Fred Reed's Fulminations
Here is a delightful rebuttal (click on article #380) to my previous post. Fred Reed has written an article that attacks Ralph Peters' pieties about war. This is the first time I've seen anything by Fred Reed. He reminds me of a comedian, George Carlin or Lenny Bruce or even Mark Twain. He's not a happy camper and he's absolutely right about the world and how it works.
Ralph of course speaks of the sacrifices our boys are making. They aren’t making sacrifices. They are being sacrificed. Sacrifices are voluntary, but if the troops decline to fight, they go to jail. The mechanics go this way: Having an all-volunteer army minimizes objections to the war since no one of any influence has to go; if a lot of high-school grads from Tennessee are getting killed, well, it’s not a good thing of course, but who really cares? This facilitates hobbyist wars. A voluntary army is a small army, so you have to send the same troops for tour after tour until they are half-mad and their families wrecked. Who cares? They are just rednecks anyway—not our sort of people, nobody a general would let his daughter date.He is absolutely right about the disgraceful behavior and general stupidity of our leaders, and, in particular, our way of staffing the military, the whole national chickenhawk movement. What he is wrong about, however, is fundamental. Our governance is in fact superior to most other places. Whatever our faults and moral failings, the US is up against other forces which are even more reprehensible. You only have to look at the deteriorization of Iran and the once productive Southern Rhodesia, for example, to realize that unseating the evildoers is insufficient to bring about a happy outcome. You can't walk away from these things just because you know that your own motives aren't pure. The vacuum will be filled. And the place from which the vacuum is filled is far worse that we are, far worse perhaps than you can imagine. Let's take Pakistan as our recent example on that.
We owe it to ourselves to listen to and internalize the message that Fred Reed is sending, but I believe Ralph Peters is wiser and closer to the proper policy perspective. If you can read only one, go for Ralph.