Monday, June 19, 2006

Hawks, chickenhawks, and other birds of prey

Democratic Representative John Murtha has been in the news lately, most recently in his appearance on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert. Many have commented on his strangely disjointed and virtually unintelligible utterances during that interview (for example, see this from Jeff "I don't speak Murtha" Goldstein, and this from Ann Althouse).

I don't know what accounts for Murtha's near incoherence lately. I'll leave speculation on that to others. I want to comment instead on a phenomenon that comes up often in connection with Murtha as well as so many others: whether service in the military (or lack thereof) is a legitimate way to credit or discredit a person's judgment on military matters.

In other words, the old hawk vs. chickenhawk argument.

"Hawk" probably isn't the best term, however, because the hawks in question tend to be--like Murtha--former military men who are against the Iraq war, or at least many aspects of it. Perhaps they should be called "dovehawks," instead? This is, of course, in contrast with the "chickenhawk" phenomenon--the term is always applied to those who have not served in the military but who are advocating military action of some sort of other.

Murtha himself has served in the Marines; no chickenhawk he. But military service does not a master military strategist make. Murtha has given his critics plenty of ammunition by offering up some rather spectacularly strange military suggestions in the Russert interview--for example, the idea that Zarqawi could have been (and should have been) effectively dispatched with bombers launched from, of all places, Okinawa. At Blackfive, Murtha's military judgment in offering his "Okinawa option" seems pretty effectively demolished (please read the linked text for details).

On the subject of Murtha's dovehawk credentials, Blackfive's Froggy writes:

As an ex-Marine Colonel, Murtha is probably the senior military veteran in the Democratic Caucus which somehow earns him a pass on his ridiculous military proclamations.

This is the opposite of the "chickenhawk" accusation. To summarize, the chickenhawk assertion is that anyone who did not serve in our armed forces and yet advocates military action is suspect, and the hawk (or dovehawk) assertion is that anyone such as Murtha with a history of military service by definition knows what he's talking about in military matters by virtue of that history. Both arguments are used by the antiwar left: the hawk argument to give extra credit to military men who are now antiwar, the chickenhawk argument in an attempt to invalidate the pro-war views of those who didn't serve.

Why have these arguments become so popular lately? Part of it may be due to the relentless twenty-four hour news cycle. The need to fill airtime dictates countless interviews with retired military experts who don't necessarily have access to up-to-date information, and were not necessarily military strategists even when they did serve. But they are considered very qualified to pass judgment on the details of military decisions in the Iraqi theater and elsewhere. So when any of these military people are antiwar (and there are so many of them that some are bound to be antiwar, just by the law of averages), it's understandably considered a huge advantage by the left.

Another factor is a change in the demographics of the military. Ultimate control of the US military has always rested in the civilian hands of the executive branch. It was never a requirement that, in order to hold the post of Commander in Chief--the Presidency--a candidate must have served in the military, and of course some Presidents have not (most recently and notably, Bill Clinton comes to mind). Nor does the Secretary of Defense need to have actually served.

But back when the draft was still in effect, it used to be far more common for US citizens (that is, males) to have served, so opportunities for mounting the chickenhawk argument were few and far between. But with the end of the draft in the early seventies, and the start of the all-volunteer military, the number of people in public life--both pro and antiwar--who have a history of military service has gone way down, and there's no reason to believe that it will go back up any time in the near future.

(One interesting sidelight is that now, with far greater numbers of women in Congress, they constitute a large group in government who are especially unlikely to have served in the military. And yet, strangely enough, the hawk vs. chickenhawk argument is almost never mounted towards women--although, paradoxically, woman bloggers are considered vulnerable to it. But I digress.)

The chickenhawk accusation is actually a form of ad hominem argument:

An ad hominem fallacy consists of asserting that someone's argument is wrong and/or he is wrong to argue at all purely because of something discreditable/not-authoritative about the person or those persons cited by him rather than addressing the soundness of the argument itself. The implication is that the person's argument and/or ability to argue correctly lacks authority.

The dovehawk argument is an ad hominem argument as well, although of a different sort:

In contrast, an argument that instead relies (fallaciously) on the positive aspects of the person arguing the case is sometimes known as "positive ad hominem," or appeal to authority.

