Le origini del Colpo di Stato Militare in America nel 2012 (Parte 4)
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La [ parte di ] lettera che segue ci guida in un'escursione - biecamente immaginata - nel futuro : negli Stati Uniti c'è stato un colpo di stato militare - è l'anno 2012 - ed il generale Thomas. E. T. Brutus, Comandante in Capo delle Forze Armate Unificate degli Stati Uniti, ora occupa la Casa Bianca in qualità di Plenipotenziario Permanente. La sua carica è stata ratificata da un referendum nazionale, benchè continuino ad esplodere disordini e ci siano ancora in corso arresti per sedizione. Un ufficiale delle Forze Armate Unificate, di alto grado ed in congedo, qui indicato semplicemente come Prigioniero 222305759, è uno degli arrestati, ed è stato condotto davanti alla corte marziale per essersi opposto al colpo di stato. Prima della sua esecuzione, riesce a far filtrare fuori dalla prigione una lettera indirizzata ad un suo antico collega della Scuola di Guerra, nella quale discute le "Origini del Colpo di Stato Militare del 2012 in America." Nella lettera egli sostiene che il colpo di stato non sia stato altro che il venir alla luce di tendenze che erano già visibili dal 1992. Queste tendenze consistevano nelle considerevoli deviazioni delle forze militari verso usi civili, nella monolitica unificazione delle forze armate e nell'isolamento della comunità militare. La sua lettera gli è sopravvissuta ed è qui riprodotta parola per parola.
Non occorre dire ( almeno lo spero ), che lo scenario di colpo di stato succitato è puro esercizio letterario finalizzato a rappresentare le mie preoccupazioni su alcuni sviluppi attuali che interessano le forze armate, e non si tratta chiaramente di una previsione.

L'Autore

[ Nota del Traduttore : ritengo che introdurre a questo punto alcuni cenni biografici sull'Autore - e non dopo la bibliografia come nell'originale -  contribuisca ad inquadrare meglio 'quanto' ci sia di 'fantasia' nello scritto che stiamo per leggere . L'Autore è  Charles J. Dunlap Jr., per la precisione il Tenente Colonnello Charles J. Dunlap Jr., dell' USAF ( United States Air Force ), che ricopre la carica di Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, presso il Comando Centrale USA nella base aerea militare di MacDill, Florida.  E' diplomato presso la St. Joseph's University (Pa.), la Villanova University School of Law e presso l'Armed Forces Staff College ed è un Distinguished Graduate del National War College, Classe del 1992. Ha insegnato presso la Air Force Judge Advocate General's School, è stato inviato in Korea e nel Regno Unito. Nel 1987 era un Circuit Military Judge, un First Judicial Circuit e conseguentemente è stato assegnato all' Air Staff nell'Office of the Judge Advocate General. Il Tenente Colonnello Dunlap è stato recentemente nominato dalla Advocates' Association quale USAF's Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney del 1992. L'articolo che segue è un adattamento del suo scritto di quando era studente alla Scuola Nazionale di Guerra, scritto col quale vinse, a pari merito, il Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1991-92 Strategy Essay Competition, competizione alla quale partecipano studenti da tutte le scuole militari superiori. ]


L'ambizione è un tratto naturale nelle organizzazioni militari e fra i loro capi. [61]  Qualunque possa essere stata l'inefficienza di strutture militari fra loro separate, la loro stessa esistenza è servita a controbilanciare le crescenti ambizioni di ogni specifico apparato. I dibattiti sui ruoli e le missioni e sugli altri temi, una volta visti come meschine beghe interne dei militari,  fornivano una sede impareggiabile per le discussioni sulle analisi comparative della dottrina militare. Inoltre, servivano a garantire che venissero smascherati gli eventuali piani privi di scrupoli progettati da segmenti degli apparati di comando militari. Una volta che le varie armi furono unificate, venne meno la spinta a farlo e crebbe l'autorità dei militari rispetto a quella della altre istituzioni governative. [62] Esteso nei suoi nuovi compiti onnipresenti, il militarismo monolitico giunse a dominare l'ambiente politico darwiniano del 21° secolo in America.

Perchè la classe dominante uniformata dei giorni nostri ha accettato silenziosamente questa trasformazione dei militari ? Gran parte della risposta si trova nelle prove di forza sugli stanziamenti verificatesi negli anni '90.

Il crollo dell'Unione Sovietica lasciò il sistema militare USA privo di una spiegazione valida che giustificasse i cospicui stanziamenti per la difesa. Furono richiesti tagli per miliardi di dollari. Per metterla giù chiara come fa il giornalista Bruce Auster : "Vincere una mano della partita dei finanziamenti... richiede che i militari trovino delle nuove missioni per un mondo post-Guerra Fredda privo di chiare minacce militari." [63] Avendo capitolato, i capi militari accettarono compiti prima disdegnati. Come osservò cinicamente un commentatore : "i servizi sono ansiosi di assumere ruoli anche insoliti ma che giustifichino gli stanziamenti." [64] Fu così ripescato l'aforisma dei tempi del Vietnam : "E' una guerra schifosa,  ma è l'unica che abbiamo."

Eppure tutto questo non spiega completamente perchè nel 2012 la guida militare finì in un colpo di stato. Rispondere in pieno a tale domanda richiede il prendere in considerazione cosa stava capitando agli alti gradi mentre i militari perdevano terreno negli anni '80 e '90. Dopo che le grosse istituzioni militari di pace divennero, successivamente alla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, delle realtà stabili, il grande livellatore dei Corpi Ufficiali era costituito dal flusso costante di ufficiali provenienti dai Programmi di Addestramento Degli Ufficiali della Riserva. Prodotti dai numerosi collegi ed università di tutti gli Stati americani, questi ufficiali erano una fonte vitale di liberalismo all'interno dei servizi militari. [65]

Comunque, alla fine degli anni '80 inizio '90, la cosa stava cambiando. La riduzione delle forze militari fece calare il numero dei diplomati ROTC [ ufficiali della riserva, ndt ] accettati nei servizi. [66] Benchè il Generale Powell definì i ROTC "vitali per la democrazia," nel 1991 furono chiusi 62 programmi ROTC e se ne prese in considerazione la chiusura di altri 350. [67] Calò anche il numero di ufficiali diplomati nelle accademie, ma ad un ritmo ben più lento. Come conseguenza, salì il numero di diplomatisi all'accademia presenti nei corpi di ufficiali. [68] Diplomati dell'Accademia, così come delle Scuole Militari quali la Citadel, il Virginia Military Institute e la Norwich University, iniziarono a provare una crescente omogeneità di prospettive più di quanto, per esempio, il gruppo di ufficiali ROTC nel loro insieme, con il risultato che al crescere della loro presenza, la diversità di prospettive nel complesso, calò.

Inoltre, gli ucciali ROTC rimasti provennero sempre di più da un numero sempre più ristretto di scuole. Incentrandosi sulla politica militare di escludere gli omosessuali, i sostenitori del "politicamente corretto" ebbero successo nello spostare i ROTC dai campus di alcune delle nostre migliori università. [69]  Ed in molti sensi ebbero successo anche nel bandire i reclutatori militari dai campus. [70] Non si diede attenzione al fatto che si fosse ristretto il bacino dal quale provenivano i nostri alti gradi militari, e l'effetto fu che si arrivò ad una elite militare con un orientamento molto più condiviso e con prospettive sempre più conservatrici.

