Mar 2, 2010 at 8:50 am #1255953
Jim W.BPL Member
I think this belongs here in Chaff.
Can anyone tell me when and why the US military started calling soldiers "Warfighters"? Is there politics behind the change? (Don't want to be associated with any blue helmeted "Peacekeepers"?)
I kept running across the term when researching cross over technology for backpacking. (Marine ECWCS garments and Permethrin fabric treatment studies to be specific).Mar 2, 2010 at 8:52 am #1580512
To intimidate the opposing forces with its scary intonation.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:12 am #1580526
Methinks that term is used to denote someone 'who means business' — a doer (fighter) who gets the war business done — as opposed to administrators in uniform.
Me also thinks this term is used more as a consequence of frustration toward Iraq and Afghanistan.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:26 am #1580530
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
Check out the entry in Wikipedia. It's at least plausible.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:47 am #1580542
We had to come up with a term to cover all branches of service, and "servicemembers" was too cumbersome and not intimidating enough.
It's sort of a product of the "friendly rivalry" between the branches of service. You can't call them all "soldiers."
If you call a Marine a "soldier" you'd better expect to get at least an earful. If you call one a "sailor", well, I hope you have health insurance…
The heirs of the Army Air Corps also get snitty about being referred to as "soldiers."
So "warfighters" covers soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen (sometimes), and marines.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:50 am #1580549
Marines take offense to soldier? Just askingMar 2, 2010 at 9:53 am #1580552
Not like they take offense to being told that they are in the Navy, but yes, in general. They are Marines, not soldiers. They tend to cut innocent civilians some slack when they make this mistake, but I would certainly get the stinkeye if I tried to call them that.
Incidentally, calling a Marine a "jarhead" is kinda like using the N-word in American society nowadays. Only a jarhead is allowed to use the word "jarhead"- otherwise it is an insult. This has gotten milder and milder over the years, though, and you can probably find Marines who don't mind being called a jarhead. But if you want to be familiar with them and still remain safe it is better to call them "leatherneck."Mar 2, 2010 at 9:55 am #1580554
Hmm. Very telling. So the military isn't there to defend the country against anything. They're there to wage war. Seems honest, if disturbing. If there was no desire to promote war then I would think the "war" part would be completely unnecessary, as "fighters" gets the whole meaning across in itself.
"Warmongers" would seem to be less disingenuous. And it's an established term.Mar 2, 2010 at 10:02 am #1580556
So you think that war cannot be defensive? Rather narrow a viewpoint, there, Miguel. :o)
But I'm not one to play semantic games. Yes, the purpose of a military is to wage war, be it defensive or not. We also get other tasks on occasion, though. Peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, operations short of war, etc. I'm not a pacifist, obviously. (Though my Hippocratic oath does place some limits on me. I can discuss the Geneva Conventions regarding medical personnel, if you like.)
But, wow, we're going to get into another holy war, here, aren't we…? :o)
EDIT– So, you edited that one under me, eh, Miguel? Are you calling me names? Well, at least you have the balls to do it in public. I'll give you that. I do take offense to being called a warmonger. My opinions about appropriate uses for the military might surprise you. If I'm misinterpreting that comment, I recommend you clarify it right quick or the holy war is about to start.
P.S.- My apologies in advance, Jim. I hope that I amswered your question. With more and more joint operations nowadays they just needed a word that covered everybody.Mar 2, 2010 at 10:08 am #1580561
another gun/military/war thread on backpacking light.Mar 2, 2010 at 10:11 am #1580563
Well, I think this one is different. The gun holy wars get heated and rude, but I think both sides have their points. Here, I was just called a name at random, without provocation. This wasn't a debate on foreign policy and the military, for example.
Do you disargee? That I was just flat-out called a warmonger, along with every other military member on the planet?
If Miguel only meant the leadership- like Bush- he sure a hell could have made that more clear. (And I might not disagree with him.) And if this was a miscommunication that he corrects, I'll be quite satisfied, and maybe a bit chagrined. But I'm waiting for the answer.
Well, maybe I should have waited a bit longer, to see if Miguel rethinks that. Especially considering my own re-re-re-editing habit. :o)
Unfortunately, I have to run to a case, so it may take me a while to get back. Later.Mar 2, 2010 at 10:12 am #1580564
I'm SO out of this thread.