Murtha's military experience doesn't help his argument much if he's not making a logical and thoughtful point; the argument must stand or fall on its own merits. Likewise, those who have not served should not be automatically discredited. But, as the above linked Wikipedia article states, ad hominem arguments are extremely tempting to mount because they feel so powerful and convincing, and are therefore very common.

All else being equal, it does make a certain amount of sense to believe that someone who has served in the military might have more knowledge of military matters, and be more inclined to make good military decisions, than one who has not. But all else is very rarely equal; arguments can and must be judged on their own merits.

That should go without saying, but it seems there's a need to spell it out once again.

[See this video for an example of Murtha himself using the chickenhawk argument to deflect criticism from Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert.]

36 Comments:

At 4:10 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Foobarista said...

I've always thought the "chickenhawk" argument was silly anyway: the logical implication of it is that there are areas of politics that are only suitable for discussion by practitioners. It is fundamentally undemocratic.

By this argument, educational policy should be left exclusively to teachers and educational bureaucrats, SEC questions should be left to stock brokers, foreign policy should be purely discussed by State Department employees, etc.

 
At 4:33 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

the term is always applied to those who have not served in the military but who are advocating military action of some sort of other.

Actually, in practice and to be fair, it is applied to everyone. When people make chickenhawk comments at blackfive.net and you get a lot of former and current military people saying that they served, the reply you get is... Silence.

They don't care to single out people who have not served, they just care to believe that everyone who disagrees is a chickenhawk and therefore not worth listening to. I won't go into psychological projection that we have seen on this blog in recent days however.

Why have these arguments become so popular lately? Part of it may be due to the relentless twenty-four hour news cycle.

Oh, Neo, I'm pretty sure the main ingredient is psychological and self-deception based.

The implication is that the person's argument and/or ability to argue correctly lacks authority.

Too cumbersome. Basically ad hominem is the logical argumentation that you are wrong not because your argument contains logical inaccuracies and reasoning mistakes, but because of WHO you are. Instead of saying what you stand for is wrong, they say that YOU ARE, whom are wrong, is wrong.

ad hominem arguments are extremely tempting to mount because they feel so powerful and convincing, and are therefore very common.

if it wasn't powerful, neo, lawyers wouldn't use it in cross-examination. Another reason why the adversarial system ain't exactly guaranteed to do justice.


All else being equal, it does make a certain amount of sense to believe that someone who has served in the military might have more knowledge of military matters, and be more inclined to make good military decisions, than one who has not. But all else is very rarely equal; arguments can and must be judged on their own merits.


In other words, experience matters. Because experience has to do with reality, and therefore is absolutely superior to logic or even reason at times. Murtha served as a Reserve Marine officer, and there are people who knew him back then and knew what places he served. They have not come out like the SwiftBoats have, however, which is why you don't have enuf info about Murtha to make the judgement of whether his military experience qualifies him to be more or less credible.

In the end, chickenhawks are people who send others to die for their beliefs. And guess what. The Founding Fathers were chickenhawks, because they sent a bunch of volunteers along with Wasington to fight the British and then got their ass handed to them in their first battle.

So these people are really more like the Fifth Columnists in America, rather than honest to God or patriarchy, patriots. Their arguments invalid the very inception of this country, where aristocrats, merchants, politicians, and lawyers like Jefferson sent young people that voluntered for 1 year, to Washington, and got them slaughtered at their first battle with British regulars.

Of course, they don't know enough history to know that.

Foo's argument about teachers is good, but it is not symmetrical enough to defeat the rather miasmic psychology of the chickenhawk argument. They would argue that it is not 1 to 1. Stockbrokers do not determine who lives or who dies, just so they can make money, at least not directly. So I give people a 1 to 1 example, the Founding Fathers who sent youngboys that were poorly trained, poorly requiped, and poorly led, to be slaughtered by the most mighty military power on the face of the Earth, at that time, the British Empire.

Does that sound familiar? It should. And it was for freedom as well.

 
At 4:38 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Btw, there is a different ad hominem used against Swift Boat veterans for Truth.

2 guesses what it was.

 
At 4:44 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger snowonpine said...

I would expect someone who served in the military to be familiar with the military in general vs. someone who had never been in the military.

Whether the person who served in the military was intimately familiar with strategy, tactics, small unit operations, counter-intelligence or other specialized skills used by the military, is a totally different question. If he was an accomplished expert in actually employing one or more of these skills is another question still. Your point about access to current information is also well taken.

