7 thoughts on “The Great War”

  1. Infantilization of young men and women will be the downfall of the USA. Contra the reviewer, officers too young to buy a beer in today’s America built the British empire.

  2. By coincidence I spent much of today watching this:

    A little more than 4 hours on the aces of WWI. Many became aces before they were 20 and few lived long after.

    Whenever I watch anything about the run up to the war, I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking about the waste.

    Keeping us out until it was almost over might have been the only decent thing Wilson did.

    1. Infantilization, indeed. We should remember that the British Navy – probably all European navies – had boys as young as eleven aboard ships training as midshipmen, with real responsibilities and giving orders to men decades their senior. In fact, in extreme circumstances, they might suddenly find themselves in command and could be court martial-ed if they didn’t take command if it fell to them. But they needed to start young, because many things that happen on a wind-driven ship might only happen every couple of years and these boys needed to see it all, hopefully several times, before they were given command in the regular way.

      Meanwhile, American teenagers – probably most of the First World – have no training, no experience, in dealing with even minor disaster or disappointment, as their equally untrained parents helicopter in to make unreasonable demands for exceptions where their children are concerned. Of course these kids can actually do the same things as their ancestors, but now they start doing them much later in life, when suddenly bereft of parents and school faculty, thrown in at the deep end, trying to learn to dog paddle.

      It will all have to change, at some point, though it is hard to say how it could happen. Maybe the colonization of the Solar System will help, though that will probably be done by the Indians – or whoever the Chinese strap into the capsules.

  3. Something that appears long forgoten, other than by readers of certain historical novels, is, British Army officers bought their commissions, and Royal Navy officers, while promoted by examination, began as midshipmen hired on by captains as favors to their friends. Of course, once they reached post captain, they were promoted by seniority, and long life was the way to reach Flag rank thereafter. Maybe we’re missing a bet? Instead of wasting money on campaign finance, maybe rich folk could simply bid on senate seats and cabinet offices? At least then we’d know exactly how they got there…

    (In my old SF novel “The Transmigration of Souls,” elective and bureaucratic offices were filled by a national draft, on the theory this system couldn’t possibly generate worse officials.)

    1. I’ve thought that we should reduce the salaries of Senators and Representatives until we have to send out marshals to enforce a quorum.

      Until sometime in the 80-90s, the legislature in Texas was paid $7,000 a year. They were limited to 30 days every other year and it didn’t work half bad.

      Eliminating the heating and air conditioning in the Capitol would be a place to start.

      1. With the posible exception of AOC, not many people run for Congress hoping for a pay raise. There’s a similar problem in the writing profession: too many people willing to do it for nothing so they can be “famous.” At least if we auctioned off government positions, that’d help pay to clean up the messes they make.

        1. I suppose you’re right.

          It brought to mind all the cowboys I’ve known that would have paid for a job they could do from a horse. Most ended up old, broken and broke, so not much like a politician.

          We haven’t had much luck figuring out a way to make it different. I doubt the fallout from these most recent incidents of trading on the pandemic briefings will do anything but be another set of laws that they will circumvent.

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