RANGER AGAINST WAR: Warrior Mythology II <

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Warrior Mythology II

For we must consider that we shall be
as a city upon a hill

--John Winthrop
sermon (1630)

When a good time turns around

You must whip it

You will never live it down

Unless you whip it

--Whip It
, Devo

The ever-febrile mind of Kathleen Parker attempts its own mythologizing in today's WaPo:

"A new American archetype, Obama is the anti-macho man, a new-age intellectual who defeated the old-guard warrior [Bush]" (The World Is a Fire Hydrant).

Forgive us while we stand stupefied before the AWOL National Guard warrior king in all his majesty.

So where does warrior idolatry leave us as a peace-loving nation? Our Generals and political leaders have adopted the trappings and mythic evocations of the warrior, and many have interpreted their work as implementing the will of God (Winthrop's City on the Hill). The service publications are now rife with references to the Soldier as a whole man, whose spiritual being is ranked equally as important as his training preparation.

But the same concept of the will of God can be said to animate the Islamic jihadists,
Allāhu Akbar. Both sides feel they possess truth, love and divine guidance. This hard-wired conviction of propriety and righteousness all 'round is a formula for nothing but continual death and destruction.

Are we, a scientifically-advanced superpower, so oblivious that we cannot see the implications of our beliefs? In the realm of religion, the march of modernity seems to have has bypassed us. Warriors destroy and kill for the benefit of their society. They die for
us, in killing them. However, in our PWOT © the formula has been corrupted.

We are supposedly fighting terrorism, a tool which is being wielded by crazed radical Islamists. Our warriors fight, kill, and sacrifice for us, against the adversary. In reality, however, our warriors have helped establish states that are firmly ensconced as being "Other". This is an inversion of the classic reason to war.

Our military actions and foreign policy have enabled the creation of religious Islamic nations states firmly embedded in the mindset which gave rise to the terrorist threat.
Our warriors have rewarded them for their fight. Our fight takes the form of a concession.

The Post-WW II reality was that the Germans and Japanese were democratized and demilitarized because we forced a constitution that strictly dictated the allowable activities of those states. In contrast, the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan are not similarly constructed documents. This is a perversion of the utility of the warrior who now simply fights to fight, without gaining benefit for his nation. The benefits of the
PWOT © have accrued to the Other.

We are not fighting for our own liberties, but rather for those of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our liberties are secure and separate from the
PWOT ©, and only stand to be eroded in this fight.

Why does the U.S. not see the futility of its current warring actions? As Aristotle said in his Metaphysics,

"Perhaps, too, as difficulties are of two kinds, the cause of the present difficulty is not in the facts but in us. For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all."

We do not want to know the truth, for if we did, we would be compelled to alter our course. Being the somewhat scientifically advanced culture we are, we can use our knowledge in the service of warping the facts to justify a non-functional path. We invent theories which allow us to deny or refashion the truths to buoy up nonsensical choices. With the truth obscured, we need not change our behaviors.

Where did we take such a wrong turn, while hiding behind the warrior's shield?

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Blogger FDChief said...


OK, let me try this on for size.

What we have here is imperial "little wars". The outsider goes among the dusky heathen, knocks a few heads, takes a few names, does a little killing and some burning to "pacify" the "rebellious tribes".

Our neighbors the French, Spanish and Brits did this sort of thing for several hundred years. They justified it with elaborate lies about the White Man's Burden, the Duty of Civilization, and sent out their mercenary legions - long-term professional soldiers who understood that they were to fight, kill and if need be die, for reasons of "national interest", "British influence" and "Western Civilization".

It is no longer publicly acceptable to call the residents of the unplumbed portions of the Earth "filthy wogs" or "heathen niggers" and tell people that you're killing them and burning their houses for God, Christianity and sanitation.

So you have to come up with a new dodge. Call it "Fighting Terror". Call your mercenary soldiers "warriors" and tell them they're "fighting for freedom". They have been conditioned to believe that Americans Always Fight For Freedom - they won't question it. Make them a thing apart from the society around them and keep throwing them at the shittier parts of the world until they see no problem with killing that bears no connection to their own national interest.

Oh, and make sure YOU don't try and understand what's in your own national interest.

So the "warrior" myth is the natural outgrowth of a nation finding wars to fight and needing a new mythology to motivate the fighters. It's pounding on the table, you ever heard that one?

The old trial lawyer says: You have the facts with you, you pound on the facts. You have the law with you, you pound on the law.

If you don't have the facts OR the law, you pound on the table.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

What I'm taking away from this is that we(US) are engaging in imperialism and masking our colonialism in the shrouds of the warrior.

Could this also be the armed services justifying their jobs? If they don't have anybody to fight won't their funding be cut?

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

To answer your comment and questions;yes,yes,and yes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


You deserve a better reply.

