Tonight I listened to a presentation on the universe and the way of things by Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s own legendary space exploration project manager, Tony Spear. He discussed the Mars Pathfinder Mission. Einstein. Darwin. Newton. Curiosity. Gravity. Human consciousness. Systems engineering and String Theory. Literally the “ups and downs” of things. We listened, awe struck, to explanations of those far away cosmic lights we so often gaze, half drunk, half amazed. It was a magical evening – the rare sort where different people gathered from different backgrounds to meet a differential calculus that left us agreeing: oh my, how small we are. And how much the very same.

As a final question, one astute listener asked of the electrical engineer: Why does the science of man evolve so wonderfully, and the morality of man so malevolently? The audience paused. And listened. Tony reminded us we are humans, mere mortals, composed of DNA and matter and particles tied to a universe and a universe beyond our own universe and that perhaps our violent nature, though chemical and natural, could be overcome by altruism, education, and science. And, as a group I think, we breathed that wonderful sort of exhale we remembered breathing as young students some time ago who sat before the rare professor that affected us so deeply. And we paused, reflected, learned, and walked off, better.

After the talk, I had the chance to speak with Tony Spear. We discussed important things like robotics, good family, the future of warfighting, fine scotch and curvy women. His mind worked much faster than mine, so I emphasized the fine scotch, and poured him another. In between his captivating thoughts on mathematics and the cosmos, we discussed the human element of combat, the nature of man, and moral philosophy. A two-piece band spun Woody Herman’s “Four Brothers” from the outside patio. And the universe around us chaotically expanded and violently contracted while we drank, and laughed and learned. And my mind went to where it always goes when Jameson grabs a hold of my heart…the Marine Corps.

As the band played, and the cocktails flowed, I related to Tony what I felt where the limitations of technology on the modern day battlefield. A complex computer system can hover at 15,000 feet and capture images of men and donkeys crossing the Syrian border into Iraq near the Sinjar Mountains…but only a trained sergeant behind a long scope in an uncomfortable hide site can observe those same men and report the human element. That they have sweat coming from their brow, not a physical sweat, but a nervous sweat. That their movements are erratic, unnatural, and anxious. The computer in the rover at 15,000 feet has told the commander that two men are crossing the border at 2 in the morning. The sergeant in the hide site has told that same commander that two men have crossed the border, and are “suspicious”…they’re marked…15 minutes later a CAAT team intercepts those men 4 miles outside of Sinjar City. They’re carrying weapons, maps, and Al Qaeda propaganda. The limits of science, for now anyway, are apparent: it takes a human process to identify a human process.

And so I think this much is true: one day we might just have an algorithm that will train a computer system to think like a fighter pilot, or a ship’s navigator…but until that day comes, we need the well-trained human fighter pilot in the dog fight, the human ship’s navigator in the sea’s violent storm…because combat, on land and sea, is a complex sequence of human emotions and human processes, the likes of which no super-computer can negotiate. And this is a part of the complex physics of warfare.

Second Lieutenants are taught these physics – the science, art and dynamic of war – deep in the hills of Quantico, Virginia: how to accomplish my mission, and survive. The Greeks called the method to accomplishing a goal techne, literally craftsmanship. The Marines call it knowing your stuff. Whatever you call it, this is how they distinguish themselves from the Army’s infantry schools: adherence to a flexible doctrine of speed and violence centered on Maneuver, not attrition.

The Infantry Officer Course is the world’s foremost graduate school of this form of combat: Maneuver Warfare. Headquartered in an unornamented brick building, discretely located beyond the larger halls of the Basic Officer Course, most basic students pass by the hall with a quiet reverence for the training that takes place here. The walls are made of concrete blocks, painted hospital white and filled with pictures of past graduates, heroes, reminding students of those who came before them. Quite literally the God’s and Generals of the infantry. Leave your Oprah culture sensitivities, self-help literature and coffee cups whose lids warn its contents are “hot” at the door – this is the church of violence.

Before students enter the hall for their indoctrination brief they pass a very appropriate adage written in ominous black script: Those are best who survive the severest of schools. In that hall, and in the forests beyond, the handpicked warrior cadre bring a human dimension to Thucydides’ meditation, and dedicate more than three months to imbue them with three simple tenets and instill in them an overarching warrior ethos: Shoot. Move. Communicate. All the rest is taking care of your Marines.

All the rest, students learn, is a matter of internalizing a violently seductive and explicitly necessary warrior ethos, an Elegant violence, while maintaining a moral commitment to mutually competing events, and emotions.

The Marine Corps infantry is tribal. It has to be. Tempering the violence, while maintaining aggressiveness means the junior commander must be grounded by an unteachable moral commitment that is exhausting, unrelenting, and absolutely imperative to his tribe. This is elegant violence. Between firing machine guns, guiding fire from close air support and hiking miles with a hundred pounds of gear in exhausting terrain, conversations among students turn to just this, the conversations of “all the rest.” All these things, and a million things in between, are what students learn at the graduate school of combat leadership. Nothing you’d ever see on Oprah, but that you always wish you would…here students become their own self-help mechanism. And there is something very pure about all this, conversations held behind camouflaged faces stuffed with Copenhagen in dirty utilities, starving, half way through the most tiring event of their life. This is the sort of informal curriculum offered by the graduate school of combat leadership.

But “all of rest” is only able to take place because of the school’s foundation of formal instruction. It is their common language, such a thing is a requirement for all professionals. The students at IOC quickly realize that every religion has a church, every church a tribe, every tribe a holy book – the religion was America, no one doubted that, but the church was violence, the tribe, the infantry, the scripture, maneuver, and their sacred trust was to the men whom they would soon serve. In an age when one so easily suffocates among the inane, the hyper-sensitive, the pessimistic, the cynical-self-loathing and weak-spirited critics, worshiping such things breathes life and adventure into their restless hearts.

This holy book, the professional literature behind the infantry skills and warrior tribalism taught at IOC, is Marine Corps Doctrine Publication 1, Warfighting. It teaches Maneuver, the lifeblood of the naval infantry: How friction, uncertainty, danger, fatigue, fear, complexity, disorder and violence can be overcome by fluidity, boldness, communication, initiative, responsiveness, creativity, and strong will. The application of our strength, it reads, against a selected enemy’s weakness in order to maximize advantage – this is the aim. To this end the maneuverist requires both speed and surprise.

