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On the Toxicity of the ‘Warrior’ Ethos

dapaterson

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On the Toxicity of the ‘Warrior’ Ethos
by Ryan Noordally

Do you remember how successful Zack Snyder’s 2006 film, 300, was?  It enjoyed a popular, if not cult, following amongst military personnel.  Its popularity generated widespread use of the film’s iconography and ‘Spartan’ became a brand used to promote ‘warrior’ values

That the author of the source graphic novel, Frank Miller, had a Huntingtonian agenda,1 and that this in turn was  based on Greek propaganda, was not taken into account.  Snyder’s romanticised image of heroic warriors does not match the historical reality.  Worse, it did not even occur to the promoters of the ‘warrior’ brand that the Spartans were a privileged minoritarian caste whose political and military system rested on slavery and the ruthless oppression of their population.

Notwithstanding this 2006 film, the image of heroic ‘warriors’ is deeply embedded inside the military psyche.  There is a feeling amongst some military professionals that the ‘warrior ethos’ is needed to promote a more aggressive and independent ‘warfighting’ culture. Yet, even a basic review of the historical evidence shows that the warrior ethos is both toxic and dangerous to modern militaries.  ‘Warriors’ are rapists, murderers, and slave owners. Their values are the opposite of those that modern armed forces should aspire to.

This article is split into three parts each making an interlocking argument:

Firstly, it examines why soldiers are fascinated by warriors.  It argues that warrior societies fell behind stable and centralised nation-states because they lacked the discipline to succeed.  This led to their defeat by disciplined soldiers by 1900.

Secondly, this article uses the post WW2 French Army as a case study to demonstrate why a warrior ethos ultimately leads to catastrophic moral failure with serious political consequences.  The warrior ethos weakened the French Army to the point of mutiny. This case study should be a warning to professionals who flirt with it today.

Finally, this article concludes by arguing modern military professionals should aspire to another historical example, that of Roman Centurions.

The Warrior Fandom

What do we mean by ‘warrior’?  John Keegan’s 1993 analysis offers a starting point; A warrior is a professional fighter trained since childhood whose class or caste holds power.  Warriors feel they own the exclusive right to apply violence or bear arms. 

Samurai, Feudal Knights, Turkic Mamelukes, and Eurasian steppe horsemen are prime examples of warriors who inherited their status from birth.  They held power in their respective societies because they were trained in the application of violence and valued it as a tool to seize power. Not because of any other contribution.  This in turn led to a chronic instability as they competed for power through conquest, war, and destruction.

It’s easy to look back in awe at these cultures and study the romanticised images presented by films such as 300.  Yet, they fought, massacred, raped, enslaved, and pillaged for their own gain. If you are looking for actual warriors in the modern world then you need  look no further than the enemies of liberal democracies with their disregard for human life, their killing of non-combatants, their crimes against women and their lack of discipline.  That is what Pashtu insurgents, Boko Haram, and Mexican Drug Cartels still do today. The warrior culture is wholly toxic.

Warriors Are on the losing side of history

For all the myths, warriors lost to disciplined soldiers on the battlefield.  The emergence of centralised state power, driven by the need to focus violence outside the borders of the state, was the primary factor behind this.  States took control of fiscal revenues and directly recruited men at arms from the population, rather than resting on feudal agents. As such, States were able to raise and maintain standing armies.  They could organise violence in pursuit of a unique coherent political project. 

New weapons, which reduced the time required to train soldiers, aided this process and the adoption of artillery.  Cannons were unaffordable for private armies and became a State monopoly. This sealed the superiority of standing armies and especially in the conduct of siege warfare.2  Logistics also evolved to enable the systematic feeding, clothing and paying of soldiers during campaigns instead of living off the land.

The need to concentrate firepower converged with a cultural interest in ancient history.  Pike and shot battle formations drew inspiration from the Greek phalanx and evolved to draw inspiration from Roman Legion formations.3

This combination of the professionalisation of arms and of the introduction of musket drill led to adoption of a Roman Legion inspired structure and discipline.  In Europe, and in its colonies, the warrior gave way to the soldier. But it was not the end of courage on the battlefield. Discipline gave European armies the square of the 27th of Foot at Quatre-Bras, 60 Legionnaires versus 2000 Mexicans at Camerone, the Argyll and Sutherland’s ‘Thin Red Line’ at Balaklava, the 24th of Foot at Rorke’s Drift. 

