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Thread: US Warrior Spirit: The warrior is being overtaken by the technologist

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    Lightbulb US Warrior Spirit: The warrior is being overtaken by the technologist

    http://www.falange.org/warrior.htm


    WARRIOR SPIRIT



    by William C. Moore

    The U.S. military is having a hard time finding and keeping good men. Despite retention bonuses of $60,000 and more, this year the Air Force will again suffer an excessive loss of trained pilots. Naval aviation faces a similar situation. The Army has failed to meet its recruiting goals for many occupational specialties, including some in the combat arms, even with offers of extremely generous incentives. More graduates of our service academies and military colleges are choosing not to pursue a military career. The mainstream media and professional military journals are filled with stories about pervasive low morale affecting the readiness and capabilities of our forces.

    The issue is not money, plenty of which has been thrown at the problem. Neither does the problem stem from too many deployments, family separations or lack of so-called quality-of-life programs. Soldiers like to go and do what soldiers are trained to do. They understand that hardships are part of the work they have chosen, and most will tell you that the best "quality of life" program is to keep their aircraft or tanks running and give them the ammunition and fuel so that they can train and deploy. Nor is it the lure of the economy and all the good jobs out there. The willingness to sacrifice is still an attribute of the soldier's life. Military families understand what soldiers really need, and although more money and better housing are important, those are not what drives the soldier to want to "be all he can be."

    Part of the problem, in fact, is that many of the current military leaders do not see the real problem. You can't fool the troops; they know that the military as an institution is being eroded. The American military culture, established through two centuries of tradition, is under attack like it has never been before. The warrior is being overtaken by the technologist, and in the pursuit of opportunity for all, the fighting elites are now being targeted as no longer relevant to accomplishing the objectives of war.

    In fact, war itself is losing its meaning among the current crop of both uniformed and civilian leaders. Few of them fought in any of the "dirty wars," like World War II, Korea or Vietnam, and their vision of U.S. national security regards the possibility of war as a remote one -- after all, the U.S. has no "peer competitor" against which to fight a war.

    The word war has become almost unspeakable. Now it is heard most often in the context of "operations other than war." To be sure, many such operations are valid applications of U.S. military strength in support of national security objectives. But they do not fulfill what soldiers see as their reason for being.

    Soldiers see their relevance as warriors being questioned. They are told that the technologists are going to give them an easy way to fight, that "situational awareness" is more important than weapons systems, that simulation is a substitute for field training. Fascination with technology is leading to a silver-bullet mentality and a belief that anyone can be a warrior -- just put the cursor on the target on your computer screen and click the mouse. Despite all the rhetoric about all that is being done for the warrior, those who want to be real warriors feel betrayed. They signed on to be part of the force that clashes with and destroys the enemy. They know the risks of war, but never expected that wanting to be warriors would pose a risk to their military careers.

    Military leaders, it seems, have been co-opted by social engineers whose agenda is to promote "equality" rather than to prepare forces for the next war. Anyone can be a warrior if standards are lowered enough, and silver-bullet technology turns warfare into just another video game anyone can "play." This attitude toward the warrior ethos is pervasive and dangerous.

    There is no question that training standards have been lowered. The Army has discontinued Basic Combat Training for all new soldiers, replacing it with Initial Entry Training, with less-demanding physical standards so as to accommodate women. A change like this bothers the warrior, because he wants to be respected as the best in his business and that doesn't start with norming qualifications and selection to the least common denominator.

    No longer do the best-qualified officers necessarily get promoted. The Army's new Officer Personnel Management System, known as OPMS 21, probably removed the last vestige of that "discriminator." The Army now bases promotion on its functional needs rather than picking its best, a system contrary to motivating officers to perform to their very highest ability.

    And graduation from a service academy no longer affords officers an advantage in appointment to the regular force. This diminishes the motivation to compete for a service academy appointment or earn a distinguished military graduate designation -- achievements that should be taken as early indicators of a stronger intent to serve our country. This change sends a very negative message to those who early in life saw soldiers as their role models and were motivated to apply that extra effort required to enter and remain in a program that formerly provided a regular commission from the start of their careers.

    Warriors join and stay because they know that they are special and that not everyone can do their jobs. They are leaving now because their leaders have created an environment that doesn't appreciate them as special -- as an elite that is not open to everyone. Warriors leave because they don't like the lowering of standards, and they are offended at being given the cookie-cutter treatment. They are tired of being told that their unit rituals are outside the behavior "norms" and that in the new workplace some of the traditions of the warrior are now considered "incorrect" conduct. The old airborne and fighter-pilot attitude just doesn't fit anymore, because it is seen as "exclusionary."

    The ethos of being a warrior is disappearing -- unit esprit built around "bonding" between warriors is now disparaged as an irrelevant concept and one that only serves to rationalize politically incorrect behavior and policies. Toughness and courage are born out of esprit, but that doesn't count for much anymore.

