In one of his/her final essays, The Last Psychiatrist noted that more females were members of Congress than at any time in American history, prompting him/her to ask the following question:
When more women enter a field, it means less men did, and if the men stopped going there, where did they go? Why did they leave? I assume they aren’t home with the kids, right?
If some field keeps the trappings of power but loses actual power, women enter it in droves and men abandon it like the Roanoke Colony. Again we must ask the question: if power seeking men aren’t running for Senate, where did they go?
I’d quibble with the application of the principle here—Congress exerts real power in certain contexts—but the principle itself is sound. The principle is that power is fleeting, but not fleeting in the Patton sense, fleeting in the fox sense. Fleeting in the mobile sense. Power must always be on the move. When it rests it becomes a target or it atrophies and then it becomes an easy target.
The principle highlighted by TLP is that the public face of power is at best a second-rate player; real power lies elsewhere. Where? If you knew that, it wouldn’t be real power.
Richard Fernandez makes the same point in a recent post. Obama, he writes, has dedicated a small force of special operators to the Syrian field, but this isn’t Hollywood, you don’t just decide one day to drop special forces into a war zone.
When the Pentagon announced plans to send a team of commandos to Syria, no one seemed to stop and ask the most basic question – how are they going to get into an active war zone in the first place? Official documents show that the U.S. Air Force likely set the stage for this secretive mission years ago.
Fernandez points out the obvious fact that there is an entire military infrastructure to which the public—and most politicians—are not privy. Real military power exists in this shadow world, the one not covered by Anderson Cooper. If we know about it, it’s no longer at the leading edge. The powers have gone elsewhere. Of course, this is not a shocking fact to state, it’s a “known unknown.” Most Westerners are vaguely aware of the shadow wars; it’s brought up whenever the state releases within five minutes the name and family photo album of whatever jihadi just set off a bomb. But we can’t describe these forces, point to them, know where they are, or know where they’re going to be. We make movies about them, but we’ve never met them in real life. We’ve only met their effects.
One of these effects is the Pentagon’s decision to push for women, transgenders, and homosexuals to serve openly and proudly in the American military. The strategy has shifted—as Fernandez details in the linked article—toward total shadow war, whose goal is not a final victory but perpetual containment and surveillance. The strategy is that military power resides in small units of special forces and even smaller units of high-tech computer nerds who can build, control, and maintain drones. Large-scale warfare with lots of boots on the ground is to be minimized in the new century.
With any semblance of power having been withdrawn from the rank and file combat roles, those ranks and files are now free to be filled by identity groups who tell themselves they have attained power by filling them. What could be more progressively powerful than a transgender individual, a woman, and a homosexual invading other countries and destroying them in the name of freedom?
I have no doubt that women and gays might constitute a powerful fighting force, but if that were the goal, they would need to form their own segregated units. The press points to the Kurds and Israelis for examples of feminine military prowess; however, in those contexts, where boots on the ground are still important, women are generally or, in the Kurdish military, explicitly separated from the men. All those pictures of hot Kurdish babes with guns you see on CNN are pictures of the YGP, the Women’s Protection Units, who fight in their own units apart from the men. In Israel, gender-integrated combat units are rare by design.
The lesson is that, as with most culture wars, the battle is over controlling something from which power has been withdrawn. Let women and gays serve openly in combat units! No, it’ll destroy morale! It doesn’t matter. The very fact we’re having this conversation indicates that the real power—the deep state, as it’s often called—has decided that boots aren’t part of the strategy anymore. Let the rabble fight over them.