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The Confederate Lawyer
May 16, 2014

Charles Mills

The Gods of the Copybook Headings Return
by Charles G. Mills
fitzgerald griffin foundation

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
—Rudyard Kipling
*

GLEN COVE, NY  — The gods of the copybook headings are, indeed, haunting the Obama foreign policy with terror and slaughter.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.
ν Publius Flavius Vegetius

“If you want peace, prepare for war.” The United States is now reducing its armed forces to their smallest size since 1941. We no longer even pretend that we can meet two challenges. Russia wages wars of aggression with no fear of either the United States or the Christian West. Christians are slaughtered all over the Maghreb and the Middle East.

We have seen this scenario before when we disarmed after wars and soon had to go to war unprepared.

 

Virtually the entire male population serves more than an entire generation in the Swiss armed forces, active or reserve.

 

It does not have to be this way. Switzerland has enjoyed centuries of peace, precisely because it is a nation at arms. Virtually the entire male population serves more than an entire generation in the Swiss armed forces, active or reserve. Every defense department in the world knows that an attack on Switzerland would be a disaster for it.

During the Cold War, we deployed 20 or more brigades in Europe and Asia, but we had a Strategic Army Reserve of approximately another 20 brigades. This level of preparedness, and comparable strength in the Navy and Air Force, was enough to deter any real threat to our nation. Today, we lack a real deterrent force; the forces we have are exhausted by prolonged fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In war, there is no substitute for victory.
—Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur’s famous statement is a moral maxim. When Truman decided to continue the Korean War, he sentenced the American Army and Marine Corps to several times the number of deaths that a quick victory would have cost.

The rule that indecisive wars kill several times as many soldiers as decisive ones has played out over and over. We went into Afghanistan and quickly achieved our objective without major casualties. When we went back into Afghanistan, we stayed for over a decade without a clear objective and with huge casualties. We captured Iraq with so few losses that the world was astonished. We could not, however, quickly reconstruct the place and leave. Instead, we established a lengthy transition to Iraqi self-government, followed by useless meddling. This approach has cost us many times the number of American deaths that the conquest of Iraq did.

Speak softly, and carry a big stick,
—Theodore Roosevel
t

Nations that carry a big stick but keep their cards close to the vest about when they will use it are seldom attacked. We have demobilized half of our stick, but we draw red lines that we do not back up with action. John Kerry’s bluster almost got us into a war with Syria that would have been a disaster. We are now all bluster.

   

We sentenced tens of thousands of Americans to death and permanent disability in Iraq and Afghanistan by continuing aimless operations after our objective was accomplished.

American foreign policy is an immoral violation of the three copybook headings set forth. We sentenced tens of thousands of Americans to death and permanent disability in Iraq and Afghanistan by continuing aimless operations after our objective was accomplished. John Kerry’s bluster and Barack Obama’s ill-conceived red lines at best lead us into loss of face, at worst into war. The world, watching as we dismantle the greatest armed forces in world history, refuses to take us seriously.

The gods of the copybook headings are exacting their vengeance on us in deaths, disabilities, persecutions, and shame.

*"The Gods of the Copybook Headings" is a poem by Rudyard Kipling. See text.

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The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2014 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

This column may be forwarded, posted, or published if credit is given to Charles Mills and fgfBooks.com.

Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law.

See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.

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