With very few exceptions, disciplined and professional forces prevailed systematically over warriors they fought against.  Not because the Western race or civilisation was superior, as many Europeans believed, but because warrior societies are incapable of creating the conditions for similar scientific and industrial progress.4 For warriors, violence is a way of life, not a necessary evil.  As a result, infighting and violent internal power struggles are inherent to warrior societies.  Warriors were on the losing side of history.

The Pursuit of ‘Allyness’ and the Warrior Culture

Then, why are so many military personnel in awe of warrior figures?

Dominic Adler presents a humorous analysis of British Army subcultures, which he titles ‘the pursuit of allyness’.  Soldiering, for most, is a boring and mundane activity.  80% of soldiers spend 80% of their time conducting routinely uninteresting tasks.  Therefore, they fantasise about how their professional lives would be different if their job was rappelling onto balconies and kicking down doors.  Adler identifies a need to be different, to look ‘cool’, and present an image of their profession which is different to the reality.

This fascination for being a ‘warrior’ is the overarching concept behind the very existence of allyness and badassery as concepts within military culture.5  Warriors are bearded tomahawk wielding badasses that soldiers working in coveralls aspire to be.  Warriors make their own rules. Soldiers are bound by regulations. 

To sum up ‘warriors’, they seek to rule because 1) they alone think they can make war-winning decisions 2) a civilian power cannot understand their sacrifice and thus cannot be trusted and 3) they have historically been in power as a caste in ancient/tribal societies.  Because their cultures have historically carried weapons and been trained in the application of violence.

If you are a military leader reading this now and thinking that you can control the ‘warrior ethos’ then it’s time to take a condor moment.  The case of the post-WW2 French Army shows that the culture is toxic and invites poor discipline ultimately leading to mutiny.

Case Study: French Army 1945-1962

The post-WW2 French Army merged two cultures.  On one hand, the Free French volunteers who had escaped occupied France in 1940.  They had been trained for service in North Africa as aggressive light infantry. Many of them had also been recruited to form commando units and SAS squadrons.  These men had, in turn, trained Résistance fighters in guerilla warfare.

On the other hand, the Armée d’Afrique which had remained loyal to the collaborationist Vichy government until 1942.  This part of the French Army was largely composed of colonial troops recruited from indigenous populations.  It was a de facto ‘anti-guerilla’ force used to police French colonies. Its officers thought of themselves not as professionals but as tribal chiefs and their uniforms and culture was inspired by local traditions.  In the French Foreign Legion, for example, the Commanding Officer’s bugle salute remains today ‘Au caïd’. ‘Caïd’ being the title of Algerian tribal leaders. 

Fashion and titles were not the only things that colonial officers borrowed from their indigenous troops.  The Armée d’Afrique also had a tribal, very personal, and almost cult-like, style of command. French Colonial officers were equally proud of the ‘savage’ or ‘fierce’ nature of their native troops owing to the casual racism of the day.6

In the aftermath of WW2 these two cultures merged to produce a French version of the warrior: the ‘baroudeur’. 

The perfect model of a ‘baroudeur’ was Marcel Bigeard.  As a field-promoted sergeant he fought valiantly during the fall of France in 1940 and later fled to join the Vichy-controlled Armée d’Afrique.  Bigeard was then trained in airborne operations by the British and parachuted into France where he led a Résistance maquis.  After the war, Bigeard trained a generation of former Résistance guerilla fighters to become officers in the French Army before seeing action in Indochina as the commanding officer of an Airborne Colonial Battalion (6e BPC). 

Bigeard’s history sounds, and is, heroic.  Bigeard, and others,7 formed a generation of the French Army who merged these two cultures together: aggression and self-reliance of their commando/airborne training with the independent tribal cult-like warrior leadership of colonial officers. 

Yet the warrior freedoms of the French military culture were more appealing than the mundane discipline of conventional soldiering.  Brutal, independent from public scrutiny, unaccountable to the law and dismissive of human rights, these leaders turned their respective areas of operations into their own kingdoms.]For Warriors, War is Personal

For Warriors, War Is Personal

The battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, in which the French Army was defeated by the Viet Minh, sealed the French defeat in Indochina.  The ‘baroudeurs’ blamed this failure on the French Government.  They were determined to prevent a similar outcome in Algeria (1954-1961).  Helped by an aggressive counterinsurgency doctrine, the French Army in Algeria faced a general breakdown in moral values and discipline accepted at the highest levels of command.  Officially deployed in support of ‘police operations’, French troops engaged in torture and murder of terror suspects on a wide scale.8  Rules did not apply to them and their legal masters could not understand their sacrifice.

