Pat Richards    

  Modern Warfare in a Pop Culture


these are notes, not polished articles, on:

Pop Warfare


Pop Warfare


Daring to cross the dreaded political threshold once again, I'd venture to
speculate that we're now beginning to experience a sea-change in the basic nature of armies and of our elected leader's ability to wage war.

Yes, today the U.S. can trump up a war frenzy on either real or false grounds and
launch into a war -- but now that we have a 30-year old "tradition" of an
all-volunteer force, it's beginning to dawn on our leaders that you can't wage war
the old fashioned way -- which is to say, it can't go on too long.

We've been at war for 3 years now in big actions, first in Afghanistan and now
Iraq, but there's a kicker in the calendar:

Most of our military personnel only signed up for a 2 or 3 year "hitch" and a
whole lot of those guys and gals, after two years of combat, are NOT going to be
re-enlisting as their terms end in the coming months. Nope, they're gonna be outta
here, Sarge. In other words, we're going to start LOSING our highly-trained,
professional army in *large* numbers. And the same reasons that are causing them
not to re-enlist are the same reasons that new volunteers to replace them are
going to be few and far between.

And our current, really stupid policy in Iraq, which has turned it more into an
occupation-of-Palestine type of gig with no end in sight (and our people being
placed like bait on a hook, sitting ducks in a shooting gallery) is just going to
make the situation worse.

If it goes on much longer, no amount of TV ads about "be all you can be" or "an
army of one" or a bribe of money-for-college are going to convince anyone to sign
on the dotted line (like, dude, patriotism is fine and all, but it only goes so
far in most 18-to-25-year-old minds).

And there's no way this country is going back to a draft unless we are attacked by
an actual foreign army that we can see. Just another terrorist attack -- even on
the scale of 9/11 -- isn't going to do it. Besides, if they even tried to start
drafting young people now, the public uproar and massive protest marches would
quickly escalate to the size and ferocity we saw at the end of the Viet Nam era
and would be deadly to any leaders who have to rely on being voted into office.

Besides, the brutal facts of the future today are that the modern soldier has to
be highly-trained and highly-motivated to do the job and to keep today's complex
military functioning well. If the recruits have been forced to serve and were
dragged kicking and screaming into the service, they are going to be resentful and
recalcitrant and are simply not going to have the attitude and motivation
necessary to properly staff our modern, high-tech army.

So, our leaders are about to come face to face with the new reality of warfare in
the 21st Century, which is: If you're gonna do it, you better have a good plan and
execute it quick and clean. The volunteer army will not sit still for a long,
drawn-out, costly conflict. And the draft is no longer an option.

more to come