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Our Politically Correct Communist Milblogs

(To read the entire "Our Communist Military" series, please click here.)

If conservatives hate one thing more than Obama, single mothers and soccer, it is the unstoppable monster of “political correctness”.

If you really want to, (I don’t recommend it) dive into these conservative manifestos on the origins of “political correctness”. We prefer the (ideologically neutral) Wikipedia definition:

“A term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts...Widespread use of the term politically correct and its derivatives began when it was adopted as a pejorative term by the political right in the 1990s.”

While I utterly loathe the term “political correctness” or its abbreviation “PC”, milblogs don’t seem to mind one bit:

Deebow, writing on BlackFive, writes that “the death cult of Political Correctness” will cause America to lose the war in Afghanistan.

Uncle Jimbo, also on Blackfive, writes that he won’t obey, “the PC thugs who are attacking the free speech of business owners.”

Patriot, on A Soldier’s Perspective, bemoans “political correctness run amok.”

This Aint Hell connects political correctness to gay pride day at the Pentagon.

On The Captain’s Journal, Glen Tschirgi advises republican candidates for president to “make a clean break from political correctness” and blame “Islamofascism” for terrorism.

Many critics of rules of engagement blame them on “political correctness.” Military supporters and anti-PC advocates Representatives Allen West and Joe Walsh blamed political correctness for the Fort Hood attacks.

In “Our Communist Military” series, we want to show how ideology doesn’t meet practice. Most conservative milbloggers embrace libertarian ideals. They love the freedom to say and think how they want, no matter who it pisses off. They want, nee embrace, the freedom to offend whoever they want. (Take, for instance, this post.) They label any persecution of this ideal as “political correctness”.

All of which sounds great to me, as a moderate who embraces human rights, like freedom of speech. However, I would ask my fellow milbloggers, “Are there any occupations or professions they don’t want to offend? Do military blogs and military supporters who oppose “political correctness” have their own version of political correctness?”

Yes, they do. I call it, “military political correctness”.

In the same way that small-government libertarians drill a Nimitz-class carrier sized-hole through their own ideology to protect defense spending, conservatives critical of “liberal political correctness” completely extend “military political correctness” protection to the military and its service-members. Conservative milblogs and pundits silence any and all criticism of the military, labeling transgressors traitors or worse. Apparently, America’s toughest warriors are the most easily offended group on the planet.

Example 1: Every soldier a hero.

According to anti-political correctness advocates, political correctness creates euphemisms for offensive words, names and phrases. “Differently-abled” instead of “handicapped”, or worse, “retarded”. “Homosexual” instead of “gay”. And so on.

For the military, we call every soldier a “hero”.

In March, writing in Esquire, Stephen Marche examined how America now extends the phrase “hero”--which used to refer to the extremis of valor--to every soldier in every branch regardless of how many times they have deployed. Of course, some milblogs responded. Then in May, Chris Hayes of MSNBC and The Nation came under fire from every corner of the conservative media sphere for questioning the use of the phrase “hero” for every fallen soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of addressing his points, many conservative blogs simply insulted him.

If you listen to Chris Hayes’ whole question, he posed it with all due deference and respect to servicemen and women. Same with Stephen Marche. But some conservative bloggers wrote that neither pundit should even have had the gall to ask the question. How is shouting down Chris Hayes and calling him names from venal to traitor to ungrateful and saying he can’t even ask the question not “political correctness” at its finest?

Worse, pundits, reporters and writers use the euphemism “fallen hero” for “dead soldier”. Orwellian language like this hides the costs, and very real sacrifices, of our men and women in uniform behind a euphemism.

Example 2: Every soldier is equal in sacrifice.

In my op-ed, “I didn’t deserve my combat pay”, I pointed out that every soldier earned the same combat benefits no matter how dangerous their service. Most soldiers and marines in combat MOSs deployed to dangerous war zones--like Helmand, Kandahar or Kunar in Afghanistan--agreed with me. Most service members deployed to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait disagreed.
So watch this video:

Or this one.

Clearly, not all deployments are “equal”. As Rosa Brooks writes in By Other Means, the Air Force (counting deployments) is less dangerous than ranching or farming. Of course, if you try to have a conversation about making combat pay higher for the troops who deserve it, conservatives will shout it down as “hating the troops”.