When French President Charles De Gaulle sought a peaceful end to the conflict, his warriors rebelled.  To them, the war was personal and civilian control threatened their own political project for Algeria; a segregationist independent Algeria ruled by the European minority.  Their culture of insubordination meant they would not suffer their efforts and sacrifice being in vain. They refused to acknowledge that their tactical successes might result in strategic defeat. 

French Officers, buoyed by their tribal take on command and leadership, were blinded by the belief that the casualties they had suffered entitled them to decide the fate of Algeria.  In 1961, four French generals staged a coup in Algiers and the warriors (Legionnaires and Paratroopers) followed their lead.  Announcing the coup to his warriors, the French General Challe openly said: ‘I’m in Algiers… to uphold our pledge, the Army’s pledge to keep Algeria, so that our dead would not have died in vain… Do you want to lower your flag once more, for the last time?  Then you would have lost everything, including your honour… The discipline that is our strength should never lead to dishonour.’9

For Challe, and his warrior comrades, the war was personal.

French Soldiers

Stemming from an entirely different military culture, the French conscripts did not follow the warrior Generals.  Their loyalty to the state, and not the warrior generals, meant that President De Gaulle was able to keep control of the situation. 

The conscripts saved the honour of the French Army by upholding loyalty and lawfulness while warriors used violence to achieve their own political agenda.  To counter the mutinous warriors, President De Gaulle had the leaders arrested and regiments disbanded. 

The warriors who had taken up arms against their legitimate government and escaped justice went into clandestinity.10  In their thirst for revenge they would later resort to terrorism in a bid to achieve their political goals through violence.  The warriors turned into terrorists and expressed dissent through blind violence, including attempts to assassinate De Gaulle.  The French warriors did not care about the legitimacy of the elected civilian Commander-in-Chief. They only cared only for their personal agenda. 

The French case study shows that the warrior ethos fosters a sense of being and separation from society.  Warriors wield arms because they were born to do so. This is the direct opposite to the values that modern military professionals, and especially the British military, should stand for.

Part Three: Gloria Exercitus. The Roman Alternative

Military professionals clamour for charismatic figures to aspire to.  But the desire for heroic warrior leaders has blinded many to ethical and professional leaders who would provide better role models.  Roman Centurions are one alternative.

As a modern cultural reference, think of Lucius Vorenus of HBO’s Rome.  A Centurion, charismatic, seasoned, professional, disciplined, and lawful.  He is physically fit out of personal pride, and he maintains himself to be an example to his subordinates.  Centurions were literate and honed their skills. They sharpened their minds through conceptual development.  Their pride was not so much personal as their sense of belonging to their beloved legion’s glorious history. Centurions  were calm, collected, and dedicated professionals.

More importantly, and in contrast to the warriors examined above, they were an integral part of the society that they defended.  The officers were also politicians, lawmakers, or civil servants. The Roman Legions were an inclusive organisation where soldiers were rewarded with land.  Non-citizens, regardless of religion and ethnicity, were welcome and rewarded with citizenship at the end of their service. Inclusivity and discipline are values which stand this culture apart from warriors.

To illustrate the value of this culture, a more modern example is the French Foreign Legion during the Battle of Camerone in 1863.  The Foreign Legion has always sought to integrate refugees into service.  They were disciplined and thoroughly drilled owing to their Swiss Guard lineage which in turn drew from Roman culture.  The officers that led a company into what would be the French Foreign Legion’s finest hours were clerks, quartermasters and members of society.  Steadfast, dedicated, lawful, professional, experienced in their fields, but by no means warriors. Their example is one that we can offer to the whole of defence and to the wider society.

This is not to say that violence should not be trained and controlled.  The core role of the armed forces is, afterall, to break things and kill people.  A martial or combat ethos is a necessity. Military professionals would reap the benefits, both cultural and physical, of introducing a combatives system.  Such a culture would, much like the USMC MCMAP, not only serve an immediate purpose in close quarter battle but also to infuse martial values. The Royal Marines Commandos and the Gurkhas have been beneficially training in martial arts and there is no reason preventing the rest of the Forces from doing the same.  If leaders can separate their ideology from warriors and define a more professional future. A combatives system and a martial ethos would also help in giving personal fitness goals. More importantly it would provide a code that promotes individually taking ownership and care of one’s own fighting abilities.  This is the mentality of the Roman Centurion.