MCDP-1 is very clear about this. The only problem is that in today’s counter-insurgency fight we require more than a science – more than even an art and a dynamic. We require more than “speed” in operation and more than “surprise” in the attack. The junior commander on today’s battlefield requires an understanding of physics. Fusion of art, science and dynamic is just this sort of physics and this is what is required – a complete incorporation of the principles of high energy physics: a theory of everything.

OIF I was a fantastic example of the art, science and dynamic of war unfolding to completion – and victoriously. Even OIF II, highlighted by sustained kinetic fights on the streets of Fallujah and the cemeteries of Najaf, carries a more conventional legacy. Counter-insurgency however, which has defined OIF III, and OIF IV, is less about killing the enemy, and more about, as historian Max Boot has said, identifying the enemy. The tactical complexities that the Marines of the Anbar daily find themselves in is one that transforms from ‘potential energy’ to fully kinetic to potential and back again within seconds. This situation requires more than artful leadership, scientific execution and dynamic planning by platoon commanders. This counter insurgency fight requires combat physicists who maintain the legacy of the artists and scientists of wars past who taught, rightfully so, that the 2-dimensional battlefield was now a 3-dimensional battlespace but who also implement and improve on tactics that reflect an appreciation for the contemporary counter insurgency paradigm, one that requires a 4-dimensional approach. Simply put, high energy physics is the new techne.

The “high energy physics” approach to battle would amend MCDP-1 to reflect such changes…because it not only applies to the counter-insurgency fight, but also to more conventional situations. The amendments, best highlighted in terms of the Six Warfighting Functions (Maneuver, Intelligence, Logistics, Command and Control, Fires, and Force Protection), would include the use of some real world physics: the theory of time/space, the use of mathematical models to reconstruct and predict the enemy’s planning cycle, and the application of velocity in combat, to name a few.

Take maneuver. As taught we fight in a left/right, up/down, front/back battlespace. Three dimensions. The reality is that we fight in a 4D battlespace. This is the understanding that the 3-D world unfolds within the framework of TIME. It is not enough to think about the enemy in a 3-D context, as we do, we have to arrive at our assumptions of his movement and his will in terms of the expiration of current time and the value he assigns to soon-to-come time. The counter-insurgency fight is a struggle against this time…the enemy’s time must become your time. Now you have the initiative. Each patrol, each checkpoint, each raid is more so a factor of the enemy’s own planning cycle, his own appreciation and measure of time. The science of war as applied from MCDP-1 teaches us a 3-D approach to warfare, the physics of warfare teaches a 4-D approach that is vital to success of small unit operations in theatre.

And intelligence? Intel literally drives the small unit leader’s operations in the world of counter-insurgency. MCDP-1 does not disagree, but teaches the value of intelligence is in our planning, incorporated to build OUR greater tactical and operational picture. A “high energy physics” approach favors intelligence that takes real form, as a scientific model or a tactical barometer or a re-usable equation – a mechanism used to predict the not-so unpredictable decision making cycles and planning processes of the enemy, thereby building THEIR greater tactical and operational picture for us by reconstructing the enemy’s intent allowing us to construct our plan accordingly. A “high energy physics” approach then, favors the design of an algorithm which puts us at the center of their planning meetings, not our own, which are usually really long and kind of boring anyway.

As for ‘command and control’, MCDP-1 preaches the importance of speed. Speed is certainly an essential element of warfighting and in a more kinetic, conventional fight, perhaps speed is decisive. But in a counter-insurgency fight speed can be dangerous. Speed here requires direction. Speed with direction is velocity. “Combat Velocity” is the speed of your decision making cycle, or the speed of your maneuver, or the speed of an infinitesimal amount of factors unfolding at an unprocessable rate layered by the direction of your order, or the direction of your squad’s position, or the direction you give the uncontrollable factor of time that is threatening to consume your initiative, and your 3-dimensional posture in an intolerant 4-dimensional moment in TIME. Combat velocity recognizes that counter-insurgency fast becomes the ‘combat infinity’ and can only be leveraged to a position of advantage if the speed of the environment and the speed of your decision making cycle is given an appropriate direction. Speed is no longer enough. Despite the chaos of the combat infinity, the small unit commander can affect any situation by bringing a degree of order in the form of combat velocity: facilitating speed and giving direction.

And of course there are “fires” – which are now kinetic (indirect or air support) and non-kinetic (psychological operations, media, etc) but all still a matter a physics: force (or desired effects) still equals mass X acceleration. Think about it. In a kinetic and non-kinetic world, “high energy physics” is changing how we should be interpreting the teachings of our holy book. Even the “logistics” warfighting function requires a look from a physics perspective…if you’ve ever tried to get a supply clerk to move quickly or watched a request chit meander up and around the chain of command, you’re familiar with a very Newtonian reality: an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an external force, usually this looks a lot like the boot of a motivated staff non-commissioned officer on the behind of a not-so-motivated lance corporal.

A “high energy physics” approach to Maneuver Warfare is, ultimately, a fusion of the art, science, and dynamic of maneuver warfare beyond the kinetic and conventional world of small unit operation taught in MCDP-1. Since the Marine Corps is fundamentally an organization of mutually supporting small units with a rich history in unconventional small wars, it is time to amend our holy book – if such a thing can be done – to reflect what physics has always been telling us all along…that time is everything, that speed is nothing without direction, and that while we will never be able to define ‘infinity’ we can approach an understanding of it…oh yeah, and that the answers to all of these questions will never be found on Oprah, in a self-help book, or in an aimless and drunk harangue from a grumpy and cynical undergraduate, but rather in those conversations of “all the rest” in the infantry officer’s Church of Violence and soon empirically, in those faraway and unforgiving streets where the only peace was yesterday.

And I think men of science like Tony Spear would relate well to this view of things…that the world we know is ever-changing, and dynamic, and violent and requires men who stand before such change and demand missions to mars and close air support. Because at the end of the day such things as Einstein, Darwin, Nimitz, Halsey, Newton, Curiosity, Gravity, Courage, Human consciousness, Systems engineering, a fine Fleet, String Theory and Maneuver Warfare share one thing in common to both physicist and warrior…they are quite literally the “ups and downs” of things, and deserve a moment’s thought and well-deserved exhale. And while even Tony Spear could not answer why we evolve so wonderfully in our science and so slowly in our morality, he certainly affirmed the importance of the education of both scientist and warrior. And the physics we share.

Posted by Alexander Martin in Marine Corps, Navy

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  • A. Johns

    I agree that this is a very astute question.

    As a final question, one astute listener asked of the electrical engineer: Why does the science of man evolve so wonderfully, and the morality of man so malevolently?

