The View From Olympus: Pussycats–Martin van Creveld’s Important New Book

Martin van Creveld’s latest book, Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West and What Can Be Done About It, is so important that it re-defines the military reform agenda. Previously, military reform has focused on the problems that have led to America’s repeated military defeats. The issues van Creveld raises in Pussycats suggests we are moving from an American military that can’t win to one that won’t even fight.

The essence of Creveld’s argument is that we (both the U.S. and Western Europe) have de-militarized our military. The introduction of women is one of the factors, but not the only one, although if a military is to fight it must have an aggressively male culture. That is unacceptable not only to the women in the military but to a broadly womanized society and culture. It would not surprise our ancestors to hear that a womanized society can’t fight.

But Creveld looks at influences well beyond womanization. The de-militarizing of our armed forces begins, he argues, with the way we now raise children, especially boys. No longer do they “go out and play”, get into fights, get into difficulties they have to find their own ways out of. Rather, they live controlled, “safe” lives where they always have adult supervision and are instructed in how to do everything before they have to do it. Instead of growing up, they are forever infantilized.

This problem is very real. Recently, I recommended to a friend, a lieutenant colonel at the Marine Corp’s Basic School for new lieutenants, that they reinstitute the “Zen patrol”. In the Zen patrol, which TBS used to do, new lieutenants are simply taken out on a patrol, without having received any instruction in patrolling. They have to figure it out for themselves, which means they also learn how to learn.

My friend replied, “You cannot do that with this generation. In everything they have ever done, they have had adult instruction and supervision. If you don’t first tell them what to do and how to do it, they get angry. They say, “You are setting me up for failure to embarrass me in front of my peers.”

War, of course, presents many situations where you have to figure out what to do on your own. The enemy doesn’t follow your play book. Creveld raises the question, “How will these infantilized soldiers and Marines do against fighters who, as kids, had to figure out everything on their own?”

Creveld goes on to discuss the war on men and all things masculine, which is probably the central factor in de-militarizing our militaries. Again, if a military is to fight, its culture must be aggressively male. Not only is that now socially unacceptable, increasingly it is illegal. In response, our soldiers and Marines turn what was a calling into just a job. A friend who recently visited Camp Pendleton said to me, “I did not see anything military the whole time I was there. Every Marine has a car, nice housing, comfortable, Holiday Inn-style facilities. Nothing I saw had anything to do with war.” Pendleton has been de-militarized.

Not surprisingly, van Creveld, whose book Men, Women and War makes a definitive case against trying to mix young women and young men cheek-by-jowl in military services, then crucify the young men if there is any bunga-bunga (or just lustful looks: the military has resurrected “rape by leer”), returns to the theme here. The pursuit of “equality”, hopelessly mis-defined as pretending that men and women are interchangeable, brings the end of masculinity, which gives you a military that won’t fight. I will go beyond Martin and put it bluntly: if we don’t get the women back out, starting with the combat units, we will have armed services that, like the Prussian Army in 1806 (for different reasons), will collapse at a touch. We might as well save ourselves a trillion dollars a year and replace the whole thing with an 800 number that, when you call it, says “We surrender” in a variety of languages.

Pussycats concludes with a needed discussion of PTSD, which now seems universal but was not in previous, far bloodier wars, and with Western societies delegitimizing war itself. Those societies now see any kind of war, even against people who would give us the choice of converting to their religion or getting our throats cut, as morally wrong. There can be, in effect, no more just wars, and all enemy casualties are to be wept over.

History’s verdict is simple: such societies will be defeated, destroyed, and replaced by cultures that still have a grip on reality. De-militarization must now go to the head of the military reform agenda, because societies that cannot fight cannot win.

42 thoughts on “The View From Olympus: Pussycats–Martin van Creveld’s Important New Book”

  1. Look at the bright side. When the American Revolution, rev. 2 comes along, there won’t be much of a military left for the rebels to fight. Then all the states can secede from Washington DC.

