View Full Version : This guy gets it.

CPT Holzbach
07-30-2006, 03:25 PM
The importance of the media, the advantages of conscription, and the dangers of being too weak minded to pull a trigger. A fantastic piece from the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Steyn.

Our enemies understand "why we fight" and where the fight is. They know that in the greater scheme of things the mosques of Jakarta and Amsterdam and Toronto and Dearborn are more important territory than the Sunni Triangle. The U.S. military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been and it never will be.


07-30-2006, 03:39 PM
Added to the SWJ Daily News Links - one more quote from the piece:

In fact, the notion that "fighting" a war is the monopoly of those "in uniform" gets to the heart of why America and its allies are having such a difficult time in the present struggle. Nations go to war, not armies. Or, to be more precise, nations, not armies, win wars. America has a military that cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but so what? The first President Bush assembled the biggest coalition in history for Gulf War I, and the bigger and more notionally powerful it got, the better Saddam Hussein's chances of surviving it became. Because the bigger it got, the less likely it was to be driven by a coherent set of war aims.

War is not like firefighting: It's not about going to the burning house, identifying what needs to be done, and doing it; it's not a technical solution to an obvious problem. And, if you think it is, you find yourself like George Bush Sr. in 1991, standing in front of the gates of Baghdad and going, "Er, OK. Now what?" Some people look at the burning house and see Hezbollah terrorism; others see Israeli obduracy, or a lack of American diplomacy, or Iranian machinations, or a need to get the permanent Security Council members to send peacekeepers, or "poverty" or "despair" or an almighty pile-up of abstract nouns. You can have the best fastest state-of-the-art car on the road, but, if you don't know where you're going, the fellow in the rusting '73 Oldsmobile will get there and you won't. It's the ideas that drive a war and the support they command in the broader society that determine whether you'll see it through to real victory. After Korea and Vietnam and Gulf War I, it shouldn't be necessary to have to state that.

07-30-2006, 04:40 PM
As a small illustration of the point made by Mr. Steyn; I cannot remember any extraordinary efforts made by members of the administration or the Congress to help the Armed Forces with recruiting. They seem content to assign the task, allocate the money and then stand back and wait. They done their bit.

07-30-2006, 11:53 PM
This is a speech given by Ayn Rand to the cadets of West Point in 1974, it includes Marine officers. The title is: Philosophy Who Needs It? (http://gos.sbc.edu/r/rand.html)

07-31-2006, 03:09 PM
Yes, wars are won by the nation, but I assert that the nation (our nation) is not fighting the war. The population is content to sit idly by and watch others go overseas while continuing on with their lives unabated on the homefront.

The administration likes to paint the War on Terror (aka The Long War) as an epic struggle against a groupthink bent on destroying our way of life. This may be true. If it is, then the administration has done a pathetic job of mobilizing the country to get behind this effort. It has performed poorly in the IO arena against our own media and foreign media sources (not to mention enemy propganda). The only sacrifices demanded of its citizenry are made by those who wear a uniform (and their families), both part and full-time.

While aluminum can drives and rationing may not be in order, there MUST be tangible sacrifices made by the civilian populace in order for them to decide if this effort is worthwhile or not. One of two things will occur. Either the public, now burdened with sacrifice, will reject totally the notion of the War on Terror or it will demand a ruthless and EFFICIENT campaign in order to attack and destroy the enemy, stabilize Afghanistan (at the very least), and begin drawing down our commitments overseas which are stretching our personnel to the breaking point.

Let's stop doing this thing half-assed.

08-01-2006, 11:09 AM
I mostly agree with 979797 but would dispute his first point.

The civilian Americans (myself included) have, basically, not been asked to do anything but "sit idly by". I think we realize more must be done but the leadership inside the beltway won't be forthright about asking for it.

They, the administration, both parties and most of Congress don't have the faith and confidence in the American people that our history warrants. If it were bluntly and truthfully stated "this is what we need and this is why we need it", we would come through.

The "smartest ones in the class" who are running things won't do it.

Steve Blair
08-01-2006, 01:25 PM
I would second Carl's point. Too many within both parties are more concerned (or certainly seem more concerned) with padding their pockets and courting various special interest groups than they are with winning a war or even admitting that there is one going on. I would, however, quibble a bit over the "smartest in the class" running things. Over the years, and especially since the 1960s, the "best and the brightest" have tended to avoid politics. This is more of an anecdotal observation than something based on statistics.

The counterpoint to all of this is that a successful counterinsurgency campaign requires patience, and that is something that does not tend to be in great supply given the two year election cycle in this country and the basic American makeup of "get there now." Much of the War on Terror will shape up to be counterinsurgency in one form or another, combined with long-term intel efforts and work that is more manpower intensive than technology-focused.

I also suspect that many politicians are afraid of getting the masses worked up. It might disturb some special interests, and may also expose them to more scrutiny than they are used to.

SSG Rock
08-17-2006, 09:39 PM
It might take another catastrophic terrorist strike for the American people to wake up. I beleive that strike is inevitable. I wish I could say that such an event would put some steel into America's spine but I'm not so sure. Surely that toughness of our ancestors is buried within our collective DNA somewhere. I hope.