Ryan Noordally
Ryan is a JNCO in the Royal Artillery with ten years of experience in the Surveillance Target Acquisition branch.  Prior to this he taught history and geography in a French college in Africa.


Footnotes

1 After Samuel P. Huntington, author of the Clash of Civilizations, 1996 who argued that future wars would be fought between cultures and that Islamic extremism would become the biggest threat to world peace after the end of the Cold War.
2 Cf. Black, Jeremy, A Military Revolution?: Military Change and European Society, 1550–1800 (London, 1991)
3 Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange countered the reputedly invincible Spanish ‘Tercios’ (which borrowed heavily from the Macedonian Phalanx) with maniple-inspired formations. He based his innovations on the writings of Roman Empire military authors Vegetius (circa AD 450) and Aelius (AD 101-138), cf. Glete, Jan, War and the State in Early Modern Europe: Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as fiscal military states, 1500-1600 (London/New York, 2002)
4 Hoffman, Philip T., Why Did Europe Conquer the World? (Princeton, 2015)
5 ‘Allyness’ is best described as military fashion sense, i.e. wearing various non-issue items, or modifying issue clothing or equipment in order to look subtly different from one’s peers
6 The British Empire came up with the invention of ‘Martial Races’ in India, remnants of which are still visible in the depiction of Gurkhas in British media. Cf. Streets, Heather, Martial Races: The Military, Race and Masculinity in British Imperial Culture, 1857-1914 (Manchester, 2004)
7 Jacques Massu, Jean Sassi, Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc, to name a few.
8 Several French intelligence officers would go onto train South American dictatorships death squads in the Dirty War (1976-1983). Cf Robin, Marie-Monique, Escadrons da la mort, l’école française, (Paris, 2008)
9 General Challe’s speech of April 22 1961 at 0630 hours announcing the coup and appealing to the army to follow his and Gen Salan, Jouhaud and Zeller’s lead.
‘Je suis à Alger(…) pour tenir notre serment de l’armée de garder l’Algérie pour que nos morts ne soient pas morts pour rien(…) Voulez-vous une fois de plus, la dernière, amener votre drapeau. Alors vous auriez tout perdu, même l’honneur (…). La discipline qui fait notre force ne saurait en aucun cas conduire au déshonneur.’ (Translated by the author)
10 The Organisation Armée Secrète, or OAS (meaning Secret Army Organisation) was a right-wing French dissident paramilitary organisation during the Algerian War.  It carried out terrorist attacks including bombings and assassinations with a death toll of between 1,600 and 2,000 as an attempt to prevent Algerian independence.
 

daftandbarmy

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It's a ridiculous word and I was horrified when it came into common useage.

I like this article on the subject, which I've shared on here before but can't find it (because I guess I'm not a 'Keyboard Warrior' :) ):

Soldiers and Warriors
By Robert Bateman

GAAAA-RYYY OWEN, GARRYOWEN, GARRYOWEN,
IN THE LITTLE BIGHORN VALLEY ALL ALONE,
THERE'LL BE BETTER DAYS TO BE,
FOR THE SEVENTH CAVALRY,
WHEN WE RIDE AGAIN FOR DEAR OLD GARRYOWEN!
~ To the tune of the 7th Cavalry tune "Sergeant Flynn"

I am a Seventh Cavalry officer. I commanded in that most famous of American units, and my regimental affiliation and affections will always be with the men who wear the upturned horseshoe crest of that regiment. As a historian, and as perhaps the de facto regimental historian (since there is no such thing as a de jure position for this function), I am also very well acquainted with our legacy. The Seventh Cavalry was created to man the outposts of the frontiers in the wake of the Civil War, and to fight against the warrior cultures of the Native American tribes as need be. But in doing so they were not then, and are not now, warriors themselves. The men of the 7th Cavalry were and are soldiers. There is a significant difference between the two.

Unfortunately, and I cannot nail down when this started, a trend started to take hold in the Army and the Marine Corps which blurred that distinction. Sometime in the mid-90s we started to hear senior officers (defined in my head as "Colonels and Up") calling us "warriors."

At first the appellation was rare enough. Now and then you might hear it creep into a speech at a Change of Command ceremony, or perhaps at a Dining In (a formal dinner for the officers of a battalion or brigade). But slowly the term began to come into more common usage, even as it leaked into print in professional journals and in speeches coming from Air Force officers. This is a bad sign, and it does not seems to be stopping. I wish it would, because calling us warriors is not only inaccurate, it displays an ignorance about what a warrior is all about. The bottom line is that a real "warrior" is really just about himself.

