Thursday, December 8, 2016

War, as the song goes, may be good for absolutely nothing, but as for the THREAT of war....

A few days back, a commenter I almost always agree with 100% Joshua Sinistar, seems to have missed my point about General Mattis entirely. In reaction to the second quibcag down below and the accompanying post here [link], Joshua wrote:

Getting a great Military guy for Secretary of Defense now is like hiring a Champion Horse Breeder for a one-horse town. I don't want any Gung-Ho Marines around the White House. We need someone to defend our border, and any more Middle East Adventures are going to be non-starters. If Iran nukes New York, I'm gonna have a Party. If they want to fight the Ayatollah, they better do it themselves. I don't care about sand dunes. America is what really matters. And no, New York City ain't America. Not even close.

I know exactly what Joshua means here, and I agree with him. Where we differ is in our evaluation of General Mattis. You'll notice in the quibcag that Mattis isn't threatening to fight anybody. Au contraire, he's recommending quite highly that a prospective enemy not push him into a fight, because the results for the prospective enemy will be grim indeed. And, what with being a Marine commander and all, it's not an empty threat at all. For that matter, it's a "threat" only in to minds of the left, who think true peace can be arrived at only through disarmament and surrender, which is suicidal madness, at this point in history just like in any other.

So we do need a gung-ho Marine, in the Mattis sense of the term, heading up Defense. Who do you want actually guarding the border — Mattis or some version of Pajama Boy? Every country needs the best military guy they've got heading their defense departments, because Defense Departments are supposed to be prepared to fight, which is not the same thing at all as eager to fight. History tells us that very often, "prepared" and "eager" turn out to be opposites.

We've all seen all too many phony military stereotypes in the fictional media (or should I say the explicitly fictional media?)  that mislead us about the military mind. Sure, there are crazy generals, just as there are crazy lawyers and crazy plumbers and crazy architects, etc.  But most of them are just specialists in war, and, as I put it before, as such know what war is, and are therefore less likely to resort to it for trivial reasons than most civilians, who don't know the difference between video games about war and real war.  Guess what these guys have in common:

Geo. Washington
Andrew Jackson
William H. Harrison
Franklin Pierce
Zachary Taylor
US Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
Benjamin Harrison
James Garfield
Dwight Eisenhower

They were all generals who became President. Now, think of all the terrible wars they got us embroiled in as President. Give up? Yeah. They'd all seen enough of it during their military careers. They mostly found other ways to settle disputes and further American interests.

I'll be very happy with James Mattis running Defense. And the fact that Trump is picking generals for important positions reassures me that, unlike Hillary, he, too, considers war a last resort.
Quibcags: The first is a fresh one, illustrated by some of the girls of Girls und Panzer (ガールズ&パンツァーGāruzu ando Pantsā), who, admirably, are prepared but not eager to fight.  The second is illustrated by a military girl I found on Tumblr.


  1. Look I have nothing personal against General Mattis. i hear he's a good guy who really cares about his men. That being said, he's a jarhead. The Marines are Gung-Ho. Its what they do. If I thought we had to fight China or Russia, I would want this guy. But defending the border and building the Great Wall of El Norte is not something I would hire a jarhead Gung-Ho Marine to do. Its not their way.

    1. No, it's not Josh. You read too many comic books. Your remedial assignment is to read "It Doesn't Take A Hero" by Stormin' Norman Schwartzkopff. People tried to convince him to run for POTUS but sadly, he refused. I don't blame him.

      The job of the Marine (or any other American serviceman, for that matter) - is to END fights, not start them. When those guys hit the battle field they win because they can hold formation and discipline under fire - while their enemies are losing their chit or engaging in suicidal, gung-ho attacks. Those Marines are, for the most part, very much in control of themselves at all times. When they are off on leave or in the bar is another matter... and to be fair, most young men get in trouble there from time to time. You're a tough, good kid - you would probably make a good Marine yourself! You need to school yourself on what those guys really are.

      Had a Marine been in charge during the Benghazi incident (as opposed to an affirmative action negro flunky and a clot headed cnut) - your people that were killed there would probably be alive today. Marines know what it's like to have boots on the ground in moslem countries - where as idiots like Clinton and Obama walk on the wild side when they go golfing at the country club. How can they be expected to deal with third world moslem trash? Or real and credible threats to the nation?

    2. I don't get strategy from comic books. I know the Military. The US Military is separated into Four Force. The top three are the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Marines are an adjunct of the Navy that became another branch. Coast Guard is supposed to become a branch too, although its not really mentioned much.
      The US Army has a Corps of Engineers. It came out of the Construction Battalions in WWII. The Seabees did all the fortifications and defensive structures in the Pacific to defend against the Japanese Banzai Charges. In the post-war period it was assigned to massive Civilian Projects and became the Army Corps of Engineers.
      The USMC is different. Its whole reason for existence is to attack and establish beach heads. Their whole philosophy and strategy is attack. They have Gung-Ho built in. If the Marines are defending, you're losing, probably badly. They only defend when they cannot attack.
      If you wanted a Military Man for something like the Yuuuge Wall, you need an Army Guy. Marines don't do construction. The Seabees were Navy, but now the Whole Corps of Engineers is Army. And no, those Military Officers are not generally trained for other roles. That's Star Trek, not Real World US Military.

  2. But defending the border and building the Great Wall of El Norte is not something I would hire a jarhead Gung-Ho Marine to do. Its not their way.

    Oh, my. I'll give a pretty good appreciation of Joshua Sinister's knowledge of how career U.S. Marine Corps field-grade officers (especially general officers) think about "their way" of thinking. Consider how career U.S. military officers get their continuing professional education (CPE) and how Joshua Sinister has thought about "Mad Dog" Mattis's personal academic curriculum vitae.

    1. The Marine Corps is the only arm of our Military that DOESN"T have an academy. Army has West Point, Navy has Annapolis, and Air Force is in Colorado Springs. The USMC was just an attack arm of the Navy. There's always been an understanding that Marines aren't the same as the others. When CincPAc, NATO and SAC look for leaders, Marines usually aren't included. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs isn't a place that Marine Generals expect promotion to. In practice, Marines are seen as an elite fighting arm, but command usually goes to an Army or Navy Commander.

  3. Mattis is DefSec, not the border guy, FWIW. Marines can do just about anything. I was Army, I know the diff :)