  2. Reading the book now. I’m struggling to think of cases where Western forces have actually failed on the battlefield vs non-Westen opponents. The US failure to capture Bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001, and the Israeli failure against Hezbollah in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, are the two that come to mind. Generally speaking, the West still predominates at the physical level – yes it loses wars, but only after winning any battles.
    Van Creveld’s message in Pussycats actually seems more relevant for the looming 4GW on home soil than for expeditionary/colonial war where only the tip of the spear is engaged. With Europe’s gradual descent into civil war, the still heavily outnumbered Islamic Jihadist immigrant-invaders pose a serious threat to Western survival because in large parts of Europe the military and police are so weak they can’t and won’t fight, and the native citizenry so domesticated they are unusable as militia.

  3. The disgraceful fiasco of our harbor patrol boats captured by the Iranians in transit from Kuwait to Dubai might be a harbinger of disasters to come in our feminized military.

  4. I expect future battles will see women as ‘combat watchers’ like the ‘fire watcher’ female firefighters, none of whom died on 9/11 despite 300 dead firemen.

  5. Indeed, I believe you are on to something Simon! And the women watchers will probably note any deviation from Marquis of Queensberry rules…

  6. It may well be that young men no longer having played cowboys and indians don’t know how to find their initiative and have to be shown how to find it.

    However the idea that women are unsuited to be soldiers is patently ridiculous and shows a hopeless lack of research. There are quite a lot of women soldiers and warriors through the times. They were not necessarily the ones that got into the history books.

    Even a feeble attempt at researching the issue using an search engine would probably have found Known for their fighting skills and determination the were the Dahomey elite warriors. After battles with the French Foreign Legion, the legionnaires later wrote about the “incredible courage and audacity” of the Amazons.

  7. Women are not suited to be soldiers. This has been quantified in modern times by the Marine Corps, and in countless past battles.

    Individual cases are not proof of suitability in general. The vast majority of men can be made into soldiers; the reverse is not true of women.

    As a final dismissal of your wiki article, please explain to me where the Amazon empire is now?

    Women are for breeding future generations of soldiers. When they get killed, the entire society is at risk of collapse. When they don’t breed, the same happens. Men have the honor of being expendable in service to their culture, tribe, or nation to ensure its survival.

    Interfering with that historical and genetic truth will lead to the West’s destruction, and truth to tell the West will have earned it.

  8. Since war is won on a moral level any army that uses women in combat roles will automatically risk losing. This will either be through loss of will as female casualties are graphically demonstrated in media and propaganda, or in the degradation of their code of morals. If a woman has no protected status, is interchangeable with a man, and yet continues to demand accommodation and special privileges, the underlying belief in the system will fade, as will its moral sanction. Without a moral sanction the State will lose any 4GW conflict. This can be seen in the US with the recent spate of police shootings.

