Thursday, September 27, 2007

Warriors and Philosophers

Warrior (wôr'ē-r, wŏr'-)
1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.
2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict:

phi•los•o•pherPronunciation: (fi-los'u-fur), —n. 1. a person who offers views or theories on profound questions in ethics, metaphysics, logic, and other related fields. 2. a person who is deeply versed in philosophy. 3. a person who establishes the central ideas of some movement, cult, etc. 4. a person who regulates his or her life, actions, judgments, utterances, etc., by the light of philosophy or reason. 5. a person who is rationally or sensibly calm, esp. under trying circumstances. 6. alchemist or occult scientist.

LTC (RET) Dave Grossman probably said it better with his analogy of the sheep and the sheepdog.
In my attempt to expand upon that analogy I prefer to put it in terms of the 2 classes of people in our society. The warriors and the philosophers. Overall warriors include the military and law enforcement.
The military is a symbol of what we view as the best of man. What we strive for. Warriors are doers and philosophers are the academics, politicians, and reporters who view themselves as the best of man, but lack the one thing warriors have – courage. Not just physical courage but moral courage too. Warriors have the ability to take a life but use remarkable restraint in this power they have. They are most often seen helping people and only use the instruments of violence when it is first visited upon them.
Society needs both, but when one attempts to destroy the other, once this balance is upset, the culture which allows it crumbles.
Warriors are normally in the background and the philosophers are left to bask in the limelight. What happens when the warriors assume the stage is the philosophers after a brief period of sharing attempt to shove the warriors off the stage. Philosophers while enjoying the liberties and freedoms accorded them by the warriors none the less try to diminish the role the warriors play in such matters.
When the barbarians breech the wall it is the warriors fault. When the barbarians are beat back they once again turn their attention to the warriors.
Prime example of this was Desert Storm, The first Gulf War. Iraq took over Kuwait. We mustered forces and the beat them back. The war was stopped suddenly and abruptly. Not because of any tactical or strategic reasons on the ground but rather because we did our job too good. As soon as the pictures of the Highway of Death was beamed into the living rooms off America the pressure began to stop us. As a result the door was not slammed on the retreating Republican Guards units and as they say, the rest is history.
Now in the current conflict it seems that the more gains we make against the Islamic fascists the more the philosophers attack the warriors.
Our military took over all of Iraq in a little over 30 days, but that great military feat has been completely overshadowed and brushed aside in favor of the Abu Gharib story.
In Afghanistan the same story. We accomplished what the Soviet Union couldn’t do in 10 years only to have the main story be the location of Bin Laden.
Now the philosophers have become so emboldened as to directly attack the warriors.
The warriors will do what they have to do mainly because they live and die in a world where there is no theories, no debates, no discussions of what is, is. Success to a warrior only means that he gets to live another day to don 100 lbs of equipment, endure 100+ degree heat, cold food, and more body aches then an entire Motrin factory can address.
Success to the philosopher is to get the warrior to stop.
Only one is happy when that occurs before the barbarians are driven from their lands never to return. One will endure hardship to accomplish this. The other lacking any such hardship, supposes to speak for them. With no such goal as the warrior they are not speaking for and can not speak for the warriors.
When you talk of withdrawal of troops and your only argument is that it is for their safety you need to ask yourself if not for these people willing to endure such burdens who is going to stand at the wall and hold back the barbarians?
I have my own warrior philosophy. When the politicians pick up the phone and call the warriors, just like the Spartans of old, they need to sit down and wait for the warriors to contact them and tell them the job is finished. They shouldn’t dictate strategy, tactics or engage in open communications with the enemy. Any talk with the enemies of this country should come only in the form of us dictating the terms of their surrender. If you can’t support our warriors then at least don’t act as enablers of the enemy, giving them the motivation to kill just one more of our warriors, or give them inspiration to endure just a little more. That is what is happening today. The enemy is losing battles and men hand over fist, but everywhere they turn they see more and more people supporting their cause and attacking their enemy, proving the righteousness of their cause. Wars are only won when the enemy looses the will to wage war. We can beat him all day long on the battlefield, inflict staggering casualties on his forces, but so long as one of them believes his side has a chance of winning you can never defeat him.
So to the philosophers who have not yet felt the sting of the enemy’s weapons let’s make a deal. I won’t tell you how to act, how to teach your class, or edit your news stories if you won’t tell the warriors how to fight a war. Deal??

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