July 31, 2006

Letter to the Paper LII

This missive goes out to The Belgravia Dispatch because it comes so close to my own views on the great challenge facing confirmed civilians all over the world today, but most of all in the 1st world where military service is either non-existent or a joke.

I read your post on 'quasi-genocide' via Josh Marshall (and him via Glenn Reynolds) so I guess that you are addressing a fellow more comfortable on the right half of the blogosphere. I also have been wrestling on some of the Catholic boards and from *that* non-left/non-right battlefield I discovered one simple fact that you seem to have *almost* nailed, that the West is largely ignorant of military theory and facts. This ignorance has made moral idiots of people all across the blogosphere, left, right, or off the scale.

The US has made a warrior caste of its volunteer army and thus 95% of the society is virtually ignorant of military thought while the countries of W. Europe who practice conscription use it as much as an indentured servitude pool of labor as an actual military force. Germany, famously, stopped its military's plan to end conscription (a professional army is more effective, they say) because the loss of conscript labor would collapse their healthcare system.

So where are we? I think that we have a positive duty during a long war to either fight it or study it so that we can wisely support the military by electing good politicians and influence the domestic debate. Given that the vast majority of us are beginner students without a teacher, we're going to say stupid things along the way. This is where you went astray in my opinion. Students say stupid things but the cure is not to brand them with a scarlet G for genocide advocate but to educate them past their idiotic opinions with a "why do you want us to lose the war by going against military doctrine?" The military blogosphere may very well save us from our foolishness by providing an ongoing primer on strategy and tactics. The religious blogosphere, at least the part that has knowledge of military matters, has a crucial role too. A 5 minute conversation with a retired US army chaplain put my head on straight more that years worth of blogosphere debates among the similarly untutored as to moral issues in war. That sort of knowledge demands to be shared. And so I write letters and neglect my own blog (http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog) to comment on others in odd places here and there that might have more influence because my quest to build a platform that others will read seems less important than writing so that others will read right now.

I hope that you will pick up this theme and seek out experts in military matters and especially military morals. I have placed you on my daily "to read" list and look forward to reading more of you.

TM Lutas

Posted by TMLutas at July 31, 2006 08:04 AM