Comment from: danika [Visitor]

Well written, D. I agree with the “less wrong.”

11/03/12 @ 14:24
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]


You sort of confirmed what I’ve suspected for a long time - people who make a career of military service (as opposed to the one-and-done folks who are in it because they can’t find a better deal elsewhere) do it because they really do love this country, even if they disagree with how it’s being run. One’s politics don’t really enter into the equation at that point. When you joined, did you consider that you might be ordered to do something you disagreed with? (I knew a couple of guys who fell into that situation. They joined before the first Gulf War thinking it would remain a mostly peacetime military. But when things got hot they stuck to their oaths and went where they were ordered.)

I hoped you would give us a little bit about what makes a just war when you said you were studying that topic. (I also wondered who got write the specs for it. Lots of people claim they’re fighting a just war, just like lots of people claim God is on their side.) Thank you for filling us in. I was going to argue with probability of success as a criterion, but after thinking about it I have to agree with it. An individual or group may attack with little hope for success, but only if it has a chance of saving others. A state won’t do that, because its responsibility is to defend the state.

I agree with you that the military needs civilian oversight. Warfighting is a highly specialized field, and those who study and practice it have to be very focused. That influences the choices they make when it comes to solving problems. (See “six-year-old with a hammer…"). Civilian leadership ideally has a number of tools at their disposal for solving problems: military power, diplomacy, economic sanctions, bribery. We may occasionally think our civilian leaders are incompetent, but at least we get a chance to replace them. That’s not easily done under military rule.


11/03/12 @ 15:17
Comment from: diana [Member]

Hi, Dave! :)

I am just an anecdotal sample, of course. Some people do do it because it’s the best deal going for many lower to middle class folk. There is much truth to the accusation that the rich use the poor to fight their wars; this is something I never expect to change, frankly.

But many of us, at least, are in because we believe in what this country stands for. For this reason, liberals are well represented in our fighting corps. (And many of us are tree-huggers and such, too.) We just don’t make the mistake of forsaking the necessity of defense just because we hate killing.

On probability of success: you make good points. In many situations, there comes a point where the decision is a tossup. Yes, the government’s duty is to defend the populace, but against what? If someone is coming to kill the populace, what should the government do? I think that’s pretty clear. But if someone is coming to enslave the populace, what is the government to do? That’s less clear.

In this course, we’ve examined some specific examples (most notably the Gulf Wars) as a catalyst to discussions regarding what happens at the higher (strategic) levels when war is considered, declared, and prosecuted. These discussions have driven home (for me) the fact that military leaders should think strategically, but no matter how good they are, they tend to operate in a military–not fully strategic–mindset.

There are four basic instruments of national power: diplomacy, information, military, and economy (or DIME). Some people add financial, intelligence, and law enforcement (FILe) to that, but there’s a lot of overlap between these and the Big Four. Military strategists tend to focus overwhelmingly on the military portion because…duh. We require civilian oversight to keep us balanced (for this reason, I question the wisdom of electing retired generals and such).

Funny you brought up the hammer analogy. I almost put that one in my post. ;)


11/03/12 @ 16:28
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]

We just don’t make the mistake of forsaking the necessity of defense just because we hate killing.


For that, I thank you. (The plural you, that is. You’uns in the language of my youth.)

Something I forgot to mention before. You talked about conservatives wanting to maintain a presence in Iraq indefinitely to bring them democracy. It’s not indefinitely. It’s just until the Iraqi people elect a government that we like. Democracy is only a success if it makes an ally for us. Otherwise it’s been thwarted by subversive elements bent on enslaving the proud and freedom-loving people of Iraq.


11/03/12 @ 20:44
Comment from: diana [Member]

You’re welcome, Dave.

In re: Iraq: That’s why I said “indefinitely.” My point is that you don’t just “bring democracy” to people who’ve been tribal for 6000 years. Democracy–or what we’d consider a viable democracy–relies on a far more advanced social structure. Thus, those who insist that if we just stay in Iraq long enough, it’ll take, are dangerously misinformed.


11/03/12 @ 21:50
Comment from: Daddy [Visitor]

Hi, Beloved Daughter. The pain in my chest has been so great since last I wrote to you, I simply could not bear to read anymore. I searched my e-mail almost daily, hoping to hear from you. No word.
I have read this entry, and I do not recall specifically telling you those things concerning going to Iraq, but I am sure I must have said them. At that time, I had not thought through the things that I did later. I have come to believe surely that we should not have been there, because you can’t change tribal custom, as well as fights between families. Most of that area, I think, are distantly related, perhaps going back at least 3500 years, perhaps many more. I do, however, believe the attack on NY should not have gone unpunished. It was uncalled for. Such things “just don’t happen” in a “civilized” world. This post is good.

I continue to love you deeply and surely, but I cannot be a part of your life as you live it, which means, I deeply fear, I may never have the honor and privilege of being the father I always envisioned. Please accept my deepest apologies for my failure, but I can no more change who I am, than you can change who you are. I wish you greatest happiness in this life.

12/10/12 @ 15:16
Comment from: diana [Member]


Do you mean to say that my vocal disapproval of your actions and my disfellowshipping you isn’t working?!

I can’t imagine why.


02/25/13 @ 07:17

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