Monday, November 22, 2004

The Ace and the Turkeys....

Given the cognitive and temperamental patterns required, it is not surprising to find that the ability to fly aircraft successfully in combat is an ability that not many have. Indeed, it is not an ability that even all combat pilots have. Aviation analysts recognize that the majority of combat kills are scored by a small minority of pilots. Mike Spick has observed: "The gulf between the average fighter pilot and the successful one is very wide. In fact it is arguable that there are almost no average fighter pilots; just aces and turkeys; killers and victims."

As one Air Force pilot stated, "Most guys can master the mechanics of the systems, but it's instinctive to be able to assimilate all the data, get a big picture, and react offensively. Not a lot of guys can do that."
Ideally, one would have only "aces" or "killers," leaving the "turkeys" and "victims" to another career path. The difficulty lies, however, in the fact that there is no known way to separate the aces and the turkeys prior to combat. Unfortunately, many of those who will end up being turkeys often do not know what they are getting into. These pilots may have the ability, intelligence, and know-how to fly the plane well, but they ultimately lack the "fighting spirit" that they will need in combat.
(Buffalo Law Review
Winter, 2001
49 Buffalo L. Rev. 51
Women at War: An Evolutionary Perspective
By Kingsley R. Browne)

I was reminded of this when watching a small portion of CBS's 60 minutes on Sunday night. I did not watch much, all I really caught was the end of an interview with a guy who was in the war. He has a mental illness, etc. And I began thinking about it. Perhaps it is like this, perhaps some guys are too wimpy for war just like some guys are Aces and some are Turkeys. Because if you're going to shoot someone in the head then you do not sit down and meditate upon it. You do not try to fight John Kerry's "sensitive war" or replay Vietnam. Out of moral vanity you do not try to get all emotional to prove how sensitive and caring you are. Maybe some guys will just sit down and stare at the blood on their hands and think about how horrible they are while thinking, "The other guys were not being evil for they probably had families. No, instead maybe I am the one who is evil."

There is something more going on here than just blood and guts and the physical. Doctors deal with similar gory sights everyday, yet they do not tend toward "mental illness" in the same way. The real issue seems to be the link between moral certitude and morale so it is little wonder that the West has increasing difficulty in war. Yet do you really think that the Islamists go home and cry about things? Is this what has really happened throughout history too? I will have to think about it some more but what seems to be going on is that the New Man actually wants to feel bad about fighting a war. So that is what he does, he seeks out paths to feel bad about it. Then he feels worse about it, worse and worse.

The New Man is not like an ancient warrior, something has changed for the New Man, perhaps it is this tendency of trying to say that he has the bloody hands.

You probably never heard this story because journalists are too busy constructing the New Man:
On March 25, 2003, then-Lieutenant Brian R. Chontosh, 29, of Rochester, N.Y., was leading his platoon on Highway 1 south of Baghdad when his troops came under a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and automatic-weapons fire.

....He ordered his driver to advance directly into the enemy trench. Chontosh leapt from his vehicle and began firing with his rifle and pistol. But his ammunition ran out. "With complete disregard for his safety," according to the citation, "he twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.... When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

National Review Online

Reported once in all the Old Press, a local paper:
(St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
June 2, 2004 Wednesday

Contrast the current state of the media with the past when an American national hero was praised by Hollywood and the media:
York, a poor farmer from Tennessee, had under gone a religious conversion before World War I and was a professed pacifist. Drafted into the army, York told his company commander, Maj. George E. Buxton, of his convictions. Unusually understanding, Buxton spent a long night discussing the Bible’s teachings on war with York and eventually gave him ten days’ leave to consider whether or not he wanted to fight; had York decided not to do so, Buxton would have given him a noncombat assignment. After much soul-searching, York decided to fight. In October 1918, acting virtually alone, York somehow managed to kill 25 German soldiers and take 132 prisoner, thus earning for himself, among other awards, a French Croix de Guerre and an American Congressional Medal of Honor.
(This is the Army: Imagining a Democratic
Military in World War II
By Benjamin L. Alpers
The Journal of American History
Vol. 85, No. 1. (Jun., 1998) pp. 129-163)

So perhaps you can see how things have changed as journalists construct the New Man, even within a short time in history. So now one has to listen to the newly deconstructed New Man who hardly seems to be a man at all sniveling on CBS. It seems that the Leftists on 60 Minutes only want to show American their Turkeys and cannot find our Aces.

I did not watch for that long. I suppose the New Man is the new American hero, very like John Kerry in his heroism. I wonder why that marine that shot the man in the mosque is to be investigated when Kerry openly said he did far worse and he is not investigated? Is it only because he is the New Man with his new "senstive war" and non-lethal weapons? (Makes sense, against those who are already near suicidal, let's try non-lethal weapons so they can be sure they will live. For the tolerance of it all!)


Jason - Band Member said...

Totally serious question -- not meant to be loaded or pointed at all. Why don't you enlist and join the fight in Iraq?

I've never met someone so on board with the war effort, who is of the ideal age and without wife or child. Are you considering volunteering?

mynym said...

I have considered it. I am not sure it would be the best use of my time and it is our decision being that it is a volunteer army. If there was a draft, I would not mind being in it.

Am I absolutely certain that I would not be like a Turkey and get images stuck in my head and begin thinking I am Evil? Nope. But am I pretty sure of it? Yep. The Evil is the real issue. It's not just about the gore of things, which doctors, butchers, etc., get used to after "the first one."

It's more about combining images with the meaning of, "Man, maybe I am Evil?" I.e. if you start thinking that way. Why are American soldiers more and more prone to thinking that, especially after Vietnam? Well, a lot of people told them and would still like to tell them that they are being Evil.

The journalists, the prissy Christians, the Leftists and on down to the Calvinists who murmur "All are sinners, all are sinners. For the total depravity of it all!"

Fewer people believe in the good guys fighting a war actually being the good guys and instead they are the Evil ones, one way or another.

Terrorists play on this, this lack of a sense of justice in the New Man. And at least in Europe, the New Men dance to the tune that terrorists play for them through the journalists, the story tellers.

While many Americans would like to hum along too...

mynym said...

"....serious question -- not meant to be loaded or pointed at all."

Those questions are the best kind. But be careful, lest it misfires into your head.

I did not say this before because I know it was an honest question. But here is something to think about:

I write about science. Yet no one says to become a scientist. I write about God. Yet no one says to go to seminary. I write about art. And so on.

I write about soldiering and unlike the other things the first reaction is to say to become a soldier. This is very similar to the childish one's pattern of thought which goes like, "You must manifest your writing with substance or else it is invalid. So I challenge you to a duel to manifest our disagreement!"

That is not a true type of thinking. Given that, perhaps you can see some of what can be done with that thinking.

But I answered in the spirit you asked.


Jason - Band Member said...

I didn't say to become a soldier, I was just asking whether you are considering it. Read it again.

mynym said...

Alright, it seems you asked two times.

I write about science. Yet no one asks if I am considering becoming a scientist. I write about God. Yet no one asks if I am considering going to seminary. I write about art. And so on.

Okay, one time someone did say that I "belong in a seminary." Probably as an insult...and maybe some other people said some other things that I do not remember about science. That's because people seem to like to talk a lot about irrelevant things like that.

So...why did you fumble around with the gun for a bit but then, you shot the loaded question? For it's all so questionable....