July 31, 2018
There are several key factors that are necessary to be able to project power. People get all fixated on the flashy, moving bits and pieces like helicopters, tanks and aircraft carriers.
But that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Just off the top of my head, you need a couple of prerequisites.
Stability back home
If you start a serious war, the home front is going to be put under strain.
No one is going to be queuing up in an orderly line in the West anymore.
I’m honestly not sure how any Western country would be able to keep the home front locked down and stable if they had to divert actual resources away from gibs programs and keeping the vast surveillance network on Moslem terrorists and Mexican gangs working overtime.
The state and federal governments might simply start…ceding control.
High Pain Threshold
The US has become notoriously pain-averse. When you’re fighting a war against sand-people that can only manage to kill 5k soldiers in ten years of fighting, that’s really not so scary.
Say the US goes to war with a near-peer or a peer power.
Sure, you’d have some poor Southern proles with lingering patriotism and some mystery-meat mercenaries collecting benefits that would enlist to fight…but would they be willing to fight and die when the going got tough?
I’m not so sure.
The biggest problem that the US will face in a war is that soldiers don’t know what they’re fighting for.
Nothing to Come Back To
It’s a trope in war movies where soldiers look at photos of their loved ones before going into battle.
But there are no women worth coming back to.
She won’t wait for you while you’re off fighting. She ain’t even worth fighting for. None of it is. It ain’t your home anymore. The bank owns it. Granny is dead and her ashes in an urn. No one’s cooking up Christmas dinners anymore for the family. If you ever do meet up you notice that there are no kids at these family dinners anymore. No one running around excitedly, waiting to open the presents under the tree. Only your grown-up sisters and brothers and cousins. Ted’s got a drug problem now. Lizzy brought her half-Arab boyfriend last year. He used to beat her, but they’ve broken up now. She cut her hair off and got a piercing on her eyebrow. Timmy is about to go off to the State University. He doesn’t know what he wants to study and he’s quiet and withdrawn now. Doesn’t look up from his phone. Dark circles under his eyes from staying up all night.
Dad’s new family doesn’t like it when he spends time with his old family. His new girlfriend already has a daughter from another marriage. She wears heavy dark mascara and disappears for days at a time. Maybe Dad’ll come, maybe he won’t. Mom just got diagnosed with diabetes and she’s worried. The money is going to get a lot more strained, and you’re not sure what the health insurance situation is like. No one seems to know.
You try to avoid politics and focus on family at these dinners. But Lizzy’s been getting more and more political. She keeps bringing up Trump now. She doesn’t like him, and she’s convinced that Dad secretly voted for him. She yelled at him over dinner last year and called him a Fascist… He’s probably not coming this year. You’re not sure, but you suspect that she knows you voted for him too.
He seemed like a good man. You couldn’t really understand why, but you liked what he was saying. You even attended one of his rallies, drawn to the high-energy like a moth to a flame. An alright dude with a MAGA hat added you on Facebook after the event and you had some drinks with him as he talked about how Trump was going to save America. That sounded like a pretty damn good idea to you. And the way he talked about the flag and the military and the country…well it made you feel something in your gut, the stirrings of something that you hadn’t felt in a long time.
You felt it stirring inside you, humming and resonating like a long and deep cello note being traced by the wand of a master virtuoso. Hard to capture, and hard to describe, but your body began to quiver like a tuning fork when you saw a video on Facebook that your friend shared. It was a montage of Trump’s speeches. And when he said, “Make America Great Again,” you felt that tremor rising up from your heart to your head, flushing your face and making you breath faster. It felt invigorating. You felt alive.
But that was then and this is now. Mike Pence has been appointed president now that Trump is gone. And you just don’t feel the same thing that you felt with Trump. And now they’re talking about some war. It’s with Iran this time, something to do with terrorism and nukes and Israel.
They’re also talking about the Russians causing trouble somewhere over there and here. You’re not sure what to think of the Russians. They seem shady and suspicious and you’ve never met a Russian before. Maybe they’re the ones plotting, making everything suck so much.
You wish you could ask someone, but no one seems to know what’s going on.
Your new Facebook friend hasn’t been around for months now. He started writing on his wall about the “Globalists” and Israel, and then suddenly his account disappeared. You never left a comment or a like, but you watched his videos and tried to understand what they were talking about. Many of them were strange, talking about Israel bombing American ships fifty years ago and about something called “Cultural Marxism.”
It was hard to remember all the details, but you remember feeling an itch start developing…almost in the back of your head as you watched this stuff.
You felt almost as if…there was an answer somewhere in those videos to the questions you had swirling in your head. Before the videos and Trump, you just had a depressed feeling in the pit of your stomach. You didn’t have any questions. Only quiet despair. But now, you’re starting to get worried. It feels like something isn’t right. Something that you can’t quite see, but which is enveloping your entire life.
Is it the Russians?
It might be. Either way, you went ahead and enlisted two years ago in the Army. You sort of regret the decision now that things seem to be heating up…but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Better than just sitting around and rotting away in town. You wanted to get away. There are a lot of new faces in town and they make you feel uncomfortable. You’re not a racist though. That’s not how you were brought up. That’s not American. This country was founded when the US defeated the Nazis to establish independence. You’re not a Nazi. Besides, some of them are alright. Kumar is pretty chill and he likes Trump too. He also sells you good quality weed for cheap so you don’t have to deal with the sketchy ghetto types.
Even so, you want to get away.
Maybe when they deploy you at the end of the month you’ll get some adventure at the very least. You kind of want to die, but at the same time that’s more of a depression thing than a heroism type thing. You want to live through the war, and you want to get that paycheck. That’s about it.
Going to fight is just slightly better than the alternative: staying.
I could be wrong, but I think that you’d find a lot of average American GI Joes that think more or less along these lines.
If morale matters at all in a war…I don’t think these guys are going to be able to fight for a long time.