Da ultimo, azioni mosse da buone intenzioni e volte a migliorare la vita militare, portarono ad un involontario isolamento della società militare, questo costituì un ritorno al tipo di vita protetta ed isolata, tipica delle forze armate pre-Seconda Guerra Mondiale.  Le basi militari, con all'interno le scuole, le chiese ed i negozi, gli asili nido e le aree ricreative, divennero delle isole-da-non-lasciare-mai, piene di tranquillità e protette da quell'ambiente caotico e criminale che rimaneva fuori dai cancelli. [71] Per dirla con le parole di un giornalista nel 1991 : " Sempre più isolate dalla gente, le truppe di oggi tendono a vedere il mondo dei civili con sospetto, ed a volte fin con ostilità." [72] Così, dei corpi di ufficiali isolati fisicamente ed estraniati intellettualmente facevano coppia con una forza di arruolati ugualmente lontana dalla società alla quale si supponeva fornisse i propri servigi. In breve, l'esercitò si trasformò in una forza suscettibile di manipolazione da parte di un capo autoritario proveniente dai suoi ranghi selezionati. Quello che rese tutto ciò più scoraggiante fu l'infelice prestazione delle nostre forze nella Seconda Guerra del Golfo. [73] Affaticati da missioni secondarie ed inconsuete, i militari rifiutarono la loro fondamentale ragion d'essere. Come disse sinteticamente la Corte Suprema più di mezzo secolo fa, lo "scopo primario dell'esercito e della marina [ è ] il combattere o l'essere pronto a combattere guerre qualora se ne presenti l'occasione. " [74] Quando l'esercito iraniano iniziò ad invadere gli stati più bassi del Golfo nel 2010, le forze armate USA erano pronte a tutto tranne che a combattere. Gli impegni dovuti ai compiti umanitari, controllo dei narcotici - e tutto il resto delle missioni periferiche-  rese i militari inadeguati ad impegnarsi con reali forze militari avversarie. L'impegno nelle nuove missioni distolse le risorse da quello che la maggior parte degli esperti concordavano fosse stato uno degli ingredienti fondamentali della vittoria nella Prima Guerra del Golfo : l'addestramento. L'addestramento è, quasi letteralmente, un gioco a somma zero : ogni momento speso nell'esecuzione di missioni non tradizionali è un momento non disponibile per gli esercizi militari ortodossi. Avremmo dovuto riconoscere il grosso rischio. Nel 1991, il The Washington Post scrisse che " in un'intervista successiva a quelle condotte fra le varie forze, i comandanti di più alto grado ed i sottufficiali sottolinearono che non potevano essere pronti a combattere senza un frequente rinfrescare le capacità deperibili." [75]

Le attività militari anti-droga costituivano una grossa parte del problema. Oh, certo, mi ricordo le gratuite affermazioni degli esponenti dei gruppi militari antinarcotici coinvolti su quello che costituiva il "valido" addestramento fornito. [76] Davvero qualcuno poteva pensare che l'equipaggio di un AWACS - un aereo progettato per monitorare caccia militari ad alta tecnologia nel corso di combattimenti -  potesse migliorare significativamente le proprie abilità grazie ad ore di tracciamento di aerei leggeri a bassa velocità ? Seriamente si immaginavano che le capacità di combattimento delle truppe venissero potenziate dalla ricerca di marijuana sotto i sedili delle auto ?  Davvero potevano credere che equipaggi della sofisticata contraerea della marina e delle navi antisommergibile ricevessero un addestramento significativo tracciando i movimenti di viaggiatori che cazzeggiavano nei Caraibi ? [77] Putroppo, sì.

Il problema fu ingigantito quando le pressioni politiche esentarono la Guardia ed i Riservisti dai durissimi effetti causati dai tagli negli stanziamenti dell'inizio anni '90. [78] La Prima Guerra del Golfo aveva dimostrato che le armi e le tattiche moderne erano semplicemente troppo complesse perchè dei soldati part-time arrivassero a padroneggiarle durante i periodi di addestramento, benchè fossero ben motivati. [79] Eppure, i sostenitori della Guardia e dei Riservisti misero a punto svariate azioni civili ed umanitarie e le spacciarono per "adddestramento." Rimaneva inspiegabile come tali addestramenti coincidessero con delle strategie militari che prevedevano spedizioni di guerra brevi, violente ed improvvise. [80] I graziosi Programmi Operativi per la Guardia e la Riserva prevalsero sulle reali capacità di combattimento. [81]

Ma ancora più distruttivo dello spostamento delle risorse, fu l'assalto portato alle vere fondamenta dello spirito del servizio militare. Invece di tenere a mente l'ammonimento della Corte Suprema che indicava il focalizzarsi sul combattimento, ai militari fu insegnato a cambiare tale scopo. L'ex Segretario di Stato James Baker esemplificò tale nuova tendenza con il sottolineare l'azione di rifornimento aereo di cibo e medicinali data all'ex Unione Sovietica nell'inizio del 1992. Disse che il ponte aereo "mostrava vividamente ai popoli dell'ex Unione Sovietica come quelli che una volta erano pronti alla guerra contro di loro, ora avessero il coraggio ed il convincimento per utilizzare il proprio esercito per dire 'Porteremo avanti una nuova pace.' " [82]

Gli autentici soldati dovrebbero essere "pronti alla guerra" e lasciare le "missioni di pace" a quegli enti governativi che hanno ciò quale scopo. Nondimeno, tali affermazioni - assecondate dai capi militari [83] - divennero la filosofia di moda. Il risultato ? I militari smisero di considerarsi dei guerrieri, invece iniziarono a considerarsi come dei poliziotti, degli assistenti, educatori, costruttori, collaboratori sanitari, potilici - qualsiasi cosa eccetto che dei combattenti. Quando questi filantropi si imbatterono nel 10° Corpo di Armata dell'Iran, nei pressi di Daharan, durante la Seconda Guerra del Golfo, furono brutalmente massacrati da un esercito che non si era dimenticato    che cosa ci si aspettasse dai militari e che cosa fosse effettivamente una guerra.

La distruzione dello spirito bellico militare è ben raqppresentata dal suo coinvolgimento in attività di polizia. Inspiegabilmente, noi abbiamo ignorato gli effetti deleteri causati alla motivazione al combattimento nell'esercito di Israele ( IDF ), come conseguenza del suo impiego in operazioni di polizia nella Sponda Ovest ed in Gaza. [84]  Pochi sembravano rendersi conto della differenza fra la professione di poliziotto e quella di soldato. Come aveva osservato Richard J. Baranet nel The New Yorker : "La distinzione fra un'operazione di polizia ed una militare è netta. La polizia riceve il suo potere dall'essere accettata come "rappresentante della legge", e l'autorità legittimata - piuttosto che la forza di fuoco - ne è l'elemento essenziale." [85] Le organizzazioni di polizia sono comprensibilmente orientate verso quelle misure di contenimento necessarie per ottenere il fine voluto : l'incarcerazioen giudiziaria. Come fece notare un ufficiale della narcotici : "I militari possono uccidere le persone con più facilità di noi [ma] quando noi entriamo in un laboratorio nella giungla, noi non siamo lì per sparare al bersaglio ed agire per distruggere il nemico, noi siamo lì per arrestare i sospetti e prendere le prove." [86] Se si inculcano nei militari queste limitazioni, viene minacciata la loro capacità di combattimento. [87] Inoltre, l'applicazione della legge non è solo una forma di conflitto a bassa intensità, perchè in un conflitto militare a bassa intensità lo scopo dei militari è vincere la volontà della gente, un compito praticamente impossibile per chi se la vede con criminali "motivati dal denaro e non dall'ideologia." [88]

Anche le missioni umanitarie minarono il senso di sè dei militari. Come si abbandonò a dire un ufficiale impegnato nelle operazioni di assistenza al Bangladesh, nel 1991 : "E' bello essere qui a fare l'esatto opposto di quello che un soldato dovrebbe fare." [89] Mentre nessun vero soldato gode del fare la guerra, rimane il fatto che l'essenza dell'essere un soldato è il combattimento e l'essere preparato ad esso. Quanto detto dal giornlista Barton Gellman sull'esercito può essere estrapolato e riferito ai militari nel loro insieme : è una "organizzazione il cui spirito bellico dipende... pesantemente dalla tradizione." [90] Se tale tradizione viene imbevuta dalla preferenza per "fare l'opposto di un soldato", lo spirito bellico non potrà che patirne. Quando abbiamo letto - all'inizio - di editoriali sul "pacificare i soldati" coinvolgendoli in servizi civili, [91] avremmo dovuto manifestare quella piena riprovazione che si meritavano. Harry Summers, analista militare, ci aveva già messo in guardia nel 1991 [dicendo] che quando i militari perdono il senso della loro missione, ne conseguono catastrofi. Citando uno studio condotto sulla polizia militare del Canada, antecedentemente alla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, che analizzava le correlazioni con il successivo disastro sul campo di battaglia, Summers aveva osservato che :
invece di usare l'intervallo di pace per affinare le proprie capacità militari, gli alti ranghi militari del Canada misero su missioni civili allo scopo di giustificare la loro esistenza. Quando arrivò la guerra, erano assolutamente impreparati ed invece di proteggere le vite dei loro soldati, li mandarono alla morte. In questa situazione di pace post-Guerra Fredda, questa trappola è ancora più grande... Fra i militari USA oggi, alcuni che cercano visibilità stendono manuali che attribuiscono alle operazioni civili pre e post guerra, lo stesso peso attribuito ai combattimenti. Questo è un pericoloso errore. [92]

