During the first Christmas of WWI, soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. … to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, … Fighting continued in some sectors, while in others the sides settled on little more than arrangements to recover bodies. (
This is exactly how the world currently works. The military does decide what government you have. If the us military decided tomorrow en masse that the constitution doesn't matter, it wouldn't. The fact that the us military is so loyal to the "Idea of America" is why everyone trusts it so much.
You've got it backwards. Soldiers "let" government make decisions, governments don't "let" soldiers follow orders.Loyalty and authority flow up the chain of command, not down. When a military as an institution decides that it does not recognize the authority of a government, it doesn't matter who is charge or what they order.
For extreme examples, look at any military coup that ever happened, and for a more contemporary example, look at how the US military is treating twitter "orders" from Donald Trump.
I'm assuming that everyone who has posted on this topic thus far is not a member of the military, nor has ever probably ever handled a loaded weapon, because it shows.
Within the culture of my military was a saying: "May we be ever loyal to our officers, and our officers be ever worthy of our loyalty."
I have both followed, and have been a leader of fellow soldiers in the middle east. One thing that you're aware of as a leader and as a follower is that everyone that is under your command has a gun, grenades, and more. If one of my subordinates wanted to kill me, they could. If I wanted to kill one of my leaders, I could. The only consequences would be from your fellow soldiers, and if they approve of the action, then that's that. An infantry platoon is a democracy where everyone gets a vote with a bullet everytime you go out on patrol.
For excellent examples of this just look at the wikipedia article on Fragging.
Regulations stated that we were only allowed to use issue equipment. Many of us bought our own superior pouches, backpacks, and even weapon accessories on the private market because the issue equipment was terrible. Technically by purchasing my own equipment, I was not following orders.
There were times when I was given orders that were terrible and would have lead to unnecessary losses with no possible gain except for the person issuing them either gaining or saving 'face'. In that situation we would not do the thing, and then just say we did.
These sorts of decisions are made at every level of a military within the entire chain of command. This is desired as often orders are given with outdated, false, or incomplete information of what is going on locally, regionally, and tactically.
If you want to educate yourself in an area that all of you seem to be lacking, I would suggest reading up on Carl von Clausewitz, Mikhail Dragomirov, and Miyamoto Musashi.
That's a valid point, although in some cases opportunistic subversion may be more attractive than initial resistance, e.g. because resistance at the point of enslavement may be heavily punished, but there may be a better opportunity for desertion/disobedience later.
I agree with you, but in those cases the question becomes why the resistance would occur after being brought into the chain of command and making it all the way to the battlefield. If those values are clear, then I would expect resistance at the point of the slave-raid | press-gang | draft letter.
I understand your point, but people have other optimization goals than only likelihood of survival. For example, quality of life in case of survival, which is low for slaves. Also some of us care about payback.
What's different about it? The soldiers are a very sizable fraction of the voters, and both the most-informed easily identifiable fraction of it, and the one with the most right to have a say in the decision. It seems to me more just to have the soldiers vote on it, than the entire population.
I don't mind voters at home stopping a war. That's quite different from local soldiers quitting on a war.
This post contradicts your free-market ideology, which in most situations tries to justify distributed decision-making.
I also think that WW1 was an extreme case--a war no one wanted, with no objectives, no possible gain for either side or for the soldiers, and no plausible reasons given to the public for the war. This war, if any, was one where the local discretion of soldiers would have been superior to the remote decision-making. And I don't see how soldiers walking out on a war is different from people at home voting to stop a war, which I would guess you don't oppose.
Rulers and populations want soldiers who act as killer robots when killer robot mode is turned on and act as neighborly human beings when killer robot mode is turned off.
They care very strongly about the first part during a war and very strongly about the second after the war is over.
In terms of soldiers failing to perfectly maintain this, populations and rulers should prefer their soldiers lean slightly towards acting neighborly at inappropriate times than acting like killer robots at inappropriate times.
I disagree. The chain of command is a practical structure, not a moral one. Regardless how a person comes to be within it, it is almost always better to go along with it because it improves the likelihood of survival. This is as true for slaves of an empire invading a border region as it is for volunteers in a republic defending the homeland.
The conditions where the chain of command breaks down are when survival becomes less likely and dying has no purpose. Military leadership is aware of this, and it serves as an important backstop for their decision making.
WW1 is the most dense and high-profile collection of events that meet those criteria. Known to me, at any rate.
"it's reasonable to ask if *your* true enemy is in the other side of the trench, or at the top of your own chain of command." - Agreed!
I would lean towards guessing that "good" leaders are very rare. If the common people protest something - I'll lean towards supporting them, not the leaders.
WWI was especially horrible. Good political leaders would have avoided it. The common soldiers, recognizing this, were, in effect, protesting by fraternizing with the "enemy"; of course, we now applaud them for this.
Discipline in the collective achievement of a worthwhile objective is admirable; not so when the objective is bad.
It is interesting to see how people respond at each level in a hierarchy. There isn't much room to mess around in conflict-laden times, and scenarios like the war-time meetings across lines say something about the bigger "war" and the smaller "people".
Most certainly not!A solidier must obey orders in war. That's a solidiers duty. Though citizens should definitely have a veto about whether they are soldiers.In WW1, service was not voluntary. Should we let governments allow to tear away all young men of fighting age from peaceful lives and command them to obey, fight, kill and die?