Have fun fellas!Mar 2, 2010 at 10:21 am #1580569
What next? Rename the DOD back to DOW — just so folks know we mean business — again?Mar 2, 2010 at 10:26 am #1580573
Could so many (certainly not all, but MANY) of the residents of "first world" nations (yeah, that means all of us) enjoy the privileged consumers lifestyles we lead without the aid of the warfighters, soldiers, warmongers (or whatever your beliefs/affiliations dictate you call them)?
Is there a way to do it, in this world, without a gigantic military?
If the U.S. didn't have the largest military on the planet, who would?Mar 2, 2010 at 11:11 am #1580597
The Swiss lifestyle isn't all that shabby. Ditto the Norwegians, Swedes, so on and so forth.
I am not naive. We need to defend ourselves. And I certainly appreciate folks out there defending me and my lifestyle.
But this notion that we HAVE TO BE the biggest, baddest and meanest out there is arrogant — and frankly non-sustainable. Anyone who studies history knows this.
Right now, China is building infrastructure like gangbusters! We struggle just to patch what we have and this talk about a high speed rail system is still more dream than reality! And yet, driven by fear (and our own arrogant foreign policies) — we continue to borrow just so we can continue to spend more on defense than the next 10 countries combined!!
With our crumbling education and infrastructure — even as we sink ever deeper into debt ($12 trillion now and counting) — we are screwing our children and grandchildren big time.
So, yeah, keep funding that GIGANTIC military. But know this: not a single country or empire has ever lasted by outspending its 'enemies'. So get used to the dead end.
A better idea? Stop trying to call all the shots and making enemies and competitors at every turn! Instead, learn to live with others — methinks a neighborhood of nations with upper middle class shoppers that trade with each other — Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, etc. — will make for a much more stable world. And less arrogant too.Mar 2, 2010 at 11:16 am #1580598
Dean, WHAT are you talking about? I didn't even know that anyone had written anything while I was writing my earlier post. Have you EVER known me to call anyone names, even when I was furious?
Please remember, too, it's the middle of the night here, so people in the Eastern Hemisphere are going to respond pretty slowly. I'm only up because I wasn't able to sleep.
I was merely and privately thinking carefully about my wording, not wanting to (as I apparently and inadvertently did) offend anyone. I edited the post several times. I was merely looking at the meaning of the original word posted. After all, words do have connotations and nuances, as the military so very well knows. There is a very good reasoning behind why the word "warfighter" was chosen over "fighter". And THAT is semantics, not what I was trying to do. I'm merely trying to pull the curtain away from the double-speak.
The reason for my post was tongue-in-cheek, though (which I know doesn't go over very well in this medium). I was trying to flush out the germ of yet another war thread here on BPL. Didn't do a very good job.Mar 2, 2010 at 11:29 am #1580606
Very well put, Ben. I'm in complete agreement with you. I just don't think it's going to make any difference to those who see it differently. Europe, after thousands of years of constant war is finally learning the meaning of getting along and living with one another. Maybe Americans haven't experienced enough tragedies or had enough of their people die or enough of their land taken from them or lost enough wars to have matured enough to understand what folly it is to long for war and fighting all the time. The British are learning, The Italians learned. The GERMANS learned! The French are learning. Maybe you have to go through enough heartbreak and hardship and shame to really know the value of peace. Americans haven't experience enough loss yet, perhaps (you'd think the American Civil War, one of the bloodiest in history, would have taught them something). But what a sad way to have to learn.Mar 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm #1580658
Ben makes excellent points.
But I do have to wonder…
Does much of Europe even need a large military when they are allied with the largest military on the planet?
Therefor I think asking things like:
"Why can't the U.S. be more like ("peace loving" country X)?"
-is not taking geopolitics into account.
I think one could easily make the argument that ("peace loving" country x) gets to avoid building a giant military (and thus appear very peaceful) because they live in a state of security that is a by-product of being allied to with the largest military on the planet. WAY more of the world benefits from U.S. hegemony than would like to admit it- of course, at the expense of those who don't.
