To be honest, it was realatively easy to skip past the RAF bombing in Waziristan when Pape's book came out, because, well, at the time we were not engaged in debating whether or not the americans would contract out the bombing of Waziristan to for profit war corporations. Nor was it really that relevant discuss the amusing contradictions of Chamberlain's defense of bombing Waziristan to maintain the British Empire, and the affrontary of the Japan bombing china, as it sought to carve out the Japanese Imperial Protectorates there in. Since, well, at the time, we were a nation flush from the victories of the Cold War, and the expectations of squandering our Peace Dividends expanding our internet optomism, and we could be, somewhat polite about the rhetorical distinctions, which would include their american ironic giggles. Ah yes, the folks who were SHOCKED to learn that the RAF was opening engaging in Terror Bombing of Germany, while at the same time holding the holy Doctrines of precision daylight bombing, even while we shifted to terror bombing of Japan, because one could count the number of hectares burned in a fire bombing raid more gooder than the conventional raiding.
But again, we had the optimism of winning an on going Internet Optimism, and we would not find ourselves living in a nation that would openly support not only detention at whim, and open support for mass torturing, but the on going calls for massed terror bombings of other countries which may or may not be actual threats. I shall demure on the accidentally invading a country, since, as yet, none of the liberal sources have been able to disprove either that Saddam Hussein did not have a Flying Saucer Assault Programme, nor that he had sold his soul to the Devil. Showing that the devil does not actually maintain a lease for hire programme is not a sufficiency of proof!
Let us therefore not find ourselves bogged down in mere factualism, the pedestrian complaint of the pre-911 failed liberal death cults! Instead let us embrace a traditional family value of futrue war as a genre! That would move into, and apparently, out of science fiction. Since the bone of contention before us is whether we shall be able to restore the correct traditional family values future-war genre. Patterson offered up a nice thumb nail intro to the art for the interwar period. Which for our sake is the time between the end of WWI and WWII, albeit it does make me wonder about the pompousness of a people to presume that their trendy wars were the cats meow of post modernism!
What I found even more frightening, with just a wee bit of web searching is that there is a whole line of work in this area: I.F. Clarke (1918-2009) from locus magazine offers the obit form of introduction to the man who made the study of 'Future War' the genre an academic art form! ( others might prefer the take of the Scottsman I F Clarke ) So I shall tip my hat and the good sir and find it pleasing that I am wandering in common ground with such as him. It is also useful that he takes his study back to 1870 and goes forward from there.
For those who forget, the german wars of nationalization, which include the liberation of chunks of france, so that they will have a chance at democracy and access to the global economy, in 1870, was such a frightfully modern affair. It is also the first real breach of the continental system since the victory over the little corporeal. It was the first war to be 'war gamed out' - hence a hat tip in the direction of game theory, as well as the first time we have main force powers in europe dealing with the rapid advances in technology. Which included not merely the obvious ones like trains, but the lesser noticed ones such as who had 'field rations' that helped focus the military on military stuff rather than worrying about 'living off the land'. It points at that awkward time in modern history as the industrial revolution has moved out of the english speaking world, and may well unfortunately fall into the hands of ferrign devils. Or at least cousins speaking the other branches of the anglo-saxon mother tongue.
So while Patterson focus'd, reasonably, for his work, on the 'air war' trope in 'future-war' genre, it is this progression of future-war that makes me wonder. We start with the usual problems, such as Jules Verne's Nemo - mad scientist? or the logical conclusion of where science will take us? That independent terrorist at war with civilization! While at the other end of the same madness is H.G.Well's The Shape Of Things To Come which came out as a film Things to Come and a lovely bridge point.
One side of the Fuggly here is whether or not a truly mythological conservative culture would be able to generate any form of 'future literature' let alone the need for 'future war' as a genre. Or would such a genre be strictly the prefect of the directorate of intelligence and the military war college, where such matters would be at best a pedantic exercise in reaffirming already established dogma. For those who may not be privy to the tales of 'war gaming' the japanese made the mistake of allowing junior grade pilot officers play the americans in their war game of what the americans know as the Battle of Midway. Where upon the referees of the game were always obliged to remind the young pilots that while they might think that such bold and radical thots were exemplary of their arms, the americans would not be able to take such adventures seriously.
So it does not surprise me that we have little in the way of a hard corp radically committed body of works about how the future will be as it has always been. We do of late have say World War Z and at one level it is clearly in the future war genre. But would one really be able to whip it out as a proof text of the traditional conservative model? Which is to argue that there is little reason to be surprised about a 'liberal bias' in the 'future war' genre - amongst at least the classicalists. Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and even Starship Troopers of Heinlein are still well within the evil liberal dogma. Albeit that an argument can be made that the re-incarnation of Starship Troopers as the film was aimed at presenting some other agenda. An issue that we will also need to address with looking at matters such as the 80's "Red Dawn" genre.
