Monday, November 18, 2013

A Manly Military

For the record, I was never in the military. I signed up for the draft at eighteen like most of my generation. I went for the physical and was rejected for a hearing problem. Having said that, I have always admired the military and was as proud as any little kid could be for my uncles that served in WWII. 

The military has done a lot of good for this country in so many ways. We were strong enough and proud enough that many who would have been our enemies chose a more peaceful path. Many young American men whose lives were going astray were saved by the military training system of "break them down and then build them back up". Many men and women that had no hope of an education in civilian life received both an education and a career compliments of the military.

For those reasons alone, the military deserves the deep and humble respect of every American. But I find that those with a more liberal mindset feel disdain for our military. They see it as unequal, sexist, achievement oriented, and far too removed from their nature to control. The problem is that to be effective the military must be an unequal, sexist, meritocracy.

The military is an organization designed to bring violence to those that would do us harm. To accomplish this, well trained people must do those harsh tasks that most do not want to do. It is not a nurturing society. At it's worst the life can be unendurably tough. At it's best it is regimented and rigid. Our culture could not survive without a powerful and well trained military.

As it must and should be, the control of the military is in the hands of civilians. There is a chain of command from the Commander in Chief, through the Secretary of Defense, down to the individual service Secretaries. When the people in these positions understand and value the military, all goes well. When they look down on the military and turn them into some kind of social experiment, things fall apart.

On the battlefield there is a thing called "Rules of Engagement". These rules tell the military what they can and can't do when they are under fire or in an attack mode. Too often these rules are written by lawyers and people that have never been in a live fire situation. The rules of engagement should favor and be protective of our war fighters, not the opposition.

Certainly there are some women out there that have battlefield capability. But there are not enough to make a general order allowing women into war on the front lines. This is not sexist but war fighting is generally man's work. They are usually bigger, stronger, and deal with violence more easily.

There are times when the old ways are still the best ways. I will never believe that a softer, gentler, more understanding military is the way to go. That old phrase that you are protected by "hard men doing hard things", makes sense. We really need a manly military.

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