    However I disagree with the assertion that man’s malevolent morality

    “could be overcome by altruism, education, and science.”

    In fact the cause of the current state of morality in the world is the result of altruism-the ethics of self-sacrifice. I am reminded of the following quote,

    “Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned man, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code…You went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good?–by what standard?”

    The speaker continues with

    “Yes, this is an age of moral crisis…Your moral code has reached its climax, the blind alley at the end of its course. And if you wish to go on living, what you now need is not to return to morality…but to discover it.”

    In other words what is needed to properly understand why man’s morality has been malevolent in nature is to discover that altruism is the cause not the solution.

    The above quote can be found in Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness, written by Ayn Rand.

  • Ray Kilmer

    I disagree with the so called “astute” listener’s question. We as humans have not evolved in a malevolent way as we have just evolved. By man’s very nature we are born with the ability of volition, to make choices, hence the statement: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And although I do think that a rational education, of which science would play a part of, altruism is not the key to a human becoming a better person. Altri is the base of altruism which is a greek/latin based word that means other, so otherism. Otherism basically promotes the ideas that every other person’s life is more imporatant than yours. Now if we as American’s believed fully in altruism/otherism we would not stand up for our ideas, our lifes, our liberties, our pursuit of happiness as they should be unimportant to us.

    (I have more to say on this subject, but do not have the time as of right now.)

  • Byron

    Outstanding article, Capt. Martin! Don’t pay attention to the Ayn Rand crowd, Marines know better than any about giving of oneself for their brother Marine.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Well, Byron, I am a Marine and I know what works better that most on how to get the job done. I spent two terms in the Marine Corps before an injury put an end to my career. As a matter of fact, I was leading a night patrol during the summer of 1990, when I fell into a hole in full war gear, landed on my head and fractured my neck (C3/C4) and herniated my Lumbar spine (L4/L5).

    If you want to motivate Marines you do not do so by asking them to die, you motivate them by asking them to fight to live. You remind them what values are and why they are fighting; their wifes/girlfriends, their children, their property, their futures and most importantly their own lifes as without that value there can be no choice of the others.

    If you want a Marine to think and act long term, hold him accountable for his actions and his work. While in the Marine Corps I earned two NAMs by taking over units that had failed CG inspections and within a month those units were re-inspected and found, “no findings and no faults.” I had the same group of men that were being lead by the Marines that were relieved. So, what caused the change you may ask? I set up a reward system that demanded the long-term integration of a Marine’s goals with those of the Marine Corps which caused them to become self-responsibe. I found that when everyone becomes accoutable for every other person but themselves efficiency and freedom will be lost.

    “When a society loses self-responsibility, they will soon diminish and crumble.” Aristotle

    I joined the Marine Corps because I was willing to fight for what I thought, and still think, is correct, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Who may you asks life were the Founding Fathers talking about if not one’s own life? Who’s liberty, which means choice, do you think the Founding Fathers were talking about if not one’s own? Who’s pursuit of happiness do you think the Founding Fathers were talking about if not one’s own? Let us consider that it is only one’s own life that can be controlled through one’s own choices in the pursuit of one’s own happiness. And if we intend to stay free then it is obviously not the sacrifice of one’s own ideas, choices, mind, pursuit of happiness and most importantly one’s life that one should be giving up.

    Marine’s, just like people in the private sector, do not sacrifice themselves to some group or business. A Marine or any rational person works together with other poeople best when the whole group is working toward the same goal. If you want to get the most out of Marines/people remind them of their long-term goals and that covering the back of their fellow Marine is in their best interest if they value freedom, especially when the rounds start coming down range.

    So, unlike you Byron, I never asked my Marines to give up their values and goals. I instead asked them what values they were fighting for and when things got difficult I reminded them of those values.

  • Ray Kilmer

    And as a matter of fact, Captain Martin has not mentioned anything fundamentally new. As, one can read Sun-tzu’s The Art of War, which draws on the history of war from as far back as 2,852 B.C., in an attempt to set fundamentals of war. A further understanding of the nature of the universe can create new technologies which should always make killing one’s enemy easier, hence why else create them, but that does not mean the fundamentals of war change. The goal of war is still to kill one’s enemy and restore peace, the more efficient the better.

  • Byron

    “I spent two TERMS in the Marine Corps before an injury put an end to my career” ?

  • sid

    I don’t see whee Byron was calling for any Marine, “to give up his values” Ray.

    Now if we as American’s believed fully in altruism/otherism we would not stand up for our ideas, our lifes, our liberties, our pursuit of happiness as they should be unimportant to us.

    Key word there is fully

    When it comes to human experience, and human endeavor like war, there are no perfect absolutes.

    What underpins your pride as a Marine is a common ethos as exemplified in semper fi. If predicated on simple self-interest alone, the Corp would quickly devolve into a murderous rabble.

  • Thanks Sid,

    All: let’s not get personal and let’s stick to the discussion as presented by the Capt. Martin.



  • Byron, it pains me to say it, but you are off base on this one. Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, all who fight, do so not out of some sense of the principle of self-sacrifice. They understand that there is an element of self sacrifice, to be sure, but that is a condition, not a motivator.

    At the small unit level, troops do indeed place some level of emphasis on the values Mr. Kilmer mentions. It is important. But far more so is the respect of ones peers. In my darkest days, the thoughts that sustained me weren’t that I was serving in the support of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but rather, that I was in the company of men, mostly ordinary men, in difficult circumstances. I had been tested, and found worthy of their approval.

    As for Capt. Martin, I think his understanding of Army doctrine is somewhat lacking. The Army has long been a proponent of maneuver warfare. Anyone who has read the evolution of the AirLand Battle doctrine from the 1970s to the 1990s and its descendants would see that. The tenets of Army operations, initiative, agility, depth, synchronization and versatility are tailored to maneuver warfare. That the resulting product looks somewhat different from the Marine Corps implementation of a very similar philosophy is understandable. They are two different organization, structured differently, and in the end, tailored towards different tasks and capabilities.

  • Byron

    Brad, I agree with what you say; perhaps I worded it it incorrectly. My point is that altruism does exist in the armed services. Far too many have given their lives so that others may live, and that is a fact. The motivations are many, the facts are not refutable, that a life was given so that others may live on.

