Heroification of the military is a strange mindset for any self-avowed democracy
How do you fix ignorant/stupid? My mother and I go to a local diner often and I listen to all the conversation's around me and I have not once heard anything about Ukraine or even for that matter Afghanistan. Most of the customers are groups of men, young and old. What does that say?
There is, Dennis, a very clear, concise, simple, and ~ for anybody familiar with American military history since the end of World War II ~ easy-to-understand reason why the US military is failing to meet recruitment goals.
And it has absolutely nothing to do with “Wokeness” [whatever that is], or any other current psycho-babble.
The Americans the military is trying to recruit have spent their entire lives with America at war someplace on the planet, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and so forth; aka “The Forever War.” And America has LOST EVERY ONE OF THOSE WARS.
The parents and grandparents of those Americans the military is trying to recruit have also spent their entire lives with America at war someplace on the planet: starting with helping the French reclaim their colonial empire in Indochina, to Korea, then our very own Vietnam, then Cuba and Central America [aka “Cold War I"]; and then Kuwait and Yugoslavia, and so forth, as America flexed its new-found, global, unipolar hegemony.
And the only one of those wars America DIDN’T lose was the one where we saved the Incubator Babies; the one that set the stage for 9/11 and the above cited Forever War.
And that, of course, doesn’t include all the assassinations, coups, stolen elections, false flag operations, and the rest of America’s means, methods, and mechanisms for waging "Pax Americana" during Cold War I.
Thus, the entire population of the United has lived its entire life with its nation being at war someplace with somebody over something. And this ~ the most expensive, extensive, and expansive military component of any Empire in Human history ~ HAS LOST EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
And now we have “Cold War II” and the very real prospects of Americans fighting a two-front Hot War in Eastern Europe and in East Asia [including the very real prospects of the use of nuclear weapons].
At some point during what the Vietnamese term “The American War,” a significant number of American military personnel decided and determined not to be “the last motherfucker to die in this motherfucking war.” That’s when the in-the-field strikes, fraggings, and other manifestations of “Take this Fucking War and shove it” began to make itself felt in Vietnam and elsewhere.
And no doubt had at least some impact of how the American people began to perceive that war; and how its managers in Saigon, the Pentagon, and White House responded.
So there is no real mystery at all as to why the American military is failing to meet recruitment goals. Fewer and fewer of those previously prime potential enlistees want to be “the last motherfucker to die in this dying Empire’s motherfucking war.”
And it really isn’t all that difficult, complicated, or complex to figure out exactly Why, is it?
Hi Bill; hope You and Yours [and everybody here at BV] had a good Holiday.
Permit me to offer some respectful but serious questions about and challenges to some of the assumptions and assertions You made in this post.
You began with “America is touched by a peculiar form of collective madness that sees… .” And my first question is: On what basis do You assume that the “heroification of the military” is PECULIAR to America? [i’d rather use italics, but they’re not available for EMPHASIS.]
In the entire history of Nations that became States that evolved into Empires, has there been even one that did not heroify its military? Or its civilian law enforcement and security institutions?
And if “Heroification of the military is a strange mindset for any self-avowed democracy,” again, can You name any “democracy” ~ or any other form of government and governance ~ that became an Empire that didn’t do that heroifying?
So while i agree completely that this “madness, this hubris…has to end or [else…],” i again must point out that none of this shit started when America became the Planet’s global, unipolar hegemon at the end of Cold War I. It is simply the Way Of Empires ascending and cresting; and when they begin their descent, a way to attempt to prevent the ultimate, inevitable crash landing.
Also, has there ever been even one Empire that didn’t have a similar “historical narrative based on triumphalism, exceptionalism, and goodness” that it advanced and sustained?
And please understand that this is not an attempt at “Whataboutism.” It is my reading of Human History since the Dawn of Political Man, and not just America’s. Does it resonate with You?
As regards Your “first big step in taming the MICIMATT [being] changing America’s mindset and culture about the military and war”:
* 1. Can You define this “America” whose “mindset and culture” must change? Given how many different “Americas,” "mindsets," and "cultures" there are these days, Whose mindsets/cultures need to be changed? And,
* 2. What new mindset/culture do they need to be changed to?
You then noted that “it’s not surprising that the U.S. no longer sees peace as possible or even as desirable. Peace is rarely mentioned by U.S. political candidates or by the mainstream media. WAR IS SIMPLY TAKEN FOR GRANTED; EVEN WORSE, IT’S SEEN AS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE.” [EMPHASIS added.]