Many millions of Americans have cycled through the military services in the last couple of decades. Are all of them, by this act alone, truly warriors and experts in the "military art"?

Finally, there is the bloviation issue. Many members of Congress like to hear themselves talk, believe that have god-like status and think that they need to impart their superior wisdom to the unwashed masses. Being a wind-bag does not an expert make.

 
At 5:05 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ariel said...

Chickenhawk is a term I find expicitly disgusting. Neo is correct that it is strictly ad hominem. Foobarista is correct that it is fundementally undemocratic, as is, I might add, giving "absolute moral authority" to someone who has lost a child in war.

Having served in the military only makes you an "expert", enlisted or officer, in the duties you performed and the arenas in which you served.

 
At 5:09 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Dubliner said...

I noticed the "chickenhawk" title is never applied to anyone advocating American troops be sent to Sudan.

 
At 5:09 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger blert said...

Murtha has entered the seventh age of man.

How else to explain wild swings in position and poor speech.

Call it for what it is: rambling.

 
At 5:12 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ariel said...

"fundamentally" for the spelling Tsars.

 
At 5:55 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Wickedpinto said...

Most people within a particular faith do not agree with or adherre to all the tennets(spelling?) of that faith. There are a lot of raised, baptised and confirmed catholics who have had pre-marital sex, and abortions. Are pro-war, pro-choice, pro-death penalty and opposed to the denial of sacrements to "fallen" members.

However, all faiths have their clergy who are supposed to be beyond reproach, and can only be challenged by one who is clergy themselves of the same faith, or by external sources. The Catholic boy banging scandal would have never come out if there wasn't a general revolt of ALL members of the church, and the outrage is less about boy banging, and more about the failure of the clergy to care for their "flock."

Long road for a short trip.

The use of people with "experience" which is an incorrect term, it's actually "experiences" along the lines of an argument (murtha and war in general, specificaly "the plan," Sheehan and "moral relevance of war," Breightweiser (spelling) and how having your husband killed turns you into a geo-political doctor, and brilliant analyst of the reaction of fixed materials when struck by concussive, and thermo-dymanic forces") is to create a clegy class based on a single issue.

Most of these clergy represent ridiculous arguments that fall under the "Duh" category.

sheehan's only authority "people suffer in war" Duh!

But the ones who choose to involve themselves in direct policy, and executive criticism or application MUST have an actual thought in their head. Some of these members of the clergy of experiences are used outside of their authority.

Long road short trip.

Even the Clergy are accountable, no matter how much they are shielded by others of the cloth.

 
At 6:14 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I think hot wings are birds of prey as well.

 
At 6:46 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger confusedforeigner said...

I think you are being disingenuous with your dismissal of the term as an ad hominem attack.

It applies to people who have little or no empathy with the consequences upon people of the proposition of military solutions to situations and no intention of putting personal safety or assets on the line in their quest to use explosives where talk may be a better option.

Again, you are attempting to annul valid criticism by deliberately misinterpreting it. The video is of a man clearly angered at a cowardly attack. The intent was to belittle and he was taken to task in a manner that even a Texas republican could understand.

 
At 8:43 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Sally said...

The "chickenhawk" meme popped up not so long ago, and has gained a certain currency on the left because, like the universal charge of "racism", it's a cheap and easy way to short-circuit an argument. This is because you can simply label anyone supporting military action but not actively engaged in combat a "chickenhawk", and then dismiss their opinions without further ado -- but anyone at all, of course, can be against military action, thus giving the latter an automatic majority of "considered" opinion. It's an obvious ploy, and one especially tempting to the intellectually lazy. Not to mention pacifists, cowards, and traitors.

 
At 8:51 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

I don't know what accounts for Murtha's near incoherence lately.

It’s a Lovecraft Novel meets Mahatma Gandhi.

He is evolving.

It is an imposition of the unreal into the real, a seemingly incomprehensible force that stands behind an unborn mythology and pushes it to breach reality. It is the consciousness as a tool that is self realized between the adepts; to define the metaphor, which goddamned Conservative invariably do, is to obliterate the metaphor – which explains the seemingly unfounded passion. Peace be upon you all.

 
At 9:50 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger strcpy said...