Dobbiamo ricordarci che la posizione dell'America alla fine della Guerra Fredda non ha precedenti storici. Per la prima volta - in tempo di pace - la nazione si ritrova con un apparato militare professionale che rimane di grosse dimensioni e che non è preoccupato di doversi confrontare con nessuna particolare minaccia esterna. [93] Le incertezze nel dopo Guerra Fredda hanno limitato la portata del ridimensionamento di tali forze. Quando poi i militari saranno obbligati, per continuare a giustificare la loro esistenza, ad impegnarsi in una serie innumerevole di attività non tradizionali, ci sarà poco da meravigliarsi se la loro professionalità, tradizionalmente apolitica, svanirà.

Chiaramente, quel curioso intreccio fra autoritarismo militare ed inefficienza al combattimento che vediamo oggi, nel 1992 ancora non si vedeva, ma i fili erano già lì. Sapendo quello che conosco ora, ecco il consiglio che darei alla Classe del 1992 della Scuola di Guerra, se fossi io a parlare alla consegna dei diplomi :
•    Richiedere che le forze armate si focalizzino esclusivamente su indiscutibili compiti militari. Non dobbiamo disperdere le nostre energie lontano dalla nostra fondamentale responsibilità : quella di combattere. Inviare in combattimento truppe male addestrate ci rende complici della loro morte.
•    Riconoscere che la sicurezza nazionale ha dimensioni economiche, sociali, educative ed ambientali, ma insistere che questo non significa necesariamente che tocchi ai militari correggere i problemi in tali campi. Chiamare ad arte "guerra" ogni impegno volto a risolvere i problemi nazionali, non li tramuta in qualcosa che sia appropriato per l'uso delle forze militari.
•    Spostare rapidamente i finanziamenti a quegli enti la cui funzione è di assolvere a quei compiti non militari ai quali sono attualmente assegnati i militari. Noi non siamo la DEA, l'EPA, i Corpi di Pace, nè il Dipartimento dell'Educazione, nè la Croce Rossa - e neppure dovremmo esserlo. Non è mai stato facile rinunciare a finanziamenti, ma sul lungo periodo noi - e la nazione - saremo serviti meglio da un esercito ridotto ma appropriatamente finalizzato.
•    Stracciare dallo stanziamento per l'esercito tutte quelle spese che divergono dal suo scopo. La lotta alla droga, la pulizia dell'ambiente, gli aiuti umanitari ed altri costi che sono indipendenti dalla concreta capacità di combattimento dovrebbero essere assegnati ai finanziamenti della DEA, EPA, dello Stato e così via. Finchè queste spese saranno nascoste nel finanziamento alla difesa, i contribuenti continueranno a credere - comprensibilmente ma erroneamente - di finanziare una capacità di prontezza al combattimento.
•    Continuare a far pressione per l'eliminazione delle unità della Guardia e dei Riservisti, unità superflue e costose. Aumentare la durata dell'addestramento, le responsabilità e la retribuzione di quelli che restano.
•    Educare la gente alle sofisticate esigenze di addestramento causate dalla complessità della guerra moderna. E' fondamentale togliere al pubblico la percezione che i soldati in tempo di pace sia fondamentalmente disoccupati e quindi liberi di assumersi nuovi compiti. [94]
•    Opporsi all'unificazione dei sevizi non solo sul campo di battaglia, ma anche perchè l'unificazione è contraria a quell'equilibrio fra poteri che è base del governo democratico. Rallentare il ritmo del consolidamento su base fiscale in modo che possa essere attentamente esaminato l'impatto sulle componenti meno quantificabili dell'efficienza militare.
•    Assicurarsi che l'accesso degli ufficiali alle accademie corrisponda alla complessiva riduzione della forza militare ( pur mantenendo una separazione per le accademie militari ), e tenere ROTC [ campi addestramento reclute, ndt ], in differenti accademie. Se necessario, aprire controversie legali per garantire i ROTC nei differenti campus universitari.
•    Orientare le fonti e le campagne di reclutamento in modo che nell'esercito siano rappresentate tutte le formazioni della società, senza che ne vengano compromessi gli standards. [95] Accettare che tale tipo di reclutamento innalzi i costi, perchè ne vale la pena.
•    Lavorare per mitigare la sindrome della base-isola, fornendo maggiori incentivi per i membri militari e le famiglie che si assimilano nella comunità civile. Sottolineare - all'interno dei piani di informazione destinati alle nostre truppe di soli volontari ( sempre più di stanza negli USA ) - temi quali l'inviolabilità della Costituzione, la supremazia dei nostri capi civili su quelli militari, e le responsabilità dei cittadini.

Da ultimo, vorrei dire ai miei colleghi di corso, che la democrazia è un'istituzione fragile che deve essere nutrita continuamente e protetta scrupolosamente. Vorrei anche dire loro che dovranno farsi sentire se vedranno minacciate tali istituzioni; non c'è dubbio che sia loro dovere farlo.  Richard Gabriel ha opportunamente osservato nel suo libro "Servire con Onore", che quando si parla di dissenso, lealtà e dei limiti degli obblighi militari, il tema centrale è che i militari costituiscono una minaccia all'ordine civile non perchè vogliano usurparne l'autorità, ma perchè non fanno sentire la propria voce nei confronti delle decisioni politiche importanti. Il soldato viene meno al suo giuramento di servire il paese se non parla liberamente quando vede dei superiori, militari o civili che siano, che perseguono delle politiche che lui ritiene errate. [96]
Gabriel aveva torto quando negò la possibilità che l'esercito costituisse una minaccia per l'ordine civile, ma aveva ragione quando descrisse le nostre responsabilità. La catastrofe che si è verificata sotto i nostri occhi è stata possibile perchè non abbiamo parlato liberamente contro delle scelte politiche che sapevamo essere sbagliate. Ora per me è troppo tardi per fare qualsiasi cosa. Ma non per voi.

Distinti saluti,

Prigioniero 222305759

(Quarta ed ultima Parte)

• Parte 1

• Parte 2

• Parte 3


CHARLES J. DUNLAP, JR.

