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

Jeff Bone
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 15:03:20 -0600

On Thursday, Mar 20, 2003, at 14:52 US/Central, Bill Stoddard wrote:

> 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.