong in uniform and a civilian defence force that may as well be in the Department of Transportation.

    “Ready for War”? I’m reminded of the drill for nuclear attack. Put one’s head between the legs and kiss the a&& goodby. We’re not much better than that.

    And then there is the materiel. 

    • #10
  11. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles.   Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount. 

    • #11
  12. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles. Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount.

    You are correct.  I do not count UAVs, drones, etc in my figures.

    As we’re beginning to see, an enemy with actual fighters (Russia, China) will make mincemeat out of the slow moving UAVs.

    • #12
  13. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles. Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount.

    You are correct. I do not count UAVs, drones, etc in my figures.

    As we’re beginning to see, an enemy with actual fighters (Russia, China) will make mincemeat out of the slow moving UAVs.

    Different tools for different jobs.   Question, can a $100 million fighter plane intercept $100 million in UAVs?  

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Great post, Jim. You and Mark Helprin are telling the truth. It’s moments like these that I can’t even fathom how awful the future could be: we have young people who are delusional and misguided; a military that’s being trained to be diverse, and won’t have the equipment they’ll need for serious conflict; and leadership that is clueless about what our priorites should be. It’s pretty disheartening. But true.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles. Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount.

    You are correct. I do not count UAVs, drones, etc in my figures.

    As we’re beginning to see, an enemy with actual fighters (Russia, China) will make mincemeat out of the slow moving UAVs.

    The slow moving UAVs are still blowing up oil refineries.  But a month’s rest in advancing the technology (both offensive and defensive) means the other side is ahead.  What the U.S. has in UAVs is apparently of no use to the war in Ukraine. 

    • #15
  16. Chuck Coolidge
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    The focus quickly turns from winning to ending (i.e. losing) the war.

    No better illustration of this than the disgrace in Afghanistan and the pitiful excuse we have for a Commander in Chief.

    By the way, if you read the novel mentioned in the post, you may see a remarkable similarity between the fictional President in that story and the – well, fictional as well- “President” presently occupying the Oval Office.

    I am having trouble finding a novel mentioned in the post, although Barfly seems to have identified it.  Perhaps you could give me a title?

    • #16
  17. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    The focus quickly turns from winning to ending (i.e. losing) the war.

    No better illustration of this than the disgrace in Afghanistan and the pitiful excuse we have for a Commander in Chief.

    By the way, if you read the novel mentioned in the post, you may see a remarkable similarity between the fictional President in that story and the – well, fictional as well- “President” presently occupying the Oval Office.

    I am having trouble finding a novel mentioned in the post, although Barfly seems to have identified it. Perhaps you could give me a title?

    The Oceans and the Stars; it is a superb albeit frightening novel especially in view of what happened 4 days after its publication on October 7. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Cautionary note: it is not for the faint of heart! We consider Mark Helprin to be one of the great writers of our time. Here’s the cover:

    Hardcover The Oceans and the Stars: A Sea Story, a War Story, a Love Story (a Novel) Book

    • #17
  18. Chuck Coolidge
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Just bought the book (large print edition.)

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Americans have been shielded from the costs of war. No budget item was cut to pay for war and people doing the fighting and dying are volunteers from the lower classes. As long as “blood and treasure” are paid by someone else, Americans ready for more war.

    That’s exactly right. Our interest outlay is higher than the pentagon budget now. I think the pentagon is 3% of GDP and the prudent thing would be 5%. What do you think is going to happen if we increase it to 5%?

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Americans have been shielded from the costs of war. No budget item was cut to pay for war and people doing the fighting and dying are volunteers from the lower classes. As long as “blood and treasure” are paid by someone else, Americans ready for more war.

    That’s exactly right. Our interest outlay is higher than the pentagon budget now. I think the pentagon is 3% of GDP and the prudent thing would be 5%. What do you think is going to happen if we increase it to 5%?

    We’ll increase all other budget categories by a proportionate amount, because that’s what their constituencies will demand.

     

    • #20
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Americans have been shielded from the costs of war. No budget item was cut to pay for war and people doing the fighting and dying are volunteers from the lower classes. As long as “blood and treasure” are paid by someone else, Americans ready for more war.

    That’s exactly right. Our interest outlay is higher than the pentagon budget now. I think the pentagon is 3% of GDP and the prudent thing would be 5%. What do you think is going to happen if we increase it to 5%?

    We’ll increase all other budget categories by a proportionate amount, because that’s what their constituencies will demand.

     

    I know, but they will have to print more money.

    Everybody thinks inflation is so wonderful but they can’t even measure it right. What if we have constant 4% inflation? What if it’s worse? 

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    That’s exactly right. Our interest outlay is higher than the pentagon budget now. I think the pentagon is 3% of GDP and the prudent thing would be 5%. What do you think is going to happen if we increase it to 5%?

    We’ll increase all other budget categories by a proportionate amount, because that’s what their constituencies will demand.

    Or, Biden will lower GDP by 40% without cutting spending.

    • #22
  23. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Everybody thinks inflation is so wonderful but they can’t even measure it right. *What if we have constant 4% inflation? What if it’s worse?

    *As they supposedly measure it. The whole thing is just a big government scam. 

    I have it on good authority that the whole federal government collapses without a constant level of inflation. 