We spin out of WWII into the golden era of sci-fi flicks! Which have embraced the whole HORROR of a NASA based vision of wars in space being fought with government backed military forces. We also watch the role of the scientist as the expert - the person who understands, the go to guy, who can solve the problems using science. A point one of my evil liberals pointed out faded away after the vietnam era, when now the science guys are as much the potential source of problems!
So yes, we need to deal with the collapse of 'the science guy as go to guy' as a part of the post-vietnam syndrome. One has to wonder if this is a part of the failure of 'the best and the brightest' who took us into the south east asian weapons and tactics testing programme? A failure to pull the majik rabit out of the hat! Or is it a failure of pre-re-imaginairing the project?
Heinlein offered the world the tale of what happens in a world populated by the veterans from the last war, who understand the cost and commitment. This is a tale written between the Korean War, the first one fought after reagan got divorced, and hence one that was not 'declared'. But one that was staffed by the retreads from WWII. Ironically it is written right before JFK ascends to the throne and takes camelot into Vietnam. Where the usage of Heinlein shifts, as the tale starts it's drift to the so called 'right wing'. Ironically by the very champions of being more pro-war, just so long as the state is not allowed to draft decent sorts.
We arrive in the Post-Vietname Blues, looking into the Warrior Dreams by James william Gibson, which is either tracking under ": violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America" or ": Paramilitary Culture in Post-Vietnam America" - And I guess it really sorta depends upon which set of cultural myths we were still playing with? Can one really detach Masculinity, and hence the use of violence from ParaMilitary? Would one really even want to do so? Even more so, well, cause, uh, those liberals were giving all the good billets to the uppityOnes - to cite the wonders of DandyDan and his BoyToyFriend Tom "tax cuts are the most important thing in a time of war" DeLay.
This is the wonderland of post-apocalyptic visions! The great wasteland where we get road warrior and the whole groovey cult of folks trying to stay alive now that civilization has collapsed. Oh God, yes. Which is to say NO! many of the films you will find when web smurfing for "80's post apocalyptic movies" should only be viewed with adult supervision. Especially the sort of adults who will not let you toke again, to try an tolerate this whole horror.
Given that we are looking at the Post-Post-Vietname Syndrome, that majikal time, after we have learned, or unlearned, the lessons of the vietname era, one has to wonder, shouldn't we be wiring up the new 'future war' genre? Since, well, some day the current WhateverOnWhomever will be over? Won't It? and we will be able to declare victory? So clearly now is time to be discussing the correct 'future war' themes that we will need to be discussing in the next round of post-post-apocalyptic visionary visions of the future?
So should we be looking back at the hey days of the 80's as the time when, uh, red hollywood was pimping that vision of what we could have, would have, should have done, to be more, uh, well, the sort of folks who... A stack of questions that reasonable people would ask carefully, since, it would be polite not to pick on the folks who were actually serving in their pre-post-vietname syndrome, so as to not add any sense or guilt or condemnation on their serving, while their social betters were all able to do the more important things. A problematic point we might not want to be asking too many questions about as we wander past the failure of The Hurt Locker to be the correct re-implementation of John Wayne in The Green Berets or The Fighting See Bees since, well, does it really have the right sort of message about the correct role of no-bid contractors? You know, like the duke.... oh hold it, the duke gave up his luxury box seats to live on a mere commissioned officers pay....
So how shall we correctly Wag The Dog to help folks understand how best to bet their entertainment dollars on the coming wonder of the new phase in future war movies?
Or is that why we need to keep on winning the WhateverOnWhomever? Since no one really has any ideas what we would be doing to validate our being after the whole sending those who volunteered over there to do what ever it is that they volunteered for? Rather than say, the unpleasant times in the late forties and early fifties, when there was that cultural crisis of how to deal with folks like the Abraham Lincoln Brigaders, who had volunteered to fight against fascism before it was cool to be fighting against fascism.
We will still get to have some sort of really cool FutureWar genre up and running, wont we? It will be able to deal with the intellectual tension between what we pretend is our moral positions, and, well the realities of our technical capacities, and, well, the reality of what we actually deployed!
We will still have that clarity of vision about what sort of Hunter-Killer Air Assets we deployed to Waziristan in, well, some better Terminator Way, than Chamberlain, that milk toast, had for the weapon system deployment envelopes he supported.