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Dangers of 'the best military'

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:09 AM
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Dangers of 'the best military'
When did American troops become "warfighters" - members of "Generation Kill" - instead of citizen-soldiers? And when did we become so proud of declaring our military to be "the world's best"? These are neither frivolous nor rhetorical questions. Open up any national defense publication today and you can't miss the ads from defense contractors, all eagerly touting the ways they "serve" America's "warfighters." Listen to the politicians, and you'll hear the obligatory incantation about our military being "the world's best".

All this is, by now, so often repeated - so eagerly accepted - that few of us seem to recall how against the American grain it really is. If anything - and I saw this in studying German military history - it's far more in keeping with the bellicose traditions and bumptious rhetoric of Imperial Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II than of an American republic that began its march to independence with patriotic Minutemen in revolt against King George.

So consider this a modest proposal from a retired citizen-airman: a small but meaningful act against the creeping militarism of the George W Bush years would be to collectively repudiate our "world's best warfighter" rhetoric and re-embrace instead a tradition of reluctant but resolute citizen-soldiers.

Becoming warfighters

I first noticed the term "warfighter" in 2002. Like many a field-grade staff officer, I spent a lot of time crafting PowerPoint briefings, trying to sell senior officers and the Pentagon on my particular unit's importance to the president's new global "war on terror". The more briefings I saw, the more often I came across references to "serving the warfighter". It was, I suppose, an obvious selling point, once we were at war in Afghanistan and gearing up for regime change in Iraq. And I was probably typical in that I, too, grabbed the term for my briefings. After all, who wants to be left behind when it comes to supporting the troops "at the pointy end of the spear" (to borrow another military trope)?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JG22Ak03.html
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