Dunkirk Review

Saw Dunkirk this weekend.
If you don’t know the history of the event, you will probably love it. If you do know the history, you’ll probably just like it.
The movie is almost too clever for itself. It views the event through the time of the guys on the beach (four days), the flotilla across the English Channel  (one day) and the RAF fighter planes (one hour). The result is a sometimes-confusing view of three different time segments back-to-back. Once you understand what you are look at, it all makes sense.
There is of course lots of action, but the film never explains why Hitler stops his ground attack at the town of Aa, other than a passing reference to the Luftwaffe doing the job by air. The film never talk of the bravery of the French who held German infantry at bay for almost four days giving the flotilla the time to arrive.
The big dramatic reveal of all the civilian boats in the water at Dunkirk is kind of sloppily done and never really hits the right note.
It’s okay, but not the movie history buffs will like. Dunkirk info


Military Disconnect: An Unintended Consequence

My friend posted this story about the nation’s disconnectedness from its military, and while there is a bit of unnecessary editorial blather with which I take issue, by and large the writer, David Zucchino, has about the 80 percent solution on the topic.

The disconnect between the society at large and the military is one of those unintended consequences of the advent of the Volunteer Army (VOLAR). The architecture of the force was supposed to prevent the disconnect.
When Army Chief of Staff Creighton Abrams began designing the post-Vietnam force, he sought to limit the nation’s ability to go to war without the public’s engagement. To do that he redesigned the Army, The US Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard.

He gave the US Army enough resources to fight a limited engagement, but not enough resources to conduct a war or long duration conflict, He put almost all the logistical support in the US Army Reserve (no combat units), put all reserve combat power in the national guard under the peacetime command of the governors of the 54 states and territories. By designing the force this way it requires the mobilization of citizen soldiers to fight a larger conflict. The thought was that civilian communities and employers would scream bloody murder as we mobilized neighbors, employees, and parents.

It’s a pretty slick idea, or at least it was for a while until the haves and have-nots self-segregated and we developed a warrior class who sought military service as a way to better their position in the economic food chain.
What Abrams didn’t plan on was the improved professionalism of the army and other services, the general apathy of the citizenry, and the drawdown of force and force structure after the cold war.

Frankly, our smaller military can now do what a larger one once did and that smaller number of participants is in and of itself more self-isolating. As a result the misapplication of military Abrams sought to stymie is very alive and well. The smaller numbers of potential combatants spread across a nation more than 330 million and 54 states and territories means no single community or state suffers enough to make generating political will to blunt military action likely. I’m not sure what we do about that, but sure is bad place to be.

Note: I take great issue with Mr. Zucchino’s implication that the military lifestyle, healthcare, and retirement benefits are in some way exorbitant. I won’t fight that battle here.