Tag: Military

On Sgt. Bergdahl and Unrequited Allegiance

 

You know at the very instant Susan Rice appears on television that, A) something has gone horribly wrong, and B) you are about to be served a whopper that not even Burger King would touch.

“We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our Republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who were taken in battle,” said the National Security Advisor, whose mind was blissfully unclouded by a sacred duty ignored when it came to Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in the heat of battle.

Member Post

 

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (quoting Shakespeare): “What a piece of work is man, in form and movement how express and admirable. In action how like an angel.” Sergeant Buster Kilrain: Well, if he’s an angel, all right then. But he damn well must be a killer angel. – Gettysburg (1993) Preview Open

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Cue Up The Band

 

shutterstock_106322621Peggy Noonan writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the US needs a military that acts swiftly and doesn’t brag. I agree with that first point — especially with the suggestion that we should have cut to the chase and sent in the troops to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. The military would have been delighted to execute such an assignment, a good thing would have been accomplished, and we would have demonstrated that America hasn’t completely forgotten how to flex its muscles. Nigeria’s not going to declare war on us. And is the international community likely to get on their high horse over the rescue of innocent girls? And so what if they do?

I wasn’t as convinced, however, by her assertion that great militaries shouldn’t brag. I understand the principle behind it: don’t showboat and let the guns do the talking. But I suspect the truth is that pomp and ceremony have always been a component of military might — and probably for good reason. Triumphalism is actually pretty effective at producing the “shock and awe” factor that great militaries like to inspire in civilian populations, both at home and abroad. I myself tend to react reflexively against propaganda, so the flag-waving jingoism often misses with me, but there’s no denying that plenty of people like it and it tends to make an impression. Compared to missiles and tanks, flags and musicians are cheap and safe. If there’s a chance of forestalling a war with a parade … throw the parade.

On a less utilitarian level, I’m inclined to think that the bragging may actually be a healthy and natural part of military prowess. Of course, I say that as someone who has never had any justification whatsoever to engage in that kind of self-aggrandizement. But I’m guided here mainly by reflection on how soldiers and military pomp were regarded historically. There seems to have been widespread agreement among the ancients that soldiers fought for honor and, insofar as they did their jobs valiantly, deserved it in a way that few other members of society did. Sedentary brainiacs (read: people like me or Peggy Noonan) find it easy to wrinkle our noses and piously suggest that war is no laughing matter. The people who are throwing the parades, however, know this far better than we.

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The Call of Duty video game series has tens of millions of registered users. So you can bet that this promotion video for the next sequel is going to get plenty of attention. What does it get right? What does it get wrong? Where should debates about mercenary employment go from here? Preview Open

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Larry Thornberry at American Spectator makes quite a case for how the current administration threatens our long term national security in a piece titled Uncle Sam Wants You–Sort Of. Having served and faced the life changing question of reenlistment I concur fully with his assessment that Obama and company are “an administration that has an […]

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Why Won’t Europe Defend Itself? — Peter Robinson

 

Back when the United States had no qualms about maintaining an enormous defense establishment, I could see why the Europeans wanted to let us do all the nasty work, maintaining only nominal defenses themselves. But now? President Obama has devoted the last five years to reducing our commitments abroad, shrinking our armed forces, and making us, withal, much less reliable allies than we used to be.

The European response? To make their defense budgets even smaller.