Yep, milblogs embrace political correctness when it comes to pay...to make it more communist.

Example 3: Don’t criticize the military...they sacrificed for your right to say that.

We’ve debunked the “have you been there argument” before, but it won’t die. In the comments section of BlackFive a few weeks back, two commenters again questioned my military service. In this case, one of the writers refused to believe a former soldier would label the military “communist”. We regularly receive emails from Luttrell supporters saying something like, “I can’t believe two people who have never served in the military would dare to question his sacrifice.” We’ve gotten this same comment about our stance on the rules of engagement too. In our post launching this series, commenters again (mistakenly) believed I had never served in the military.

Well, I have. Guess what? It still doesn’t matter.

Example 4: The liberals hate the troops.

Many milblogs enforce their “military political correctness” because they believe that every liberal the world over utterly hates soldiers and their families.
Guess what? Liberals don’t hate the troops. Conservatives want liberals to hate the troops. They want to accuse them of hatred, which amounts to treason, because that silences any criticism of the military and its bloated spending priorities. Or its performance in the last two wars.

If political correctness exists--a debate for another time and another website--it exists on both sides of the aisle. Liberals have their “hate speech”, but so do conservatives.

Just don’t tell “Our Communist Milblogs”.


Gotta disagree with Michael C on the first sentence…conservatives don’t hate anything more than Obama.

And just gotta say, probably the main point of this post, but both sides of the political spectrum try to silence the other side. It’s just politics.

I am confused why you used communism, an economic theory, to describe the military. I’ll agree all military gear is ‘communal’ but there is the idea of ‘private property’ as in, better have all your gear for an inspection. It’s not your gear but you better have it shined or else.
The ‘every soldier is a hero’ has always stuck in my craw, every soldier (or in my case Marine) is NOT a hero, some are cowards, some are thieves and some are just plain idiots. Same-same goes for cops and other first responders. I believe you must do something ‘heroic’ fist.
Years of internet discussion (going back to usenet and fidonet) I have seen the “Did you serve” argument used to tell those who did not that they do not have a right to opine on a subject dealing with military. That’s stupid. Really stupid. In fact three of my favorite .mil historians did not serve and one of the best current thinkers on geo-military planning has not. I don’t care one way or another if someone has served or ‘seen the elephant’ as long as their argument is valid, I’ll listen to it.
That said, you knew this was coming right, I do think PC, for lack of a better term, has invaded political thought and by extension military. Channeling a bit of Von Clausewitz here, but we don’t fight like we used to. We regret civilian casualties, we apologize. How does an enemy interpret that? Weakness, weak knees? There was a time when we deliberately targeted civilians and not only told them so, told them we were going to do it again.
That induces fear. And demonstrates a willingness to kill as many people as possible to achieve our desires. Losing that is to our own peril. Our enemies hug civilian targets, hospitals and ‘milk factories’. Demonstrating not just a will but a desire to inflict casualties takes that away from any potential enemy.

I think the C.‘s (and feel free to correct/clarify), are using “communism” in the sense of cummunitarian social system, moreso than any arrangment of ownership of the means of production, and the its pejorative status among the objects of this series’ criticism.

I’m still enjoying these posts, and I’ll try to get it posted on Doctrine Man.

Well spotted, all of it. These posts have gotten a bit acerbic, but that might need to happen. It is hard to have a discussion on the correct use of the the military if every action, every deployment, every move is seen as “defending our freedoms.” It would be odd to hear that a soldier died to “extend our interests.”

@ Shreck – On the use of the word “communist”, I’ll be honest: I think that it’s more of a rhetorical point than anything. If anything, it should be “our Liberal military”. But it gets people’s attention, though we don’t mean it as proper communism.

That said, for this post, apportioning out rewards, like the title “hero”, without regard for accomplishment sounds like communism to me.

I see the value in the argument: PC runs on both sides. But this applies to all political arguments, everyone is a hippocrite.

I agree on the combat pay issue. Not all deployments are made equal. It slightly pisses me off all the PFCs at Ali Al Salim who never get blown up or shot at get to wear a combat patch, get their stripes, and all the pays and allowances I get working with the ANA every day. It doesn’t seem fair that countries that have never seen a round fired in anger get the same benefits as Afghanistan.