    We, as a nation, seem to have lost sight of why we "raise, train and maintain" a military force and that one of the basic precepts of the Constitution is to "provide for the common defense." We've gotten so sophisticated that simple truths and principles are always suspect. Our noble military institutions, culture and life have become the targets of cultural warriors. There is an aura of self-righteousness about their activities -- they are afraid that there is a broadening gap between "society" and the military, that some of us are "extremists" and flaunt it by wearing fancy uniforms, and that if we get "out of touch" we will not be able to serve our country's objectives.

    Such arrogance. We withstood scorn during the Vietnam War and came back to fight and win the Gulf War. The military has character and strength, and it is going to take a wealth of both to prevail in the attack it is now undergoing. We need soldiers of courage to stand up for the institution and prevent it from becoming another laboratory for all the "correct" causes that are consuming our society. We need warriors with the strength to say no to those who don't understand the military.

    It's not about money. It's about preserving the institution that produces the warriors who have always been there when they were called.

    Mr.Moore is a retired U.S.Army Major General

  2. #2
    Member Vlad Cletus's Avatar
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    Post Re: Warrior Spirit

    That was very well written. I hate to see Technology overturning the Greatest Soldiers. Those who put in sacrifice, valor and effort should never be forgotten for some Technological advancement. I myself want to fight as a real soldier against other real soldiers. We all have those traits. We have a cause, a duty, and a mission to fulfill and be proud of. Right now, I just don't want to die for Israel.

    I don't consider War to be War without having life to it. Are we just going to have machines fighting our wars, and not having any proper dedication, or sacrifice? Real Warriors, and Soldiers want to show quality not a simple task all done by the push of a button.

    The Spirit of the Warrior is sacred and to me one who wants to eliminate this completely is committing a sacrilege.

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    Post Re: Warrior Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad Cletus
    That was very well written. I hate to see Technology overturning the Greatest Soldiers. Those who put in sacrifice, valor and effort should never be forgotten for some Technological advancement. I myself want to fight as a real soldier against other real soldiers. We all have those traits. We have a cause, a duty, and a mission to fulfill and be proud of. Right now, I just don't want to die for Israel.

    I don't consider War to be War without having life to it. Are we just going to have machines fighting our wars, and not having any proper dedication, or sacrifice? Real Warriors, and Soldiers want to show quality not a simple task all done by the push of a button.

    The Spirit of the Warrior is sacred and to me one who wants to eliminate this completely is committing a sacrilege.
    I agree with this. Although nowadays many have been trying to argue that new technology has ushered in a "post-heroic" age. That is machines and weapons themselves do the fighting while humans remain at safe distances. This argument was most famously made by Edward Luttark in his articles and first coined the term "post-heroic"(hence continuing this intellectual fad of everything being "post" something).

    Of course all the arguments for such an approach foucs on how technology can do this and technology can do that. Yet by doing so they base themselves on a faulty technological determinist mindset. Technology does not shape the nature of war, people and ideas do. The reason why theres so much emphasis on technology to replace human effort is because of the general "pussification"(to use George Carlin's term) of society. Otherwise there would be little need for such technological developments.

    Not only that, overemphasis on high technology to get the job done simply doesnt work. Technology should be used to enhance, not replace, human effort. And this is a fundelmental difference between the American warfare mentality and that of say the Russians. The Russians believe what wins wars and keeps men alive are the same basic principles and skills that have done so for centuries. Technology does not make these principles and skills obsolete, but rather make them more important.

    There are some good books on this topic.

    Michael I Handel does a good job critiquing Luttarks notion of "post-heroic" warfare(and indeed the whole technology-centered mentality of modern military strategists) in his "Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought".

    Another good book on this topic is The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300–2050 which not only gives a critique of the notion of technology centered warfare, but gives good historical examples of more often its social and political factors that shape the nature of war, not technology alone.

    A good example, but not mentioned in the book, is the introduction of gunpowder. When the first guns came out, they were hardly impressive. The longbow was more accurate. Yet by the 1500's guns were being used effectively in battle. Why? It wasnt the guns themselves, they were still unreliable and overall inaccurate. It had more to do with social factors going on at the time. The 1500's was the time of the Renaisance, when any and every Greeco-Roman idea was being revived. This included Greeco-Roman battle tactics and formations. It just so happened that the Greek phalanx and the Roman legion provided the perfect base from which the guns of the 1500's could be effectively used. It wasnt the guns themselves that revolutionized warfare; its effective use in battle had more to do with the revival of ancient battle tactics, which was part of a greater social events going around Western europe at the time.

    There are certainly other examples, and certainly other literature dealing with this topic(as it pertains to warfare specifically, civilian technology is another matter); but this gives a good outline of my point. Im not anti-technology, but I am against the blind worship of it and the ridiculious over use and overreliance on it.

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