The far frontier is not defended with citizens

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

In addition to restraint of objective, T. R. Fehrenbach reminds us (in This Kind of War), the second necessary ingredient of limited war is a professional army large enough to handle any task:

In 1950, even to fight an underdeveloped nation in Asia, America had to fall back upon her citizens. And in this, above all else, lies the resulting trauma of the Korean War.

The far frontier is not defended with citizens, for citizens have better things to do than to die on some forsaken hill, in some forsaken country, for what seems to be the sake of that country.


A modern democracy was not semifeudal Prussia, or Bourbon France, or Whig England, where soldiers could be swept from taverns, pressed from the ranks of the unskilled and unemployed, the disadvantaged put under the rod of iron, to be broken into grenadiers, to voyage and die for the realm, while the stable and fortunate citizenry said good riddance.


  1. Jim says:

    Total war: the most reliable sign of a free nation?

  2. Harry Jones says:

    Not total war. Total preparedness.

  3. Adar says:

    Correct. Young men drafted into the military during the Korean War sent to fight in a place of which they knew little and found little to like and having done so during a time of general American prosperity before or after without equal hardly make for happy soldiers.

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