July 16, 2007

The American Way of War

Now, before we begin to blather on about the topic du jour, allow us to admit up front that no member of the crack young staff has served in the American military. This has nothing to do, we need hardly add, with its strenuous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, since we have a collective penchant for not asking.

Naturally, in some circles discussion of any military topic on the part of those without military experience is cause for deep suspicion. As we discussed in our latest Sunday essay for Wizbang, our left-wing friends greatly esteem labeling non-veteran supporters of certain conflicts “chickenhawks.”

This unsavory epithet, as we mentioned, curiously doesn’t stick to those who support “good” conflicts: Afghanistan (unless you write for Counterpunch); Darfur; World War II. But this doesn’t stop our left-wing pals from hurling it at all non-military Iraq War supporters. Go figure.

It is with great aplomb, then, that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” officially deem ourselves “chickenhawks.” Sure, it’s a ridiculous charge—one exuding a mephitic air of machismo supposedly despised by our liberal pals. Even so, perhaps we can turn the “chickenhawk” charge into something positive.

You know, dear reader: Like homosexuals have championed “queer” and Stalinoid academics have championed “tenured radical.” Perhaps we’ll even fashion a hip glossy magazine called Chickenhawk, which features interviews with Bill Kristol along with advertisements for ironic T-shirts. If these dolts can do it, why can’t we?

Okay, okay, okay—we’re chickenhawks. In fact, not only are we chickenhawks, we’re chickenhawks of the worst variety: We blithely start conflicts and then ineluctably hide behind furniture whilst others get hurt. Although we talk a good game, we excel in nothing more than cowering. And we’re pretty decent cringers too.

With that in mind, allow us to approach our topic for today: The American Way of War. Though we are by no means military historians, we have the sneaking suspicion that vast improvements in military technology combined with 24-hour news coverage have ushered in a new American spirit in martial matters.

Simply put, contemporary Americans appear to want a few things out of their wars:

1) No casualties
2) No setbacks of any kind
3) No use of any troops
4) No mistakes
5) No waiting

May we humbly suggest that these desiderata—desirable as they undoubtedly are—render warfare impossible? Although we’ve certainly seen our fair share of problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, it seems obvious to us that contemporary critics of the Bush administration would have urged us to pull out of virtually any previous war, given their ridiculously unrealistic expectations.

After all, World War II was rather bloody, and the Allies most assuredly made tactical blunders. And the bombing of Dresden? How inhumane! Perhaps we ought to have let the Nazis take over Europe.

But, hey, you needn’t listen to us. We’ll just be cowering behind a couch.

Posted at July 16, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack