A hard-core democratic socialist friend of mine linked me to this short, excellent piece, which has implications for a large number of FPR-relevant concerns, from maintaining (or resurrecting) a popular focus on the dignity of being the citizen, to questions of what it means to defend the “common good,” to the deepest philosophy over the nature of military virtue. An excerpt:
A subtle change has been happening right before the eyes of Americans. Our troops are being told they’re no longer primarily citizen-soldiers or citizen-airmen; they’re being told they’re warriors….[S]ome would say there’s nothing wrong with this. Our troops are at war. Don’t we want them to have a strong warrior ethos?
The historian (and retired citizen-airman) in me says “no,” and I’m supported in this by a surprising source: An American army pamphlet from World War II with the title “How the Jap Army Fights.” After praising the Japanese for their toughness and endurance, the pamphlet, citing a study by Robert Leurquin, makes the following point: “The Japanese is more of a warrior than a military man, and therein lies his weakness. The difference may be a subtle one, but it does exist: The essential quality of the warrior is bravery; that of the military man, discipline.”
In 1942, our army cited the “warring passion” of the Japanese as a weakness, one that inhibited their mastery of “the craft of arms.” Yet today, our army and air force extol the virtues of being a “warrior” to young recruits.
Food for thought…and not particularly pleasant food, at that.