Traduzione per EFFEDIEFFE.com a cura di Massimo Frulla


Source >  Carlisle.army.mil
| Original PDF Document



Note

61. Shakespeare called ambition "the soldier’s virtue." Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, Scene 1, as reprinted in the Great Books of the Western World, Robert M. Hutchins, ed. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), XXVII, 327.
62. Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1959), p. 87, said "If the officer corps is originally divided into land, sea, and air elements, and then is unified under the leadership of a single, overall staff and military commander in chief, this change will tend to increase its authority with regard to other institutions of government. It will speak with one voice instead of three. Other groups will not be able to play off one of the officer corps against another."
63. Bruce B. Auster with Robin Knight, "The Pentagon Scramble to Stay Relevant," U.S. News & World Report, 30 December 1991/6 January 1992, p. 52. Despite the Gulf War, defense outlays were scheduled by 1997 to shrink to their lowest percentage of the federal budget since the end of World War II. Sara Collins, "Cutting Up the Military," U.S. News & World Report, 10 February 1992, p. 29. See also John Lancaster, "Aspin Seeks to Double Bush's Defense Cuts," The Washington Post, 27 February 1992, p. A16; and Helen Dewar, "Bush, Mitchell Take Aim at Slashing the Defense Budget," The Washington Post, 17 January 1992, p. B1.
64. Morrison, "Operation Kinder and Gentler," p. 1260. Most revealing, on 1-2 December 1992, the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., hosted a symposium titled "Non-Traditional Roles for the U.S. Military in the Post-Cold War Era," featuring presentations on disaster relief, refugee evacuation, humanitarian medical care, engineering assistance to infrastructure and environment, counternarcotics, riot control, emergency preparedness, civil unrest, national assistance, etc.
65. Military analyst Harry Summers insists that ROTC is a key reason military coups have not occurred in the United States as they have in other countries. He notes: "ROTC was designed to produce a well-rounded officer corps inculcated with the principles of freedom, democracy, and American values through close contact with civilian students on an open college campus, and through a liberal education taught by a primarily civilian academic faculty. And that's just what has happened." Harry Summers, "Stalking the Wrong Quarry," Washington Times, 7 December 1989, p. F-3.
66. The Army plans to cut ROTC officer acquisitions from 7,778 in 1990 to 5,200 in 1995. See Peter Copeland, "ROTC More Selective in Post-Cold War Era," Washington Times, 27 May 1991, p. 3.
67. David Wood, "A Breed Apart, Volunteer Army Grows Distant from Society," The Star Ledger (Newark, N.J.), 24 April 1991, p. 1.
68. The armed services will shrink at least 25% by 1995. Richard Cheney, "U.S. Defense Strategy for An Era of Uncertainty," International Defense Review, 1992, p. 7. But service academy graduates are expected to decline by only 10% during the same period. Eric Schmitt, "Service Academies Grapple With Cold War Thaw," The New York Times, 3 March 1992, p. 12. Just after the Vietnam War, West Point was supplying about 8% of new Army officers, compared to the current 24%, a new study by the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) suggests. To roll back the officer stream from West Point, the GAO says, enrollment might have to be limited to 2,500 cadets, a 40% drop from today. Larry Gordon, "Changing Cadence at West Point," Los Angeles Times, 25 March 1992, p. 1.
69. See, e.g., Tom Philip, "CSUS May End ROTC Over Anti-Gay Policy," Sacramento Bee, 15 February 1992, p. 1.
70. As of November 1991, 89 law schools prohibit or restrict on-campus military recruiting. See "Sexual Preference Issue," HQ USAF/JAX Professional Development Update, November 1991, p. 9. Such bans are not legal in most cases. See 10 U.S.C. 2358; and U.S. v. City of Philadelphia, 798 F.2d 81 (3d Cir. 1986). Furthermore, by condoning the exclusion of military recruiters from campuses--billed as "marketplaces of ideas"--these universities legitimized censorship of "politically incorrect" views.
71. An article by journalist David Wood grasped this trend. He quoted an Army officer as stating, "We are isolated--we don't have a lot of exposure to the outside world." Wood goes on to observe: "The nation's 2 million active duty soldiers are a self-contained society, one with its own solemn rituals, its own language, its own system of justice, and even its own system of keeping time. . . .Only a decade ago, life within the confines of a military base might have seemed a spartan existence. But improving the garrison life has been a high priority. As a result, many bases have come to resemble an ideal of small-town America. . . . There is virtually no crime or poverty. Drug addicts and homeless are mere rumors from the outside." David Wood, "Duty, Honor, Isolation: Military More and More a Force Unto Itself," The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) 21 April 1991, p. 1. See also Laura Elliot, "Behind the Lines," The Washingtonian, April 1991, p. 160.
72. Wood, p. 1.
73. Studies indicate that defeat in war may actually increase the likelihood of a military coup. Ekkart Zimmermann, "Toward a Causal Model of Military Coups d'Etat," Armed Forces and Society, 5 (Spring 1979), 399.
74. United States ex rel. Toth v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11, 17, 76 S.Ct. 1 (1955). Of course, Carl von Clausewitz had put it even better: "The end for which a soldier is recruited, clothed, armed, and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking, and marching, is simply that he should fight at the right place and the right time." On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, eds. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Pres, 1976), p. 95.
75. Barton Gellman, "Strategy for the '90s: Reduce Size and Preserve Strength," The Washington Post, 9 December 1991, p. A10.
76. See, e.g., Brown, "Drugs on the Border: The Role of the Military," p. 50.
77. According to one report, the effort was futile and wasteful: "We're getting so little of the drug traffic for such a great expenditure of effort," lamented one Navy officer; "We're pouring money into the ocean, at a time when resources are scarce." William Matthews, "Drug War Funds Would Shrink Under Budget Proposal," Air Force Times, 17 February 1992, p. 33.
78. John Lancaster reported that proposals to cut Guard and reserve funding "inflame passions on Capitol Hill," causing Congress to resist cutting the part-time forces. "Pentagon Cuts Hill-Favored Targets," The Washington Post, 24 January 1992, p. A6. Art Pine reported that the Guard and reserves "exercise stunning political power and influence, both among state and local governments and in the power centers of Washington." Pine quoted Brookings Institute expert Martin Binkin as saying that the Guard/Reserve lobby "makes the gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association look like amateurs." Art Pine, "In Defense of 2nd Line Defenders," Los Angeles Times, 13 March 1992, p. 1.
