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07/01/2008

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MSS

Terrific post.

Although not the central point by any means, I thought this was nicely put:

'counterinsurgency is the ultimate expression of the adage, "All politics is local." '

Indeed.

Cole

I certainly agree that being in the military does not mean that you would make a good political leader. What you say is true but I would look at it another way. Serving, especially in combat, drives home the reality of conflict. Seeing the limitations, the magnitude of staging a military operation and the cost in human lives are things that a civilian can only imagine. It's like watching a police show and having somebody ask,"How come the sniper cant just shoot the gun out his hand?" Oh, that it should be so easy. The military is the BFH of politics (big F'n hammer). I want my poliical leaders to have some idea of just how unwieldy it is before they decide to pick it up and use it. I'm not advocating that only veterans should be able to be civilian leaders, as in Heinlien's Starship Troopers. Civilian leaders do need to know that the biggest policy tool they have has tendency to hurt it's operator just as much the object it is thrown against, either from personal experience or from people very close by that have it.

Peter Wallace

Military experience is not necessary or even desirable for a political leader. Margaret Thatcher had the steely resolve to see out the Falklands War where many others would have baulked. Neville Chamberlain saw extensive action in WWI but lacked the resolve to stand up to Hitler due to a fear of precipitating a similar conflict. It is generally better that the military is just one tool of government guided by an intelligent and well informed civilian leadership.

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