    I agree also about maneuver warfare, most famous example was the Left Hook of Desert Storm. Perhaps, pride in ones service and the age old rivalry between the Corps and the Army? 😉

  • Ray Kilmer

    Byron, what is it that you would like to know as I have nothing to hide?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid, I disagree. Semper Fi, simply stated means “always faithful.” What one is always faithful to must be chosen by each individual, lest us forget each human does have volition. I choose primarily to be faithful to existence, and my own mind to overcome obstacles, mental or physical. “I will never put anyone’s reasoning capacity above my own.” Leonardo da Vinci

    I also disagree that anyone should sacrifice, the proper term is prioritize. To sacrifice is to give up a value for a lesser or non-value. Military members, and civilians, do not really do this, instead they prioritize their values into a hiearchy. This is why I am willing to die while fighting for my right to life, as life is not worth living as a slave. “Give me liberty or give me death.” I am also willing to work within a team because reality/history has shown/taught me that most wars need people that can cooperate while moving toward the obtainment of their goals.

    Pride is defined as a feeling of exaltation that comes from the achievement of one’s goals. So, pride is something that someone or a group of people achieve when they obtain their goals. The thing that moves me toward the goal of living a free life in the pursuit of my happiness, while also recognizing that everyone else has the same rights, is my rational “self-interest.”

    Finally, I disagree that the Marine Corps or man in general would devolve into a “murderous rabble.” I have never believed in any type of mystic being and have known hundreds of people in the military that were the same way. As a matter of fact, the crime rate in atheist is no higher than that of theist, check the statistics. I also disagree with your underhanded claim that many is evil by his nature and without a mystic being we would all be killing and raping each other. And I am a perfect example of how moral a person can be with no theistic believes.

  • Ray Kilmer


    I am not stating that the things you mention cannot be of value to someone as they obviously are. And I cannot even begin to guess what values people will choose to motivate themselves. What I am attempting to primarily state is that it is not sacrifice, but the integration of one’s values that motivates us to fight for those values, what ever they may be.

    For someone to state that I value the freedom to make my own choices in accordance to the pursuit of my happiness, but I am willing to sacrifice those values in accordance to what Hitler wants, Lenin wants or even what society wants then I am sacrificing my values and losing my freedom in the process. Which it should be obvious that I totally disagree with.

    Instead it is the rational prioritizing of my values into a rational hiearchy that motivates me to fight with, work with and value my fellow Marines while battling for freedom.

  • Ray Kilmer


    I agree with you that people have died while fighting and that they think they are virtuous. But, that is in accordance to a person that believes their reward will come in the “after-life,” so that person is (in their own mind) still obtaining a value. And to them it is the highest value, although I disagree with that idea.

  • sid

    What one is always faithful to must be chosen by each individual, lest us forget each human does have volition.

    Not on a field of battle Ray. Plenty of folks will take their “volition” and simply leave.

    General MacArthur said it best:

    “Duty,” “Honor,” “Country” – those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

    The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

    But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

    They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

    They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

    am also willing to work within a team because reality/history has shown/taught me that most wars need people that can cooperate while moving toward the obtainment of their goals.

    Others, in a perfectly rational way, simply become soul-less murderers

    As long as they have chosen their course in a “perfectly rational” way…then you have no right to condemn them… according to you.

    I also disagree with your underhanded claim that man is evil by his nature and without a mystic being we would all be killing and raping each other.

    I also disagree with your underhanded claim that many is evil by his nature and without a mystic being we would all be killing and raping each other.

    Ray, nowhere above has anyone’s particular religion been brought into this conversation…Except in your three successive comments above. I would very much appreciate it if you can stick to the conversation at hand, so we don’t get locked up in a point/counterpoint related to any specific theology.

    But to your point. A military force driven solely by self-interest….and an utter disdain for all beliefs other than their own, because they too considered themselves “perfect”… will win you 1937 Nanking, 1939 Krakow, and 1945 Berlin.

  • Ray Kilmer


    Do you actually have facts to back up your claims that people will run when left to their own volition? Does this country have a draft? I think not which means that a lot of people are joining upon their own volition. I, who does not agree with you, volitionally signed my enlistments papers to join the Marine Corps. After being medically discharged, for the injury I already mentioned and the VA claiming I had fully healed, I volitionally fought to get back in and then signed for a second enlistment in the Marine Corps. I am not running nor have I ever. So, your statement does not stand the facts of reality. Yes, there are cowards, but they do not all come from just one group that disagrees with your ideas on “duty.”

    As a matter of fact the term duty destroys ethics as it discards the act of volition/choice/liberty which is what ethics/morals are all about. People that claim I, along with others, am born with a duty to some unknown entity that does not allow me to chose my own goals/values is totally opposite of being born with volition and freedom. What it seems you want is for all of us to be obedient to your ideas or some mystic being without question and subjugate my mind to yours or some other unchosen leader. I must disagree. I am not here for you and no one is here for me. Anything I want out of my life will come through my own efforts or the agreements that I choose and mutually agree upon with other people.

    If all you are going to fight for is a duty to any country that you were born in and state unquestioning allegiance to that country, then you are no different than your unthinking, unchoosing enemies who have committed themselves to the same type of ideas and are willing to smash your brains in to prove it.

    Your idea that man is evil is what has lead you to think he needs some entity to have a duty to. Well if man is evil by his nature (which I disagree with) then all the things he does he does out of fear from the entity that he owes his duty to. Who is the one without morales, the one that unthinkingly commits themselves to an unchosen duty, or the one that chooses what they stand for which requires rational self-interest? And if man was so evil that he needed to have some fear of some mystical being or some government to keep him “in line” then how do you expect to change his nature through your laws? The answer is it cannot be done and hence why your ideas on an unchosen “duty” and an unchosen commitement does not work nor fit the nature of man. Unshackle man’s mind and he can do great things.

  • sid

    Do you actually have facts to back up your claims that people will run when left to their own volition?

    Good book review in the WSJ about this Ray…

    The most important predictor of desertion was socioeconomic and demographic diversity. Ms. Costa and Mr. Kahn approvingly quote Ardant du Picq, a 19th- century French colonel and military theorist. “Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a lion. Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid, will attack resolutely.”

    Unit cohesion is critically dependent on a shared, common belief system. Everyone coming into a unit with their own self-interests in the fore will lose battles.

    People that claim I, along with others, am born with a duty to some unknown entity that does not allow me to chose my own goals/values is totally opposite of being born with volition and freedom.

    You already do this when you cleave to the belief in some “perfect”, “proper”, “reality.”

    Whenever there is rhetoric to heard about how there is “no room” in this world except for some “proper reality”, then the first steps down a “perfectly rational” logic trail to the horrors Nanking, and Krakow, and Berlin is open for the unwary.