The entire US military and society is being turned into religious institutions. Today's Newsweek indicated that a survey shows that more Americans believe in angels than do those that believe in evolution.

Our service academies very blatantly reward applicants with religious backgrounds and experience. All of our politicians bow down to the faithful in order to get elected.


Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

barca: My take on this is any danger of downsizing is ancient history. If we didn't seriously cut the DoD budget after the largest competing empire in our history collapsed in 1989, it was never gonna happen.

And think about it: the current MICC feeding frenzy is because of 19 guys with boxcutters and penknives. Brezhnev must be laughing in Hell.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...


Warrior-Priests? Sounds like a bunch of religious zealots with an agenda. Very scary stuff.

Ever read Cody Buzzell's book My War? Now, Cody's no angel. But he stood up and joined the service and served in Iraq. I think I would rather have an army full of Cody Buzzells than a bunch of religious fanatics.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...


If we don't pull out of this economic downturn we could go back to the service of the '30s. Where Ike played poker with his buddies to cover his household budget.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

may earlier reference to Mau Mau was not quite tongue-in-cheek..... COIN bears the suspicious profile of Colonial warfare of old..... think economic versus territorial imperialism and a lot of stuff snaps in place.... even the "why they fight" of the adversary, and the tactics they use.

terror is a tactic, by the way.... a tactic used by the dominant to cow the dominated (see Roman crucifixion), and by the dominated to challenge the strength of the dominator.

my friend Ranger thinks of the softer-gentler side of COIN.... winning "hearts and minds".  I'm sure he knows the rougher side as well.... the use of terror tactics against the adversary. the enemy has to be destroyed in a spectacular fashion.

terrorism is psychological warfare with paragraphs of propaganda punctuated by violent action. both the insurgent and counter-insurgent practice this..... the exception of course are non-violent insurgencies like Gandhi's.


Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Our military actions and foreign policy have enabled the creation of religious Islamic nations states firmly embedded in the mindset which gave rise to the terrorist threat. Our warriors have rewarded them for their fight. Our fight takes the form of a concession....."

"We are not fighting for our own liberties, but rather for those of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our liberties are secure and separate from the PWOT ©, and only stand to be eroded in this fight."
Ranger, as to the first paragraph above I believe history shows that this 'great game' has been playing out for hundreds of years. The Russians and British empires fought for control in Afghanistan mainly for economic and geopolitical reasons. After the devastation of WWI England suffered a terrible economic and political collapse of empire. The newly formed League of Nations betrayed the Arabs who fought for their freedom from the Ottomans.

The discovery and exploitation of oil in the desert nations was the beginning of the West's decent into a political, moral, military and economic quagmire. I believe the handwriting is on the wall for those that chose see the stark reality of our situation. We share in the fault especially in the latter half of the 20th century. Anyone that has studied the warrior cult of Islam that swept out of Mecca in the 8th century; knows that it took a mer 300 years for Islam to conquer most of the known world.

I believe that the reason for the radical Islamists terrorist mindset is mostly due to our inaction, rather than action and it's the inequality and double standards in their own back yard that gives a twisted legitimacy to the call to jihad. This is a problem that is not going to go away because we want it to. Like it or not we are in it for the long haul and as the great Lion Winston Churchill told the English people that he had nothing to offer them "but blood, sweat, and tears"
No amount of 'change' by an anti-macho, new age intellectual can square this circle.

As for our Liberties, what Liberty? In case anyone hasn't noticed; we Americans have defaulted on those precious Constitutional Rights our Forefathers fought and died for. For what, a bunch of fanatical rich Wahhabi's wannabe's with shiny AK-74's. Better stop here......

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 10:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous basilbeast said...


Ever read Cody Buzzell's book My War?

Yes, most of it. And also John Crawford's "Last True Story", & Kayla Williams "Love my Rifle more than you".

Another book is out, Jon Krakauer "Where Men Win Glory" about Gen. McChristal and the Pat Tillman affair.

The lie behind the American Warrior Propaganda Mystique and the family that still resists it to this day.

Jon Stewart interviewed the author last Wednesday.



Friday, October 2, 2009 at 2:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I do not believe that there is such a thing as winning hearts and minds. I may discuss the concept but only to show the hypocisy of COIN.
BTW there are reports of old Mau mau members now in England suing the British b/c they were tortured and held in prisons that were brutal etc..I caught your point.
I enjoy your links and enjoy your participation.
I regret that we failed to meet.

Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Crawford is a local boy, we've been to his readings in Tallahassee.

WMWG was a good book but seemed to lack punch but the facts were well presented and I'm not commenting on RAW since this horse has been kicked too much already.
The key point imho is that even our elite units are run by bimbos and are not the force that we believe them to be. Tillmans unit wasn't exactly the Desert Rats of the old SAS. Now were they??


Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:21:00 PM GMT-5  

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