Sally said exactly what I was going to. It just that they realised that it is an easy argument and makes them the automatic winners. The *only* valid choice is to be against the war, there can be no dissent (if you are a veteran you then only count if you saw combat, if you have then you have to be wounded, if you have then only death counts).

I usually respond now by calling them chickendoves. Doubly afraid into complete inaction. Depending on how much the chickenhawk people get into it can be pretty amusing in my opinion.

Of course, it's just as effective/authoratative as the chickenhawk argument. But then, they are the ones that proposed that idea as cannon and that is the whole point. If they choose to believe that those that have had military experience are the only ones with opinions, theirs is worthless also. They end having to explicitly state they are do not apply the "must be in the military" meme equally or they have to support the war (guess which). The mental gymnastics can get quite convoluted.

Plus I just think the idea of a chickendove is funny.

 
At 9:58 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Foobarista said...

When this argument started cropping up, I pointed out that the logical extension of the argument is to confer vote-level citizenship only to combat veterans, as in the book/movie _Starship Troopers_.

Somehow, I doubt that this was their intent...

 
At 10:26 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger rickl said...

We shouldn't forget that General Benedict Arnold was a legitimate war hero during the Revolution. In fact, there was a point in time when he was a more effective and successful general than Washington.

Right up until he sold out his country and became a traitor.

 
At 3:52 AM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Dale St. Clair said...

It applies to people who have little or no empathy with the consequences upon people of the proposition of military solutions to situations and no intention of putting personal safety or assets on the line in their quest to use explosives where talk may be a better option.

The assumption that pro-war people lack empathy for the human cost of war is insulting and ridiculous, especially since the accuser usually knows nothing of the background or personal circumstances of the accused. The chickenhawk epithet is used quickly and casually in exchanges about the war. It is a textbook example of ad hominem. As soon as I see it the debate is over – the user loses. If I’m a participant I disengage. Spirited debate is one thing, casually flinging insults is quite another.

 
At 5:38 AM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

At least neo-troll confud did give a reasonable definition -- I'm sure many Leftists who use it as an ad hominem think they are putting out the better 2 points repeated: 1) No empathy for the (Iraqi) victims of war, and 2) no personal risk for proponent.

The lack of empathy is particularly disgusting because objectively the chickendoves (nice!) prefer Saddam and his torture and rape rooms and internal Sunni terror.

The no risk issue is more substantial, and many pro-war folk actually feel guilty at not being able to do more (I feel this). Of course, as a former (2 year) Midshipman, I am an expert on Navy actions...


I also am thinking of "poverty-chickens", those who advocated programs to help the poor but are unwilling to risk their own assets in starting a small company and actually hiring a poor person or two. (I feel guilty about not starting a business, too.)

 
At 8:48 AM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Wickedpinto said...

Foobar? NEVER! mention the book, in the same breath as the movie.

But, yeah, thats the logical end of this stupid argument.

 
At 10:02 AM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Somehow, I doubt that this was their intent...

Omg, that is a backdoor draft!!!!!!!?!?! NO BACKDOOR DRAFTS.

Right up until he sold out his country and became a traitor.

Let's just call him a loyalist, after the Democrat "loyal opposition" theme. Gotta be PC after all.

 
At 12:31 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

On Dean's World, a Marine said this about serving in the military:

:::

No shame should be attached to not serving. None.

* This isn't a war where mass armies are going to decide matters. The days where we all have to leave the plow and hearth and settle things with muskets and 12-pounders are gone.

* It's a long war, of which Iraq is only a campaign. If you went to Iraq, then left the service you'd feel guilty about not being there for the next campaign.

* If you accept both facts above recall that this is a war with many fronts - the places where shooting is going on are the least important.

It is, really, a war against us. Our economy, our way of life and so on. Asymetrical warfare is about striking where you are weak. Keep your powder dry and your rifle clean. Be aware of basic first-aid. Whatever your job is, do it well and be an informed citizen.

I think (he went on gloomily) that the bad guys have spent years, treasure and lives proving that they can't stand up against the US in even guerilla war. We learned the hard lessons from Vietnam.

So where would an asymetrical oppenent choose to strike? Mr. Gloomy says walk outside and look around for where they'll strike next.

Think not? One can imagine that the school in Russia was a test case. Think about how ill-prepared we are for even one elementary school in the 'burbs to be taken over by fanatics.