I disagree on the “every soldier a hero” portion. Naturally there is the historic definition of hero as stated above, but given the fact that only 1% of the nation ever volunteers to have the possibility of being put in harms way, i’d that that makes them a hero on the larger societal scale. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan, but i don’t consider myself a hero. I don’t necessarily consider everyone who is killed in the line of duty a hero, on the micro scale of the military. But compared to Joe Blow sitting on the couch collecting his welfare, you’re damn skippy he’s a hero.

One love peace!

By the logic that the military is a communist institution, how is a large corporation like Microsoft not a communist micro(arguably macro)cosm? The all equipment and facilities are owned by the company. All benefits are provided by the company. Each employee cannot breakaway from the company without being severed from things provided by the company. Everything done is for the good of the company etc…

The logic is slightly skewed….

Additionally, I really do appreciate the hard questions asked and the provocation to think.

@ Shreck – Actually, during WWII, throughout the war, our military planners and leaders specifically said they were not targeting civilians. They absolutely clarified that all bombing raids were targeting military targets, factories. Even for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I really don’t buy the “never show weakness to your enemy/enforce your will Clausewitzian” meme, but that is for another post.

@ Duck/the comments about strict uses of communisms – Eric and I know we need to clarify much more clearly the terms and what they mean. For instance, the old political spectrum line really doesn’t capture most of political thinking (you really need two axes at least, maybe more hypothetically).

The core use of communism in these posts means “authoritarianism”. As Ben points out, are all companies/organizations authoritarian? Yes and no. Most companies in America embrace individual empowerment for the benefit of the organization. This means high performers are rapidly promoted, and teams formed across organizations. Some organizations are experimenting without hierarchy. Our point is the army doesn’t just have a strict control structure, its members who describe themeselves as “libertarian/individualist” love collectivist/authoritarian thinking. Their don’t live the ideology they love dearly. That’s our main point.

Brilliant move there, Mikey. You delete TSO’s comments (to prove how open you are to free expression of ideas) and now he’s written a post about you that will get more readers than if you had left it alone. Pariah much?

You call us, personally, stupid, but then delete his comment because he said your post is stupid. And you think that’s discourse.

@ John Liyea – Where in the post did we call milblogs “stupid”? I searched the post using the word find function and couldn’t find it. Ironically, the main personal attack in the post is that many milbloggers use personal attacks…hrrm.

Also, we’re pretty clear in our comments section: “Finally, we’ve also developed a policy: no personal attacks. If you want to insult us or another commenter, do it somewhere else.”

TSO is more than welcome to respond on his own blog.

To iterate Eric C’s comment regarding comments. We do not tolerate personal attacks, insults or excessive curse words in comments. Comments can disagree with us all they want, but they cannot say, “This is stupid” because it doesn’t add to the discourse.

The internet has freedom of expression. Invididual publications do not. The LA Times chooses what letters it publishes. CNN chooses what it puts on the air. BlackFive chooses what guest posts they publish. Many blogs/news outlets have started limiting or ending comments entirely because they devolve into personal attacks. We don’t want to do that, but we will police the comments to keep them respectful.

So, if you were so offended by the first post, pray tell why you responded to it? And then deleted it when you realized you had no leg to stand on.

So once again, tell us how accusing conservatives of hating Single Mom’s furthers discourse, and how milblogs are the ones so easily offended, except of course for you when someone uses the heinous adjective of “stupid” which absolutely sends you into vapors.

@TSO, I didn’t think this had to be pointed out, but the first sentence is a humorous exaggeration (at least I took it that way, since the list of things conservatives hate also evidently includes soccer).

Since this has really stuck in the Blackfive writers’ collective craw, will you be writing a rebuttal? Hell, I would love to see a Blackfive vs OnV debate if you guys can find specific points of the C.‘s argument you would like to contest.

@C.‘s, something I am a little concerned about, when I step away from this series for a moment, is that its argument is essentially impressionistic, in terms of its evidence. You bring up a few blogs, but are really discussing the behavior of countless individuals. My own observations substantiate your argument for me, but I fear that my biases are filling in an evidential gap that maybe they shouldn’t. I appreciate that it is not practical to analyze all of the milblogisphere for a robust content analysis, and I fear that limitation creates a position where reader predilection can override argument.

I think the first line of our post was meant as a joke—I don’t think anyone would take it seriously.

That said, calling our blog “shitty” on your own blog—along with dozens of other insults—I don’t think you meant those as jokes.

