Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When Jane Comes Marching Home Again, Does She Run For Office?

A standing long service professional military force and victory in war is a conflict of interest like psychological counseling and curing the patient is for the shrink. The rice bowl is broken when the patient is cured or the war is won. In both cases, successful professional practices are to work on the problem, fight the battles, make progress, but short of solving the problem.

The Italian Condottieri hired by Italian city states in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries were extremely well trained, equipped, and led but managed to develop a tactical system that maintained the payroll at minimum loss of blood or decisive action. Machiavelli despaired of their cost and indecision and so recommended in his “On War” that the best military for the city state was a well regulated militia of the best of it’s citizens. French firepower and disregard for French casualites under King Charles VIII eventually ended the reign of the Condottieri.

Perhaps it is time to return to those golden years of yesterday where the ambitious warrior would ride off to war with a mind to a triumphant return from victory in war so he(she) can run for office, get the prettiest girl/richest man in town, the best paying job, and life time bragging rights. While transitional rotations emulate the cycle, there is no requirement for actually winning anything, except survival. Statistical allocation and normalization readily papers over any embarrassing lack of booty.

A large standing professional army was only adopted around1979 with the post Vietnam purge of reservists on extended active duty and abolition of the draft. A post Vietnam mustering out of Guard and Volunteer units, the normal custom., was moot as the Guard and Volunteer units were not called. The rotation of Guard and Reserve units and personnel as an “operational reserve” precludes any messy purge to maintain the purity of essence of the true warrior force. It also precluded a decisive victory.

In order to protect the closed nature of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Full Time Warriors, it will be necessary to blame the non-union Weekend Warriors for failing to be effectively mobilized, and to reduce that apparent threat to the continued largesse of the largely ignorant Congress.

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