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Martial Virtues in Modern War

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There are many stupid myths about war. And in my observation, the myths remain mostly similar across political boundaries.

In this article, I’ll debunk a few of those myths by looking at some human factors of war. Those are courage, masculinity, and discipline.

Specifically, the belief that fighting a modern war, with its artillery, airpower, and electronics (primarily in the form of UAVs), both lack those qualities and aren’t necessary in the first place.

And that modern war is just one giant endless slaughter where only numbers and equipment matter. And where skill is irrelevant.

Contrast that to the pre-modern world. Fighting supposedly required more individual skill and bravery than it does modern war. And where death was more honorable and discriminating.

All of this is simply bullshit. Modern warfare requires far more intelligence, coordination, individual valor, skill, and initiative than on any battlefield before the age of gunpowder.

Contemporary ‘conventional’ modern warfare is the most discriminating and least lethal form of warfare that has ever existed in the known history of this planet, where actual combatants are considered.

Where weaker but more skilled underdogs have far better chances of success.

Gone are the pre-modern days when the majority of a losing side would be killed in a matter of singular days because they turned into basically unarmed fleeing civilians.

Modern soldiers are too dispersed and camouflaged to make that a realistic proposition in a peer conflict. Especially when the time scale is measured in days.

And when you die in modern war, it’s almost certain that you died actually fighting. Rather than because you died of a fatal infection/disease from living in a highly unsanitary environment with an immune system weakened by malnutrition as a result of food shortages. As did most men who died in war during pre-industrial times.

Far be it of me to say that an era’s equivalent of ‘close combat’ probably isn’t more risky than its ‘long-range’ counterpart. Because if you lose, your odds of being completely annihilated are significantly higher than if you were to lose a ‘long-range’ engagement.

As for masculinity and courage, I’ll explain why fighting with artillery, airpower, and UAVs is just as courageous as fighting as an ordinary infantryman on the ground.

I don’t think I need to convince anyone that being on the receiving end of those things and continuing to fight intelligently to the best of your abilities should not be heroic and masculine.

For artillery, competence with it requires a higher-than-normal level of mathematical knowledge and innate talent. Which is a more masculine than feminine trait. Doing so while someone is trying to kill you is pretty heroic(and difficult) in itself.

Especially since your actions could mean the difference between success and failure for your colleagues.

As one of the largest casualty producers, you are a primary target, so you will get into a comparable level of danger as other roles.

With airpower, it should be a no-brainer as well. It requires high levels of intelligence and spatial awareness(another more masculine than feminine trait). There is a good reason why every combat pilot is an officer rather than a mere enlistee, even before he sees any actual combat.

Aerial war is one of extremes in modern war. Either little/nothing deadly happens to you, or your vehicle gets destroyed, and you risk an almost guaranteed fatal crash if you can’t successfully escape the aircraft.

Whether the thing that gets you are missiles, cannons, or bullets.

And despite all that, there is the reality that if you die, it’s most likely (around 70%) that you’ll never see your attacker before he shoots you down.

And you are part of the most important facet of modern warfare. Which makes destroying you a high priority.

With ‘drone’ warfare, you’re generally safer even in peer-to-peer fighting, but there is still danger. Moreover, using UAVs still requires a high level of intelligence to perform well and succeed. Like video games, those who are the best at it tend to come from the more extreme ends of psychological disposition and personality, which is a highly masculine trait. Women don’t show as much psychological diversity as men.

In a war between peer opponents, all those positions are fraught with a comparable level of danger as infantry. If anything, those positions could arguably be more dangerous. Simply because you will have a greater impact than your standard infantryman. So you be targeted with more effort.

And all of that requires a great deal of courage and masculinity. Your death will be gorier and potentially more painful than anything a blade/bludgeon-wielding warrior of the distant past ever had to face.

Moving on to discipline. I have seen strong discipline associated with a supposed lack of individuality, personal initiative, and creativity in war.

It’s incredibly stupid, so I’ll debunk that as well.

As the tools, tactics, and organizations of war have continuously become more complex. More intelligence, flexibility, and creativity are required to pull it off successfully. And that facilitation is underpinned by discipline.

Without sufficient discipline, you won’t be able to sufficiently train up or hone those skills. If you learn anything at all.

To use World War 2 as an example. The most disciplined military in the world at the time; the Wehrmacht, was the one to display the highest level of tactical and operational flexibility as well as personal initiative, especially in the lower officer ranks.

As well as displaying the best combined-arms organization of the entire war and continuously improved in their tactics even as their average soldier quality declined in the last 2 years of the war.

By contrast, it was the most undisciplined military of the war(at least in the Atlantic Theater)- The Soviet military, was the one that displayed the highest level of tactical and operational rigidness and inflexibility, as well as the lowest amount of personal initiative among it officers.

And were the ones who consistently punched below their weight compared to their ‘on paper’ advantages in contrast to the other major powers. And who barely improved in their organizational capabilities compared to everyone else.

And the Soviets were the ones ultimately reliant on their White supremacist allies to survive at all. And their contribution to the Third Reich’s defeat was rather minor compared to that of Britain and America(I might go over that in a future article.

Finally, too many people think that technological advantages give you a decisive advantage in a straight-up battle with comparable numbers to the point where human factors don’t matter. So I’ll refute that last.

This is trickier simply because historically, those who achieved air superiority over their opponents were either as or more skilled as them.

However, there was White-ruled South Africa’s little intervention in Angola during 1987-1988.

During the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, the SADF had to assist UNITA in driving back a FAPLA offensive without the assistance of significant airpower(mainly due to political reasons). And the black and commie Cubans had over 100 combat aircraft.

Meaning the commies had complete air supremacy over the battlefield.
The SADF was often outnumbered anywhere from 2-5 to 1 or more.
They only had their superior skill and electronic warfare capability to rely on.

Despite the odds, the SADF defeated the FAPLA offensive and their subsequent Cuban reinforcements. Only political restrictions prevented an even more one-sided and lasting victory.

It was the norm in individual engagements for the Whites to suffer singular numbers of dead(always less than twenty) while the commies suffered hundreds of dead(one time over a thousand).

That illustrates that regardless of how important technology is(and it’s pretty important). The qualities of the fighting men always matter more.

I hope the above has helped you understand that the masculine warrior spirit hasn’t disappeared in these troubled modern times. But it has simply taken on new forms as time marches on.

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Formatting sucks, set up a standard paragraph spacing rule in the website defaults.

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