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Thoughts on the role of the military

Reader comment on item: Explaining Israel's Timid Security Establishment

Submitted by Dave (United States), Jun 28, 2020 at 19:48

There are many good reasons why the civilian branch of the government must have total control of the military: it's the democratic way since the military was not elected, the military is primarily made up of engineers who lack the intellectual depth needed for longer term strategy, and more subtly, those tasked with sacrificing their lives for their country may instinctively avoid the risks involved. That's not to slight the bravery of the soldiers, but no sane person would willingly place themselves in a situation of mortal danger. That's why good soldiers are conditioned by rigorous training to obey orders implicitly. It's simply a sad fact of military life that it's necessary to sacrifice the few to save the many. National survival depends on it.
Israel is a democracy made up of large numbers of highly educated people, many of whom have a background from countries where Jews were historically mistreated, so they often developed a mistrust of authority. It is therefore hardly surprising that the obedience required by a thoroughly disciplined military could be somewhat challenging. Directing the Israeli military must be a little like herding cats. I've even read that it's acceptable for rank-and-file soldiers to voice differing opinions.

Ultimately, whipping a military into shape is the responsibility of the elected government, so any shortcomings regarding strategy or failures to achieve victory must rest with them.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (14) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Bolton vs Trump [38 words]BorisJul 3, 2020 12:36259513
would you build a home in a wasp nest? [155 words]Charles MartelJul 1, 2020 04:16259475
A Matter of Perspectives - Not All Mysteries Easily Explained [291 words]M ToveyJul 2, 2020 23:32259475
Israeli Victory in the Context of Fatah & Hamas [373 words]RobertJun 30, 2020 09:03259461
1Palestine is a part of "GREATER SYRIA" & Out-of-the-Box Policy for Israel's Victory. [216 words]RobertJul 1, 2020 10:09259461
Central Israel Police Force [210 words]SteinJun 30, 2020 08:33259459
Call for Victory Isn't a Policy Statement; Neither Does It Inform Us as to Strategy or Tactics. [454 words]RobertJun 29, 2020 10:28259447
Thoughts on the role of the military [228 words]DaveJun 28, 2020 19:48259443
for a policeman [10 words]BernardJun 28, 2020 19:12259442
Timing is Everything [338 words]M ToveyJun 28, 2020 18:26259441
Wouldn't want to be the decision-maker here! [116 words]John in MichiganJun 28, 2020 15:11259439
1Only be strong and very courageous... [328 words]Kenneth MathewsJun 28, 2020 14:24259438
One Word [1 words]Barry BlackJun 28, 2020 11:40259433
One Word [15 words]Barry BlackJun 29, 2020 12:43259433

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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