25 August 2006

Whether by "confidence" or by "shame", the result will be the same

Just this morning I found a new milblog (which I will blogroll post-haste).  This whole post is well worth the read, but here’s a passage that really quickened my resting heart rate:

The troops are the war. We are here to win the war. When the media portrays the war as being lost they are portraying the troops as losers. Please don't believe this lie and help your friends see through it as well.

Now, I’m still re-reading some of Plutarch’s Lives.  (I’ve decided to go ahead and just re-read the entirety of his Roman Lives.)  Reading the above-mentioned passage put me in mind of a passage I read just a few mornings ago while reading Plutarch’s Marcellus:

"O strange!" said Hannibal, "what will you do with this man, who can bear neither good nor bad fortune? He is the only man who neither suffers us to rest when he is victor, nor rests himself when he is overcome. We shall have, it seems, perpetually to fight with him; as in good success his confidence, and in ill success his shame, still urges him to some further enterprise" (26, emphasis mine, obviously).

Hannibal said this of Marcellus because, the day after he had handed Marcellus a defeat, Marcellus returned to the field of battle seemingly undaunted.  Marcellus, it seemed to Hannibal, was motivated by confidence when he was victorious and by shame when he was defeated.  Now, really, just how do you fight someone like that?

The mainstream media, as B36, points out, want to portray our military as losers, no doubt in an effort to pull a ‘Cronkite’ and so turn popular opinion that the result will be something like that of the Vietnam conflict.  Fine.  It’s not going to work this time.  It’s going to backfire.  I believe that their ‘conkriting’ will in the end be found to have done more to motivate our military to victory than anything else they could possibly do.  Why?  Because, even assuming that the media are correct and that we are losing, although Marcellus is long, long dead, shame (even just the thought of it) is still a powerful motivator.  Powerful.

Another Vietnam?

Many of those presently in the military have older relatives who served in Vietnam.  They know about the shame those honorable veterans suffered.  So I’m just certain that I can hear them saying, “[Forget] that!”  (No, that’s probably not exactly the way they’d put it, but this is a family-oriented blog.)

One day the media will realize that all they succeeded in doing was shaming our troops on to victory.

Works for me.  Hooah.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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