Sunday, December 04, 2005

The will to fight

Blogger Dan Melson is new to me. His blog, Searchlight Crusade, (which sounded vaguely evangelical, but is not) seems to be mostly about consumer and financial issues. He's currently employed as a real estate loan officer and agent, and has past experience as a financial planner.

No doubt Mr. Melson writes great articles about insurance and investing and real estate and all that stuff. But I wouldn't really know, since I haven't read them. Actually, I've only read one post on his blog, and it's most decidedly not about any of those things. It's this one, entitled "Recent US Political and Military History and the War on Terror." It was recommended to me by a reader, and he certainly didn't steer me wrong.

If I were to summarize what that post is about, I'd say it's about the importance of the will to fight.

I suggest you read it. Warning: it's long--but my guess is that anyone who's been a reader of my blog doesn't really mind long too much.

Melson's post is one of the best summaries of the entire post-9/11 situation that I've ever seen. As such, despite its length, it's actually rather compact, compressing an impressive amount of military and political history and combining it with logic and just plain common sense.

The post is one of those things that--if any of my liberal friends were still reading anything I might forward to them on the topic of politics/world affairs--I'd send to every person on my list. But alas, no.

As it is, I'll just recommend it to you. And if you've got anyone to send it to who might still listen, you could try forwarding it.

21 Comments:

At 7:35 PM, December 04, 2005, Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Almost everyone I know would agree with the post and supports the war. Of course, sometime after 9/11 every liberal I knew, including some family members, pretty much took me off all their lists including Christmas cards from the look of things in the last week.

I am really saddened by the polarization. Some people in my coffee place were joking about wearing anti-Republican garlic around their necks. Several weeks ago a friend who habitually greets me by my former military rank did this in the grocery store and a woman in line pointedly moved her cart into another line while glaring at me. There are many more depressing examples of that in my smallish city.

I think these wounds will suppurate much as they did after the Civil War.

 
At 9:38 PM, December 04, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

A modest haircut and good posture can get you a look.

I am astounded at the number of people who will work, in whatever fashion, to ruin this country.

What is further nuts is that most of them are in the position of Jews working to help Nazis come to power in Weimar Germany. Whatever they claim to hold valuable is exactly what will be taken from them.

I just don't get it.

Recommend Whittle's essay "Sanctuary" for a few guesses.

Good as anybody's.

 
At 11:08 PM, December 04, 2005, Anonymous John said...

Thanks, neo, for another great read. I will forward this as I have your other posts.

My only quibble with Mr. Melson's post is his "meme"-abuse (I counted eight times). He is not alone in the blogosphere in its love affair with memes.

Just wondered if you, in your profession, had any thoughts on that.

 
At 11:26 PM, December 04, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

John--you mean, what do I think about the meme meme?

I think it's used a lot because there are fashions in these things (for example, I've noticed an upsurge in the use of the word "roil" or "roiling" within the last year or two). I also think it's a word that perfectly fits so many situations in the blogosphere, and for which there are few good synonyms.

Here are some definitions of "meme."

--"A unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation."

--"An idea, project, statement or even a question that is posted by one blog and responded to by other blogs. Although the term encompasses much of the natural flow of communication in the Blogosphere, there are active bloggers and blog sites that are dedicated to the creation of memes on a regular basis."

And then there's this: "The lack of a consistent, rigorous and precise definition of a meme remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes."

"Meme" is popular because it is fairly protean, and very useful.

 
At 11:44 PM, December 04, 2005, Anonymous Megan said...

My favorite part...

"The vote to authorize force was bipartisan and a majority of democrats joined in no matter their subsequent revisionism. It listed sixteen separate reasons for the war and the truth of fifteen have been established beyond dispute. The final claim, of "Weapons of Mass Destruction," is subject to significant dispute, but that does not invalidate or in any way lessen the truth of the other fifteen. You cannot fight fifteen sixteenths of a war. "

You cannot fight 15 16ths of a war. Brilliant...and duh! Why is that so hard for some people to understand? My 9 year old cousin can understand it.

Thank you for posting this!!! It truly was a great read and I forwarded it on to as many folks as I thought would pay any attention. ;-)

 
At 11:48 PM, December 04, 2005, Anonymous Megan said...

Andrew...

