At Risk

H. R. McMaster's speech at Georgetown included the following charges:
The warrior ethos is at risk because fewer and fewer Americans are connected to our professional military. Separation from our society is consequential because warriors depend on respect for what they do to maintain their self-respect.

The warrior ethos is at risk because fewer and fewer Americans understand what is at stake in the wars in which we are engaged. How many Americans could, for example, name the three main Taliban organizations we are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

The warrior ethos is at risk because some argue that victory over an enemy or winning in war is an old idea that is no longer relevant in today’s complex world.

The warrior ethos is at risk because some continue to advocate simple, mainly technologically based solutions to the problem of future war, ignoring war’s very nature as a human and political activity that is fundamentally a contest of wills.

The warrior ethos is at risk because popular culture waters down and coarsens the warrior ethos. Warriors are most often portrayed as fragile traumatized human beings. Hollywood tells us little about the warrior’s calling or commitment to his or her fellow warriors or what compels him or her to act courageously, endure hardships, take risks, or make sacrifices.
It was not always thus.


Eric Blair said...

The situation now is a lot closer to what it was before the 20th century.

(omitting the Civil War).

Nobody back then really yakked up that 'warrior ethos' stuff, although 'duty as a citizen' was clearly much more important than it is now, as well as, I suppose, the idea of 'manliness' and 'honor' or some mix of those.

Don't talk to me about warriors. They nearly always lose in the long run to soldiers.

Grim said...

You know, that's John Morris' hypothesis about King Arthur. He points out that we have a pretty good list of kings from the period, and no one named "Arthur" is on it. And Arthur is described in the earliest sources as Dux Bellorum, that is, 'war leader.' So he takes Arthur to have been the head of the remnant of the Roman soldiery who inhabited Britain.

They did pretty well against Anglo-Saxon warriors, for a while. Though if you're going to talk about the 'long run,' eventually you need a civilization that can sustain soldiers for that concept to work out. What happened in Britain was that the soldiery wasn't replaced. Arthur's Britain lasted a generation, or so, as best as we can tell.

That may be in line with McMaster's point.

Eric Blair said...

That is possible.

Ymar Sakar said...

Soldiers follow orders, whether those orders come from the evil or the good. As a single individual, they are outmatched on the field, but as a unit composed of one mind and spirit, they exceed the sum of all total parts.

Warriors always functioned better as volunteers, guerilla fighters, and civilian level operators. What cause warriors fight for, is a personal decision, it's not merely obedience for the sake of obeying evil leaders or authority.

The crusader, the holy warrior that fights on faith for a cause that unites every single person as one sword, is a hybrid. And the only ones in this century are ISIL types or United States liberation forces.

In the US, a bunch of zombies calling themselves free US citizens cannot sustain a force that fights for the cause of liberty or freedom. Not when most Americans desperately seek the freedom of slavery.