Friday, December 17, 2010

Thoughts on the military

Recently I've read posts on two of my favorite blogs
On onestdv's excellent blog and
on Dennis Mangan's most worthwhile blog

I have to say I'm decidedly conflicted about the military in general. Weighing in favor:
1) I like a lot of the people in it, particularly at the enlisted and junior officer level (my direct contacts don't go any higher than LTC). It is heavy with people like myself in a lot of ways. I'm a Southerner for heaven's sake.
2) It's the closest thing America has to a reactionary institution (a sad commentary indeed)
3) Because of factors 1 and 2, their hearts really won't be into squishing me and mine when/if the time comes, although their paychecks may be sufficient
Weighing against
1) Because of factors 1 and 2, I really prefer NOT to see them suffer. Yes, I know a lot of them like to fight, but they only rarely get to fight in the manner they signed on to do (basically just in Desert Storm and the very early phases of the more recent Iraq confrontation where they actually got to fight another army complete with uniforms and vehicles to blow up). But I particularly dislike seeing them come home with brain injuries, in body bags, or suffering what we like to call PTSD now (shell shock, combat fatigue, I think every generation has a different name for it).
2) They're being used in a manner that is contrary to the interests of me and mine. I'm a firm believer in the all or nothing school of warfare. If you're not willing to do what it will almost certainly take to prevail (read, WWII or earlier rules of engagement, see also Mencius Moldbug or more or less any pre-WWII work on successful pacification of a nation), don't even start.
3) We spend an awful lot more on the military than the threats justify (and simulataneously, basically nothing on ACTUALLY defending our borders, the highest and best use of any military). We also spend an awful lot on the wrong threats in chronological terms---e.g. Soviet armored hordes pouring through the Fulda gap. We can probably afford about half the military budget we have right now, and that may well be overly optimistic. Even if you believe that as oil production starts to decline, we will have to engage in resource wars to avoid the strangulation of our economy due to liquid fuel 'demand destruction', you need a vastly different (and generally cheaper) military to do those deeds.

So, I suppose my advice to disgruntled members of the American Legions is this: Perhaps you should consider joining Blackwater or a similar outfit. I hear they pay a lot better. I don't see the nation's elites as presently being worthy of your loyalty, as demonstrated by your accepting a vastly lower rate of compensation than the market would bear for reasons of patriotism.

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