    Human perception is incomplete…Its part of being human. And nobody is “perfect”, or can see this world from a state of “perfect” reality.

  • Ray Kilmer


    That is not factual evidence, as it states, it is theory. And, your quote has nothing to do with self-interest, but whether or not people know each other. Unit cohesion comes from each individual learning about the other person and then choosing whether that person is worthy of trust and support while working toward a set goal. But, by your standard unit cohesion comes from people coming from the same socioeconomic background no matter if anyone is a lacking in virtues or not. I must disagree, if a person is a thief or murderer I do not care if they are my next door neighbor, I will not work with any cohesion with them.

    There is no “perfect, proper, reality” there is just reality. The nature of man is that he is born as Aristotle stated, “tabula rasa” which means we are born with a clean slate and everything must be learned by observing reality and using his rational function. And I have never used the term “perfect reality,” but I have stated that one should be tied to reality. You on the other hand seem to want to throw out man’s rational faculty which is the only thing that we have to guide us. It also seems that you want to destroy man’s senses when you state that man’s “perception is incomplete,” this is a fallacy. Man’s perception comes through experiencing/sensing reality as it is the only thing to experience. Finally, the term perfect does not deal with epistemology/knowledge as man will make mistakes of knowledge. Being perfect stems from one’s defined moral standards and choices and to that end man can strive to be perfect if he never compromises his chosen moral standards. But, to do that man must be free to make his own choices which requires liberty and hence freedom.

  • Byron

    Sweet suffering Jehosaphat…thread-jacked by the Ayn Rand crowd again. Time to hit the “/ignore” button again. Admin, got a broom handy?

    Mr. Kilmer, your attitude about objectivism vice sacrifice is contemptable. You seek to diminish the heroism shown by those who have made the ultimate effort for their fellow service members, be they Marines, Army, etc, and replace it with a bankrupt philosophy that wishes to strip these incredible people who gave their last full measure of their laurels. Thank God that there will always be people like those that are bestowed the Medal of Honor, they stand to serve as reminders to the rest of us that there is a higher calling than simply being rational. Further, you do a dis-service to a fellow Marine’s careful thoughts. The good Captain spent a reasonable amount of time to present his thoughts to the Institute, and instead of commenting on the body of work presented, you instead chose to shift the subject to one near and dear to your heart. You sir, are contemptable.

  • Ray Kilmer


    “Let Us Dare to Read, Think, Speak, Write – and BLOG”

    Is not this the motto of this forum/blog? Is it that you only want to “Read, Think, Speak and Write” about only that which you agree and shut down everyone else’s views? Well, I dare (which means to have the courage) to accept the motto and am willing to “Read, Think, Speak, Write, and much more for what I value.

    In the context of this discussion, my “attitude is not Objectivism against sacrifice, it is rational self-interest against sacrifice. If sacrificing is the key virtue in your moral system, why do you fight at all, why not just sit back and give your values to your enemy? I on the other hand recognize that one must choose their values and be willing to sometimes fight to retain them. I have the courage to stand up for what I think is correct and worthy of valuing, and in the moral system that I choose, that along with honesty are virtuous. But, unlike you who it seems to think that one should be virtuous and die, I think that one should be virtuous to live. So, who sir is really contemptable, the man that thinks sacrificing his values is a virtue or the man that is willing to fight against any tyrant to retain his values and hence his life? No sir, you have it backwards.

    And, I did comment on Alex Martin’s work as I have heard those type of ideas before and unlike you I was not impressed. I was not impressed with his ideas on what he thinks a new age war needs nor what he thinks of the nature of man nor why he thinks we move so slowly in morality. You see, sir, I have had the courage to “read, think, speak and write.”

  • sid

    That is not factual evidence, as it states, it is theory.

    You are wrong about that Ray. The book and article stand on their own merits.

    Unit cohesion comes from each individual learning about the other person and then choosing whether that person is worthy of trust and support while working toward a set goal.

    So…If you don’t deem a superior “worthy of trust”, then you will do what? Go home? What binds a military unit together is a shared ethos.

    That shared ethos is something that is implicitly larger than the individual.

    When you raised your right hand to swear the oath and join the Marines, you bought into such a shared ethos….Unless you were lying to yourself and everyone else.

    if a person is a thief or murderer I do not care if they are my next door neighbor, I will not work with any cohesion with them.

    Hey. If that is the standard by which they came into the unit, then who are you to judge. If its in his self-interest, and he has arrived at the decision in a “rational” matter. Then his process is every bit the equal of yours. According to you he can even be “perfect”:

    man can strive to be perfect if he never compromises his chosen moral standards. But, to do that man must be free to make his own choices which requires liberty and hence freedom.

    The rest of what you bring up is really beyond the scope of Captain Martin’s post. With each comment, you have inserted more unrelated Objectivist theory, which has no real bearing on the conversation at hand Ray.

  • A. Johns


    The original question was

    “Why does the science of man evolve so wonderfully, and the morality of man so malevolently?”

    The answer was that altruism could save morality. Ray has disagreed and stated his reasons why. So let’s get back to the original question and maybe, Sid you can explain the following contradiction.

    Why is man’s rational faculty valid when it comes to science but his rational faculty is not valid when it comes to decisions of morality?

  • Byron

    Blah, blah, more Ayn Rand blather. You guys are like a broken record. Do you go from forum to forum just to hijack threads? If we wanted to discuss this, we’d go to YOUR forum.


  • sid

    Sid you can explain the following contradiction.

    No A. I see little point in turning this thread into an Peikoff lecture

    Keep it to the discussion at hand please.

    Patton…whom I think all here would consider a successful combat leader outright discounts Ray’s “self-interest” construct…But its best to let Patton say what thought himself:

    “Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, “Fixing the wire, Sir”. I asked, “Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?” He answered, “Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed”. I asked, “Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?” And he answered, “No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!” Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have seen those trucks on the road to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.”

  • Natty Bowditch

    Weep for the USNI.

    We have the ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ version of the USMC being commented on by Ayn Rand adherents and military groupies.

    Too bad the Bulwer-Lytton award has been given out this year.

  • sid

    military groupies

    Make that “vet” there Natty, who as I type, am directly supporting Marines in their mission (well actually, we just got done about 7 minutes ago)…

    Do you have anything substantive to add to Capt. Martin’s article?

  • A. Johns

    It looks like the malevolent nature of certain individuals is creeping to the surface. Is that the result of altruism or self-interest?

    Lot’s of contradictions going on here.

