Listen to Ralph Peters:
“We're in trouble. We're in danger of losing more wars. Our troops haven't forgotten how to fight. We've never had better men and women in uniform. But our leaders and many of our fellow Americans no longer grasp what war means or what it takes to win.
Two trends over the past four decades contributed to our national ignorance of the cost, and necessity, of victory. First, the most privileged Americans used the Vietnam War as an excuse to break their tradition of uniformed service. Ivy League universities once produced heroes. Now they resist Reserve Officer Training Corps representation on their campuses.
Yet, our leading universities still produce a disproportionate number of U.S. political leaders. The men and women destined to lead us in wartime dismiss military service as a waste of their time and talents. Delighted to pose for campaign photos with our troops, elected officials in private disdain the military. Only one serious presidential aspirant in either party is a veteran, while another presidential hopeful pays as much for a single haircut as I took home in a month as an Army private.
Second, we've stripped in-depth U.S. history classes out of our schools. Since the 1960s, one history course after another has been cut, while the content of those remaining focuses on social issues and our alleged misdeeds. Dumbed-down textbooks minimize the wars that kept us free. As a result, ignorance of the terrible price our troops had to pay for freedom in the past creates absurd expectations about our present conflicts. When the media offer flawed or biased analyses, the public lacks the knowledge to make informed judgments. This combination of national leadership with no military expertise and a population that hasn't been taught the cost of freedom leaves us with a government that does whatever seems expedient and a citizenry that believes whatever's comfortable. Thus, myths about war thrive.”
The quote above was taken for an article by Ralph Peters in the current American Legion Magazine (November, 2007 edition). You may read the article in its entirety at:
The article’s title is: "12 Myths of 21st Century War”. It is “dead-on”, "spot-on", "hits the nail on the head", whatever, or whichever, superlative you may choose to describe this classic piece of writing will not describe it’s excellence enough! Mr. Peters is right on target.
I’m a veteran of the Army and Army Reserve. Joined while I was still in high school, in the 1950’s, and got a deferment until I graduated, then reported to Ft. Jackson, SC for basic training. Many of you Army vets will remember “Tank Hill”. I still have nightmares about that 5-mile run every morning before breakfast! And those five-mile forced marches, with full packs (roughly 80 lbs in weight), lugging that 9-1/2 pound M-1 Garand rifle, through ankle deep sand… in August… in South Carolina! ((Not to mention the 20 mile marches!)
Anyway, I was perhaps the worse soldier to ever wear the uniform of any branch of the US military. But, I learned some things… not only about war fighting, but I learned some things about myself... and... about the world we live in. And I have to tell you… the world we live in today… is not the world, nor the country, I grew up in and joined the military to help defend.
To get a full understanding of what I am saying here, or, at least trying to say, you must read Mr. Peters article.
Mr. Peters takes the 12 most commonly known, and used, myths about the military, the war, the country, and he breaks them down and examines them openly and honestly. What you will read is not what you will see and hear on your favorite news program or read in your daily paper.
You should know that Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer, strategist and author of 22 books, including the recent "Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the 21st Century.
Mr. Peters will look at such myths as…
War doesn't change anything.
Victory is impossible today
There's no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
The United States is more hated today than ever before.
… and others… with answers that fly in the face of today’s popularly accepted “wisdom”.
This is an article ALL Americans need to read. As you do you will see HOW America has changed and what that change has done to us. Reading it once is not enough. Read it a second time and allow it to sink in. You will suddenly realize we have a Congress with no idea of what a military is for and you will come to understand that they have neither understanding of military force nor the application of that force. They are for the most part illiterate when it comes to anything having to do with the military and defending this country.
Yes, the United States is in dire danger. But not from the terrorists! The clear and present danger, staring us in the face, is a government ignorant of it’s duties as the defender of the nation and reluctant to take measures to secure the safety of the country, and the people of the country, their fellow Americans.
The terrorists? Oh, we can defeat them. It may take some time but we can certainly defeat them. That is what has been so frustrating about the war for those of us of my generation. We KNOW this! We’re pulling our hair out wondering why the government isn’t using our military to their full potential and bring a "piss ant war" to a quick close and reduce the number of American KIA’s in the process. When you read Mr. Peters article you will know the answer: The current US Government hasn't a clue what it’s doing in a military conflict. None! They are undeniably incompetent in matters of war and national security. (Understand… when I say “government” here, I am referencing all three branches!)
We have reached a point in this country’s history where it is incumbent, and absolutely necessary, that we have mandatory military service for men and women citizens. No deferments. We were once a nation of warriors. But the warriors are dying out and we are left with citizens who have no knowledge of the art of war. And we are going to pay an awesome price for our ignorance.