    We should be at 5% military spending. We should be forcing everything around to enable that. Instead, we do anything but that.

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The second the Soviet Union fell we should have 

    … switched to deflation

    … got our unfunded liabilities in order one way or the other.

    … trade with anybody except the Chinese mafia

     

    • #24
  25. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles. Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount.

    You are correct. I do not count UAVs, drones, etc in my figures.

    As we’re beginning to see, an enemy with actual fighters (Russia, China) will make mincemeat out of the slow moving UAVs.

    Different tools for different jobs. Question, can a $100 million fighter plane intercept $100 million in UAVs?

    Decades ago, there was a simulation in which the USA’s most prestigious fighter jets cvould not out maneuver or protect themselves from 1940’s era prop planes. I forget if the study was published in Scientific American, or Popular Mechanics.

    Also I have read some good ten or twelve years ago, a mere 700 bucks worth of equipment could fry all the digital gear on Wall Street. The only problem for someone doing this is that our NSA and other agencies has seen to it that anyone except our  military people would immediately be stopped in their tracks if they tried to buy the gear  on the open market.

    The terrorist-minded individual would also have to have access to a standard US passenger van.

    But foreign actors would presumably be able to purchase the gear and then use it against our planes.

    With inflation as it is right now, they might need ten times that initial 700 bucks.

    • #25
  26. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    If people here really want to have their wits scared into pieces, check out any of Scott Ritter’s recent “X” broadcasts.

    I don’t know where on my HD I saved his recent “X” broadcast on Iran’s attack on Israel, but this youtube captures his ominous warning. One comment: the person putting up this youtube didn’t have access to or edited out the important remarks Ritter makes before the video begins.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5zXhsCBAHQ

    For those of you reluctant to listen to the full 20 minutes, even listening to the first eight minutes is revealing.

     

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Americans have been shielded from the costs of war. No budget item was cut to pay for war and people doing the fighting and dying are volunteers from the lower classes. As long as “blood and treasure” are paid by someone else, Americans ready for more war.

    That’s exactly right. Our interest outlay is higher than the pentagon budget now. I think the pentagon is 3% of GDP and the prudent thing would be 5%. What do you think is going to happen if we increase it to 5%?

    We’ll increase all other budget categories by a proportionate amount, because that’s what their constituencies will demand.

     

    I know, but they will have to print more money.

    Everybody thinks inflation is so wonderful but they can’t even measure it right. What if we have constant 4% inflation? What if it’s worse?

    Of course it will make inflation worse.  To deal with that they’ll spend more money.   Again.  

    • #27
  28. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    An Air Force that seems happy to fall below 5000 planes.

    The Guardian says that the US has 43,000 unmanned aerial vehicles. Maybe less than 5000 planes is the right amount.

    You are correct. I do not count UAVs, drones, etc in my figures.

    As we’re beginning to see, an enemy with actual fighters (Russia, China) will make mincemeat out of the slow moving UAVs.

    Different tools for different jobs. Question, can a $100 million fighter plane intercept $100 million in UAVs?

    Actually, it’s been going on for awhile.  Last year, the Russians were doing intercepts on our Reapers and other types of drones.  In the below downing, it was done without firing a shot:

    https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/14/politics/us-drone-russian-jet-black-sea/index.html

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I presume I’m not the only Ricochet person who has been following this YouTube channel, which all too often is about the U.S. military unreadiness program:

     

    • #29
  30. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I just read your post and that is on the heels of a Moynihan Letter from May 10, 2024:

    https://insidethevatican.com/news/newsflash/letter-10-2024-friday-may-10-nikodim/

    Here’s an excerpt:

     “Today is also three days after the inauguration in Moscow on May 7 of President Vladimir Putin, 71, for the 5th time as the president of Russia. (link). (Putin is scheduled to serve a 6-year term, and theoretically could serve a second 6-year term, up until 2036, when he will be 83.)

        Thus, these are the very first days of Putin’s new term of office.

        And, there are now reports of imminent new Russian offensives, toward Kharkiv (link) and Odessa (link), the second and third largest cities in Ukraine (after Kiev, the capital), following a winter of relatively little movement in the lines marking the areas under Ukrainian and Russian control in eastern Ukraine.

        One of Putin’s closest allies, Ramzan Kadyrov, 47, father of 12 children (two adopted), a famed military leader who with his personal militia, the Kadyrovites, fought for the independence of Chechen after the fall of the Soviet Union, then defected to the Russian side in the Second Chechen War in 1999 (link). After this, Kadyrov went on to become the head of the Chechen Republic, and he has remained so for almost 20 years.

        This ally of Putin gave an interview in Moscow three days ago at the time of Putin’s inauguration. “This month we need to take Kharkiv and Odessa,” Kadyrov said. He continued: “We must take the entire territory of Ukraine.” (Here is a link to that interview. And here is a link to another helpful article which puts the upcoming Russian plans into greater perspective.)

        This means that the Ukraine war may soon begin to “heat up” again. (In fact, I was advised today that the new Russian surge toward Kharkiv has already started.)”

    I also read somewhere that it was mentioned ” that we are already at war “(NATO and Russia) and they will announce it sometime in August/September???     

    This is a major life changing event for the world (along with the Middle East) if it is allowed to progress…………..History seems to be repeating itself –

    • #30
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