  9. FIRST the West has to expel the Fifth Columnist Jews as Spain did the DAY AFTER Spain expelled the muslums.
    Israel has 300+ NUKES — REFUSES inspections —- REFUSES to sign Non-ProliferationTreaty.
    Israel HATES Christianity & GENTILES and denies the Spiritual and Human EQUALITY of NONJews to Jews.
    Israel thinks GREATER ISRAEL should rule the World. “Greater Israel” is all land between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, Syria, Jordan, most of Saudi Arabia. Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states. You can find maps they have drawn online.… Did you know what the two blue bands on their flag stand for? The Nile and the Euphrates. Israel (using the Gentile USA) is spreading chaos and fracturing all Civilization in the Peoples immediately around it in order to facilitate a land grab for “greater israel”.
    Israel has “DUAL-citizens”(sayanim) whose true loyalty is to Israel, embedded throughout American government/society. According to the Zionist creed, Israel is the state of the Jews, all the Jews. Every Jew in the world belongs to Israel, even if temporarily residing somewhere else
    If Israel could provoke nuclear apocalypse between America&Russia …..and China ….. BY WAY OF DECEPTION…. Israel would be the ONLY NUCLEAR ARMED SUPERPOWER left………
    Especially if it SNEAK nuked many of It’s HATED/HISTORICAL “enemies” While they are bombing each other.(Germany, Poland, England, Egypt, Iraq, basically ALL gentiles should “bear the YOKE of Israel”)Noted Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld stated that Israel could find itself one day forced to exterminate the European continent using all kinds of weapons including its nuclear arsenal if it felt its demise neared, stressing that Israel also considers Europe a hostile target.
    Does Israel have nuclear missiles aimed at the main world capitals?? — You bet.
    Israel BRAGS about doing similar in Persia/Iran (75,000dead), Jews even CELEBRATE with Purim [slaughter of enemies] and Egypt(all the FIRST BORN CHILDREN)
    David Ben-Gurion, one of the father founders of Israel, described Zionist aims in 1948: “A Christian state should be established [in Lebanon], with its southern border on the Litani river. We will make an alliance with it. When we smash the Arab Legion’s strength and bomb Amman, we will eliminate Transjordan too, and then Syria will fall. If Egypt still dares to fight on, we shall bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo… And in this fashion, we will end the war and settle our forefathers’ account with Egypt, Assyria, and Aram………….. read that again
    “and settle our forefathers’ account with Egypt, Assyria, and Aram”
    They are STILL HATING and planning deadly attacks after 3,500+ YEARS .
    How do you think they feel about JESUS CHRIST whom they HATE most of ALL.
    Israel’s MOTTOES:
    (1) NEVER forgive & NEVER forget.
    (2) By Way of Deception you will Do War.
    (3) Their “god” is a WAR god

  10. THIS is a clever ruse by Demoncraps and lieberals to weaken the military. Women are not fit for combat or to lead this nation.

    They are actually sent by Yahuah to you when you SIN! Where are the men? We are being ruled by silly women and racist Negroes.

  11. I’m familiar with some of your writing and know that you’re a smart guy, so I’m curious as to how hard you think it would be for enemy snipers (and perhaps enemy drones) to make a point of singling out U.S. female soldiers for purposes of demoralization.

  12. I’m not disputing that the West (primarily USA) generally loses wars, and I’m not disputing Van Creveld’s point (which dates at least to 1991’s The Transformation of War) that mixing women into combat units weakens those units. But the book’s title “Why the West Keeps Beating the Rest” seems wrong to me. Maybe future battles will be lost due to women soldiers, loss of fighting spirit etc, but it hasn’t really happened yet as such.

  13. God, i remember seeing this big ugly dude guarding the navy base in San Diego, 1989, he had served as a woman in Vietnam. He was a tough son of a bitch though.

  14. Wow, nice anti-Semitic rant dude. Now breathe, take a pill, and unplug before your mommy see what you wrote.

  15. How can that be? You have a racist negro president and a criminal lesbian nominee.

  16. anti-GENTILISM is the problem. Cavemen did not sit around their caves:
    GROK: “HEY, me hate Jews.”
    HORG: “What a Jew?”
    GROK: “Me not know …. but me hate”
    Then non-Jews sat for tens of thousands of years waiting for a Jew to come along, so we could all be mean for no reason. Sorry, what happened was Jews created a social system of Xenophobic Tribalism (look it up) wherein THEY hate all NON-Jews, and this hate of all non-Tribe members has, naturally, caused People to not like them.
    anti-semitic … that’s what they called Jesus of Nazareth in the Galilee …
    JUDAS ISCARIOT was a JEW beloved by the Temple Priests.
    Judaism is neither a race or a religion, it is Xenophobic Tribalism.
    A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.
    1. The organization, culture, or beliefs of a tribe.
    2. A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one’s tribe or group.
    Quick summation? They are the enemy of anyone who is not a TRIBAL MEMBER …… and only “tolerate” Gentiles.