    Sid, I am not afraid to answer the question you wish to evade and it is directly applicable to this thread.

    Stay tuned.

  • Byron

    “Stay tuned”. You got another running name, Rick? Different names, same old song. Go find a campfire. Not only doesn’t anyone besides your little cabal wan’t to hear it, there isn’t anyone who wants to sing it. Sucks that you had to bring your friends to the fight, seems like you couldn’t hack it yourself. That’s what happens when you get all rational.

    Captain Martin, I’m sorry your excellent post had to be infested by a group of Rand-ites. Admin? Time for the broom?

  • sid

    Sid, I am not afraid to answer the question you wish to evade and it is directly applicable to this thread.

    I am not afraid to answer any question A. However I don’t not wish to cover ground (and waste yet more bandwidth) on Objectivism in general…And thats where you are clearly trying to steer the conversation.

    Ray has posited some cogent arguments here. Don’t agree with them, but at least he hasn’t devolved into a state of proselytizing.

    But, to cater to broader issue of man’s inherent malevolence…the fact that wars have…and will…exist pretty much says it all.

    That is the reality A.

  • Ugh. The rational objectivists. They take a good idea to its illogical extremes. How tiresome.

    As Sid points out, when you reject religion for your perfect philosophy, you are merely replacing one religion with another.

    And Ray, you’ve said two things that twitched my radar (at least one of which twitched Byron’s). You talked about serving two terms. Most folks would say “tours.”

    You also talked about reenlistment. I’ve never heard an officer, much less a Marine officer talk about enlisting. They return to active duty.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Mankind are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. The timid are the most dangerous of all. They will take any action which tends to make them feel safer in the moment, no matter how selfish, treacherous, or indecent. They are the most significant source of malevolence in mankind. One man’s opinion.

    Decent and honorable people are, in broad and general terms, without malevolence. Most know this instinctively.

    The continuing problem is that high intelligence sociopaths use the decent and honorable as protective coloration while seeking greater power and control, all the better to succeed as a predator. The most successful gain control of factions in a nation state and cooperate with other predators to gain control of the next higher level while corrupting the institutions intended to work for the common good. There are ten thousand variations of this comman thread at work at all times, in all places.

    The highest level of malevolent predators manipulate any given situation to use the decent’s honor to make them act so as to achieve the predator’s agenda.

    These predators can be recognized by charm, charisma, smooth and facile speech, constant self reference to their high minded motives and good intentions, and unrelenting opportunism. The tip off is universal and simple.

    They speak constantly of their selflessness and dedication to the common welfare of those they lead/control, while acting with unrelenting selfishness and ruthlessness to seek greater personal power.

    War can be the struggle between benevolence and malevolence, or between malevolence and malevolence. Usually it is both, directed in some part, small or large, by the timid and the power hungry, both distinguished by their egocentric selfishness.

    The role of honorable leadership is to keep these tendencies in check. In other words, to defend the right and dread naught.
    According to regulations and etc., etc.

    The only constant is the unfortunate state of mankind.

    Thus sayeth the old grump. Other opinions may vary.

  • Byron

    Yup, was same thing that lit up my sensors, Brad. Asked the question, didn’t get an answer.

  • sid

    Mankind are the most dangerous creatures on the planet.

    Even when there were very few of us to spare, we visited harm upon one another.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Geez, I am away from the computer for ONE day, and all this hell breaks loose…

  • Bill, Publisher at USNI

    This conversation seems to have swerved off course from the subject that Captain Martin spent so much time thinking and posting about. He has given us much to consider. If there’s no further interest in his essential thoughts, we can move on to something else. That is not to say the other debates are of less value, so long as they are interesting and continue respectfully.

    Admin has the day off, but is keeping an eye on the job I’m doing from afar –don’t take advantage of me.

  • Ray Kilmer


    I have never stated that a man that is rationally self-interested would only have concern for himself and your statements only show your lack of knowledge on the subject. To be rationally concerned for oneself means that I take a long-term apporach to my life. Which means that I recognize not only that everyone else has the same rights (rights which you fail to recognize) as I do, but that the person next to me in a fighting hole is a very high value to me. Maybe you should stop trying to guess what I am thinking and just ask.

    And you fail to recognize that without individuals, there would be no such thing as a team.

    Further, let us discuss your stated thoughts on a person not agreeing with his superior. Last I remembered it was okay to disagree with one’s superior if you can bring up the facts to support your reasons, which should be done during a time of training. This type of disagreement is normal in military history and can be shown by many people such as Halsey, Nimitz, Puller, Patton, Smith (Howling Mad) and many more. You will also notice that greatness almost always requires that the individual disagree with superiors as that is how we evolve our thoughts and actions.

    But, if I know why I joined the military (which is to primiarly defend individual rights and not support some country or tyrant which could be evil) then my disagreement with a superior can be overcome because my main objective is the defense of rights and not to always agree with people. In other words, if one understands the term, “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” then they should understand what it is they are fighting for which is a higher priority that always agreeing.

    Let us now look at the “implicit ethos” that you are attempting to sell. The term implicit means capable of being understood though unexpressed. The term ethos is defined as the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding principles of a person, group or institution. The Founding Fathers, which this countries principles stem from believed in the unalienable right of man to his own “life, liberty and the pursuit of happines.” You will not find in the Declaration of Independence any statement contradictory to man being free to take all the actions necessary in his attempt to achieve his own happiness (that is as long as a person does not use force against or harm others). You (and others) are attempting to enslave me by stating that I (and others) are not here for our own happiness, but must subjugate ourselves to your whimsical desires. I totally disagree. Later, the Constitution explicity defined and was supposed to limit the powers of government and subordinate the will of the majority to the rights of the individual.

    Finally, the reason man has taken so long to move forward in morality is because every known culture or government has always believed that man was the servant of society, government or some god. The Founding Father were the first people in history to state otherwise, man is a moral being and his life is his own to do with as he sees fit. And they created a government to protect the rights of individuals which is the only entity that can hold rights as no group has rights only the individuals within each group. But, you, like so many others from the past are still attempting to enslave man which is why your ethical system will has never worked and never will.

    Good day.

  • Ray Kilmer


    Is that the best assault you have as it is not even worthy of rebuttal. And if you think you can scare me off you are sadly mistaken as your attempts at it are weak.

  • Ray Kilmer


    Religion is based off of faith and not reason. There is a huge difference in coming to logical conclusion and just blindly following. One of the differences is that I look at reality with no blindfolds and come to conclusions. Those conclusions might be wrong, but staying attached to reality and not some mystical idea of what is allows me to change my conclusion and overcome.

