Friday, June 8, 2018

Donald J. Trump and Military Science 101

In Military Science 101 at the U of Illinois in 1961, we were "discussing" — getting Socratically quizzed on — military preparedness. Our instructor, the Professor of Military Science and Tactics and head of the Army ROTC unit, asked what sort of preparedness the US should pursue.
First guy he called on (and we were all guys) said the US should be able to defend ourselves "against any conceivable attack." The PMS&T asked/challenged — "Invasion from Mars?" And the student answered back, "I said 'conceivable' ... Sir." "H. G. Wells conceived of it, and it's been a popular literary theme ever since. Should we prepare for invasion from Mars?"
The instructor kept pressing the point, which I enjoyed (although I came to understand better why the Athenians poisoned Socrates) until he finally got a class consensus that we should fund the military to where we could defend the US against attack from any country or any group of countries including every other country. 
The PMS&T then paused and said something like, "Well, aside from any ethical qualms you might have fighting for a country that couldn't find a single ally on the planet — thank you, gentlemen: in your little frenzy of patriotic zeal you've just bankrupted the Republic. (beat) It was a trick question; you had to have read the assignment, or thought. It's a political question and a diplomatic one: What more precisely does the President and the Department of Defense want to *do* with the military, and what allies can we get — and what will they go along with."
Colonel Ramrod (my very private name for him) thought 18-year-olds should be able to figure out on our own that the US needs allies, or read, already, our goddamn assignments in the US Army history of the US Army and see that that was the assumption by US military folk pretty much since the US got in the Great Powers business.
I think Cadet Trump missed that class.

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