Look - our local cops are good but they are, really, just small town cops. I'm not sure what good they would be against a small platoon of light infantry barracaded in a school. They'd try, I'm sure, and they'd do their best.

:::

In an asymetric war, the 'battlefield' is everywhere. Everyone serves.

 
At 12:45 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As the MPs, Supply convoys, and national guard has shown in Iraq, there are no front lines in this war. Every had better be able to defend themselves and destroy terroists, or else they will take you prisoner when you surrender like Jessica Lynch, because she did not clean her rifle as often as a Marine would and therefore it jammed in the dust storm.

 
At 1:24 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

It's described by the Left as a criminal act committed by a rogue few, and by the Right as a resurgence of Islamic Jihad. I see the latter. I would like to see an outline of evidence for both views.

 
At 2:09 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

It's described by the Left as a criminal act committed by a rogue few, and by the Right as a resurgence of Islamic Jihad. I see the latter. I would like to see an outline of evidence for both views.

That's hard to do, because both of those views are wrong. The 'Islamic jihad' is a political movement supported by a rogue, wealthy few, mostly in oil-rich Arab states. They've got tons of cash, and this is what they choose to do with it - raise a paramilitary army and kill kids in the name of Arab nationalism and Allah. It's their tradition.

Most of the people who have suffered as a result of this are Muslims, so most of them don't support terrorism. But, since terrorism is supported, not by Muslim hearts and minds, but by oil money, their support or lack of it is irrelevant. As long as our government continues to ally with weathy terror supporters, as long as we refuse to destroy their economy and their infrastructure, we'll always have to worry about Islamist terror attacks on our soil.

 
At 2:24 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger marty said...

I suggest the dynamic here is that almost nobody, at least nobody under the age of 50 (give or take), knows enough history, especially military and diplomatic history, to have a basis for any kind of serious opinion on matters of geopolitics, war and peace. The only historical parallel ever referred to in connection with Iraq is Vietnam, which is laughable; sometimes, in referring to the larger war on terror, we get references to Munich, 1938, and appeasement, which may be a bit more on point at least as refers to Iran these days. But that is it. No discussion of the British and French colonial experience in te Middle East, only a bit of broader history of the 1300+ year struggle between Islam and what used to be called Christendom, and that usually only arguing about what the word "jihad" means. 4,000 years of recorded history, totally down the memory hole.

So, since no one (I exaggerate a bit, better to say "almost no one in politics") knows a damn thing about the issues, arguments based on facts and logic are impossible... no one knows enough to frame an argument or evaluate someone else's case. So, we look to the credibility of the speaker, and we seem to have decided that for right now, at least, military service, even if only as an enlisted man (I say "only" with reference to education about military history, and NOT to denigrate their invaluable service), is taken to enhance credibility.

So, yes, the whole thing becomes ad hominem, by default.

 
At 4:06 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

So, the Islamic Jihad predominately resides and strikes out from in the oil-rich regions of Islam – and even though we see Jihad[ist] terrorism in other parts of Islam and the world, its recruited, trained, and funded by the Persians and Arabs – and in part by those who are their consumers.

 
At 4:46 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

predominately resides and strikes out from in the oil-rich regions of Islam – and even though we see Jihad[ist] terrorism in other parts of Islam and the world, its recruited, trained, and funded by the Persians and Arabs – and in part by those who are their consumers

Predominately - during a recent talk, Christopher Hitchens said that modern Islamist terrorism started during Indian/Pakistani conflict. The Deobandi sect is as violent and fundamentalist as the Saudi Wahhabis. But the Islamist jihad became a problem worldwide after the Iranian revolution showed how politically powerful radical Islam could be and after OPEC recognized how much political power they had.

Most jihadis come from Pakistan's madrassas and most madrassas are funded by oil wealth.

 
At 6:38 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

Interesting -- I enjoyed the discussion.

 
At 9:02 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Thanks. I'm glad I got a chance to go to Hitchens' talk. I learn something new everytime I read/hear him.

 
At 9:43 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Hitchens the Arch liberal and Mary, an interesting combination.

To marty, I guess most people don't have the time or interest to learn World HIstory or Military history. Their loss.

 
At 2:10 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

If you're looking for the Audobon description of Murtha today, He's a Blue Falcon.

 
At 8:04 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

Thanks for the link Douglas ... and here's one by Hitchens that had me in stitches.

