27 Nov 2005

Robert Kaplan’s “Imperial Grunts”

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Imperial Grunts

reviewed by David Lipsky:

[Kaplan] chastises the ‘elite’ for casting Vietnam in a bad light; the soldiers consider that war ‘every bit as sanctified as the nation’s others.’.. we’ve been too thrifty with our troops; to prevail in the war on terror, he advises, we ought to become more tolerant of American casualties. So what’s the holdup? It was the elites that had a more difficult time with the deaths of soldiers and marines. ‘Their concern is misplaced. The grunts have an ‘unpretentious willingness to die,’ which is in part ‘the product of their working-class origins. The working classes had always been accustomed to rough, unfair lives and turns.’..

The elites, having become global citizens, represent a threat to ‘the age-old ability of individual democracies to persevere in a sustained and difficult war.’ For Kaplan, it comes down to interests and allegiances: ‘Journalists were global cosmopolitans. If they themselves did not own European and other foreign passports, their spouses or friends . . . did. Contrarily, the American troops I met saw themselves belonging to one country and one society only: that of the United States.’

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One Feedback on "Robert Kaplan’s “Imperial Grunts”"

Day Brown

Kaplan:”Half of the Green Berets grew up on family farms.” I note that this is but *1%* of the total US population producing *50%* of its arguably most valuable resource.

Yet, we permit agribusiness to routinely drive family farms off the land? Do *they* grow the defenders of the next generation? Hello??



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