    I am also no Randite as there is no such thing. Hell, I might as well call you Christianite, Allahnite, or Godite. Instead I use my senses to come to objective conclusions about reality.

  • Ray Kilmer


    Is the use of the word “terms” what you have in disagreement with me? If so I find that amazing that that is the thing you pick out from my statements. While in the Marine Corps I did use the words; head, deck, chow hall or galley, log book, port holes, scuttlebutt, starboard, port, watch and so much more. I have literally read hundreds and hundred of books on military tactics, heros and technical manuals over my life time. But, if you still feel the need to check up on me go ahead. I served two different “tours” both of which were during the 1990s. I was medically discharged the first time for the injuries already mentioned. The second “tour” was ended because I was attempting to make a lateral move that required a full physical. During that physical, x-rays showed that the original injury had become worse and I now had spinal deterioration which was causing the crushing of nerves and my spinal cord. I decided to take the advice of the neuro and ortho surgeons who recommended that I get out or I would probably become paralyzed.

    As I stated earlier, I have nothing to hide.

    One more thing just incase you want to know more. I grew up as a Navy dependent/brat of a father that retired in 1984 with more than 20 years in the Navy and had been selected for Senior Chief.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Bill, Publisher at USNI,

    I just read your post as I was scrolling and replying to all the others. I apologize for not fulfilling your request.

  • sid

    One of the differences is that I look at reality with no blindfolds and come to conclusions.

    You do indeed have as big a blindfold as any zealot has ever worn when you say that you cleave to an absolute claim of “reality”. In effect you say you possess perfect clarity. You do not. No one does.

    Such a stance then leads to a belief that you are superior to all who do not …or will not… attain that same clarity of vision.

    And without an atlruistic sense the next “logical” step is “cleanse” the world of said lesser beings.

    That was the attitude present in 1937 Nanking, 1939 Krakow, and 1945 Berlin….

  • Ray Kilmer


    Existence exist. Aristotle

    It is only existence that exist and it is only man’s senses that help or guide him in understanding existence.

    A zealot is one that performs their actions for a god, of which I had stated I have no believe. So, your attempting to call me a zealot when you are the one stating that it is to a higher being that you take action is incorrect.

    If you want to list what happens when people act as zealots I could fill a book of the misery that religious people have brought on other men.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    And I could fill a bookshelf with the misery alleviated by religious people, most far from zealots. Not to mention the LIBRARY chronicling the human misery imposed by self absorbed atheists. Just start with the 20th century and work back, you’ll die of old age before you get to the 19th.

    Straw man argument, if very chi-chi among the drinking buddies of Chris Hitchens and his fellow trotskyites.

    Can we get back to the original discussion?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Grampa Bluewater,

    Seeing how most of man’s history has never had a large amount of atheist, as they were killed by theist of almost every sect, I find it hard to imagine that the list of killings by theist would be shorter.

    “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” John Adams

    “That the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of the history of the whole world.” John Adams

    “It is only the dead that have seen the end of war.” Plato

    If you read the title of this blog/thread and the first couple of paragraphs, this discussion is part of the original discussion. But, I can see that takes an understanding of principles which most seem to fail in the recognition of. People that want to be warriors should be taught the principles of war. It is an understanding of those abstract principles that allows each person to apply them to different concrete situations, with what ever new technologies we might have, to overcome our enemies and win. Killng one’s enemy or demoralizing them to the point of surrender so that peace will be restored is the goal of war. If this country wants to win wars, quicker and save America’s military member’s lives, then we will need to take off the white hat and annihilate our enemies with warriors that have every new technology at their use.

    With that stated, new technologies are not the primary key to winning a war. As Americans we have the most highly advanced military in the world with the most advanced weapons and we only threaten to use that technology. American’s have unfortunately given way to the idea that it needs to be a fair fight. Bull. If a thief shows up at my door with a knife, I do not throw down my gun so that it would be fair. For those that do not understand where this idea stems from, it stems from altruism which is having a concern for others over one’s own well being, in other words the sacrifice of one’s values.

    During WWII General Arnold annihilated 75% of Japan’s industrilized cities before the atomic bomb with fire bombs. General Arnold took his battle right to the heart of the enemy, which was not their military, but the civilians. He had such a concern for his troops and no conern for his enemies that he destroyed them with as few casualties as possible. And later the choice to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved tons of American military members. That dear reader is rational self-interest.

  • sid

    it stems from altruism which is having a concern for others over one’s own well being, in other words the sacrifice of one’s values.

    You need to brush up on your historical facts. You are confusing Curtis LeMay with Hap Arnold…

    Otherwise, you have made my point Ray. What you get in a military force absent altruism is a a force that dehumanizes their opponent. Sees them as worthy of nothing else other than complelte annihilation. Indeed, that is your “solution: we will need to take off the white hat and annihilate our enemies .

    Ray, your dream military would be no less barbaric than that of the Japanese in 1937, the Germans in 1939, and the Soviets in 1945.

    They followed a national will that is identical to your own objectivist vision. You share the belief that an answer is to be found to finally cure humans of their foibles. You call yours “Rational Self-Interest”, but its little different in substance from theirs.

    You see a perfect absolute in “reality.” And there is no room in your world for any other view.

    “Demoralizing” an enemy by rape is the tactic of your dream military. “Self-interest” will allow the murder of innocents as entertainment. It will be a “rational” logistics solution to set up killing camps.

    Ray, I want no part of this “reality” that you proselytize.

  • Ray Kilmer


    No, I am not wrong. Major General Curtis LeMay was the man that designed the bombing plan. But, it was General Arnold that made the final choice to implement the plan. Starting in 1938 General Arnold became the Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps. General Arnold was also the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1941-1945. And later it was General Arnold that became the only 5 star General of the Air Force. Last I remember a General out ranks a Major General. So, maybe you should brush up on your history.

    No, I have not made your point and it is your altruism that fogs you morality. The country, group or person that initiates force or commits an act of war is the one that is held morally responsible for any negative effects not the attacked country, group or individual. If a murderer sneaks into my house and attempts to kill and rob me, but while defending my right to my life I kill him, I am not the one that is guilty of the initiation of force. The evil doers are the ones that should be held accountable and to show mercy on them is to spit in the face of the victims and the dead.

    Unlike the Japanese, the Germans and the Soviets, I recognize the rights of individuals and have no desire to rule anyone, no desire to sacrifice anyone nor to let them do either of those things to me. So, no, I am not barbaric as a barbarian does not understand the nature of rights and that man has the right to defend himself. If an enemy is tryig to kill me and kicks me in the groin I do not not rip out his eyes becuase he only kicked me in the groin.