We have a policy: no personal attacks. Next time, write “I disagree” instead of “this is the stupidest post I’ve ever read”.

@ Duck – the examples cited above are meant to represent the larger issue. We don’t like to claim people say something without providing examples—creating a straw man—but there’s only so much room to provide examples.

And yes, this doesn’t apply to all milblogs, mostly just the conservative ones. Wings over Iraq, Abu muquawama, the best defense, for example, don’t do this.

The only reason I showed up here and read this is well you kinda fished a bit. This really wouldn’t have made any headway if you had not posted anything about thisainthell.us, so good job there you upped your count.

Now as far as your actual points about “military political correctness” who exactly are you attacking? The military in general or just milblogs, because your logic in linking this to the military being pseudo communist is at best shaky. Now I could go back and read everything else you wrote, but I can probably draw the lines I have heard the arguments before. It really isn’t new.

To break your argument down into a form I can understand just for this sake. Political correctness is a symptom/sign of communism, milblogs practice a form of PC that you like to call Military PC therefore milblogs (who practice MPC) are communist. Now granted I know this is kind of dumbed down logic form.

Your evidence is: 1)every soldier is a hero, 2)every soldier is equal in sacrifice, 3)don’t criticize, and 4)liberals hate troops. I am just going to address each one individually quickly. 1)In the case of Chris Hayes as you pointed out, it wasn’t so much he asked the question, he was a prick about it. Yeah some in the media got on him hell I served with some people I would never think of as a “hero” and I don’t mind saying it. 2)Everyone’s sacrifice is the same? Boiling it down to pay? Obviously you haven’t read some of the posts where we have openly talked about this, or how brass visits on the last day of the month and leaves on the first… 3)So fucking what if I have been checked so many times it isn’t funny. There are times to criticize a decision and not to. Sometimes you have to be in that persons boots and sometimes if you make a stupid comment people are going to question your integrity. It happens, get over it. 4)Dude I am almost out of steam here. This is one of those arguments that okay, do all liberals hate the military? No…but, if you get fifty liberals together and ask them how to balance the budget, what are they going to say? This is just common sense speaking, but I would almost bet that an overwhelming majority would say cut defense spending. What does that really translate to bottom line? Troops and equipment, sure they can get rid of the next strike fighter which will cost jobs in whatever state or they can just lower recruitment numbers and tighten retention. So yes on a personal level it get perceived that way. How often does a purely assholeish comment come out of the left? Hell just watch Bill Maher and you will get that impression real quick.

I don’t think your argument stands up to scrutiny. If I were someone who hadn’t read from one of the blogs in question, sure I could buy it. If I were kinda smart and did some due diligence and maybe did fact checking or if I were a part of one of the communities, I have to kinda call bullshit on you its weaksauce.

Sorry for any grammatical and spelling errors…I am not proofreading this, I have spent enough time on it.

@Michael C.
In WW2 what might have been said and what was done were two entirely different things and our enemies and our allies were aware of that.

The deliberate firebombing of Japanese cities was done to inflict heavy civilian casualties, dropping magnesium incendiaries and following it with a wave of napalm strikes kept fires burning and killing thousands of civilians. There is nothing wrong with fighting a total war, but one needs to be aware when doing so your enemy will fight the same way. Our enemies have made it clear your civilian status is irrelevant, it is a lesson the Israelis have learned decades ago. It would be wise for us to comprehend the lesson and draw appropriate conclusions if we intend to prosecute a war against sovereign nations housing NGO terrorist organizations. The end result for the host nation should be a full declaration of war from the United States and the mission should involve the destruction of infrastructure from power stations (such as they are in a 3rd world nation) to arable land. It is difficult to export your particular brand of jihad when you can’t grow a blade of grass or turn on a light bulb anywhere in the country.

Make our enemies surrender unconditionally as was done in previous conflicts instead of trying to build a consensus of police like occupation using troops not trained as an occpuational police force.

@ Just Plain Jason and John Liyea – Ironically, throughout the three year history of the blog, we’ve specifically avoided discussing and linking to more conservative milblogs, for just that reason.

Driving traffic from conservative milblogs doesn’t help us, because most of those readers won’t agree with what we have to say, so they won’t stick around and become regular readers. The general tone of the debate (“This blog is shitty,” for example) is not something we want to be a part of.

