We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Does the American public believe in itself enough to wage war? Robert D. Kaplan looks at Iraq through the lens of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz: On Forgetting the Obvious, in The American Interest. A quote:
If a glimpse of the future is possible, it must come from an intimacy with the present clarified by the great works of the past. For over four years now I have been traveling much of the world in the company of U.S. soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen. Upon a halt in my travels, I re-read both The Art of War by the 6th-century BCE Chinese court minister Sun-Tzu and On War by the early 19th-century Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz. What struck me straight away, thanks to my recent travels-in-arms, was not what either author said, but what both assumed. Both Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz believe—in their states, their sovereigns, their homelands. Because they believe, they are willing to fight. This is so clear that they never need to state it, and they never do.
What is obvious, however, is left unstated not because it is insignificant, but because it is too significant: War is a fact of the human social condition neither man wishes were so. Sun-Tzu, concerned with war on the highest strategic level, affirms that the greatest warrior is one who calculates so well that he never needs to fight. Clausewitz, interested more in the operational level, allows that war takes precedence only after other forms of politics have failed. Both oppose militarism, but accept the reality of war, and from that acceptance reason that any policy lacking martial vigor—any policy that fails to communicate a warrior spirit—only makes war more likely. That is why Sun-Tzu only respects a leader “who plans and calculates like a hungry man”, who sanctions every manner of deceit provided it is necessary to gain strategic advantage, who is never swayed by public opinion, and “who advances without any thought of winning personal fame and withdraws in spite of certain punishment” if he judges it to be in the interest of his army and his state. Clausewitz is no less committed:
In affairs so dangerous as war, false ideas proceeding from kindness of heart are precisely the worst. . . . The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.
"The question is, in what direction—relative to our current and future adversaries—are we headed? Argue the question as we may, one thing is clear: We’re fated to find out."
And the answer to that may well spell the end of all that we find precious. The situation Mr. Kaplan describes re the academy and its intelligentsia is slowing sucking the life blood out of this country. But just how does it change?
Robert Kaplans wonderful article is entitled, *"On Forgetting the Obvious"*. It is an article I read three times, each time absorbing more of the obvious. That is how profound I found his prose, insight, and presentation.
If you have ever had a chance to visit an art museum, the initial trip perhaps on your own, you take in the immediate visual representation of the artists subject. But then a second opportunity to view the museum arises, but this time you're accompanied by an Art PhD. Suddenly the badinage about the artists subject takes on meanings and representations of things you never recognized, but are right in front of you. Suddenly your appreciation for the work is magnified many times over.
This work is similar, without having to have a guide but rather an uninterrupted focus on what is being said. The article is well within our understanding but it is as profound as was the apple that hit Isaac Newton on the nogg'in.
As the Barrister recommended, read the entire article. I would recommend coming back to it after it's initial impact has caused your Homeostasis, your now tumbled equilibrium, force another examination.
After all, we all lose sight of the obvious from time to time.