That is so horrible. I hate the feeling that occurs when someone thinks they know how 'horrible' you are just because they think they understand your political views. My entire department (all 4 of us!) hold completely different views than I do yet we get along fairly well. There are the occasional redneck republican jokes which make it difficult to really bond with my coworkers. Do they think so little of me even though I do a good job at work? It's frustrating.

But losing family contact hurts the worst and I am dealing with it currently with my little brother. It's very painful. And so unnecessary.

 
At 12:41 AM, December 05, 2005, Anonymous John said...

When you read these sentences:
"our civilization's great memes are in direct conflict with theirs"

"they are protected by our societal meme of political free speech"

"This does not mean that they are not exploiting this meme against us"

you can subsitute the word ideal(s).

That is so different from these sentences(in the same post):

"These people are recognized by their adherence to and repetition of the "Bush lied!" meme"

"their emperors are more naked than ours ever thought about being is the root of their "insensitivity" and "offensive speech" memes"

in which you could substitue the word mantra(s)

An ideal is far removed from a mantra. How useful is a word which has no real definition?

 
At 8:31 AM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Tom Dilatush said...

Trackback as comment:
JamulBlog
One of my favorite blogs is neo-neocon, written by an ex-liberal turned conservative after 9/11. Her posts are real ponders, full of informed thinking and ideas. Definitely a post-coffee read, and on my list for every morning.

This morning she pointed me to a post on another blog, and (as she also says) it is simply excellent. Thanks, neo!

 
At 10:36 AM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There are many people that the domestic enemies of the United States of America, wish to silence with all their venal and vile hearts.

Take this female combat medic in the Airborne as an example.

Grey Eagle

I wish to express my congratulations to the hackers, vandals, and anti-war visitors who successfully blocked my ability to post any further tributes to the soldiers. I am sure you find victory in preventing myself and others from having a place to read and pay our respects to the Fallen Female Soldiers, and my brother’s in arms, the brave soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division.

[...]
I have never took away anyone’s freedom to post their views here. It was my belief that if I was to fight and defend freedom, then that would have to be for all, regardless of whether I believed in your views or not. I never deleted your comments or views, and rarely stepped in to oppose them or prevent your expression of them. I even went as far as to give you a forum on the website at my expense to present your views in open debate. But you hacked that, and prevented anyone from presenting their views. I guess that is your version of freedom of speech that you believe in so dearly in.

THere is no permalink, so you will have to scroll down the blog a few articles to get to it. THe title is,

Congratulations To Those Who Oppose The Soldiers

With citizens like these, who needs foreign enemies when there are plenty of domestic ones here?

The domestic enemies of the Constitution of the United States of America, may feel lucky that they are protected by law and tradition, for if they ever treated the Special Forces operators in this manner, one might say that without law and tradition, that would be their last mistake in a long while.

Perhaps that is why many won't move to France, whom they love far more than America. They know the consequences of picking on people that can't or won't fight back. So they stay in America, picking on principled individuals who bear them no harm nor foulness of intent.

Fortunately for them, people like me, who do bear them malice and intent on harm, are restricted by law from getting rid of them.

Everything that I am, and everything that I will be, is in the service of my country and our Constitution.

I dearly hold and consider such examples in the hope that I will meet the test should the time ever come.

Von Stauffenberg

There are a lot of patriots and citizens that I admire, but treat their fellow undeserving citizens with far more verve and tolerance than I could ever issue.

I wonder if I regret that... or do I believe that people that feel the way I do, are necessary in a free society?

I suspect I bear too much hate for the enemies of the United States of America, and too much love of this country ever to feel any different.

 
At 11:23 AM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

The will to fight? Wait until Iran has nuclear capability, then we will see what we are really made of. Their huge energy contracts with China are starting to pay dividends. Cash and nukes - what more does a fundamentalist nation require? Talk about being able to export terrorism - holy cow! we ain't seen nothing yet. They'll be able to openly advertise and set up training camps complete with upscale PR and advertising. Sure - the training camps can vie with each other to see who can get the most enrollment. There'll be a camp designated to prep martyrs against Israel, that one will be the big winner hands down no doubt- another camp designed to destabilize 3rd world nations with pro-West leanings - another designed to target American business interests and any vulnerable embassy(s) - another one designated for targeting tourists and tourist spots. Talk about having a menu and venue! Nukes and cash, a mullah's dream come true. Who would dare to try to stop any of this with nuke missles locked and loaded and China in your corner? The UN is hinting at sanctions! Dread and fear! That'll fix 'em won't it? If I were the head mullah over there, I wouldn't rest easy until a couple of suitcase nukes had been detonated via shipping containers in a couple of US harbors - New Orleans and New York for starters. Then I could fully concentrate on extending muslim influence and control in Europe.

