William Sturgiss Lind,
Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism
at the Free Congress Foundation, is a native
of Cleveland, Ohio, born July 9, 1947. He
graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
from Dartmouth College in 1969 and received
a Master's Degree in History from Princeton
University in 1971. He worked as a legislative
aide for armed services for Senator Robert
Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 through 1976
and held a similar position with Senator Gary
Hart of Colorado from 1977 through 1986. He
joined Free Congress Foundation in 1987.
Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare
Handbook (Westview Press, 1985); co-author,
with Gary Hart, of America Can Win: The Case
for Military Reform (Adler & Adler, 1986);
and co-author, with William H. Marshner, of
Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National
Agenda (Free Congress Foundation, 1987). He
has written extensively for both popular media,
including The Washington Post, The New York
Times, and Harper's, and professional military
journals, including The Marine Corps Gazette,
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and Military
Mr. Lind co-authored the prescient article,
"The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth
Generation," which was published in The Marine
Corps Gazette in October, 1989 and which first
propounded the concept of "Fourth Generation
War." Mr. Lind and his co-authors predicted
that states would increasingly face threats
not from other states, but from non-state
forces whose primary allegiance was to their
religion, ethnic group or ideology. Following
the events of September 11, 2001, the article
has been credited for its foresight by The
New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly.
Mr. Lind is co-author with Paul M. Weyrich
of the monograph: "Why Islam is a Threat to
America and The West." He is the author of
"George W. Bush's `War on Terrorism': Faulty
Strategy and Bad Tactics?" Both were published
in 2002 by the Free Congress Foundation.
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The unit knew it would soon be shipped to the front. Some soldiers
responded by deserting. Others got drunk and fought. In response,
officers locked the unit in its barracks, allowing the troops out
only to drill, not even to smoke a cigarette, until it could be
put on the transport that would take it into combat.
It sounds as if I am describing some third echelon Soviet infantry
regiment in, say, 1942. In fact, I am talking about the 1st Battalion
of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment, South Carolina National Guard,
in September 2004. According to a front-page story in the September
19 Washington Post, the unit was disintegrating even before
it was deployed to Iraq.
One shudders to think what will happen once it gets there and finds
itself under daily attack from skilled enemies it cannot identify.
One of the likely effects of the disastrous war in Iraq will be
the destruction of an old American institution, the National Guard.
Desperate for troops as the situation in Iraq deteriorates, Secretary
of Defense Rumsfeld is using the National Guard in a mission for
which it was never intended: carrying on a "war of choice" halfway
around the world. Most Guardsmen enlisted expecting to help their
neighbors in natural disasters, or perhaps maintain order locally
in the event of rioting. They never signed up for Vietnam II.
Yes, the Guard was mobilized and deployed overseas in both World
Wars, but those were true national wars, in which the American people
were all involved one way or another. Cabinet wars, as they used
to be called, are something altogether different. As Frederick the
Great said, cabinet wars must be waged in such a manner that the
people do not know they are going on.
But National Guardsmen are the people. To send them into a cabinet
war is to misuse them in a way that will destroy them. Even in the
Revolution, militiamen were seldom asked to fight outside their
own state. When they were, they usually responded by deserting.
The fault does not lie with the soldiers of the National Guard.
Even within their units, they are being horribly misused. One of
the Guard's strengths is unit cohesion: members of a unit come from
the same place and usually know each other well, both in the unit,
where they serve long-term, and often in the local community as
well. In the case of the 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery, the
Post reports that "to fully man the unit, scores of soldiers
were pulled in from different Guard outfits, some voluntarily, some
on orders." Cohesion went out the window. One soldier in the unit
said, "Our moral isn't high enough for us to be away for 18 months…I
think a lot of guys will break down in Iraq." That is always what
happens when unit cohesion is destroyed, in every army
For many Guardsmen, deployment to Iraq means economic ruin. They
have mortgage payments, car payments, credit card debt, all calculated
on their civilian salaries. Suddenly, for a year or more, their
pay drops to that of a private. The families they leave behind face
the loss of everything they have. What militia wouldn't desert in
The real scope of the damage of Mr. Rumsfeld's decision to send
the Guard to Iraq - 40% of the American troops in Iraq are now reservists
or Guardsmen - will probably not be revealed until units return.
One of the few already back saw 70% of its members leave the Guard
What the Washington elite that wages cabinet wars does not understand,
or care about, is the vital role the National Guard plays on the
state and local levels. Once the Guard has been destroyed, who will
provide the emergency services communities need when disaster strikes?
One would think that in a so-called "war against terror," where
the danger to the American homeland is readily acknowledged, someone
in the nation's capital would care about the local first line of
The fact of the matter is that Versailles on the Potomac does not
care about the rest of the country in any respect, so long as the
tax dollars keep coming in. My old friend King Louis XVI might be
able to tell Rumsfeld & Co. where that road eventually ends up.
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© 2004 William S. Lind. William S. Lind
is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free
Congress Foundation. All opinions expressed in this article are
the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.