Fred Reed, who has seen more war first hand than the entire Chickenhawk Brigade combined, tries to explain why the Iraqi Occupation was lost some time ago:
To the Warrior, to doubt the war is treason, aiding and supporting, liberalism, cowardice, back-stabbing, and so on. He uses these phrases unrelentingly. We must fight, and fight, and fight, and never yield, and sacrifice and spend. We must never ask why, or whether, or what for, or do we want to.
The public of course doesn’t see it that way. In 1964 I graduated from a rural high school in Virginia with a senior class of, I think, sixty. Doug took a 12.7 through the head, Sonny spent time at Walter Reed with neck wounds, Studley I hear is a paraplegic, another kid got mostly blinded for life, and several, whom I won’t name, tough country kids as I knew them, came back as apparently irredeemable drunks. (These were kids I knew, not all in my class.) It was a lot of dead and crippled for a small place. For what?
Cowardice? I was on campus in 1966 on a small, very Republican, very patriotic, very conservative, very Southern campus. The students, and their girlfriends, were all violently against the war. So, I gather, were their parents. Why? Were they the traitors of the Warrior’s imagination? No. They didn’t want to die for something that they didn’t care about.
This eludes the Warrior. Always, he blames The Press for the waning of martial enthusiasm, for his misunderstanding of the kind of war we are fighting. Did the press make Studley a paraplegic? Or kill the guy with all the tubes who died in the stretcher above me on the Medevac 141 back from Danang? Did Walter Cronkite make my buddy Cagle blind when the rifle grenade exploded on the end of his fourteen? Do the Warriors think that people don’t notice when their kids come back forever in wheelchairs?
They don’t get it.
The reality is that Iraq was never going to attack the United States. Nor is Iran – North Korea already has its nukes and isn’t using them for anything except to keep the USA off its back as it starves its people and does otherwise Bad Things.
No amount of exaggeration is going to convince the vast majority of Americans that democracy in Iraq is worth the life of their child. Based on the evidence, I’d argue that democracy in America isn’t worth such a lofty price either.
I respect America’s soldiers. I like them and am comfortable with them, being from a military family and all. But I also loathe the politicians who spend their blood so freely and callously, usually in a cause that is of no benefit to America whatsoever.
The march of technology can be delayed briefly but it can never be arrested. Today North Korea has The Bomb, tomorrow Iran will, and in fifty years, it’s entirely possible that your neighbor will, if he is so inclined. History is replete with examples of central governments attempting to control the spread of military technology; last night I was reading a dictate of Charlemagne’s which forbade the export of burnies, iron chest armor.
We are currently seeing a race to determine if power can be globally centralized before the advance spread of technology renders such centralization suicidal. In such a race, the Way of the Warrior has little, if any, role to play. He will surely again have his day, regardless of who wins out, but he has little to say with regards to the victor.