KIBBITZING ON THE POSTS OF OTHERS
I thought as a blogging warm-up I'd make a few comments on what caught my atttention today.
Over at Liberals Against Terrorism
, Armchair General
lives up to his moniker, faulting Rumsfeld for failing to force the armed services to adopt a common uniform as a symbol ( or evidence) of commitment to " jointness".
AG wrote:"Now you might say, "So what? they're adapting to specific environments in which they expect to operate." Maybe. My viewpoint is that the services have always hated to be joint; they will always tell you that they can determine what's best for their own service interests, and they're partly right. However, this independance in the selection of their combat uniforms indicates two things - first, they don't care about the costs of developing, purchasing, and maintaining four different sets of fatigues, as opposed to the generally lower costs of having one type of uniform. Good news for overseas textile companies, bad news for people that have to buy their own uniform. More seriously, I would think that this just inspires the idea that each service is unique and special, and that fosters more interservice rivalry and infighting."
Even a great blog can have an off day. This post was simply foolishness. While it is indeed true that you would have lower marginal costs with a common field dress for all the services the cost in esprit de corps would be extremely high while acheiving a savings of pennies. I'm sure the Army was going to save a few nickels by giving the black beret of the Rangers to all the cooks, secretaries and buck privates on K.P. but the near-revolt of the elite trigger-pullers demonstrated how damaging to morale such McNamaraesque parsimony can be
Unit cohesion and a sense of sacrifice are built around such martial distinctions as patches, stripes, chevrons, heraldric symbols and the like. Men will fight and die because of the idea that their service, their division, their brigade, their company " is unique and special". Military history is replete with examples of units from the Spartans at Thermopylae to Navy SEALS in Iraq that fulfil that role and distinguishing them from the herd is a part of the warrior culture. " Jointness" is better expressed in such elements as communications equipment and military doctrines that cultivate interservice teamwork while letting each unit do what is designed to do well.
The second thing that caught my eye was that militant centrist Purplestater
at Centerfeud and edgy libertarian ( and fellow Rule-Set Resetter) TM Lutas
hit the same point today.
TM was more concise so here's his post in full
:"Progressive Conservatives, Reactionary LiberalsTCS is running a neat article called Anti-Powerfulism examining the strange reactive stance of the Left to President Bush's "almost revolutionary program". It seems to me that we're facing a very new phenomenon, the phenomenon of the reactionary left and the progressive right. Whether it's going to be sustainable is a big question. Either the progressives on the left will come up with a competing positive agenda to Bush's or they will leave the left, loving progress more than the label. That fracture would geld the left and stick them in permanent minority status. The right has fracture issues to as Patrick Buchanan has shown with his championing a reactionary paleoconservatism that is downright grumpy.
The rest of the world must be horribly confused. "Purplestater developed his argument at length so you should go read his post in full but here is a snippet:"We live in a strange age in which the elections held in a country recently liberated from a monstrous and barbaric dictatorship were criticized because they resulted from an "imperialist intervention" by the "fascist US regime" - but terrorists attempting to destabilize that country and prevent popular elections through threats of violence are called "freedom fighters" and "Minutemen" by voices of the Left like last year's international media darling, Michael Moore.The Left used to claim to be on the side of democracy and the will of the people (as long as those people weren't under Soviet domination), and against fascism and oppression. Now that the post 9/11 Right has taken up the cause of liberation (for admittedly self-interested and pragmatic reasons), the Left is suddenly on the side of "stability", even as dictatorships around the world are being shaken to their foundations."
The Left has become, at least psychologically, a vanguard movement. Millionaire Hollywood socialists, tenured radicals and activist lawyers from law schools steeped in histories of WASP white shoe privilege. What does George Soros or Cass Sunstein have in common with anybody trying to raise kids in a modest three-flat bungalow in Chicago or a double-wide in some Georgia hamlet ?