79. Former Director of Operations for the Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly, believed there was simply not enough training time to keep Guard units ready for the kind of highly complex warfare the Army now conducts. He said, "There is nothing on earth harder to teach than the maneuver function in combat." As quoted by Grant Willis, "A New Generation of Warriors," Navy Times, 16 March 1991, p. 12. The motivation of some Guardsmen toward fulfilling their military responsibilities was called into question when up to 80% of the Guardsmen in California units called up for Desert Storm reported for duty unable to meet physical fitness standards. Steve Gibson, "Guards Flunked Fitness," Sacramento Bee, 18 June 1991, p. B1.
80. "Decisive Force," National Military Strategy of the United States (Washington: GPO, 1992), p. 10; "Contingency Forces," National Military Strategy of the United States (Washington: GPO, 1992), p. 23. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 31 January 1992 that the military of the future "would be smaller and more mobile and flexible. . . . Its likely target would be regional conflicts, in which American firepower might still be needed on short notice." As reported by Eric Schmitt, "Pentagon Says More Budget Cuts Would Hurt Combat Effectiveness," The New York Times, 1 February 1992, p. 9.
81. Military analyst and decorated combat veteran David Hackworth sized up the Guard and Reserves as follows: "Except for the air and Marine combat components, these forces aren't worth the billions paid each year to them. The combat service and support units are great, but there are too many of them." "A Pentagon Dreamland," The Washington Post, 23 February 1992, p. C3.
82. Operation Provide Hope was a two-week humanitarian aid effort involving 64 US Air Force sorties carrying approximately 4.5 million pounds of food and medicine. Michael Smith, "First of Up to 64 Relief Flights Arrives in Kiev," Air Force Times, 24 February 1992, p. 8. For Baker quotation, see David Hoffman, "Pentagon to Airlift Aid to Republics," The Washington Post, 24 January 1992, p. A1.
83. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also saw the military's future role in non-combat terms. Stating that there was "no plausible scenario" in which the United States would be involved in a military conflict in Europe or with elements of the former Soviet Union, he maintained that the likeliest use of military forces would be to address instability that could arise from migrations by poor peoples of the world to wealthier regions. He envisioned the military's role: "You would like to deal with this on a political and social level. The military's role should be subtle, similar to the role it plays now in Latin America--digging wells, building roads, and teaching the militaries of host nations how to operate under a democratic system. . . . When prevention fails, the military can be called to the more active role of running relief operations like the current one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fleeing Haitians. Operation Provide Comfort, the giant US military rescue mission to save Kurdish refugees who fled from the Iraqi army to the snow-covered mountains of southeastern Turkey last spring, may have been a precursor of what we can look forward to in the next decade if not the next century." As quoted by William Matthews, "Military Muscle to Shift to Humanitarian Help," Air Force Times, 6 January 1992, p. 14.
84. Leon Hader, "Reforming Israel--Before It's Too Late," Foreign Policy, No. 81 (Winter 1990/91), 111.
85. Richard J. Barnet, "Reflections--The Uses Of Force," The New Yorker, 29 April 1991, p. 82.
86. Charles Lane, "The Newest War," p. 18.
87. Newsweek reported the following incident: When a Marine reconnaissance patrol skirmished with smugglers near the Arizona-Mexico border last December--firing over their heads to disperse them--one colonel near retirement age shook his head. He argued that combat-trained Marines shouldn't be diminishing hard-learned skills by squeezing off warning shots. "That teaches some very bad habits," he said. Bill Torque and Douglas Waller, "Warriors Without War," Newsweek, 19 March 1990, p. 18.
88. Charles Lane, "The Newest War," p. 18.
89. As quoted by David Morrison in the National Journal. This relief operation involved 8,000 sailors and marines tasked to help millions of Bangladeshi survivors of a 30 April 1991 cyclone. See Morrison, "Operation Kinder and Gentler," p. 1260.
90. Barton Gellman, "Strategy for the '90s: Reduce Size and Preserve Strength," The Washington Post, 9 December 1991, p. A10.
91. Shuger, "Pacify the Military," p. 25.
92. Harry Summers, "When Armies Lose Sight of Purpose," Washington Times, 26 December 1991, p. D3.
93. See "Warnings Echo from Jefferson to Eisenhower to Desert Storm," USA Today, 1 March 1991, p. 10A.
94. A caller to a radio talk show typified this view. She stated that while she appreciated the need for a military in case "something like Iraq came up again," she believed that the military ought to be put to work rebuilding the infrastructure and cleaning up the cities instead of "sitting around the barracks." "The Joel Spevak Show," Station WRC, Washington, D.C., 11 March 1992.
95. One example of the dangers of lowering standards to achieve social goals is "Project 100,000." Conceived as a Great Society program, youths with test scores considered unacceptably low were nevertheless allowed to enter the armed forces during the 1966-1972 period. The idea was to give the disadvantaged poor the chance to obtain education and discipline in a military environment, but the results were a fiasco. See Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 320.
96. Richard A. Gabriel, To Serve with Honor (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1982), p. 178.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF, is the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, US Central Command, at MacDill AFB, Florida. He is a graduate of St. Joseph's University (Pa.), the Villanova University School of Law, and the Armed Forces Staff College, and he is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, Class of 1992. He has taught at the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School, and served tours in Korea and the United Kingdom. In 1987 he was a Circuit Military Judge, First Judicial Circuit, and was subsequently assigned to the Air Staff in the Office of the Judge Advocate General.  Lieutenant Colonel Dunlap was recently named by the Judge Advocates' Association as the USAF's Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney of 1992. The present article is adapted from his National War College student paper that was co-winner of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1991-92 Strategy Essay Competition, in which students from all the senior service colleges compete.

