Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Triumph of... something, I forget. It's not important.

One of the most tired cliches of the debates over the war in Iraq, and in Canada the war in Afghanistan, is the horrible, borderline fascist idea that if we lose it will be because we as a nation didn't have "the will" to succeed.

It really dates back to Vietnam, where the "Honor before Peace" crowd insisted that, if we'd just sacrificed a few more black kids, victory could have been ours. Of course, that was before Walter Cronkite and those pot-smoking smelly hippies went and elected President Ford, that pussy.*

(*Ford's election being as non-fictional as the rest of this idiotic idea.)

Anyway, I was reading this article from 1999 about "The U.S. Presumption of Quick, Costless Wars" and it's really a dammning indictment of this whole idea - not an indictment on the American or Canadian people, mind you, but of their leadership.
A nation’s will provides the foundation upon which military policy is built. The American experience in the twentieth century belies the simplistic notion that the lack of a pervasive warrior culture translates into weakness of will in the international arena. It would be ironic, therefore, if now-at the time of our greatest strength-we underestimate our own will because we overemphasize the significance of certain cultural, economic, or demographic trends. Moreover, this would be doubly ironic because our past enemies grossly misjudged American will for the same reason-and paid dearly for their errors....

However, the corrosive effects upon civil-military relations will be even more profound if future military leaders mature within an organizational culture that believes the American people represent the weak link in the chain of mititary policy.
I don't know about the military, but the civilian government has certainly adopted this mindset - "Bush would be the greatest president in history if it weren't for the fact that 65% of Americans think he's awful."

The article is not online, but if you're interested it's in the Summer, 1999 issue of Orbis, by Andrew Erdmann.

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