Friday, April 27, 2007

"...a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war."

Thomas Ricks, writing in the Washington Post, reviews an article in Armed Forces Journal. Ricks writes an appetizer. Lt.Col.Paul Yingling provides the meat. These are not moonbats, you know. They're not even politicians. Both are professional military men with years of training.

The passion of the people is necessary to endure the sacrifices inherent in war. Regardless of the system of government, the people supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute war. The statesman must stir these passions to a level ommensurate with the popular sacrifices required. When the ends of policy are small, the statesman can prosecute a conflict without asking the public for great sacrifice. Global conflicts such as World War II require the full mobilization of entire societies to provide the men and materiel necessary for the successful prosecution of war. The greatest error the statesman can make is to commit his nation to a great conflict without mobilizing popular passions to a level commensurate with the stakes of the conflict.

Am I the only one who has noticed that the war in Iraq is really not popular? It seems to me that the "passion of the people" and their willingness to "supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute a war" are more a source of conflict than anything resembling unity. There have been disagreements about many issues in my lifetime, but I cannot recall a time, even in during the Vietnam conflict, that our elected representatives were as badly split over an issue. Even during the Watergate hearings and impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton decorum trumped vitriol.

1 comment: said...

Great true!