*

Even the youngest citizens were co-opted. During the 1990s the public became aware that military officers had the math and science backgrounds desperately needed to revitalize US education.[39] In fact, programs involving military personnel were already underway while we were at the War College.[40] We now have an entire generation of young people who have grown up comfortable with the sight of military personnel patrolling their streets and teaching in their classrooms.
As you know, it wasn’t just crises in public safety, medical care, and education that the military was tasked to mend. The military was also called upon to manage the cleanup of the nation’s environmental hazards. By 1992 the armed services were deeply involved in this arena, and that involvement mushroomed. Once the military demonstrated its expertise, it wasn’t long before environmental problems were declared "national security threats" and full responsibility devolved to the armed forces.[41]
Other problems were transformed into "national security" issues. As more commercial airlines went bankrupt and unprofitable air routes dropped, the military was called upon to provide "essential" air transport to the affected regions. In the name of national defense, the military next found itself in the sealift business. Ships purchased by the military for contingencies were leased, complete with military crews, at low rates to US exporters to help solve the trade deficit.[42] The nation’s crumbling infrastructure was also declared a "national security threat." As was proposed back in 1991, troops rehabilitated public housing, rebuilt bridges and roads, and constructed new government buildings. By late 1992, voices in both Congress and the military had reached a crescendo calling for military involvement across a broad spectrum of heretofore purely civilian activities.[43] Soon, it became common in practically every community to see crews of soldiers working on local projects.[44] Military attire drew no stares.
The revised charter for the armed forces was not confined to domestic enterprises. Overseas humanitarian and nation-building assignments proliferated.[45] Though these projects have always been performed by the military on an ad hoc basis, in 1986 Congress formalized that process. It declared overseas humanitarian and civic assistance activities to be "valid military missions" and specifically authorized them by law.[46] Fueled by favorable press for operations in Iraq, Bangladesh, and the Philippines during the early 1990s, humanitarian missions were touted as the military’s "model for the future."[47] That prediction came true. When several African governments collapsed under AIDS epidemics and famines around the turn of the century, US troops–first introduced to the continent in the 1990s–were called upon to restore basic services. They never left.[48] Now the US military constitutes the de facto government in many of those areas. Once again, the first whisperings of such duties could be heard in 1992.[49]
By the year 2000 the armed forces had penetrated many vital aspects of American society. More and more military officers sought the kind of autonomy in these civilian affairs that they would expect from their military superiors in the execution of traditional combat operations. Thus began the inevitable politicization of the military. With so much responsibility for virtually everything government was expected to do, the military increasingly demanded a larger role in policymaking.
But in a democracy policymaking is a task best left to those accountable to the electorate. Nonetheless, well- intentioned military officers, accustomed to the ordered, hierarchical structure of military society, became impatient with the delays and inefficiencies inherent in the democratic process. Consequently, they increasingly sought to avoid it. They convinced themselves that they could more productively serve the nation in carrying out their new assignments if they accrued to themselves unfettered power to implement their programs. They forgot Lord Acton’s warning that "all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."[50]
Congress became their unwitting ally. Because of the popularity of the new military programs–and the growing dependence upon them–Congress passed the Military Plenipotentiary Act of 2005. This legislation was the legacy of the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. Among many revisions, Goldwater-Nichols strengthened the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and mandated numerous changes intended to increase "jointness" in the armed services.[51]
Supporters of the Military Plenipotentiary Act argued that unity of command was critical to the successful management of the numerous activities now considered "military" operations. Moreover, many Congressmen mistakenly believed that Goldwater-Nichols was one of the main reasons for the military’s success in the First Gulf War.[52] They viewed the Military Plenipotentiary Act as an enhancement of the strengths of Goldwater-Nichols.
In passing this legislation Congress added greater authority to the military’s top leadership position. Lulled by favorable experiences with Chairmen like General Colin Powell,[53] Congress saw little danger in converting the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff into the even more powerful Military Plenipotentiary. No longer merely an advisor, the Military Plenipotentiary became a true commander of all US services, purportedly because that status could better ameliorate the effects of perceived interservice squabbling. Despite warnings found in the legislative history of Goldwater-Nichols and elsewhere, enormous power was concentrated in the hands of a single, unelected official.[54] Unfortunately, Congress presumed that principled people would always occupy the office.[55] No one expected a General Brutus would arise.
The Military Plenipotentiary was not Congress’s only structural change in military governance. By 2007 the services were combined to form the Unified Armed Forces. Recall that when we graduated from the War College greater unification was being seriously suggested as an economy measure.[56] Eventually that consideration, and the conviction that "jointness" was an unqualified military virtue,[57] led to unification. But unification ended the creative tension between the services.[58] Besides rejecting the operational logic of separate services,[59] no one seemed to recognize the checks-and-balances function that service separatism provided a democracy obliged to maintain a large, professional military establishment. The Founding Fathers knew the importance of checks and balances in controlling the agencies of government: "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. . . . Experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary controls . . . [including] supplying opposite and rival interests."[60]
Ambition is a natural trait of military organizations and their leaders.[61] Whatever might have been the inefficiencies of separate military services, their very existence served to counteract the untoward desires of any single service. The roles and missions debates and other arguments, once seen as petty military infighting, also provided an invaluable forum for competitive analysis of military doctrine. Additionally, they served to ensure that unscrupulous designs by a segment of the military establishment were ruthlessly exposed. Once the services were unified, the impetus to do so vanished, and the authority of the military in relation to the other institutions of government rose.[62] Distended by its pervasive new duties, monolithic militarism came to dominate the Darwinian political environment of 21st-century America.
Why did the uniformed leadership of our day acquiesce to this transformation of the military? Much of the answer can be traced to the budget showdowns of the early 1990s.
The collapse of the Soviet Union left the US military without an easily articulated rationale for large defense budgets. Billions in cuts were sought. Journalist Bruce Auster put it bluntly: "Winning a share of the budget wars . . . require[s] that the military find new missions for a post-Cold War world that is devoid of clear military threats."[63] Capitulating, military leaders embraced formerly disdained assignments. As one commentator cynically observed, "the services are eager to talk up nontraditional, budget-justifying roles."[64] The Vietnam-era aphorism, "It’s a lousy war, but it’s the only one we’ve got," was resuscitated.
Still, that doesn’t completely explain why in 2012 the military leadership would succumb to a coup. To answer that question fully requires examination of what was happening to the officer corps as the military drew down in the 1980s and 1990s. Ever since large peacetime military establishments became permanent features after World War II, the great leveler of the officer corps was the constant influx of officers from the Reserve Officers Training Corps program. The product of diverse colleges and universities throughout the United States, these officers were a vital source of liberalism in the military services.[65]
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, that was changing. Force reductions decreased the number of ROTC graduates the services accepted.[66] Although General Powell called ROTC "vital to democracy," 62 ROTC programs were closed in 1991 and another 350 were considered for closure.[67] The numbers of officers produced by the service academies also fell, but at a significantly slower pace. Consequently, the proportion of academy graduates in the officer corps climbed.[68] Academy graduates, along with graduates of such military schools as the Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, and Norwich University, tended to feel a greater homogeneity of outlook than, say, the pool of ROTC graduates at large, with the result that as the proportion of such graduates grew, diversity of outlook overall diminished to some degree.
Moreover, the ROTC officers that did remain increasingly came from a narrower range of schools. Focusing on the military’s policy to exclude homosexuals from service, advocates of "political correctness" succeeded in driving ROTC from the campuses of some of our best universities.[69] In many instances they also prevailed in barring military recruiters from campus.[70] Little thought was given the long-term consequences of limiting the pool from which our military leadership was drawn. The result was a much more uniformly oriented military elite whose outlook was progressively conservative.
Furthermore, well-meaning attempts at improving service life led to the unintended insularity of military society, representing a return to the cloistered life of the pre-World War II armed forces. Military bases, complete with schools, churches, stores, child care centers, and recreational areas, became never-to-be-left islands of tranquillity removed from the chaotic, crime-ridden environment outside the gates.[71] As one reporter put it in 1991: "Increasingly isolated from mainstream America, today’s troops tend to view the civilian world with suspicion and sometimes hostility."[72] Thus, a physically isolated and intellectually alienated officer corps was paired with an enlisted force likewise distanced from the society it was supposed to serve. In short, the military evolved into a force susceptible to manipulation by an authoritarian leader from its own select ranks.
What made this all the more disheartening was the wretched performance of our forces in the Second Gulf War.[73] Consumed with ancillary and nontraditional missions, the military neglected its fundamental raison d’etre. As the Supreme Court succinctly put it more than a half century ago, the "primary business of armies and navies [is] to fight or be ready to fight wars should the occasion arise."[74] When Iranian armies started pouring into the lower Gulf states in 2010, the US armed forces were ready to do anything but fight.
Preoccupation with humanitarian duties, narcotics interdiction, and all the rest of the peripheral missions left the military unfit to engage an authentic military opponent. Performing the new missions sapped resources from what most experts agree was one of the vital ingredients to victory in the First Gulf War: training. Training is, quite literally, a zero-sum game. Each moment spent performing a nontraditional mission is one unavailable for orthodox military exercises. We should have recognized the grave risk. In 1991 The Washington Post reported that in "interview after interview across the services, senior leaders and noncommissioned officers stressed that they cannot be ready to fight without frequent rehearsals of perishable skills."[75]
The military’s anti-drug activities were a big part of the problem. Oh sure, I remember the facile claims of exponents of the military’s counternarcotics involvement as to what "valuable" training it provided.[76] Did anyone really think that crew members of an AWACS–an aircraft designed to track high-performance military aircraft in combat–significantly improved their skills by hours of tracking slow-moving light planes? Did they seriously imagine that troops enhanced combat skills by looking for marijuana under car seats? Did they truly believe that crews of the Navy’s sophisticated antiair and anti-submarine ships received meaningful training by following lumbering trawlers around the Caribbean?[77] Tragically, they did.

