I am not a hawk, but not an absolute dove either. I do agree with the strategy of more flexible American armed forces that can be quickly deployed and pulled back (although egress seems far more difficult to achieve than ingress seems to be). Even as we express our gratitude to our well-trained and dedicated defenders on another Veteran’s Day – this one in 2015 – we have seen our leaders contemplating and implementing changes in the way we wage war. Obviously there are advantages to consider and disadvantages to consider as we explore these new configurations for the deployment of troops and the size of the forces we deploy. I have no expertise in war beyond spending a lot of time asking questions of the I Ching, reading Carlos Castaneda’s, The Teachings of Don Juan: The Yaqui Way to Knowledge, and reading the Rome novels of Colleen McCullough so my discussion is offered from a civilian point of view for what it is worth. But we are a Democracy, of the people, by the people, and for the people, so I think the people are expected to chime in from time to time. Hopefully those with some experience in these matters will find our suggestions useful once in a while.
- Flexibility matches the kind of pop-up violence and hot spots we face these days
- Soldiers will not have to serve so many tours in a row because we will not have a huge force concentrated in one spot over a prolonged period of time.
- Soldiers can gain military prowess but can also find time to develop skills useful in civilian life.
- We can hopefully avoid the enormous cost in life and limb that accompanies full-on combat.
- In order to stay strong among the nations of our world we will have to maintain high readiness levels which is more difficult as the eventual goal seems more distant.
- It will be hard not to keep cutting our military budget because it will be easy to lose sight of the true deterrence value of a battle-ready military.
- We will need to be flexible enough to use a large force when necessary, a small force when possible, and develop great skill at assessing the needs of any particular situation.
- We will need to think ahead to what we will do when everyone has drones, satellites, and perhaps even nukes.
- We will need to be careful because complacency breeds contempt. Exposés, such as those I watched on The Rachel Maddow Show, reveal that the troops who guard our nuclear missiles prove that discipline erodes when a military duty begins to seem like an empty formality.
Of course, all bets are off if we are attacked by aliens. (Is all levity off-limits on Veteran’s Day?)
We love our Armed Forces and we thank you all so much for protecting America, but we sure would like to see you find ways to fight and still come home, intact, to your lives and your families.
By Nancy Brisson