    The World should insist Israel live by the standards Israel demands of others. Be judged as Ye judge others. If Israel wants to be recognized, Israel must recognize the EQUALITY and HUMANITY of ALL People. Quit calling NON-Jews SHISKA, GOYIM, GENTILE. If Israel wants Hamas to ‘repudiate’ their charter, Israel must REPUDIATE their manual of hate, the TORAH, which openly proclaims that all ‘gentiles’ should be ‘Hewers of wood, and bearers of water’ …….. for Israel.
    Israel must recognize the Native People’s RIGHT to a Palestinian state.
    Israel REFUSES to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty or open It’s NUKES to inspection, Israel should have the exact same sanctions that were put on Iran.

  17. You left out the part about him being known as “Bath House Barry” in Chicago, his fondness for old White men and a “white powdery substance” !

  18. JUDAS ISCARIOT is alive and preaching from the pulpit of many American Churches.
    Any “teacher” who diverts Christians into bowing to the Jewish Temple Priests is a JudasGoat kissing the cheek of Christ through their Flock for silver or foul reasons.
    He who blesses Israel Crucifies Christ.
    CHRISTians should welcome any Jew that comes to Jesus.
    CHRISTians cannot support or aid Israel or the Jewish Nation that DENIES the Lamb of God.
    OLD testament / NEW testament
    WAR god / PEACE god
    OLD covenant / NEW covenant
    The ESSENCE of Judaism is VENGEANCE
    ANTI: a prefix meaning “against,” “opposite of,” “antiparticle of,” used in the formation of compound words (anticline); used freely in combination with elements of any origin (antibody; antifreeze; antiknock;;;; ANTICHRIST).
    The LAMB of GOD was the FINAL sacrifice. Rebuilding the Jewish Temple and resuming bloody animal sacrifices repudiates the Crucifixion, SACRIFICE of Jesus.
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house ……. Israel covets EVERYBODY’S houses, lands,and goods.
    “christian-zionism” is an OXYMORON, no SANE person can worship two opposing gods at one time.

  19. “Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West and What Can Be Done About It”

    You have it backwards in your reply. May wish to edit it.

  20. You mean tens of thousand individuals over more than two hundred years is not enough.

  21. Even if “tens of thousands of individuals over more than two hundred years” weren’t a number that you just made up, it would not be enough for all sorts of reasons.

  22. Per the source you cited, there were only a few thousand of them, amongst a world population of ~1.5 billion at the time. A miniscule percentage of genetic freaks, basically a rounding error in global terms. You can always find some exceptions at the far, far, far end of the bell curve.

  23. Re-reading a thousand times won’t help, because neither facts nor statistics support your absurd case. Identifying a handful of genetic freaks from a moment in the distant past is the basis of a pathetic argument.

  24. Even if women were capable of fighting as well as men do, which they obviously are not, there is still a reason why it it would be a terrible idea to let them participate in combat, but you are too stupid to recognize it.

  25. What about the female Kurds fighting ISIS?

    The only problem I have with de-militarizing the military is if they’re not automated enough. Robotic warfare is the future; but yes our boys will still need to be trained to kill directly.

  26. From Van Creveld’s numbers, the physical top 5% of women are comparable to average men. If around 70% of men are useable in combat then around 8-10% of women might be useable. If only 30% of men are usable (which seems about right for modern combat infantry) then probably 2% or less of women will be useable.

    My own view is that (a minority of) women can be moderately effective combat troops, if used correctly – formed into segregated units like those Dahomey warriors, and not required to carry heavy loads. They can be decent in defence; the Kurdish YPJ at Kobani were a good example. They certainly made for good propaganda and had a morale-sapping effect on Daesh.

  27. 70% of men usable is extremely optimistic. That was the numbers in around 1970 before men became couch potatoes. We are nowhere near those numbers now. It is a constant worry of the armed forces that the quality of the men are declining. Both physical and psycological.