Indeed, the key difference between a Soldier (or a Marine, or an Airman) and a "warrior" is almost that simple. A serviceman does his job as a part of a complex human system, he does so with discipline and selflessness as his hallmarks. Courage also matters, of course, but it is but one of several values that are needed. The serviceman is the product of a Western society which, while it values individualism intrinsically, values subordination in pursuit of a collective objective as well. A warrior, on the other hand, is the product of a culture or subculture which is essentially purely honor-driven. That is not a good thing.

We have not had a real honor culture here in the United States for about 140 years or so. Somewhat ironically one could make a fairly solid historical case for the assertion that the first real commander of the 7th Cavalry, Major General George Armstrong Custer, was one of the last real "warriors" in the United States Army. In many ways this was so because Custer was a bit of a throw-back even in his own day and age. He was sort of a transitional character, one of the last members of an American honor culture that was slowly dying away.

In an honor culture, you see, the behaviors of individuals are driven almost exclusively by the need to gain and then to protect, their personal honor. Honor is seen as not necessarily being the product of living a decent life, as it is here in the West. Instead, in an honor culture honor is seen as a commodity. Honor is an almost material thing which must be accumulated. It can only be won by action. And because it is a commodity, it can also be taken away. In both cases this is an individual's responsibility, he must gather honor as he can, and he must defend both his own honor and the honor of his family.

Thus, in an honor culture if your daughter or your sister have "brought dishonor" to your family, you could see it as a taking away of some of that commodity. In several honor-based cultures it is then up to the males in the family (those charged with defending that family honor) to collect the honor back, quite often by killing those who took the honor away. Similarly, if you are a male in such a society and an individual has done something which seems to slight your honor, you have to try to kill him to defend that honor. This also means that, in a military context, discipline, organization and coordination and cooperation are much less valued than is, say, personal courage shown in the face of danger. (Think of the Native American warrior practice known as "counting coup.") This is because there is no honor to be collected from doing good maintenance or performing well as a team. Only individual feats and acts can bring honor, and those must be witnessed, and this is what motivates the "warrior." That is the difference between "warriors" and "soldiers," and I am damned glad that I am one of the latter.

Now if somebody would just tell the generals.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/inteldump/2008/09/soldiers_and_warriors.html



 

dimsum

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On a related note, I've noticed that the term "warfighter" has been increasingly used not only in the US but in Canada. 

That seems to imply that people who are "warfighters" don't have a role in operations other than combat, or that their talents are "wasted" when not kicking down doors or putting warheads on foreheads.
 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
On a related note, I've noticed that the term "warfighter" has been increasingly used not only in the US but in Canada. 

That seems to imply that people who are "warfighters" don't have a role in operations other than combat, or that their talents are "wasted" when not kicking down doors or putting warheads on foreheads.

Do you even Operate, bro'?

No, not if I don't have ammo and top cover :)
 

TCM621

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Dimsum said:
On a related note, I've noticed that the term "warfighter" has been increasingly used not only in the US but in Canada. 

That seems to imply that people who are "warfighters" don't have a role in operations other than combat, or that their talents are "wasted" when not kicking down doors or putting warheads on foreheads.

I think in Canada it is a pushback to the idea that the proper role of the CAF is peacekeeping.
 

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dapaterson said:

To be fair, most people I've met who are infatuated with the whole "Spartan" thing have almost zero knowledge of history beyond what they were forced to endure in school.

Though it had always puzzled me why leaders didn't try to push the Legionary, or Centurion idea more. I mean you get an equally "cool" looking helmet to use as a symbol, and the whole victory through discipline idea is essentially what we teach anyway.
 

dimsum

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Furniture said:
To be fair, most people I've met who are infatuated with the whole "Spartan" thing have almost zero knowledge of history beyond what they were forced to endure in school.

Though it had always puzzled me why leaders didn't try to push the Legionary, or Centurion idea more. I mean you get an equally "cool" looking helmet to use as a symbol, and the whole victory through discipline idea is essentially what we teach anyway.

I mean, "maniple" and "cataphract" just doesn't have the same ring  ;)

But yes, I agree.  Or even if you want to keep with the Greek theme, Hoplite.
 

OldSolduer

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There's a group here in Manitoba that call themselves "Warriors".  :rofl:

In fact they are a criminal organization not built to fight but extort, sell drugs and other criminal enterprises.

