'"Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die," William Manchester wrote of his time as a Marine in World War II, "is not a man at all. He is truly damned." A century earlier, Robert E. Lee famously remarked that it was good that war "is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it." Neither was glorifying war -- they hated its carnage. They were, rather, paying homage to the unique bonds forged in war, especially the one that enables so many to risk their lives, not only for friends but also for those they might have just met or have nothing in common with back home. ... Being effectively ruthless and genuinely caring are each manifestations of courage. The ability to effect their integration and foster the bond between leader and led can spell the difference between defeat and victory, because wars -- fought with weapons -- are won by people. Your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers. We are honored to lead them'
16 August 2009
Strangely enough, this was in today's Washington Post. It's more than worth a read.