The Past is a Different Country

A recent viewer of Hacksaw Ridge — a movie on an remarkable conscientious objector, who won the Medal of Honor in World War II — mentioned that men would commit suicide if they were rejected from the draft due to a 4F classification.

Even as soon as the Korean War, the situation had changed, as many men would starve themselves to get a 4F classification.

But it is eye-opening to me, that the Japanese were not the only ones with a real-life warrior culture in World War II. There was a genuine warrior culture in the U.S., too.

Certainly, there are benefits to living in a seriously disciplined cultures: one not just dictated from a bunch of leaders above, but naturally rising from the people below. But then again, the distinct lack of such cultures is probably the reason why World War III never kicked off.

The Japanese live well in anime and factories; we live well in our electronic universes; and the Arabs – many of whom really do uphold the warrior culture – live poor and unpleasant lives. When they aren’t ripping each other apart.

The time of the warrior-nation will return, I suspect, but that will be at a very different time than we are in today. And that soldier with a very different sensibility than the soldier of the 1940s, or the regimented foot soldier of the 18th century, or the knights of the Middle Ages, or the Roman legionaries.

For one thing, there will be all these cell phone cameras… and drones… and robots… and genetic/cybernetic upgrades…

(Inspired by North’s review Hacksaw Ridge: a World Long Gone)

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About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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One Response to The Past is a Different Country

  1. Andrew says:

    Pretty much the reason for a Crusade is that a population linked physically, emotionally or religiously to the Crusaders is at risk by ‘The Enemy.’

    WWII was The Great Crusade for several reasons. One was the build-up of emotions since WWI – The Depression, the FDR recovery (not so nice for lots of people.) Another was the rising war in Europe (lots of people still had direct or strong emotional ties to places they watched being torn apart in newsreels.) And then a nominally-safe nation stabs the USA in the back, threatening civilians stateside (The culture of the USA has always accepted being punched in the face much better than being kicked in the backside.)

    This is what made WWII ‘The Great Crusade.’ Crusading warriors fought to save crusading civilians. The warriors saw the suffering of the people at home, the people at home saw the bravery of the warriors and the horrors they faced. Clear threats, clear goals, Clear Enemies.

    Korea was different. We had a good fight, not a war, a fight (yes it was a war, but not declared, people don’t fall behind an undeclared fight.) We had a functional military with scads of warfighting equipment lying about, scads of trained warriors, a military bureaucracy that could handle a build-up of old and new troops (okay, maybe nots0 well at the beginning, but got much better at the end) and a draft-system still available. Unfortunately, the opponent was a place that could not threaten directly the state-side population, and the ‘government’ was the new-fangled UN which was a bunch of foreigners trying to tell the USA what to do (not ever a good idea.) Thus, no reason for a Crusade. No clear threat, no clear goal, no real enemy equals no Crusade. Many ‘crusaders’ fought well (Frozen Chosin is one example) but no emotional tie to the people, no emotional tie to the States. May have turned into one if North Korea (and their puppet-masters) had been able to directly threaten the States (Airborne delivery of weaponized Kimchi?)

    Vietnam was worse – almost an anti-Crusade. A slow military buildup in a place most people had no idea existed fighting an enemy that had no chance in heck of even attempting to threaten the stateside population, with a civilian government ham-handedly handling war decisions and an actively hostile media (soviet sponsored, it’s true!) along with a civilian population that was far more concerned with the Soviet Union and Europe than some piss-hole that nothing came from. All aspects of non-Crusade. Nothing to directly fight for and not backed by the people at home. Yes, the soldiers that fought did great feats of martial prowess that in previous wars would have brought them great public acclaim. Yes, they went and changed for the positive the political and social structure of a nation which sorely needed help (until we pulled out, then any chance was crushed by the North Viets in ’75.) Great feats of might by great warriors and no-one cared. Hell, the better the warrior was, the worse the civilians treated them.

    But.

    In the heart of the American culture lurks the Crusader. The Noble Warrior. The Lone Viking on the Bridge (Stamford Bridge, an epic fight where a Norse warrior held off the Saxons for, like 40 dead dudes until some jerks in a boat came underneath him (bridge, remember?) and stabbed him in the arse and junk and stuff. Underhanded defeat to say the least.) The lone Cowboy, riding in to save the town, riding out like Shane because…

    9-11 brought out the Crusader spirit in our fighters and in our people. An enemy which threatened us directly on our soil had risen and, worse, actually struck us. Not the military, us civilians. So we rose in the New Crusade, and sent our Crusaders off to do great deeds while supporting them as good civilians, and the Crusaders won, handily, with great feats of martial prowess that we celebrated.

    And then, well, we re-entered a non-crusade period. An enemy existed that didn’t directly (as in active, linkable actions over here in the states that affected civilians in the states) and we lost our crusader spirit. Our warriors, many infused with the Crusader spirit, still stepped into battle and continued to do great feats for us, but our government and our media actively un-crusaded their achievements (So, a guy steps into a gay bar and screams “Allahu Ackbar” and “in the name of ISIS” and our government and our media says it isn’t related to, oh, say, ISIS and Islamic Terrorism? WTF?)

    We will step up to the Upcoming Crusade, as the hordes of Islam start directly affecting our civilians, our lands, and our government and media actually label them as “An ENEMY”. It will take a large loss of life thrust into our faces before we rise, like a giant, from slumber. That rising, with or without Europe and other nominally Christian countries, will strike great blows and push the enemy back into their holes. Our crusading warriors will once again stride across the battlefield, sure in the knowledge that they have the support of a willing civilian population, a functional government and an actual CAUSE for war. (Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women, meanwhile actually bringing truth, justice and the freedom of the American way of life to a people that are just somewhat-to-well educated tribes with lots of money and guns.)

    It will happen. It will be a sad, troubled time, full of death and hatred, misery and strife, but the Crusade will persevere (or we will be wiped from the face of the earth.)

    Heavy stuff.

    And talking to the warriors of our current years, cell-phones, drones, hot showers, MREs, MRAPs et-al, they would easily fit in with other crusaders of the past, understanding their problems, their issues, their lives and desires. War be war, killin be killin, crusadin be crusadin. The difference you would see is not in the warrior or the soldier, but in the civilian. That is where the changes truly have occurred. (No real threat truly to the common US civilian today. Now if there were sieges and lines of battle here in the USA, then things might be different.)

    Ah, enough. Too dark, fingers tired, brain hears screams and clashing of weapons upon shields while planes fly overhead and tanks battle war-elephants. Woof. Need to go play a nice quiet trade-war scenario for a while.

    Remember what Brian sang on the Cross…

    Always look on the Bright Side of Life, tada, tada, tadadadadada.

    Like

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