 

Kat Stevens

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I'm on the record here somewhere with my opinion of "warrior vs soldier". Last time I drove through Petawawa it was very noticeable that that place had fully embraced the word. I though it was stupid, but that's just me. However, saying the Spartans lacked discipline because of their warrior culture, I think, does them a disservice. To say that it took a fair bit of discipline to maintain a phalanx once the fewmets impact the rotary oscillator, would be accurate. If they were the rabid killbots referred to, they would have gone wading in all higgledy piggledy like.  A better example would maybe be the mad charge of the men in skirts any number of times against the thin red line.
 

FJAG

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I had hoped that the "warrior" hash had dropped by the wayside but since it's been revived I'll throw in my  :2c: worth.

According to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary a warrior is:

1. a person experienced or distinguished in fighting in an armed force, tribe, etc. 2(attrib.) a of or relating to a warrior. b. martial (a warrior nation)

Nothing more, nothing less. There is no judgement in the word as to whether they fight for self or the good of the nation etc.

I find the words of the former 7th Cavalry commander particularly ironic:

The bottom line is that a real "warrior" is really just about himself.

Especially when you consider that the 7th Cavalry at the time consisted of poorly educated, trained and equipped soldiers bent on a national mission to drive natives off their homeland in order to foster US economic interests in the region and who, because of their poor training became unstable as a fighting force and allowed their newly adopted skirmishing formations to disintegrate and then dissolve to panic while the "undisciplined" native "warriors" fighting to protect their village steadfastly overcame them. Archaeology, History, and Custer's Last Battle by Richard Allan Fox Jr.

The problem with the use of the term "warrior" is that anyone can put whatever coat one wants on the body to reflect what one wants to see. IMHO when modern, democratic militaries use the word "warrior" all they are trying to do is inculcate in their soldiers a "warrior spirit" of clarity, focus, determination, courage, consistency, and a zest for life. They are not trying to raise visions of Hun warriors raping and pillaging their way across Asia and Europe.

That there are individuals and governments who fall into the category of selfish and destructive forces is without a doubt. But that's not the word's fault. Just how the word is used in some cases.

:cheers:

Edited for spelling and grammar.  :facepalm:
 

daftandbarmy

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Interesting, topical, and written in 2015:


Law Enforcement’s “Warrior” Problem

Within law enforcement, few things are more venerated than the concept of the Warrior. Officers are trained to cultivate a “warrior mindset,” the virtues of which are extolled in books, articles, intended for a law enforcement audience. An article in Police Magazine opens with a sentence that demonstrates with notable nonchalance just how ubiquitous the concept is: “[Officers] probably hear about needing to have a warrior mindset almost daily.”

Modern policing has so thoroughly assimilated the warrior mythos that, at some law enforcement agencies, it has become a point of professional pride to refer to the “police warrior.”

This is more than a relatively minor change in terminology. Though adopted with the best of intentions, the warrior concept has created substantial obstacles to improving police/community relations. In short, law enforcement has developed a “warrior” problem.

In this Commentary, I first describe how law enforcement training and tactics reflect the warrior concept, identifying aspects of modern policing that, if not addressed, will continue to prevent or undermine efforts to improve public perceptions of police legitimacy. I join a growing chorus of voices contending that it is the Guardian, not the Warrior, that offers the appropriate metaphor for modern officers.

Drawing on that principle, I offer two practical changes to police training that have the potential to advance the ultimate police mission — promoting public security — in a way that fosters, rather than thwarts, public trust: requiring non-enforcement contacts and emphasizing tactical restraint.

https://harvardlawreview.org/2015/04/law-enforcements-warrior-problem/
 

dimsum

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daftandbarmy said:
Interesting, topical, and written in 2015:

It's one thing for military folks to be "warriors" (which isn't good), but a warrior mentality in the police is definitely not the right way to go. 
 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
It's one thing for military folks to be "warriors" (which isn't good), but a warrior mentality in the police is definitely not the right way to go.

Absolutely. I question the line blurring that goes on between the police and the military in general, such as the police joining the Legion and being too closely associated with the military in general, and vice versa.

e.g., when did the CAF start getting lumped in with 'first responders'? We shouldn't be IMHO. But I digress....
 

Kirkhill

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FJAG said:
I had hoped that the "warrior" hash had dropped by the wayside but since it's been revived I'll throw in my  :2c: worth.

According to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary a warrior is:

Nothing more, nothing less. There is no judgement in the word as to whether they fight for self or the good of the nation etc.