The problem was exacerbated when political pressures exempted the Guard and the Reserves from the harshest effects of the budgetary cutbacks of the early 1990s.[78] The First Gulf War demonstrated that modern weapons and tactics were simply too complex for part-time soldiers to master during their allotted drill periods, however well motivated.[79] Still, creative Guard and Reserve defenders contrived numerous civic-action and humanitarian assignments and sold them as "training." Left unexplained was how such training was supposed to fit with military strategies that contemplated short, violent, come-as-you-are expeditionary wars.[80] Nice-to-have Guard and Reserve support-oriented programs prevailed at the expense of critical active-duty combat capabilities.[81]
Perhaps even more damaging than the diversion of resources was the assault on the very ethos of military service. Rather than bearing in mind the Supreme Court’s admonition to focus on warfighting, the military was told to alter its purpose. Former Secretary of State James Baker typified the trendy new tone in remarks about the military’s airlift of food and medicine to the former Soviet republics in early 1992. He said the airlift would "vividly show the peoples of the former Soviet Union that those that once prepared for war with them now have the courage and the conviction to use their militaries to say, `We will wage a new peace.’"[82]


In truth militaries ought to "prepare for war" and leave the "peace waging" to those agencies of government whose mission is just that. Nevertheless, such pronouncements–seconded by military leaders[83]–became the fashionable philosophy. The result? People in the military no longer considered themselves warriors. Instead, they perceived themselves as policemen, relief workers, educators, builders, health care providers, politicians–everything but warfighters. When these philanthropists met the Iranian 10th Armored Corps near Daharan during the Second Gulf War, they were brutally slaughtered by a military which had not forgotten what militaries were supposed to do or what war is really all about. The devastation of the military’s martial spirit was exemplified by its involvement in police activities. Inexplicably, we ignored the deleterious effect on combat motivation suffered by the Israeli Defense Forces as a result of their efforts to police the West Bank and Gaza.[84] Few seemed to appreciate the fundamental difference between the police profession and the profession of arms. As Richard J. Barnet observed in The New Yorker, "The line between police action and a military operation is real. Police derive their power from their acceptance as `officers of the law’; legitimate authority, not firepower, is the essential element."[85]
Police organizations are understandably oriented toward the studied restraint necessary for the end sought: a judicial conviction. As one Drug Enforcement Administration agent noted: "The military can kill people better than we can [but] when we go to a jungle lab, we’re not there to move onto the target by fire and maneuver to destroy the enemy. We’re there to arrest suspects and seize evidence."[86] If military forces are inculcated with the same spirit of restraint, combat performance is threatened.[87] Moreover, law enforcement is also not just a form of low-intensity conflict. In low-intensity conflict, the military aim is to win the will of the people, a virtually impossible task with criminals "motivated by money, not ideology."[88] Humanitarian missions likewise undermined the military’s sense of itself. As one Navy officer gushed during the 1991 Bangladesh relief operation, "It’s great to be here doing the opposite of a soldier."[89] While no true soldier relishes war, the fact remains that the essence of the military is warfighting and preparation for the same. What journalist Barton Gellman has said of the Army can be extrapolated to the military as a whole: it is an "organization whose fighting spirit depends . . . heavily on tradition."[90] If that tradition becomes imbued with a preference for "doing the opposite of a soldier," fighting spirit is bound to suffer. When we first heard editorial calls to "pacify the military" by involving it in civic projects,[91] we should have given them the forceful rebuke they deserved.
Military analyst Harry Summers warned back in ‘91 that when militaries lose sight of their purpose, catastrophe results. Citing a study of pre-World War II Canadian military policy as it related to the subsequent battlefield disasters, he observed that
instead of using the peacetime interregnum to hone their military skills, senior Canadian military officers sought out civilian missions to justify their existence. When war came they were woefully unprepared. Instead of protecting their soldiers’ lives they led them to their deaths. In today’s post-Cold War peacetime environment, this trap again looms large. . . . Some today within the US military are also searching for relevance, with draft doctrinal manuals giving touchy-feely prewar and postwar civil operations equal weight with warfighting. This is an insidious mistake.[92]
We must remember that America’s position at the end of the Cold War had no historical precedent. For the first time the nation–in peacetime–found itself with a still-sizable, professional military establishment that was not preoccupied with an overarching external threat.[93] Yet the uncertainties in the aftermath of the Cold War limited the extent to which those forces could be safely downsized. When the military was then obliged to engage in a bewildering array of nontraditional duties to further justify its existence, it is little wonder that its traditional apolitical professionalism eventually eroded. Clearly, the curious tapestry of military authoritarianism and combat ineffectiveness that we see today was not yet woven in 1992. But the threads were there. Knowing what I know now, here’s the advice I would have given the War College Class of 1992 had I been their graduation speaker:
• Demand that the armed forces focus exclusively on indisputably military duties. We must not diffuse our energies away from our fundamental responsibility for warfighting. To send ill-trained troops into combat makes us accomplices to murder.
• Acknowledge that national security does have economic, social, educational, and environmental dimensions, but insist that this doesn’t necessarily mean the problems in those areas are the responsibility of the military to correct. Stylishly designating efforts to solve national ills as "wars" doesn’t convert them into something appropriate for the employment of military forces.• Readily cede budgetary resources to those agencies whose business it is to address the non-military issues the armed forces are presently asked to fix. We are not the DEA, EPA, Peace Corps, Department of Education, or Red Cross–nor should we be. It has never been easy to give up resources, but in the long term we–and the nation–will be better served by a smaller but appropriately focused military.
• Divest the defense budget of perception-skewing expenses. Narcotics interdiction, environmental cleanup, humanitarian relief, and other costs tangential to actual combat capability should be assigned to the budgets of DEA, EPA, State, and so forth. As long as these expensive programs are hidden in the defense budget, the taxpayer understandably–but mistakenly–will continue to believe he’s buying military readiness.
• Continue to press for the elimination of superfluous, resource-draining Guard and Reserve units. Increase the training tempo, responsibilities, and compensation of those that remain. • Educate the public to the sophisticated training requirements occasioned by the complexities of modern warfare. It’s imperative we rid the public of the misperception that soldiers in peacetime are essentially unemployed and therefore free to assume new missions.[94]
•Resist unification of the services not only on operational grounds, but also because unification would be inimical to the checks and balances that underpin democratic government. Slow the pace of fiscally driven consolidation so that the impact on less quantifiable aspects of military effectiveness can be scrutinized. • Assure that officer accessions from the service academies correspond with overall force reductions (but maintain separate service academies) and keep ROTC on a wide diversity of campuses. If necessary, resort to litigation to maintain ROTC campus diversity.
• Orient recruiting resources and campaigns toward ensuring that all echelons of society are represented in the military, without compromising standards.[95] Accept that this kind of recruiting may increase costs. It’s worth it. • Work to moderate the base-as-an-island syndrome by providing improved incentives for military members and families to assimilate into civilian communities. Within the information programs for our force of all-volunteer professionals (increasingly US-based), strengthen the emphasis upon such themes as the inviolability of the Constitution, ascendancy of our civilian leadership over the military, and citizens’ responsibilities.
Finally, I would tell our classmates that democracy is a fragile institution that must be continuously nurtured and scrupulously protected. I would also tell them that they must speak out when they see the institution threatened; indeed, it is their duty to do so. Richard Gabriel aptly observed in his book To Serve with Honor that
when one discusses dissent, loyalty, and the limits of military obligations, the central problem is that the military represents a threat to civil order not because it will usurp authority, but because it does not speak out on critical policy decisions. The soldier fails to live up to his oath to serve the country if he does not speak out when he sees his civilian or military superiors executing policies he feels to be wrong.[96]
Gabriel was wrong when he dismissed the military’s potential to threaten civil order, but he was right when he described our responsibilities. The catastrophe that occurred on our watch took place because we failed to speak out against policies we knew were wrong. It’s too late for me to do any more. But it’s not for you.
Best regards,
Prisoner 222305759
61. Shakespeare called ambition "the soldier’s virtue." Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, Scene 1, as reprinted in the Great Books of the Western World, Robert M. Hutchins, ed. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), XXVII, 327.
62. Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1959), p. 87, said "If the officer corps is originally divided into land, sea, and air elements, and then is unified under the leadership of a single, overall staff and military commander in chief, this change will tend to increase its authority with regard to other institutions of government. It will speak with one voice instead of three. Other groups will not be able to play off one of the officer corps against another."
63. Bruce B. Auster with Robin Knight, "The Pentagon Scramble to Stay Relevant," U.S. News & World Report, 30 December 1991/6 January 1992, p. 52. Despite the Gulf War, defense outlays were scheduled by 1997 to shrink to their lowest percentage of the federal budget since the end of World War II. Sara Collins, "Cutting Up the Military," U.S. News & World Report, 10 February 1992, p. 29. See also John Lancaster, "Aspin Seeks to Double Bush's Defense Cuts," The Washington Post, 27 February 1992, p. A16; and Helen Dewar, "Bush, Mitchell Take Aim at Slashing the Defense Budget," The Washington Post, 17 January 1992, p. B1.
64. Morrison, "Operation Kinder and Gentler," p. 1260. Most revealing, on 1-2 December 1992, the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., hosted a symposium titled "Non-Traditional Roles for the U.S. Military in the Post-Cold War Era," featuring presentations on disaster relief, refugee evacuation, humanitarian medical care, engineering assistance to infrastructure and environment, counternarcotics, riot control, emergency preparedness, civil unrest, national assistance, etc.