We linked to milblogs so we wouldn’t be accused of making a straw man argument.

Also, if you don’t want to send traffic our way, don’t link to us. That’s what we’ve done in the past when we didn’t want to send traffic to blogs we disagree with.

Actually, you have kind of drawn my interest. Not necessarily in a good way, I didn’t say your blog was shitty. I just said your argument was weak. Maybe I can learn something from you. Hell I need to work on my logic and writing a little. If you get legit criticism then maybe you should look into what you are saying. I wrote something quick without any real examination and without any real depth into your argument. If your overall arching argument is “the military is communist”, (forgive me I am paraphrasing) then maybe you should be up for some criticizing. If I write something then I should be up for criticizing. You are putting out a blog and thus opening yourself to that kind of criticism. Hell both and TSO have probably said, “that guy is nuts or off” base in reference to me and we have disagreed on several topics, but we have kept the channels open for communication.

@ John – Yeah, I just hate the coarsening of discourse across the internet. I hate personal attacks, and I hate phrases like, “Sorry excuse for a blog.” I hate it when people call other people or blogs “shitty”. Please, feel free to not visit or comment on our site.

@ Jason – If you want to criticize the argument go ahead. We find well written critiques the best way to sharpen our arguments. (We used this exact technique for our article in the SWJ on war with Iran, for example.)

@ John – To avoid the confusion, I’m not a moderate, I’m a liberal, a progressive, an Obama voter and a socialist, because I believe in universal health care, just like the US military.

@ C.‘s – Maybe you should start including a disclaimer making it clear that you don’t think the US is full of people committed to the communist ideology, and that you are using the term as a rhetorical device to highlight tendencies which create inconsistencies in the worldviews of many military folks.

That might finally end all of the hang up on the term that seems to prevent engagement with the actual argument.

Would you mind if we steal almost your exact verbiage? That about sums up exactly what we were trying to do.

However, with some arguments (for example my article on combat pay) it doesn’t matter how nuanced you make your argument people will misunderstand it.

@ Duck – You read my mind. I literally had thought that exact thing earlier today, based on the comments we’ve received.

I don’t mind at all. Thanks for asking, all the same.

I started to get lost with all the comments so forgive me if this was covered.

I think an analog to military PC in the civilian world is cop PC, as typified by the phrase “Support your police.” To me that phrase really means “Ignore bad cops.” Good citizenship is all that any police officer needs or can ask for. The phrase “Support the police” is mostly used to excuse bad policing. That kind of usage dishonors good cops as much as ‘every soldier a hero’ minimizes the accomplishments of genuinely good soldiers.

Michael C: Forcing enemies into unconditional surrender has never been the norm in American wars. Even in WWII only Germany was subject to that. Japan was more or less led to believe the Emperor was off limits. (I’m pretty sure about that.) It is a problem for us when so many think that unconditional surrender was the normal thing.

Oh I forgot. I can’t say “That’s stupid!”, so can I say “That thought is ill considered.”?

Carl I love your analogy to police and “support your police.” I feel that a lot of times “loyalty” means “protecting your own when they do illegal/unethical things.” Sometimes military supporters get dangerously close to this line.

Anyways I don’t know where you wrote “that’s stupid” but yeah “that thought is ill-considered is better phrased.”

This guy was a hero – he defined the word by his actions:

“Ripley was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in destroying the Dong Ha bridge during the April 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive (also known as the Nguyen Hue Offensive). While under intense unrelenting enemy fire, Ripley dangled for an estimated three hours under the bridge in order to attach 500 pounds of explosives to the span, ultimately obliterating it. His action, conducted under enemy fire while going back and forth for materials, definitively thwarted an onslaught by 20,000 enemy troops and dozens of tanks and was the subject of a book, The Bridge at Dong Ha, by Colonel John Grider Miller. He attributes his success to the help of God and his mother. When his energy was about to give out he began a rhythmic chant, “Jesus, Mary, Get me there”. His body taxed to its extreme limits, his action is considered one of the greatest examples of concentration under fire in the annals of U.S. military history. It also delayed NVA forces from taking Saigon for another three years.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ripley_(USMC)

@ H Luce – So you agree that that guy was a hero compared to someone who deployed to a base that didn’t see combat and never participated in combat?

Because today’s military doesn’t make a distinction.

