Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts




  • An odd thing I've noticed and The Don reminded me recently- rank and file civilians from different countries are taking pride in the skills of their military's snipers in Afghanistan. In civilian newspaper websites from Canada, UK and US all mention the work their guys do and get excited when they break a record. Typically, enemy snipers are hated beyond the level of any real damage they ever do and are often murdered out of hand when captured. American and Russian GIs were especially prone toward this hysterical behavior in WWII.
  • Why have we lost Afghanistan? Two simple answers for you: Afghanistan has in memory never been defeated and no Afghan male wants to be known as being from the first generation to lose. We don't have the will for this kind of fight and really never have had much of a stomach for the sacrifice to win that kind of war.
  • Doubt me? A kind of dark secret to a lot of people- we just nearly lost WWII (the best war we've ever had for moral high ground) and a lot of that had to do with how sick of the war people became.
  • American troops could be as brave as any and fight as well as any, but were often too risk averse and leaders were way too casualty averse (both were especially true early on).
  • Think about the invasion of Normandy. That invasion had to work- it simply had to continue at that time and and at that place- however, commanders at the highest levels were considering throwing in the towel and falling back to England all the way up to the point of breakout from the beaches.
  • Another thing that always jumps out at me on these thoughts: our men in WWII rarely ever got to the point of thinking of themselves as professional soldiers- no matter how late in the war or how good they personally or their units were. There were many cases of US troops killing German troops after they were captured late in the war in retaliation for US troops lost in a battle since the Germans, "Had to know they were licked and kept fighting anyway."
  • Conversely, the German soldiers could not comprehend this type of thinking- literally, it seemed irrational to them.

4 comments:

Katy Anders said...

Is it because we don't think of ourselves as first and foremost a possession of the state or of a cause?

I don't know the extent to which the image was based in reality, but the image of Japanese kamikaze pilots in WW2 come to mind. You'd be hard-pressed to sell that sort of thing to Americans.

And Muslim suicide bombers? If Christianity expected that, we'd all be running to the wimpiest variation on Christianity we could find.

The Donald said...

I suppose I can understand the station in which snipers might be regarded by their enemies - after all, they're not simply some guys who lobbed projectiles in the general vicinity, but methodically targeted specific individuals. Some folks, I suppose, might take that kind of thing personally.

Have read a couple of books on the subjec: One Shot, One Kill; and White Feather. Philosophically, I like the notion of achieving the objective in a concise manner, without spillover collateral damage. But, as I've not been on the battlefield, there's probably much that I don't understand about the dynamics within the fight.

Katy makes an interesting point/observation. While it certainly would be foolhardy for a foreign force (other than a Kenyan-born WH occupier ;-)) to invade these shores, one wonders if our rugged individualism and relatively comfortable SOL limits our ability to conduct sustained, successful campaigns abroad.

The Donald said...

*oops, subject.

el chupacabra said...

Hey Katy and Don- Both of you are making me think and opening new paths for this subject- exactly why the subject of snipers and relative quality of Axis and Allied soldiers are so charged- we STILL talk about it 70 years later.

And again- yeah, trying selling the Kamikaze bit to American flyboys. Good luck with that one. So is that a sign of our systems moral superiority or failure? Is that even the question to ask...