    And,the Japanese, the Germans and the Russians all asked for exactly what you are asking for, sacrifices. As a matter of fact almost all of the history of social/political and individual ethics has been bombarded with sacrifice of the individual to the group, the nation or some other supposed higher being. Lest you forget, Japanese people were highly religious/mystical and lead by an emperor that claimed a direct relationship to their gods. Hitler was extremely religious and believed that his choosen race was of god’s design. And Lenin, Stalin and all of communistic Russia just replaced the will of god with the will of society/commnity and planned the subjugation of individuals to the whimsical desires of their society. One thing they all had in common (among many other things) is that they all agreed and implemented altruism and held self-sacrifice as the highest virtue.

    Once again, maybe you should stop trying to put words into my mouth, as I have never stated that demoralizing one’s enemy required the rape of anyone. And I grow tired of your unsubstantiated attacks of other peoples charcter that you have no proof of. I am a rationally self-interested person that has never attempted to rape nor murder anyone nor do I intend on doing so. But, I do think that the killing of one’s enemies, military or civilians, to save my own troops in the defense of our lifes/rights is a moral thing. And it seems that you are willing to let your men die at the hands of the enemy by tying their hands with irrational rules of engagement that give the benefit to the enemy.

    During Julius Caesar’s time as the leader of Rome his diplomatic emissaries were attacked by the Gauls and killed. Julius Caesar immediately sent his troops to Gaul and had them annihilate the enemy. From that time forward not one diplomatic emissary was ever harmed.

    “Don’t let those civilians press in on you. The crowd is full of Chinese troops. Whatever happens, shoot to kill if they come close. Don’t be misled by their innocent look – those devils will push women and children ahead of them, and if they get among the tanks we may lose the whole end of the column.”

    “Puller was not content until the young lieutenant repeated the order to him: “Keep the road clear if we have to kill’em all.'”

    “A mile or so down the slope Puller got grim news: The tanks at the rear had been attacked. Chinese soldiers, pushing civilians ahead of them, had come from the crowd with hidden weapons, offering to surrender. The brave young lieutenant, wary but nervous, had gone to meet them. There had been fighting in the road, and a few grenades under tank treads had done the rest. There were casualties, but now the column inched on without half a dozen of its tanks.” [Davis, Burke, Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller, pp. 6-7]

    General William T. Sherman supposedly stated that “War is Hell” and he was right. That is why we should always try and be as diplomatic as rationally possible before going to war. But, a free country has no need to go to war except in the defense of it’s individual citizens rights which means their lifes. When was is chosen as the last resort, General Sherman is right, make it hell for your enemy so that they will surrender as soon as possible and American lifes will be saved. “Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way” was something I was taught a long time ago and it still makes sense today. If you, Sid, cannot handle what war demands stay the hell out of the way of the people that know how to apply the principles of war. And do not worry I am not asking you to commit to the reality of war as you have already proven you cannot handle doing what is needed to win as sacrificing one’s troops does not help one to win.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Thank you for the clincher.


    Admin: another objectivist troll. Appropriate assistance requested.

    This the USNI blog. Not the Ayn Rand Institute. Can we keep it that way please?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Grampa Bluewater,

    A troll is defined as “someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”

    I am no troll. I am a man, a father, a husband, a businessmen and much more that is concerned with the irrational leadership of this country which is caused from irrational thinking. But, I am not afraid to defend what I think is correct and if that raises eyebrows so be it.

    It seems you and others want to sit back in your little self created fantasy world and think that the enemy gives a damn about you, your troops or this country. Please quote anywhere in history where appeasement has ever worked against an aggressor. You will not find one. I have studied the history/nature of man back thousands of years, I was a history major in college. I have studied the likes of Solon the ancient Greek statemen from almost 2600 years ago. I have also studied the ancient war tactics written by Sun-tzu and the Military Methods of Sun Pin. I have probably read more books, technical manuals and research articles than 10 people combined with the goal of enhancing life.

    I agree with Chesty Puller when he stated that “the American people want a war where no one gets hurt. Well that just does not happen.” The commanders of today, and since the Korean War, for the most part sit back in their offices, on ships or in garrison areas and give orders to men that they have very little knowledge of. Is there any wonder why we are losing the battle when the leaders have an irrational idea of what war is really about and how to win one. Warriors are not humanitarians, and all the time wasted trying to act like they are is time lost in becoming proficient in war. The leaders of warriors should be warriors and stop worrying about their tee-times, what they are going to do after retirement, or if their stock-portfolio is large enough or correct and get back to the basics of training men to be warriors.

  • All,

    Alex inadvertantly posted this comment to another post so I am going to copy it in here for him. With that the comments are closed.

    Alex Martin

    1.) On the Army, doctrine aside (and I am certainly no expert), what I do know is I’ve operated beside her Soldiers and Rangers, and walked under her pilots and I couldn’t ask for a more fantastic group of men and women to fight alongside.

    2.) 4-D warfare is not taught in schools, nor is it written in any doctrine; at least no doctrine that I have read or been instructed on prior to my deployments to Iraq. Of course the notion of “time” is not new, but that time becomes intuitive in combat has been our education and experience. It’s revealed to us (as it was surely revealed to those men in Vietnam, Korea, and all the wars of the world before them) that as we walk our patrols, establish our ambush positions, kick in a door during a raid, kill or refrain from killing, or conduct our reconnaissance, “time” changes all dimensions. My point here was to demonstrate how time affects the small unit commander’s decision cycle as a matter of combat physics, and that it must be set into our doctrine. That’s all.

    3.) I am not quite sure the true nature of man. As a young man from the beaches of La Jolla, I thought us all naturally good. After three combat deployments to Iraq, I thought us all naturally bad. Now after watching an advertisement for Paris Hilton’s new reality television show, I think us naturally stupid…I do believe that faith of any kind (whether it be in a higher power, or the man to your left and right) puts an anxious heart at ease.

    4.) This is a tough crowd. I go to work each day with some of the roughest men in the world. This group would give them a run for their money. What we seem to maintain at the Force Reconnaissance Company (and it is hardly decorum) is a shared understanding that no matter how heated our discussion gets (in the words of General Mattis) “a sense of humor is our best set of armor.”

    I think whether we believe in the virtue of one, many, or some combination of the both…perhaps we could all agree on the power of a good sense of humor.