....

The problem with the use of the term "warrior" is that anyone can put whatever coat one wants on the body to reflect what one wants to see. IMHO when modern, democratic militaries use the word "warrior" all they are trying to do is inculcate in their soldiers a "warrior spirit" of clarity, focus, determination, courage, consistency, and a zest for life. They are not trying to raise visions of Hun warriors raping and pillaging their way across Asia and Europe.

That there are individuals and governments who fall into the category of selfish and destructive forces is without a doubt. But that's not the word's fault. Just how the word is used in some cases.

:cheers:

Edited for spelling and grammar.  :facepalm:


Careful FJAG.  For a lawyer, you are coming dangerously close to stating that words are variable and mean exactly what the speaker wants them to mean.  Except when they mean what the hearer wants them to mean. 

Thus, "merry and gay".  ;D

To my recollection the introduction of the "Warrior Ethos" in military jargon started circa the 1980s and was a direct response to the busted flush that was the US Army post Vietnam and the All-Volunteer Force.  It was a Command Level decision to create a Warrior Ethos as the US tried to figure out how the British Army was so successful at producing infantry that would do what they were told, even if it meant standing and dying.

I remember finding it remarkable at the time because I had been raised in a household that actually discussed the difference between the warrior and a "proper" soldier.  And warriors were not honoured in that society.  The men that served were proud of being soldiers and having served as such.  And as proud of their histories of sacrifice as their victories.  It is difficult to get "warriors" to press home a diversionary assault to let the main force take ground.  It is difficult to get "warriors" to hold ground at places like Kapyong and not run off and "sauve qui peut".

The British Army has never been about warriors.  It has always been a "volunteer" force.  Volunteer in the sense that, drunk or sober, the mercenary bastards all volunteered to fight for the Queen's shilling and agreed to the terms of employment.  In general terms, once bought they stayed bought.  Desertions were more common than mutinies.

Britain did have warriors. The tcheuchters in kilts were one such mob.  So were the Irish. So were the reivers of the Borders.  The genius of the British system was that it took those lawless warriors and left them enough of their tribal honour societies, through regimental differences and fripperies, that they converted them into successful, loyal, obedient soldiers.  The skills learned raising Marr's Grey Breeks, the Black Watch, the Cameronians, the Borderers, the Howards, the Sutherlands, the Connaught Rangers, easily translated into raising Ghurka, Sikh, Gujarati and Fijian regiments.

In America the same British warrior societies existed: The MacGregors (the outlaw clan); the rest of the tcheuchters that had been defeated at Culloden or at Sherifmuir or cleared off the Sutherland lands for sheep;  the Grahams, Jacksons, Nixons, Polks, Armstrongs, that had been cleared off their lands, burnt out of their homes, been dragooned into serving foreign armies, deported to Ireland and America, deprived of their names, their weapons and their honour.  They became the hoosiers, the crackers, the rednecks.  They were allowed to stay in the Americas by their Puritanical betters of New England, by the peace-loving Quakers of the Mid-Atlantic, by the Royalist Cavaliers of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, on the condition that they stay out of town.  At best they would be a barricade between those civilized citizens and their fellow uncivilized warriors, the natives.  At worst they would kill each other and no great loss either way.

Those British warriors, and their Huguenot and Palatine fellow traveliers, people that had been forcibly subjugated by Louis XIV, XV and XVI, thrived in the American backcountry, and with them their honour based warrior cultures and their fervent belief that never again would anybody deprive them of their names, nor the keys to keeping them - their weapons.

Those same people are the same people, those hoosiers, rednecks, crackers, tcheuchters, micks, teagues and jocks are the same people that dominate the US military culture.  Warrior resonates with them.  Unfortunately for America, soldiering, and the related concept of the standing army, doesn't resonate with them, nor with the Puritans and the Quakers, the Blacks and the Natives, nor the protestant merchant class.

The US Army is a modern invention - originally a small organization dominated by rednecks to contain their fellow warriors and protect the civilized settlers - from both the natives and the rednecks.  It was the only "standing army" that people whose ancestors had been subject to Highland Hosts, Tudors (Protestant and Catholic), Stewarts and Sun Kings would tolerate. 

The USMC was a special case.  It was a group of mercenaries hired by the US Navy and controlled by the State Department to protect American interests from the Royal Navy, pirates and foreign slavers.  They didn't want the competition.

If you think I paint with too broad a brush I commend David Hackett Fisher's "Albion's Seed" as a good starting point.



