Friday, October 26, 2007

LTC Bateman vs Victor Davis Hanson

Sir, I think I may have insight into LTC Bateman's animus. In a an article in the Nov 2002 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, "History and the Professional," he rails against popular military historians. He complains about a lack of footnotes in popular histories; he complains about amateurs like Tom Brokaw writing history; he complains about "historians-for-profit" selling out to write popular history. You are in his sights now, Sir (only figuratively, I hope)

Here is a taste of that article: "Our job is not about feeling good. Our job is about violence and directing violence or channeling that violence as precisely as the circumstances require, whether that means using BRAS (breathe, relax, aim, squeeze) in the aiming of our individual weapons or in guiding global positioning system-directed joint direct attack munitions, or choosing the right target (and target release point) for a Daisy Cutter bomb. It is about commanding soldiers and Marines in units large and small, but it is not about feeling good. Leave that to the amateurs.

What we as professionals need, then, is good critical history. It should be history written and researched without the intent of making a profit or making anyone feel good about themselves or their nation. It should be the historical equivalent of the AAR process, not the "hey ain't we good guys" stuff pawned off by journalists like Tom Brokaw and historians-for-profit like those cited here. Give professional warriors the material that will make them better, not material that will make them feel better. In a word, read the tough stuff; read civil utilitarian history. That's right, read the academic stuff."

Given the tone of the Gazette article and the post in Altercations, it sounds like LTC Bateman has it in for "Carnage and Culture" since you write, without a lot of footnotes, that Western armies of free men are generally victorious against others. LTC Bateman called this "vacuous cheerleading 'ain't-we-heroic' pap."

Sounds like he has been grinding this axe for at least 5 years.