Chickenhawk And The Tragedy Of The American Military


Benjamin KrauseA new article published from The Atlantic paints a picture of a weak American fighting machine that is losing war after war to fund our chickenhawk economy.

Journalist James Fallows starts out with an argument worth pondering into the New Year:

The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.

In his article titled, The Tragedy of the American Military, Fallows brings home the argument that the American public is quick to laud its military while in uniform but would rather ignored the consequences of endless war after the sacrifice is paid:

This reverent but disengaged attitude toward the military—we love the troops, but we’d rather not think about them—has become so familiar that we assume it is the American norm. But it is not. When Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a five-star general and the supreme commander, led what may have in fact been the finest fighting force in the history of the world, he did not describe it in that puffed-up way. On the eve of the D-Day invasion, he warned his troops, “Your task will not be an easy one,” because “your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped, and battle-hardened.” As president, Eisenhower’s most famous statement about the military was his warning in his farewell address of what could happen if its political influence grew unchecked.

Check out the article and let me know your thoughts. Is America a chickenhawk economy powered by profits from endless war funded on the backs of the American taxpayer? Should we re-institute the draft to avoid deepening exploitation of poor recruits?

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  1. I was linked to Fallows’ article via John T Reed’s (West Point grad, Vietnam vet, Harvard MBA) website.

    Fallows’ somewhat avoids the obvious as far as calling for a draft and/or redefining ROE that will actually allow the US to be effective, basically, Fallows’ idea appears to be reformation of the military by everyone including politicians, military brass, and civilians sitting around campfire and singing Kumbaya but otherwise seems to lack any real substance or solutions. That said, here are my thoughts:

    – Yes, bring back the draft! The nation will be far less likely to go to war and will perhaps even require a strategy that will, God forbid, result in a victory! To preface this next point, this is nothing against our guys that volunteer to put themselves in harms way, this is simply how the dynamics of involving a cross section of society WOULD work – much the same as the logic behind jury selection. With a draft we arguably get better soldiers than an all volunteer force and those that will perhaps even bring about accountability within the current military brass (vs career yes men) which brings me to the next point:

    – Why is military leadership being rewarded for failure after failure (Petraeus, McChrystal, etc.)? Aside from Desert Storm we haven’t won a “long war” nor is there any accountability for the losses, instead, these guys get promoted?! Why, when an officer brings up these problems to their COs, do they get blackballed or forced to resign or otherwise have to “PLAY THE GAME” even when the “GAME” is clearly ineffective, unethical and is getting men killed??!! Whatever happened to ethics or honor or whatever other BS is supposedly related to U.S. military tradition?! Lies and hypocrisy!! Furthermore, whatever happened to military leadership fighting a war to WIN?! –which brings me to my next point:

    – FIGHT WARS TO WIN!! The current politically correct BS we have for ROE ain’t working and as a result, U.S servicemen are dying and we are not winning. Example: Enemy combatants intermingling with civilians or hiding in villages? Accept civilian losses and level the village, mosques, etc. where ever the enemy hides essentially. This should have a three part effect: A) the enemy gets killed quickly, effectively and efficiently B) civilians will be less likely to aid the enemy by allowing them to hide in their villages C) less servicemen will die because we won’t be forced to pussy foot in and around IED rich environments kicking in doors. Just level the f***ing area!

    The enemy is very effective at taking advantage of our current ROE (and our weakness via political correctness) to the point that a relative few semi-trained, AK-47 toting hajis wearing sandals and driving Toyota pickups have been able to effectively fight a guerrilla war against an infinitely superior military for the last 14 years. It’s like a high school football team beating the NE Patriots because the Patriots aren’t allowed to throw, run or play defense! End the ROE loophole immediately OR end the engagement and DON’T GO TO WAR in the first place.

    – STRATEGY (or a lack thereof)!!: I have yet to hear of an effective strategy that has evolved from the current failures, instead, we’re sending 1,000 more 82nd over to train Iraqis on how to fight ISIL after we just trained Iraqis on how to fight insurgents via OIF which obviously did not work. So the military brass is literally trying the same thing twice and expecting a different result?!

