The views in the essay below are not original, but well worth repeating. The authors describe these traits as a “weapon” — and I agree — but they are rooted in the American character and are some of our greatest strengths. -Here is an excerpt; the full essay is well worth reading.
Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. (USAF) and Lt Colonel John Nagl (US Army, retired)
At the Small Wars Journal, 23 May 2008
The ability to think, learn, and adapt is what makes America’s military the finest in the world. Though it does not use these words, the Army exploits conferences like that at Carlisle to, in effect, tap into a concept from the Nation’s powerful engine of change, its free enterprise system.
Free enterprise triumphs as an economic system because it respects and empowers competition. Competition breeds efficiency and innovation. Unfortunately, the competitiveness outsiders may see in military debates can be misread as mere parochial squabbling. Sometimes that’s true, but more often the rivalry reflects honestly-held but differing beliefs as to how to use the military instrument most effectively in today’s very complex environments.
The good news is that those differences can make the U.S. military a devilishly difficult problem for our adversaries.
… The finest military leaders want, indeed, demand, that differing ideas be ruthlessly explored. They expect and encourage vigorous debates. Can that process go awry? Sure. When it devolves into personal attacks and gets mired in finger-pointing, progress ceases. Accountability for the past may have its place, but it is vastly more important to look to the future. The stakes are too just too high.
… The American way of war is renewing itself. Our most powerful weapon – the competitive analysis of security issues by America’s military – is taking the field. Our enemies ought to beware. And update their wills.
Lt Col Nagl was one of the principal authors of FM 3-24, the Army/Marine Corps’ new counterinsurgency manual; Maj Gen Dunlap is the author of “Shortchanging the Joint Fight?” a critique of that same manual. These are their personal views.
I have many times said something similar, although not as well.
I believe that we need not fear the future. America’s strength lies not in our wealth or power. We are strong because of our ability to act together, to produce and follow good leaders. We are strong due to our openness to other cultures and ability to assimilate their best aspects. We are strong due to our ability to adapt to new circumstances, to roll with defeat and carry on.
Many posts on this blog discuss our weaknesses, the dangers facing us. Those should not obscure the fewer in number but equally important ones that describe our strengths and past accomplishments.
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Other posts with good news for America
- Good news: The Singularity is coming (again) (8 December 2007) — History tends to look better over longer time horizons.
- Some good news (one of the more important posts on this blog) (21 December 2007)
- Some good news (one of the more important posts on this blog)
- A crisis at the beginning of the American experiment (27 December 2008) — Looking at the problems looming before us, it is easy to forget those of equal or greater danger that we have surmounted in the past.
- An important thing to remember as we start a New Year (29 December 2007) — As we start a New Year I find it useful to review my core beliefs. It is easy to lose sight of those amidst the clatter of daily events. Here is my list…
- Is America’s decline inevitable? No. (21 January 2008)
- Let us light a candle while we walk, lest we fear what lies ahead (10 February 2008) — Need we fear the future?
- A happy ending to the current economic recession (12 February 2008)
- Fears of flying into the future (25 February 2008)
- Experts, with wrinkled brows, warn about the future (2 May 2008) — Experts often see the future with alarm, seeing the dangers but not benefits. That gets attention, from both the media and an increasinly fearful public. Both sides feed this process. It need not be so, as most trends contain the seeds of good and bad futures. This post considers two examples.
- Peak Oil Doomsters debunked, end of civilization called off (8 May 2008)
- Good news about the 21st century, a counterbalance to the doomsters (9 May 2008)
- An effective way to support our Troops: help the Blue Star Mothers of America (8 June 2008) — There are ways to support our troops, actions more effective than a bumper sticker on your car.
- There is no “peak water” crisis (19 June 2008)
Click here for all posts discussing good news about America’s future.