    The heavy load bit is hilarious. You have obviously not seen the re-occurring images from the last 50 years from Asia and Africa of women carrying backbreaking loads over quite long distances. It is not the men who are doing that work.

    Having worked in a hospital, I know that many of the women there are quite strong because they lift a lot of heavy bodies each day of their working week.

    This place is like the stories we read about in the Victorian age when they predicted that women would grow beards due to being more equal.

  28. I knew a nurse who broke her back trying to lift a patient. Woman soldiers carrying combat loads suffer bone injuries extremely frequently, much moreso than men. I saw it myself and Van Creveld gives the numbers. The problem is lack of muscle sheathing the bones.
    But I agree with you about 70% being optimistic. For modern US/UK combat infantry it will be far lower.

  29. They fight in segregated units, they carry reduced loads. The big damage from female soldiers is in integration.

  30. Yeah, I think gender segregated units are probably a good idea. There should be no love or unnecessary drama when it comes to warfare.

  31. I agree with this, and yes, it can be a long term problem. But. I think you have missed the bigger picture. Right now, if so ordered, our military could and would slaughter everyone in Afghanistan, or drive them into tiny enclaves where they could be starved, and we could replace the native population with nice docile Mexicans. Like something out of the 18th century, yes we could do it and there is nothing the ‘manly’ soldiers of Afghanistan (or any other third-world country) could do to stop it. No I’m not saying we should do this – Please! – I am saying that we COULD. I am saying that right now, the fighting spirit and martial prowess of our troops, relative to our enemies, remains strong.

    The big problem is leadership. As the saying goes, in a society as with fish, rot starts at the head. You can have the toughest meanest troops ever, if their officer corps orders them into a swamp away from the enemy, they are going to lose. And that – for now – is our problem. Our leaders are burring up cash and manpower attacking utterly pointless targets, while refusing to defend our own borders (which is, surely, the primary job of any army). If an officer corps is corrupt/incompetent, manly skill at arms by the rank-and-file won’t save us.

    The second is patriotism. Why do the recently western-created armies in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria collapse at the first sign of opposition? They have the same training, and doctrine, and equipment, and firepower, as US troops. Answer: because you can’t get people to fight and die for a government that they don’t believe is on their side, because people won’t fight for Hillary Clinton’s 59 point position statement. I know I wouldn’t. Would you? So can you blame the Afghanis? They are not cowards. They are just not stupid.

    We have taken the patriotism of our troops for granted for so long… if we lose that, it won’t matter how PC the troops are or are not. If the average American soldier sees the government as something alien, if the nation is so divided that soldiers see no reason to die for it, well, the kind of collapse that we’ve recently seen with the Afghanis etc. can happen here – especially if we refuse to accept that it might.

  32. There’s a larger problem, and that is a nation for the first time in history choosing the sacrifice of its soldiers over the use of its most productive weapons. Ike announced his policy of “Massive Retaliation” and kept us out of war his entire time in office. An acquaintance at the National War College states bluntly that MR is the only reason Parisians don’t speak Russian today. Re-adopting MR will reduce our defense budgets, rid us of nation building nonsense, get the military industrial complex and its neocon supporters out of the way (no need for multi billion dollar new toys), and once we show seriousness – by using 1-2 tactical nukes on Isis – reduce to near-zero the need to use them again. Too many fail to grasp that the estimated killed in an invasion of Japan was 1M Americans and 9M (USN est) or 5M (Army) Japanese. Only about 400K died and no Americans. Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved 6-10M lives. Had we nuked Pyongyang in 1950, or Hanoi in 1963, we’d not have killed 2M Koreans, 2M Vietnamese or 100K Americans. Constant conventional war, both in preparation (budgets & toys) and execution (iron bombs, bullets, avgas, lives) is far more expensive than the -far- more productive alternative. The continued reliance on conventional warfare is the most immoral decision American leaders make – and they’ve been making it since 1950. There is no excuse for it. It must stop.

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