Jewish World Review Daniel Pipes October 18, 2006
Soldiers, sailors, and airmen once determined the outcome of warfare, but no longer. Today, television producers, columnists, preachers, and politicians have the pivotal role in deciding how well the West fights. This shift has deep implications.
In a conventional conflict like World War II, fighting had two premises so basic, they went nearly unnoticed.
The first: Conventional armed forces engage in an all-out fight for victory. The opposing sides deploy serried ranks of soldiers, lines of tanks, fleets of ships, and squadrons of aircraft. Millions of youth go to war as civilians endure privations. Strategy and intelligence matter, but the size of one’s population, economy, and arsenal count even more. An observer can assess the progress of war by keeping tabs of such objective factors as steel output, oil stocks, ship construction, and control of land.
Second assumption: Each side’s population loyally backs its national leadership. To be sure, traitors and dissidents need to be rooted out, but a wide consensus backs the rulers. This was especially noteworthy in the Soviet Union, where even Stalin’s demented mass-murdering did not stop the population from giving its all for “Mother Russia.”
Both aspects of this paradigm are now defunct in the West.
. . . more