 
At 1:29 PM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Dad said...

Andrew: Thank you for your service to our country. And thank you for the word "suppurate", which I had never heard before. As an RN, I should have known it.

 
At 7:17 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Nicholas said...

> I forwarded it on to as many folks as I thought would pay any attention. ;-)

Why limit yourself?

As DP once said, "You can lead a whore to culture but you cannot make her think..." -- give them all a chance, it's up to them to sup.

 
At 7:24 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Nicholas said...

> An ideal is far removed from a mantra. How useful is a word which has no real definition?

It has a read definition, it's just one of those fuzzy ones... like "Science Fiction", which is waggishly defined as "What science fiction editors buy"

I know what it is (memes OR SF), it's just not easy to define in concrete terms.

Some gestalts (Now THERE's a word!) just are not easy to put in a small number of words.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'

"Meme" is woefully underpaid.
:^D

 
At 7:29 PM, December 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a fairly glaring gap in the article's list of those not enamored of the current Iraq War--those who vigorously supported the war in Arghanistan, in some cases to the extent of enlisting to fight it (e.g. Pat Tillman), but were nevertheless unconvinced of the wisdom of GW Bush's invasion of Iraq.

The article's historical examples are interesting. I wonder if there is an example of a successful war on a scale even approximating the current War on Terror which has been fought while cutting taxes.

 
At 11:24 PM, December 06, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Anonymous.

What "scale" is that?
Usually, a scale has a context.
Proportion of GDP?
The historical context is not useful due to the immense change in the size of the economy and the immense increase in government revenues.
I am aware that certain people, no names here, pretend that lower tax RATES, which is what we have, are always and inevitably associated with lower revenues. This is not necessarily true, nor is it true now.
So if the revenues are increasing and the Dow is 'way up, and unemployment is down, and the DoD budget is a decreasing proportion of the federal budget and the GDP, what other scale did you have in mind?

Considering that there are about 150,000 men in Iraq, some tens of thousands in Afghanistan, as opposed to 500,000 in Viet Nam during the height of US involvement, not to mention about the same in various European countries, during the same period, and an active duty military considerably more populous than today's, what "scale" are you talking about?

 
At 3:39 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It would seem apparent that for those who have never been in a war, any old brushfire is a "war" out of all proportion.

People seem to think higher taxes means people will be more ready to sacrifice, and hence our will to fight will increase.

That is pretty totally false.

Either the will to fight is there, or it isn't, increasing taxes does zero to help. It actually hinders and subtracts people's chances of victory.

 
At 10:36 AM, December 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the question of "scale", what I had in mind was the scope of geopolitical objectives. There may be historical examples of previous conflicts involving military tasks comparable to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the attempt at significant political change in many other areas, which have been fought without raising taxes. I don't know of any, but I could be wrong.

It may be that "The historical context is not useful." Conservatives, neo- and otherwise, are in my experience generally skeptical of such claims, though.

The notion that raising taxes in wartime "actually hinders and subtracts people's chances of victory" is contradicted by hundreds of years of historical experience. War-winning societies tend overwhelmingly to be those that mobilize more of their societal resources.

 
At 8:21 AM, December 09, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Anon. The historical context us useful if it is honestly used.

That would be a first.

 
At 9:03 PM, December 12, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

For one thing, if you learn the lessons of history incorrectly, you are doomed.

Which means, the terroists don't get their funds from taxes. So mobilizing ours and decreasing our economy isn't going to counter theirs.

Historically, taxes have destroyed and broken the economies of the state in question. The logistics of military operations puts a huge strain on civilians. Anyone who studied history accurately would know that.

The lower the taxes, and the better the economy, the longer a war may be waged in economic and logistical terms.

Britain almost went bankrupt fighting a war with France, and one of the reasons why they were taxing the hell out of the American Colonies. I presume that a Revolutionary War is your idea of Britain's higher taxes giving them victory, eh?

I'm certainly glad some people are not running the government these days.

 
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