 

dimsum

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Chris Pook said:
The genius of the British system was that it took those lawless warriors and left them enough of their tribal honour societies, through regimental differences and fripperies, that they converted them into successful, loyal, obedient soldiers.

...so what you're trying to say is that buttons and bows *are* important  :rofl:

Good analysis.  I also don't really like the term "warfighter" (I may have mentioned this) which is used extensively in the US and has found its way up to Canada.  I believe it strays too close to "warrior" and implies that soldiers are only good for that purpose alone.
 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
...so what you're trying to say is that buttons and bows *are* important  :rofl:

Good analysis.  I also don't really like the term "warfighter" (I may have mentioned this) which is used extensively in the US and has found its way up to Canada.  I believe it strays too close to "warrior" and implies that soldiers are only good for that purpose alone.

I attended a lecture, many years ago, by a US military historian who addressed the aggressive posture and wording ‘Hoooooahhhh!’ by the US military.

The key problem in many US military campaigns was in getting people to actually fight. The studies of SLA Marshall (Men against Fire) was part of that effort. He pointed to Kasserine Pass, and also Korea as an example, and the need to create ‘Raider’ units within the Infantry divisions as elite patrolling elements to dominate no man’s land during defensive stages of the war.

The upshot of his argument was that, in order to generate the spirit and motivation required to close with the enemy the US had to adopt all these customs which we, from a different military culture, find faintly ridiculous. Hence the salute with ‘Airborne, Sir!’ replied with ‘All the way, Trooper!’

It was a fascinating insight that made alot of sense. He didn’t explain why others, like the British and Canadians, needed less incentive to happily stab the enemy to death.

We assumed it had something to do with releasing pent up frustrations from being constantly effed around :)
 

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The British version of call and response reached its nadir when a Guardsman was put in charge of Paras (there being some debate about what qualified as an elite and rumours had spread that every Para was a Field Marshall in the making the Guards figured they better have their own Paras).  Anyway, this Guardee had heard that paras were an egalitarian mob, given to mateyness.  So as to get his fellow woodentops accustomed to this less formal lifestyle he initiated the practice having officers return salutes with a matey "Hi de hi".  The paras were then expected to respond "Ho de ho".  The practice didn't last long after the paras started lining up in single file every time they spotted an officer.

Taking a stroll this Sunday while discussing American culture.

Gun toting rednecks in the army.  Curiously, my personal sense, is that the US Army has an awful lot of mongrels in it.  People of mixed race proud to point out their French, Scots, Irish, Cherokee, Comanche, Black ancestors.  Single men in barracks don't grow into plaster saints.

The other side of the divide.  Those upstanding citizens of the coast (who love to describe their pure provenance from the Mayflower or Jamestown) - who demonstrated their tolerance by isolating themselves and building seminaries like William and Mary, Harvard, Yale, Kings, Queens, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and even letting places like Georgetown back in.  Those universities were not established to celebrate tolerance.  They were established to guard dogma.  While most of them agreed that the Catholics were totally screwed up the rest couldn't agree among themselves how to organize themselves or what to believe.  So schools were established to train believers in what to believe and how to train other believers - and not get distracted by all those other silly bastards that were obviously going to hell because they were getting it wrong.  Peculiarly the Catholics never got themselves sorted out either - Jesuits and Recollets and Sulpiciens, Dominicans and Franciscans, Cistercians and Cluniacs, Arians, Pelagians, Trinitarians, Monothelites and
Orthodox, Homousians and Homoousians (the extra o was worth an extra quart of blood or two).

Ladies and Gentlemen - I give you today's universities.  Our arbiters of tolerance.

Slainte  :cheers:



 

SeaKingTacco

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Chris, as per usual, once you are on a roll you do not disappoint!

:nod:
 

Kirkhill

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SKT - your servant, Sir.  ;D

daftandbarmy said:
...

The key problem in many US military campaigns was in getting people to actually fight. ...

We assumed it had something to do with releasing pent up frustrations from being constantly effed around :)

The British gentry learned from childhood how to curb a spirited horse.  Not break it.  They learned how to whip in a pack of hounds bent on ripping the next fox or deserting soldier to shreds.  They learned how to take a bunch of vicious surplus youngsters hanging around gaols and football pitches on a Saturday afternoon and discipline the buggers to do what Her Majesty needed.

You can't learn aggression.  Much like leadership.  It needs to be discovered, diverted and controlled.
 
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