"In Haig's presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as 'dumb, stupid animals to be used' as pawns for foreign policy."
– Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, The Final Days, p. 208
Of course that would have been more than a little insulting to Haig, a career military man. But Haig had never really been part of the 'grunt' world that Kissinger was referring to. From the beginning Haig was one of those officers on a special trajectory. Only certain types of people end up in the general class of officers. He was certainly the type of person to be 'in control'.
I could go on for pages about Haig and those like him, but I'm far more interested in what can be harvested from Kissinger's statement.
Kissinger accurately demonstrates the contempt that the elites, the people in power have for the pawns beneath them. No doubt some US presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Bush for example, become emotionally affected by the deaths their policies have generated. But largely people in power care very little for the lives they put at risk in order to effect policy.
America's modern wars are largely a case of the poorer classes carrying out policies which ironically decimate the impoverished classes in other countries.
The military (especially the enlisted ranks) is filled with minorities, way beyond the proportions in the general population, and of course hosts of poor white kids from the Rust Belt, Appalachia and the most impoverished areas of the Deep South.
That's a generalization but I'm not alone in noticing it and my own experience confirms this.
Every future leader from the past generation did their time during World War II, but the subsequent generations of elites have been far less interested in military 'service'. Yes, you have the occasional John McCain or John Kerry, but for the most part the George Bush's and Dick Cheney's are the types that end up making the decisions to send people to war.
Of course we all remember when Bill Clinton was called a Draft Dodger and declared unfit to be Commander-in-Chief, but the Republican leadership has proved little different and Bush's record on Vietnam was pretty shaky. The media which had sought to make hay over Clinton's drug use and Vietnam record gave George Bush a free pass.
It shouldn't surprise us that the elites despise the peasant class and look down on the fools who give their lives to help make others rich.
But here's the thing... Kissinger is right. Not because his view is morally justifiable, but because it is demonstrative of reality. Mr. Realpolitik is just explaining the world as it is. I appreciate that about him. He's not a hypocrite in the way many political leaders are. He wasn't going to pretend that power is somehow concerned with good and evil.
I don't say this to suggest we should despise military people. They are to be pitied, not for a fictitious sacrifice but for the fact that they are in moral and spiritual bondage and in many cases have seared their consciences.
We don't despise them, but pity them because they literally are cannon fodder and yet have been so heavily propagandized they can't see it.
Of course for many of them and their families, in light of injury and death even the consideration of any alternative to the 'hero' narrative is unthinkable.
Only the Holy Spirit can smash such walls.