I'm not arguing for or against philosophy or any country. I'm simply raising questions based on how I see it.Mar 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm #1580670
Where do the resources come from that support your "neighborhood" of nations full of middle class shoppers?
Well, I reckon we'll get them from other places on Earth. And then those people might one day say:
"Hey, maybe WE should be exploiting our OWN resources to be more like THEM." And they decide not to sell anymore.
And now how does the neighborhood of middle-class consumer nations get the resources to support its lifestyle?
Maybe by going out and fighting for them…?
Wait, this is beginning to sound a little familiar….Mar 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm #1580680
The neighborhood of nations isn't around yet. But I take heart that nations like China and India are rapidly developing their own economies and improving the livelihoods (and purchasing power) of their own people. This bodes well for the world economy.
Every country has something that others covet. As anyone who has studied even Economics 101 knows — it's not a zero-sum game (i.e. your gain is my loss). Having each country producing what it does best and trading is the way to enlarge the entire economic pie — to the benefit of everyone!
So here's what I am saying:
1. We need to defend ourselves. No one is saying to dismantle our military.
2. But more is better only to a point — beyond that, we run the real risk of exhausting our resources!
3. We now have $12.5 trillion debt while AT THE SAME TIME our education and infrastructure systems are crumbling. The military machine is critical for today but education and infrastructure are critical for our future economy!
4. We must learn to spend within our means, devote some resources to our military — but devote more resources and better ways to invest in our future.
5. If (or is it when) our children lose out in education and technology — our standard of living will start falling dramatically — and our military hardware will simply rot away because we can no longer afford to maintain them. Our debts will still be around though — and that is going to be truly sad for our children!
Better to build a world where it is more profitable to trade than to attack. Why? Because more countries will have the incentive to maintain the status quo — and not just one (or a few) have's defending against the many have-not's.
As for your method — maintaining the most GIGANTIC military machine — that has always proven to be a dead end. Many have tried — and all have failed — either destroyed outright — or simply burned themselves out. After studying up on Economics, read a few about History too.Mar 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm #1580694
Trust me Ben, I'm not arguing for the method I describe, it's just the way I see things going.
I'm just concerned that the world has been working within a certain framework for so long, I have a hard time seeing it switching to a collaborative, non-violent model. Maybe it will be a change forced upon the world by the unsustainability of the current system. Who knows.
But I think we essentially agree.
I never said what I see happening is sustainable, nor do I think it is wise. But it certainly is the model the world seems to be embracing, and I don't see it ending without a MAJOR shift in politics, economics, etc.
I must say, you're damned right about education! I'm a teacher and well-acquainted with educational budget issues (I'll be out on Thursday's statewide rally and am very involved in organizing at my site).Mar 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm #1580698
I really think that if we throw out the minority of unqualified teachers — AND maybe 80% of all the school administrators — and give back some power, discretion, responsibility and accountability to the teachers — our education system will improve quickly and dramatically. Not a substitute for starving the system of resources, but a pretty darn good first step.
Best of luck with your rally!Mar 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm #1580710
Jim W.BPL Member
I almost asked the question in a PM to Dean, but thought that would be rather forward of me. Should have gone with my gut.
Thanks for the cross-service answer. I had presumed that all branches would accept the generic "soldier" term.
For what it's worth, the question came up as I was trying to come up with a pattern to make a midlayer garment that has the best attributes of a Patagonia R1 Hoody and the military ECWCS midlayer. It will have R-1 type Powerdry (5.3 osy) body and arms, 3 osy Powerdry X-static side/underarm gussets, and 6 osy Powerstretch hood, wrists, and hem. Unfortunately the fabrics mismatch so I won't win a style award.Mar 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm #1580711
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I would have thought that the origin of the term is perfectly obvious:
A politically-correct committee!
CheersMar 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm #1580719
"I'm just concerned that the world has been working within a certain framework for so long, I have a hard time seeing it switching to a collaborative, non-violent model. Maybe it will be a change forced upon the world by the unsustainability of the current system. Who knows."
I saw a documentary recently, narrated by Keanu Reeves, where aliens came down to earth to force us to stop destroying things. We either changed or died. We only lived because a pretty woman and a smart-mouthed kid saved the day. We're still destroying things. I'm not sure when the aliens are coming again.
At least I think it was a documentary…..
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