Eric C:

Your comment reminded me of a thought that occurred to me when I read Losing Small Wars. Ledwidge recounted how the British effort in Helmand kept going from bad to worse to worse, but upon his return home, every British commanding general got his decoration and promotion regardless. It reminded me of some American kid’s soccer team where everybody gets a trophy and everybody is told how fine a job they did, the object being that all will feel fine about themselves. That is what the British Army was doing with their fighting generals, their object was to make sure the individuals and the organization felt good about themselves, results be damned.

Your comment is true and it makes it clear that our military is going down the same road, winning is being defined as everybody and the organization feeling good about themselves.

Imagine that, the American military being strongly motivated by the same sensibilities as the “Awww, but then they’ll feel sad.” crowd.

Eric C:

It depends – certainly exposure to physical peril is one aspect of heroism, but it’s the concept of “above and beyond the call of duty” which should control, in part. Another part of it might be putting one’s career at risk in order to prevent or stop war crimes, such as the action of the door gunner of the helo at My Lai. Indiscriminate slaughter of civilians is an incentive for their kin to join active resistance against occupying troops; actions done to stop this can be considered heroic as well.

carl: The text of the Japanese Instrument of surrender line 3 follows:

“We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

Semantics perhaps in the face of leaving the monarchy intact, but there was no guarantee from the US that the monarchy would be left intact prior to the last minute negotiations after Russian invasion.

The atomic bombs presented Hirohito with a way to negotiate a surrender that would save his throne, and present him to his people as a pacifist making the occupation of his nation smoother. It’s interesting to note that until the Russians declared war and invaded Manchuria Hirohito was willing to sacrifice his beloved people to save his throne. He knew a Russian victory would see the emperor hung like a dog, thus he was motivated to surrender to the US under conditional terms unconditionally.


That is a helo crew you are referring to. The pilot was Hugh Thompson and the door gunners Glenn Andreotta and Lawrence Colburn. Remarkable men. I believe Colburn didn’t come home.

@Eric C: As an older guy who remembers the troopers in the Vietnam era, hero is an interesting term to me. I do think the semantics involved are a method to change the dialogue about the war. It’s not comfortable discussing the fact that a nation that has been ruled by a religious feudal theocracy since the dawn of time is not going to be a blue jean, ebay consuming democratic republic any time soon. So when you ask why are we using our young people’s lives in a war that won’t change Afghanistan unless we stay there for 70-100 years your argument can be stalled by questioning your respect for our heroes.

Afghanistan is a sh1thole ruled by fear and oppression, when the US leaves the nation will fall into the hands of our enemies the same as South Vietnam fell to the North. The people willing to exercise ruling power through force of arms and total oppression of the populace in Afghanistan are always going to be in charge. At some point it’s important to ask ourselves what is the mission in places like this? We are not going to be bringing them democracy in a decade of occupation, so what are we doing? If we are looking to keep them from exporting terror to protect our interests we have found a very expensive method for doing so. All of these questions are uncomfortable, thus declaring you an unpatriotic sycophant who doesn’t respect the heroes protecting us is an attempt to invalidate your argument.

At least that’s my take on it, not that my opinion is worth much.

Michael C:

I knew you would look it up.

This “under conditional terms unconditionally” is a great phrase. It reminds me of a scene in the movie Hallelujah Trail where the SGT Buell (John Anderson) asks COL Thaddeus Gearhart (Burt Lancaster) how he should write up the days activities in the unit log. COL Gearhart (Lancaster) thinks for a second then tells him to write down that they were maintaining ‘detached contact.’ SGT Buell looks at him and says “Detached contact Sir?” “Yes, detached contact.”

All it has to do is work.


Afghanistan hasn’t been ruled by a religious theocracy since the dawn of time. It was mostly ruled by king type politicians of their own or of some other state. I’ve read that at the local level there was a lot of tension between the elites and the mullahs over who had more influence. This rule religious figures is a bit unusual in the country’s history.

Thanks for the heads up Carl, I though the satrap system of feudal surrogates was based around the predominant religions of their time a sort of ethno-religious entity based on who had conquered and currently controlled each provinicial satrapie.

I understood that this was the case with satraps until the 7th century when a predominantly muslim influence created the position of caliph in areas of Afghanistan. Caliph was always a religious leadership position along with a regional political leadership position as I understood it.