    To the last point, if military brass is allowed to place men in harms way with a strategy, that by definition, is INSANE, then clearly there is a need for military reform however, the type of effective reform, that will result in U.S. military VICTORY is one that will be bloody, offensive and require extreme violence AND will require accountability and RESULTS within leadership. NONE OF THESE which the current military brass HAVE THE BALLS FOR!

    Furthermore, is it even possible to win a war, using effective ROE in this current (western) culture of instant media, instant judgement, politically correct, cowardly softness?? I’m not so confident. Perhaps our culture, i.e. the voting public, has dictated that a mere “presence” of U.S military in troubled areas is acceptable along with all the pointless death, injury, and taxpayer cost that goes along with that. Victory be damned!

    All the more reason to reinstitute the draft…

  2. Why does “COLLATERAL DAMAGE” always refer to the very people or land, etc. that is being LIBERATED ? CAN we not LIBERATE without COllateral damages ? TALK may hurt some feelings, but WORDS don’t KILL like BULLETS / BOMBS.
    And maybe the DRAFT would have a SLOWING effect on our tendency to FIGHT before NEGOITIATING. But then, I don’t think Canada is ready for another INVASION of “RICH DRAFT DODGERS” and Mexico surely does not want AMERICANS crossing their BORDERS as ILLEGAL ALIENS.

  3. I think he is right on the money, and maybe if Americans weren’t so 2 minute t.v., blips and actually started to read and do the fact checks. Gee, I see Moore there and in your room I got blasted for saying he should be enlisted to speak on behalf of the truth. You know Ben I am down here in Dallas, I actually hurt my back in 1981. Yes disability I could have gone for it, but a tad busy with a Christmas Baby, and a CPR scene and a low AGAR Score. I didn’t sleep much then. But 3 surgeries, now a downhill turn. See, they have “misplaced” my active duty record, and stated nothing in the reserve one. Actually there was a copy. This VA here needs a big clean up, and I can sort of make fun, but never think I am not observing and can actually be quite clever. You know, this might be a good email and example of exactly what is wrong. Now I wanted to be up in the faces of our worthless public servants, I do not shy away from much! However, I might need a good lawyer, to look after funds. Long story, but anytime I deal with someone who is stating something I’ve tried before, I start talking about something else. I can’t help it, “my sarcasm is my brains way of dealing with stupidity.” I don’t think my husband realized it, until I staed, “I know exactly what it is, you go for it, thanks been there before, so what else do you do for pain management?” Lord, I just won’t say it, but I just might need to ask a guy “I thought you said all better, did your degree come from the University of Phoenix?” Nobody take offense please, but you really should look before you leap! Hey, I do like the info on retrofitting a car! That is great to know stuff, but will they pay for a hot pink scooter with speakers? I am trying to figure out how that will work out on my Toyota Yaris! Happy 2015!

  4. I read part of this article and not all of it yet. The politicians know it would be political suicide to make up a bill to re-introduce the draft again. Mainly because it would raise the hackles of the powerful or politically connected whom wouldn’t want to see their sons or daughters placed into harms way. But the real tragedy of this chickenhawk economy is the unwillingness of this government and apathetic society to provide adequate care for those of us who were injured as a result these wars that have been going on since the early 1960’s We have VA administrators who were caught killing veterans and one scandal after another within the the VA Admin. and still nothing much is ever done about it. It’s nothing other than the extenuation of the utter disregard and public apathy toward those who have been physically, mentally, and spiritually harmed from the war making exploits of this chickenhawk economy. The so-called “collateral damage”, I think is the squeaky clean, two little words the politicians like to use to describe it!

    1. Dennis, you know how many times I have been called that in my life? Now, read what I stated, and oh yes I do have a kitchen timer, I am making noise and a “real doctor” who has my back, you see he graduated at the top of his class, actually was a director of a hospital, so yeah, like he knows me very well. I am honest, I really do enjoy the sciences, I think it’s a family trait that goes way back to the Boyles Law, and part of that funny club that he was part of.( which a good friend in Scottland I am sure will be a member of.) I can’t say too much, but let’s say we start a NO FEAR CLUB? You know I am really not complicated but you never want to be in the zone of my rather fire tongue? Ask Ben, what does the Latin meaning of a name of Vinciguerra? All I can say is I haven’t lost one yet! ( just fyi I think the only thing Bush flew was an illegal drug! Know what it takes!)

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