The reason that war is seen as the health of the state is because “War IS the health of the State”; the title of an essay written by Randolph Bourne during World War I .
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne ]. It begins:
“War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate co-operation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties, the minorities are either intimidated into silence or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them to really converting them.”
See the followup comment for links to the Full Text of Bourne’s essay, and an in-depth analysis of it.
And finally, Bill, You concluded, almost wistfully: “As the Christmas season approaches, is it too much to ask for sanity as in peace on earth and good will toward all?”
Folks been asking that same Question for a long, long time, eh? But when they do, are they not ignoring the role that Christianity has had and played in the History Of War ~ and of Conquest, Extermination, Exploitation, and Enslavement ~ over the past 2,000 years?
If there are no American Political Leaders who speak out against War, the MICIMATT, the National Security State, etc, how many American Religious Leaders are there; or have there ever been since Vietnam and then Central America 80s and 90s?
Christianity does not have a particularly impressive record as a “Peacemaker,” wouldn’t You agree?
Back on November 23 as a comment to Bill’s “We All Represent ‘Diversity’," i noted that ~ with the increasing opening of the Arctic Ocean to civilian and military vessels due to rapidly diminishing ice ~ an “Ice Breaker Gap” with Russia like the “Missile Gap” with the USSR back in the late 50s ~ can’t be far behind.
The folks in Bloom Country had this to say about all that: https://www.gocomics.com/bloomcounty/2022/11/29
Ike was comparing Military expense vs Civilian needs when the US DoD Budget was only $60 Billion in 1961 compared to over $800 Billion for next year, and always needing more to keep the US secure as Americans are becoming more insecure with every passing Day.
If the ordinary Citizens at the street level don't/can't recognize their own self-interests to become more vigilant, and start talking to family, friends, neighbours and co-workers, leaving it up to the so called bought off experts, nothing will change.
When Americans holding different views at the opposite end of the political spectrum dismiss each other's POV, and will not enter dialogue, as the adage goes, 'abandon all hope you who enter here' and this World will arrive at the Day of Reckoning foretold in both the Old and New Testaments.
Seeing this Old Testament Prophecy fulfilled was never possible for Humankind until WWII,
For behold, the Lord shall come with FIRE, and like a tempest,
His chariots, to render His anger with FURY, and His rebuke with flames of FIRE.
For with FIRE, will the Lord contend, and with His sword with all flesh, and those slain by the Lord shall be many.
This is the form that FIRE and FURY will take made possible with the US introducing Nukes into this Material World, burning alive over 200,000 Civilians with only 2 of them in WAR.
THE DAY AFTER will be TOO LATE, and this World is on the Path to it, escalating the WAR!
Those three campaign ribbons could easily represent “Veni, vidi, vici” which would be more than any subsequent general – or commander-in-chief – could say.
Welcome to COLD WAR II; even bigger, badder, and thus better ~ and more fun ~ than the first one… :
DEFENSE ONE’s article “China’s Increased Military Activity Near Taiwan a ‘New Normal’ Says Pentagon” concludes as follows:
< Earlier this month, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, “China is not shy about their goal. They want to be the No. 1 power in the globe by mid-century, by 2049. And they want to do that military, diplomatically, informationally, economically, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.”
< But, Milley added, “CHINA IS NOT GOING TO BE A BETTER MILITARY THAN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY IS. BUT THEY'RE GOING TO TRY, BUT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET THERE. WE WILL BE NO. 1 FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, 10 YEARS FROM NOW, AND 50 YEARS FROM NOW. WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET CHINA TAKE NO. 1.” >
https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2022/11/chinas-increased-military-activity-near-taiwan-new-normal-says-pentagon/380244/ [EMPHASIS added.]
AMERICA: From Republic to Empire
In the words of Murray Rothbard, "America was a nation conceived in liberty. Unfortunately, the United States that exists today has not lived up to that heritage."
In this series, we look at America’s transformation from republic to empire and the consequences of Washington’s conquests abroad on the country at home.
I'd like to hear stories from people who have broken the family military tradition. It seems very powerful, getting new generations to join up regardless of the use they will be put to out of a desire to continue the family tradition.
Great and overdue reminder! Thank you from north of the border.