Perhaps I don’t remember my history as well as I thought I did. I will adjust my thinking and do some research, thank you.

@ Veritas Omnia Vinci – Please don’t curse in the comments section, including curse words obscured by numerals.

@Eric, my apologies for not understanding the etiquette here, it won’t happen again.

No worries, especially since I don’t think you meant offense by it.

Oh no, I started walking with my shoelaces tied together again. VOV, I apologize profusely for directing my response to your post to Michael C. My vision isn’t good with my glasses off, even close up. The advantage with being an old guy is I remember good lines from old movies and the disadvantage is I can’t see so good and bump into things.

It’s always a difficult thing for commanders and comrades-in-arms to tell families of troops killed in action that the troop killed in action died in a pointless futile war with no benefit to anyone outside of the defense contractors who are making billions out of the war. No – it’s not merely difficult, it’s well nigh impossible. So what we say, to offer some little comfort to the bereaved, is to say that their loved ones were heroes, and that they died in a heroic and good cause, regardless of the facts of the situation. It puts an acceptable face on the war and prevents domestic conflict on the one hand, but for the most part it makes life livable for the survivors. That’s all I can really think of, at this point.

Isn’t there a faulty inital assumption?
What is refered here as “milblogs” (cf. the linked examples) is more like “political blogs pushing a right-wing narrative, using the military as a prop”.
Not “milblogs”, but, IMHO, “red meat” political/opinion blogs written by people with military background; a left-over from the big ‘push’ from the immediate post 9/11 to the start of the iraq war, maybe?

That’s the big flaw of US “milblogs” in general, incidentally.

Broadling speaking, nowadays, you’ve got either “gucci gear” blogs, focusing on shiny new tacticool toys (eventually to switch to zombie stuff, I guess, the middle-east warfighting era settling down, not with a bang but with a whimper), or conservative/right-wing political blogs fighting the “culture war” behind a “mil” fig leaf.
And sometimes, you’ve got both, if only because the gear-queens who tend to flock to the former are likely supporters of the later.

Ironically enough, the US milblogs that try to ‘think’ things out, instead of shopping and/or cheerleading, often tend to go against the “milblog” grain, and so are liable to be called out on being “liberal”.
Not to even mention the milblogs that actually are anti-war, or war-skeptic… those are down right “traitors” and “anti-american”!

All the best,

@H Luce, difficult to tell them they died protecting our national resource interests in foreign lands. Difficult telling them we are expending lives and treasure while we wait and see if we can create a government that can stand on its own and be an ally in the pursuit of foreign resources.

With these wars however there was no thought as to how to conduct an occupation that would result in a stable post conflict government or if that was even possible. With latter case difficult to make, it would call into question the entire reason for occupation in the first place. We don’t like those conversations very much either in this country. A proper discussion regarding a declaration of war is what should have taken place instead of an authorization to use force. That authorization allowed Congress to abdicate its duty to debate the long term goals and agree to a plan that either toppled the government and left behind a destroyed country without infrastructure to keep the country from promulgating further exportation of jihad, or a plan that included a long term occupation with the appropriate ROEs in place, or not going at all because the inevitable outcomes were not worth the expenditure in lives and dollars to achieve them.

No debate, no plan, potentially ugly outcome still looming with an already defined exit strategy. Not the best way for either party to conduct foreign affairs.

@ Kevin – You’re totally right on all of your points, and I agree with the categories you seperate the various milblogs into. (Ironically, one of the responses we’ve received from one of those milBlogs said that we’re not a “real” milblog.)

This is something we’ll need to follow up on in the future, hopefully without starting a blog war.

@ Kevin, I think this post is the closest we will get to firing off on milblogs. The entire point, though, is about the disconnect between military blogs endorsing hardcore libertarian ideology, while supporting the largest part of the government. The largest part!

@ Carl – I just read your earlier comment. I’d have responded earlier, but I got caught up in all the other comment nonsense on this thread.

We’ve got a link coming up on Wednesday that links to a Thomas Rick’s article on accountability in the military compared to World War II. We used to hold officers responsible for failure. We don’t today.

You’re exact thought (soccer trophies given to every participant) is one of the reasons we started this series. This week’s posts might interest you.

Might want to think of PC as a logical fallacy known as a “bed time story”. It’s a phrase used to shut down arguments by labeling them.