Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Citizen Soldiers: America's Righteous Might 
More good stuff from Ranting Profs here. The article in question is about the challenges youngsters face when daddy or mommy is in the military and gets shipped off to war.

Cori's take:

What galls is that since so many in the press are just now discovering the military they don't seem to get that these sacrifices did not begin with this war and will not end with it, and that part of the story is just missing from all these press accounts.

Cori poses the question, why is this war different from all the other deployments in the 1990s? Why is this war different from unaccompanied duty in Korea? Why is the press just discovering this now?

The short answer is that we're shedding more blood over here than in Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Okinawa, and Haiti combined. So given that 'if it bleeds, it leads, we're gonna make the news a little more often.

But the more subtle difference--and the more important difference for us as a democratic republic--is the large scale mobilization of reserves for combat duty.

Up to this point, the price of the developing world's freedom in the Cold War--and through the "New World Order" in the 1990s, has been disproportionatly paid by a few small communities of active duty men and women, and their families.

These communities--small towns known as Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Drum, upstate New York; Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Stewart, Georgia--are almost without exception located far from America's media centers. Their members are deployed over and over again, and routinely spend one year unaccompanied tours away from their families, and it all happens below the media's radar screen.

What's happening now, though, is the Abrams Doctrine working exactly as it is supposed to work. Gen. Creighton Abrams was the guy who took over Viet Nam in the eighth inning after General Westmoreland had already blown the game. The US had over 500,000 troops committed to Viet Nam before they mobilized a Guard Brigade (the 29th Infantry Brigade, from Hawaii, was mobilized in 1968--after Tet. Its soldiers were sent not as a unit, but as individual replacements.)

In Abrams' view, this was a mistake. Had McNamara insisted on a reserve callup, rather than rely on a draft of America's least influential citizens, he would have forced America to confront the Viet Nam conflict early, and would have had the resources to commit to an early win, and to bring reservists home.

What Abrams did was restructure the Army, by concentrating many key occupational specialties within the reserve components.

The idea was this: if the Army simply could not go to war in any strength without a large scale reserve call-up, then a far broader sample of communities--and a far broader array of Senators and Representatives in congress--would have a real stake in ensuring that the Army was not foolishly committed, or committed to the field before the populace had committed itself to winning.

The entire country would be drawn into the debate over whether or not to go to war. Because when reserves are mobilized, it's not just two or three divisions--read, two or three small towns--who go to war. The entire country stands to contribute blood to the fight.

And some of those units do, indeed, come from media center towns, and they come from the ranks of professionals, they come from the political class, and they even come from the ranks of media employees themselves.

That's why we need reservists, and guardsmen. When you send people from cities across the country, then the media simply cannot ignore it. After all, they have to sell ad space in all of those local affiliates.

If it were just the 101st Air Assault, the 82nd Airborne, and the 1rst Infantry division here, then all the bad guys would have to worry about would be beating up Hopkinsville, KY; Fayeteville, NC; and Fort Riley, Kansas.

But when you call upon America's guardsmen and reservists, its citizen-soldiers, you call upon the nation entire. You call upon all of what Roosevelt called "its righteous might."

We have never lost.

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