restricted access The Civilianized Warrior
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42 Historically Speaking March/April 2006 those displayed by 20th-century combat infantry. Indeed, the Marines described by Wright are the lineal descendants ofthe World War I American "devil dogs," or Teufelhunden, who so impressed the German army at the battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. Moreover, the Marines ofthe new millennium are, like their forebears, unplugged Americans who are permitted no electronic devices beyond those of military usage. Wright notes ofhis subjects: In many respects, the life they [the Marines] have chosen is a complete rejection of the hyped, consumerist American dream as it is dished out in reality shows and pop-song lyrics. They've chosen asceticism over consumption . Instead of celebrating their individualism, they've subjugated theirs to the collective will of an institution . Their highest aspiration is selfsacrifice over self-preservation. These Marines, fighting across a land once traversed by Xenophon and the Ten Thousand, defy easy categorization. Drawn from multiple ethnic groups, among them are born-again Christians with Jesus tattoos, readers of Shakespeare, lovers of Barry Manilow songs, and devotees of the martial arts. When a former first sergeant is killed in action, the Reconnaissance Marines hold a memorial service and bond by putting their hands together in order to chant a cheer in his memory : "Kill!"11 Arma virumque cano says Virgil at the beginning of The Aeneid: "I sing of arms and the man." It is a melancholy truth that, for so long as there are wars, Virgil's song will be important to the survival of civilization. It is Plato who warns in the Laches that effective soldiering requires moral qualities and a commitment to the community rather than a simple recourse to soulless technical skill.12 Finally, it is worth noting that Patton, often viewed as an archaic military figure, was in truth a blend of the premodern and the modern , of the technical and the spiritual. Patton may have been steeped in Livy's history ofthe Punic Wars and Caesar's Commentaries, but he was also a modern tank commander of genius. The experience of World War I had taught him to be skeptical of what he viewed as the spell of "Samson's jawbone," that is of viewing machines as a panacea for winning wars. In a 1933 essay on mechanized forces Patton noted: "today machines hold the place formerly occupied by the jawbone, the elephant , armor, the long bow, gun powder and latterly, the submarine. They too shall pass." He concluded: "it is the spirit of the fighting men who follow and the man who leads that gains the victory."13 We have not yet reached a time in which it is necessary to revise Patton's judgment. Dr. Michael Evans is a seniorfellow in the Australian Army 's Land Warfare Studies Centre at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra. He is the coeditor ofThe Human Face ofWarfare: Killing, Fear and Chaos in Battle (Allen & Unwin, 2000) and o/Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare in the Information Age (Allen & Unwin, 2004). 1 For a good summary ofthe literature see Michael O'Hanlon, Technological Change and the Future of Warfare (Brookings Institution Press, 2000), ch. 2. 2 Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton University Press, 1976), 89. 3 Marshal Maurice de Saxe, "My Reveries Upon the Art of War," in Brigadier General T. R. Phillips, ed, Roots ofStrategy: The 5 Greatest Military Classics ofAll Time (Stackpole Books, 1985), 189. 4 Ibid., 190-91. 5 Ardant du Picq, Battle Studies: Ancient and Modern Battle, trans. J. N. Greely and R. C. Cotton (Stackpole Books, 1987), ch. 2. 6 S. L. A. Marshall, Men Against Fire: The Problem ofBattle Command in Future War (Infantry Journal Press, 1947), 26. 7 Quoted in William Pfaff, The Bullet's Song: Romantic Violence and Utopia (Simon & Schuster, 2004), 132. 8 See Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature ofMasculinity (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), ch. 43, 402, 403. J√ľnger was the author of one of the greatest memoirs of World War 1, Storm ofSteel, first published in 1920. 9 Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism, 550-51. 10James Jones, "World War II," in...


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