Why we will not awaken from our Afghan folly
Yesterday I said that we are sacrificing our men for the Afghans who hate us. In one of the most disturbing comments I’ve seen at VFR, a reader argues (as best as I understand him) that, just as the Afghans have a warrior culture which rejects the U.S., the U.S. armed forces have their own warrior culture which rejects the Afghans. The U.S. armed forces are not fighting or dying for the Afghans whom they recognize as their enemy, but are fighting to develop and express their own, already very formidable, warrior ethos and prowess. Therefore our forces are not deeply bothered by the repeated murders and mass murders of U.S. soldiers by their Afghan supposed allies. They don’t think this makes them suckers and sacrificial lambs in a doomed mission. Instead, our men see those deaths as part of the normal cost of war, and as something that is helping hone them into an ever tougher fighting force, preparing them for future wars.
If this is true, then any awakening from America’s irrational and self-destructive campaign to “democratize” Muslim countries becomes unlikely in the foreseeable future. No matter how contradictory and absurd the mission may be, no matter how bad it gets for our military, they will feel that it is strengthening them. And because the military morale remains so high, that makes it possible for the political leadership to continue the mission.
The above considerations remind me of two entries written in April 2005 in which I expressed similarly disturbing thoughts: Wounded GIs, and The ambiguous thing that America now is. The basic idea was that our military people are so brave, ready, and gung-ho that they don’t care how wrong-headed their mission is or what casualties—even the loss of three of her limbs by a female G.I.—they endure for it. The best American qualities are thus being used, by our liberal/globalist leadership, to serve ends that are deeply harming our country.
Maybe this entry should be re-entitled, “Our Nietzschean military,” because, like Nietzsche’s superman, they say Yes to every suffering, no matter how absurd and meaningless, and grow stronger in the very act of affirming the absurd.
(Responses to this entry are being posted in the concurrent entry. In particular, see James R.’s reply to me, in which he asks me if I am criticizing the military for having high morale and what I would have the military do; and my answer.)