Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Glorious Dead!

My head is spinning. After being told by the anti-war side that the Iraq War was a bloody mess that cost too much and siphoned off money from needed domestic spending, one PhD says that war is both too cheap and that we suffer far too few dead military personnel for our own good.

I'll ignore the financial side of this author's argument and settle on this bit of outrage:

Although Americans no longer face the possibility of conscription for themselves or their children, they remain remarkably intolerant of casualties resulting from American military operations. Knowing this, policymakers are choosing to use force in ways that minimize risks to those who are part of the AVF. For example, the United States is increasingly opting for military campaigns conducted entirely from the air and made possible by the rise of precision-targeting technologies, beginning with the 1999 NATO campaign over Kosovo and seen more recently with the 2011 operation to oust Muammar el-Qaddafi (at the start of the operation, President Obama explicitly pledged not to send U.S. ground troops). Similarly, the drone campaign allows the United State to use force without placing American troops at risk and in places where the United States is not formally at war. As the “War on Terror” drags on, the growing reliance on small groups of special operations forces and military “advisers” constitutes another variant of this trend toward low-footprint and tightly limited operations that seek to inflict targeted damage while minimizing exposure for both soldiers in the field and policymakers in Washington. All of these strategies for the use of limited force from a distance—what we might call “standoff strike warfare”—are politically attractive for policymakers who know that the American public is leery of additional long-term commitments overseas, but these strategies are not fostering and will not generate the long-term political outcomes (stability in Libya, for example) in which the United States is interested. [emphasis added]

So what is she saying? She could have stuck with the problem of achieving good results from "standoff strike warfare" approaches. That's a good point to debate. And the title of the article could have been "The Danger of Sacrifice Without War" to get at the issue of the ongoing low-level casualties of combat that isn't waging war (which is the focused use of organized violence to achieve an objective).

But instead she also argues that wars don't cost enough for the generation waging them (which isn't what the Left said during the Iraq War) and that not exposing our troops to death is the human side of the cost "problem."

Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but after that "million Mogadishus" comment by an asshat academic who wanted the prospect of more American military casualties to deter American military operations, I'm a little sensitive to these kinds of arguments.

It can't just be the unfortunate lack of a draft that causes this problem in the author's view, because even with draftees in a military large enough to touch every family, "standoff strike warfare" would kill few of a huge military. Right? So the "problem" has to be that so few American troops die in war; and that we should fight in a way that increases their risk of dying in war.

What kind of sick bastard thinks we need more American dead during war for our own good?

How many dead is enough for this professor in a war against an Iraq-sized enemy?

Five thousand? Ten thousand? Fifty thousand?

Good God, some people are morons.

As if the only thing that keeps America from using military force is the prospect of our military casualties.

But if we must go to war against an enemy, you're darned right I want to win with as few dead American troops as possible. And I'll be grateful if we can do that, and mourn all the more if we cannot.

But I'm funny that way.