Article Here

 
At 2:09 PM, June 21, 2006, Blogger marty said...

Ymarsakar,

"To marty, I guess most people don't have the time or interest to learn World HIstory or Military history. Their loss."

I can appreciate people have busy lives and it's not like they get history in school, anymore, so it's a real commitment to do, unless it's an area of interest and even then is time-consuming.

But ignorance doesn't stop people from having opinions, or feeling a need to opine. And it doesn't stop politicians from mucking around to get votes. The debate, if you can even call it that, is at about a 3rd grade level...most Dems are arguing at about a 2nd grade level, so when the Repubs rise to the 3rd grade level, they've won. No one is challenged to really think things through.

I remember, back in late 2003, someone on a left-ish web site lamented that the debate on whether or not to go into Iraq never really happened because the anti-war people just used stupid, offensive slogans, so the pro-war people didn't have to hone their thinking or arguments. This seems very prescient, now. If there was any skepticism about the post-Saddam occupation, it was so drowned out by the Moveon types that the pro-invasion crowd never had to really think about it, and therefore (many of us would say) they botched at least the first year of it.

Sad. We (U.S.) need a "loyal opposition." Democracy's greatest strength is that the contending sides force each other to do better. And it hasn't been working in this case. There are other reasons than lack of historical knowledge (BDS comes to mind), but I think it's a big part of it.

 
At 3:46 PM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I always thought that the Democrats who kept saying "we told you so" about the insurgency are blowing smoke up our arses. I mean, they were talking about how the war would go on for like, months or years, and thousands of casualties. We were too busy defending Bush and charges "unilateralism" and "Blood for Oil" to do much about thinking about what would happen after the statues fell. The media glamorizing the statues falling, happy Iraqis cheering US forces just like they predicted would not happen, boasted everyone's morale. The medias, the soldiers', the civilians', and the Administration's.

It didn't last. and it didn't last precisely because the opposition was not loyal, it was too busy trying to score political points and trying to claim the Short Victorious War for their own party, that they completely and utterly refused to use the Democrat party's superior insurgency, guerrila, and propaganda abilities for the benefit of the United States of America.

I said this before, the Democrats are America's war party, because the Democrats love having a war to improve the economy and make jobs, create unity, as well as acquiring political power. Thus, they are quite ruthless in perpetuating the war. Bush is not popular precisely because he does not give Americans what we want. We want blood, we want revenge, we want to see the terroists hang as much as any father of an abused and tortured daughter would like to see the man responsible killed for it.

Bush won't bend to popular appeal, it seems to be against one of his principles for some reason. The Democrats have no such restraint when it comes to war. They will bomb, kill, slaughter, annihilate anyone and anything that gets in their way and the way of acquiring political populism and power in war. If they were in power. They are not in power.

Personally, I had to learn the Art of War and military history from the ground up, after 9/11. It was a gradual thing, not a formal education. All the talk and debate about Iraq, showed me the history of the Gulf War. And then it brought in politics, and generals, war atrocities, and so forth. These current events required context, so watching the History channelevery so often, I see a lot of that context just almost coincidentally. I piece things together, slowly, as I see the pieces and understand.

For 2 years, I had difficulty understanding what morale was, what propaganda was or should be, what Sun Tzu meant when he said the achime of war is to win without fighting.

It is as if you went from a 21st tech level and went back to the 19th century. To make 20 or 21st century gadgets, you'd need to make the tools, to make the tools, to make the technology, to make the gadgets.

I don't excuse people who have not learned about war and history with new eyes after 9/11. What I am most amazed by is the number of people who have said that 9/11 opened their eyes, that it forced them to review their beliefs or consider new beliefs.

For me, it was about researching history so that I could form first beliefs.

 
At 3:49 PM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As early as 2001, I still did not know what the R and the D letters meant in front of people's names. I did not know what the Democrats stood for nor the Republicans, I did not understand what liberals were and what conservatives. I knew zero about philosophy, ancient or current.

Ignorance is not an advantage, of course. But it does confer a clean slate. I did not have the prejudices others might have had, towards Bush or Democrats. My view of the Democrats were forged by their treatment of the Iraq War and the liberation of millions of oppressed people from what any classical liberal, would term a tyranny.

 
At 7:39 PM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

hello

 

Post a Comment

<< Home


Powered by Blogger