65. Military analyst Harry Summers insists that ROTC is a key reason military coups have not occurred in the United States as they have in other countries. He notes: "ROTC was designed to produce a well-rounded officer corps inculcated with the principles of freedom, democracy, and American values through close contact with civilian students on an open college campus, and through a liberal education taught by a primarily civilian academic faculty. And that's just what has happened." Harry Summers, "Stalking the Wrong Quarry," Washington Times, 7 December 1989, p. F-3.
66. The Army plans to cut ROTC officer acquisitions from 7,778 in 1990 to 5,200 in 1995. See Peter Copeland, "ROTC More Selective in Post-Cold War Era," Washington Times, 27 May 1991, p. 3.
67. David Wood, "A Breed Apart, Volunteer Army Grows Distant from Society," The Star Ledger (Newark, N.J.), 24 April 1991, p. 1.
68. The armed services will shrink at least 25% by 1995. Richard Cheney, "U.S. Defense Strategy for An Era of Uncertainty," International Defense Review, 1992, p. 7. But service academy graduates are expected to decline by only 10% during the same period. Eric Schmitt, "Service Academies Grapple With Cold War Thaw," The New York Times, 3 March 1992, p. 12. Just after the Vietnam War, West Point was supplying about 8% of new Army officers, compared to the current 24%, a new study by the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) suggests. To roll back the officer stream from West Point, the GAO says, enrollment might have to be limited to 2,500 cadets, a 40% drop from today. Larry Gordon, "Changing Cadence at West Point," Los Angeles Times, 25 March 1992, p. 1.
69. See, e.g., Tom Philip, "CSUS May End ROTC Over Anti-Gay Policy," Sacramento Bee, 15 February 1992, p. 1.
70. As of November 1991, 89 law schools prohibit or restrict on-campus military recruiting. See "Sexual Preference Issue," HQ USAF/JAX Professional Development Update, November 1991, p. 9. Such bans are not legal in most cases. See 10 U.S.C. 2358; and U.S. v. City of Philadelphia, 798 F.2d 81 (3d Cir. 1986). Furthermore, by condoning the exclusion of military recruiters from campuses--billed as "marketplaces of ideas"--these universities legitimized censorship of "politically incorrect" views.
71. An article by journalist David Wood grasped this trend. He quoted an Army officer as stating, "We are isolated--we don't have a lot of exposure to the outside world." Wood goes on to observe: "The nation's 2 million active duty soldiers are a self-contained society, one with its own solemn rituals, its own language, its own system of justice, and even its own system of keeping time. . . .Only a decade ago, life within the confines of a military base might have seemed a spartan existence. But improving the garrison life has been a high priority. As a result, many bases have come to resemble an ideal of small-town America. . . . There is virtually no crime or poverty. Drug addicts and homeless are mere rumors from the outside." David Wood, "Duty, Honor, Isolation: Military More and More a Force Unto Itself," The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) 21 April 1991, p. 1. See also Laura Elliot, "Behind the Lines," The Washingtonian, April 1991, p. 160.
72. Wood, p. 1.
73. Studies indicate that defeat in war may actually increase the likelihood of a military coup. Ekkart Zimmermann, "Toward a Causal Model of Military Coups d'Etat," Armed Forces and Society, 5 (Spring 1979), 399.
74. United States ex rel. Toth v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11, 17, 76 S.Ct. 1 (1955). Of course, Carl von Clausewitz had put it even better: "The end for which a soldier is recruited, clothed, armed, and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking, and marching, is simply that he should fight at the right place and the right time." On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, eds. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Pres, 1976), p. 95.
75. Barton Gellman, "Strategy for the '90s: Reduce Size and Preserve Strength," The Washington Post, 9 December 1991, p. A10.
76. See, e.g., Brown, "Drugs on the Border: The Role of the Military," p. 50.
77. According to one report, the effort was futile and wasteful: "We're getting so little of the drug traffic for such a great expenditure of effort," lamented one Navy officer; "We're pouring money into the ocean, at a time when resources are scarce." William Matthews, "Drug War Funds Would Shrink Under Budget Proposal," Air Force Times, 17 February 1992, p. 33.
78. John Lancaster reported that proposals to cut Guard and reserve funding "inflame passions on Capitol Hill," causing Congress to resist cutting the part-time forces. "Pentagon Cuts Hill-Favored Targets," The Washington Post, 24 January 1992, p. A6. Art Pine reported that the Guard and reserves "exercise stunning political power and influence, both among state and local governments and in the power centers of Washington." Pine quoted Brookings Institute expert Martin Binkin as saying that the Guard/Reserve lobby "makes the gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association look like amateurs." Art Pine, "In Defense of 2nd Line Defenders," Los Angeles Times, 13 March 1992, p. 1.
79. Former Director of Operations for the Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly, believed there was simply not enough training time to keep Guard units ready for the kind of highly complex warfare the Army now conducts. He said, "There is nothing on earth harder to teach than the maneuver function in combat." As quoted by Grant Willis, "A New Generation of Warriors," Navy Times, 16 March 1991, p. 12. The motivation of some Guardsmen toward fulfilling their military responsibilities was called into question when up to 80% of the Guardsmen in California units called up for Desert Storm reported for duty unable to meet physical fitness standards. Steve Gibson, "Guards Flunked Fitness," Sacramento Bee, 18 June 1991, p. B1.
80. "Decisive Force," National Military Strategy of the United States (Washington: GPO, 1992), p. 10; "Contingency Forces," National Military Strategy of the United States (Washington: GPO, 1992), p. 23. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 31 January 1992 that the military of the future "would be smaller and more mobile and flexible. . . . Its likely target would be regional conflicts, in which American firepower might still be needed on short notice." As reported by Eric Schmitt, "Pentagon Says More Budget Cuts Would Hurt Combat Effectiveness," The New York Times, 1 February 1992, p. 9.
81. Military analyst and decorated combat veteran David Hackworth sized up the Guard and Reserves as follows: "Except for the air and Marine combat components, these forces aren't worth the billions paid each year to them. The combat service and support units are great, but there are too many of them." "A Pentagon Dreamland," The Washington Post, 23 February 1992, p. C3.
82. Operation Provide Hope was a two-week humanitarian aid effort involving 64 US Air Force sorties carrying approximately 4.5 million pounds of food and medicine. Michael Smith, "First of Up to 64 Relief Flights Arrives in Kiev," Air Force Times, 24 February 1992, p. 8. For Baker quotation, see David Hoffman, "Pentagon to Airlift Aid to Republics," The Washington Post, 24 January 1992, p. A1.
83. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also saw the military's future role in non-combat terms. Stating that there was "no plausible scenario" in which the United States would be involved in a military conflict in Europe or with elements of the former Soviet Union, he maintained that the likeliest use of military forces would be to address instability that could arise from migrations by poor peoples of the world to wealthier regions. He envisioned the military's role: "You would like to deal with this on a political and social level. The military's role should be subtle, similar to the role it plays now in Latin America--digging wells, building roads, and teaching the militaries of host nations how to operate under a democratic system. . . . When prevention fails, the military can be called to the more active role of running relief operations like the current one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fleeing Haitians. Operation Provide Comfort, the giant US military rescue mission to save Kurdish refugees who fled from the Iraqi army to the snow-covered mountains of southeastern Turkey last spring, may have been a precursor of what we can look forward to in the next decade if not the next century." As quoted by William Matthews, "Military Muscle to Shift to Humanitarian Help," Air Force Times, 6 January 1992, p. 14.
84. Leon Hader, "Reforming Israel--Before It's Too Late," Foreign Policy, No. 81 (Winter 1990/91), 111.
85. Richard J. Barnet, "Reflections--The Uses Of Force," The New Yorker, 29 April 1991, p. 82.
86. Charles Lane, "The Newest War," p. 18.
87. Newsweek reported the following incident: When a Marine reconnaissance patrol skirmished with smugglers near the Arizona-Mexico border last December--firing over their heads to disperse them--one colonel near retirement age shook his head. He argued that combat-trained Marines shouldn't be diminishing hard-learned skills by squeezing off warning shots. "That teaches some very bad habits," he said. Bill Torque and Douglas Waller, "Warriors Without War," Newsweek, 19 March 1990, p. 18.
88. Charles Lane, "The Newest War," p. 18.
89. As quoted by David Morrison in the National Journal. This relief operation involved 8,000 sailors and marines tasked to help millions of Bangladeshi survivors of a 30 April 1991 cyclone. See Morrison, "Operation Kinder and Gentler," p. 1260.
90. Barton Gellman, "Strategy for the '90s: Reduce Size and Preserve Strength," The Washington Post, 9 December 1991, p. A10.
91. Shuger, "Pacify the Military," p. 25.
92. Harry Summers, "When Armies Lose Sight of Purpose," Washington Times, 26 December 1991, p. D3.
93. See "Warnings Echo from Jefferson to Eisenhower to Desert Storm," USA Today, 1 March 1991, p. 10A.
94. A caller to a radio talk show typified this view. She stated that while she appreciated the need for a military in case "something like Iraq came up again," she believed that the military ought to be put to work rebuilding the infrastructure and cleaning up the cities instead of "sitting around the barracks." "The Joel Spevak Show," Station WRC, Washington, D.C., 11 March 1992.
95. One example of the dangers of lowering standards to achieve social goals is "Project 100,000." Conceived as a Great Society program, youths with test scores considered unacceptably low were nevertheless allowed to enter the armed forces during the 1966-1972 period. The idea was to give the disadvantaged poor the chance to obtain education and discipline in a military environment, but the results were a fiasco. See Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 320.
96. Richard A. Gabriel, To Serve with Honor (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1982), p. 178.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF, is the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, US Central Command, at MacDill AFB, Florida. He is a graduate of St. Joseph's University (Pa.), the Villanova University School of Law, and the Armed Forces Staff College, and he is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, Class of 1992. He has taught at the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School, and served tours in Korea and the United Kingdom. In 1987 he was a Circuit Military Judge, First Judicial Circuit, and was subsequently assigned to the Air Staff in the Office of the Judge Advocate General.  Lieutenant Colonel Dunlap was recently named by the Judge Advocates' Association as the USAF's Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney of 1992. The present article is adapted from his National War College student paper that was co-winner of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1991-92 Strategy Essay Competition, in which students from all the senior service colleges compete.