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Time to Hold Military Boots to the Fire: On 70 Years of Military Mediocrity


Time to Hold Military Boots to the Fire: On 70 Years of Military Mediocrity

William Astore

Thomas Jefferson Hall, West Point’s library and learning center, prominently features two quotations for cadets to mull over.


It's going to be awesome when Bernie Sanders finally says that he plans to pull out all US troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Mid-East, and Africa. It'll be like when Candidate Obama said he was going to close Gitmo.


...one superintendent (a three-star general) at the Air Force Academy whose number one goal was a winning football program. In that sense, he certainly reflected American society: think of the civilian college presidents who desire just that for their institutions.

The philosophy of competition, instead of cooperation, is one which dominates this country. When one looks at another as a competitor, who must be outdone at any and all costs, I firmly believe this mentality gives way to dehumanization and makes it more fathomable to kill someone who is unlike oneself. Competition for resources is but one driving force which leads to these wars, albeit a major one. Filling the boots isn't that hard to do when you have a whole generation raised on competing for elitist values, material prestige and stroking of egos. This and inculcating them to hate "the other." Diplomacy, equality, compassion and other egalitarian values are given feminine attributes, in which this cult of masculinity ridicules and seeks to quash by any means.

By the way, I always perceived military academies to be the Ivy Leagues for military officers who wanted to find themselves in cushy Pentagon jobs. But many enlisted personnel come from poorer families, many of them worked low wage fast-food and retail jobs before enlisting, if they had jobs. "The poverty draft." Then there are those psychos who join the military so they can get away with killing people.


Sorry to rain on your parade, but Bernie, even if elected, which he has about as much chance as between slim and none, his record on American foreign policy tells me that he will have no choice but to acquiesce to the wishes of the MICC.


No way man! Bernie will be different! He's just keeping his plan a secret until after he's elected!


The *USA has waged unnecessary wars even before WWII. The Mexican War was unnecessary because US citizens in Mexico did not like it there. The US should not have taken land away from Mexico. They should have asked their citizens there to return to the USA. When you move somewhere else, you have to get used to it there or go back where you came from. After the Spanish-American War, the USA took over what few colonies Spain had left in the Western Hemisphere.
The USA has always considered the Americas its "sphere of influence". The Monroe Doctrine gave the US the green light to interfere in the affairs of the other nations in this hemisphere. The USA urged Panama to secede from Colombia so they could build a canal. The US wouldn't want any foreign nations to decide what they can do on their soil. skull


I imagine a meeting of the leading lights of the W era and one of the pols, say Cheney, tells the assembled brass:

"Look boys, unless we increase our market penetration and move more product we'll have to downsize and let a lot of you go."

Sinclair Lewis? "It's hard to get someone to understand the truth of something when his paycheck depends on not understanding it."


The reason the US military is losing its wars is simply because it is too stupid to stop starting them. People no longer put up with being invaded in quite the same way as they did when we Brits built our Empire. Given the USA's history of 1776 to 1783, I would have thought that the US military would have learned that lesson.


Shared, William. Thank you for pointing out the elephant in the room.


While Sanders is not completely anti-war, i believe we will see fewer if he gets in. I think he will give us a chance to begin to turn around, and that is a big deal at this point.

His history is totally different from Obama's and i want to keep that in mind.


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What makes a US citizen more American than a Brazilian citizen?
The answer is nothing but the US citizen's conceit.
What makes the US citizen exceptional?
The answer is the US citizen's conceit.
In the beginning is the word. Screw it up as US citizens do and be screwed up.
The USA is huge but this US 'America' is a retarded identity. It has to go for the world to have any future.


The proper role for a military is national defense. Yet ours has been abused for years in a series of colonial wars in service to a corrupt elite, not for any benefit to the nation. In this last series of wars in the Muslim lands they are only once again being defeated by Maoist tactics; luring the enemy deep into your own territory and then subjecting him to a death of a thousand little cuts.
But as Colonel Astore says they never learn.


The fact that the officer class has lost every war (except maybe Grenada and Panama) since 1945 is no accident. For decades military amateurs have bested the West Point and Annapolis grads, which is no surprise since they were motivated by something other than careerism. The ever-growing reliance on high tech hardware has not changed this fundamental weakness. At present, US global power is most reliant on the ten aircraft carrier fleets, which are as vulnerable as the other grand fleets that went down to disaster, from the time of the ancient Persians onward. If we actually had any enemies, I'd be worried.


After the Spanish-American War, the US also took over Spain's last colonies in the Pacific.


I heartily agree. What does Astore mean when he's says we need 'winning generals'? I can imagine what Iraq would look like if we had more kick-ass and destructive generals directing the ruination of their civilization. Sounds to me like Astore merely wants the American military to become more efficient in its destructive path across the globe because, without a doubt, that's exactly what would happen - A kinder, gentler killing machine.


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Didn't we kill about 200,000 Filipinos after Spain was defeated? They didn't realize we wanted to be their new ruler.


polarbear: I still maintain, as I long have, that POTUS is a figurehead for the
people who actually run this country. They do as they're told. Look at Obama.