The US military's first purpose is not to wage war (was: Loving The Troops)

Bill Stoddard bill@wstoddard.com
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 15:52:15 -0500


Russell Turpin wrote:
> The US military's first purpose is to present
> a demonstrated capability of waging war. To use
> the analogy to a pistol, if you ever go to use
> it in a confrontation, things are already screwed
> up more than you would ever hope.
> 
> Someone who measures the US military by its recent
> wars would find a very mixed record. They almost
> all represent failures of policy and diplomacy,
> and the ones that aren't examples of military
> action that should have been avoided often are
> bollixed by military action that should have been
> made sooner. That's not too surprising. Wars
> stem from collosal failure.
> 
> But that's the wrong way to judge the US
> military. You have to also look at what was
> enabled without active warfare. NATO never fought
> the USSR, but it did safeguard west Europe during
> the cold war. The US stopped fighting North Korea
> a half century past, but its continued military
> presence is the sole reason for South Korea's
> continued existence. The US military also enables
> Japan to remain a largely pacifist nation. These
> are large successes, representing significant
> martial effort, in areas where the US did not
> engage in war during those periods.
> 
> Of course, even outside the wars fought, the US
> military has been put to some dreadful uses.
> Defoliating forests in Colombia does little
> besides sicken and impoverish poor people, and
> denude natural habitat. My point isn't to paint
> everything sweetness and light, but to enlarge
> the scope by which people sometimes look at the
> military, especially during the time of a
> controversial war. One can reasonably hold both
> (a) that THIS war is misguided, or even that most
> US wars have been misguided, yet (b) the US
> military serves critical and legitimate purpose,
> and service in it is honorable.
> 

Russell,
Thanks you. A voice of reason in the mindless forest.

Bill