“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Pious Pronouncements and other Nonsensical Insincerities
If you go to Real Clear Politics and look at the index for articles, you will find this one:
A Terrible Ignominy
How many Republicans will desert the troops?
by William Kristol
02/12/2007, Volume 012, Issue 21
Without getting into the merits of the article, I pose a question. What constitutes either support for the troops or deserting the troops? To begin with, military service is based on orders and your compliance is expected. That is why they are called orders. You are not consulted and neither ask for an explanation nor are offered one. You train for a mission and when the mission is presented to you, it is done with compliance expected.
Opinions, happiness or lack of appreciation and enthusiasm is irrelevant. Pious pronouncements about supporting the troops are absurd. The mission begins when you are ordered to start and ends when you are ordered to stop. The commitment is between parenthesis. A soldier, sailor, airman or marine is a professional that is told to fire or hold fire. He is given rules of engagement. He is trained to follow instructions and conventions. There are no consultations with politicians.
"Supporting the troops" is one of the many dishonest and insincere phrases that roll too easily off the forked tongue of politicians. "Have a nice day", "you are in our thoughts and prayers" and "thank you for your service" all ring hollow to my ears.
The idea that men in combat need to stay in combat, because some politician claims that they need to do so based on some bizarre sense of momentum of public support, is laughable. I can speak from experience, that when in the middle of some difficult and unpleasant assignment, had someone said, do you want to pack it in and go home, the resounding expression would have been many variations of:
Thanks, have a nice day, you will be in my thoughts and prayers, and I will see you at the airport.