Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Simberg linked to this essay
The day the man with the wide-brimmed hat nods over one of our cities, the day our people start to die in numbers comparable to the flu of 1918, the day a dirty bomb goes off in downtown Manhattan, is the day the world gets reminded that this fat, happy country of ours, this cheerfully hedonistic civilization, is also the most terrible engine of slaughter the world has ever seen.
To which Michael Mealing replied
... after WWII I don't think the American people have the stomach for sustained and total war that being "the most terrible engine of slaughter" requires.
I relied there but the best reply was written in 1963
If Americans in 1950 were decadent, so were the rabble who streamed miserably into Valley Forge, where von Steuben made soldiers out of them. If American society had no will do defend itself, neither did it in 1861, at First Manassas, or later at Shiloh, when whole regiments of Americans turned tail and ran.

The men who lay warm and happy in their blankets at Kasserine, as the panzers rolled toward them in the dawn, were decadent, by this reasoning.

The problem is not that Americans are soft but that they simply will not face what war is all about until they have had their teeth kicked in. They will not face the fact that the military professionals, while some have ideas about society in general that are distorted and must be watched, still know better than anyone else how a war is won.
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