April 19th, 2006

First Amendment

Heinlein on Wartime Dissent

Tenser found a letter Robert A. Heinlein wrote during WWII:

If you feel you must express yourself, write it down and save it until the war is over—but don't tell a member of the armed forces that his superiors are stupid and incompetent. . . . If you feel that the high command is incompetent, take it up with your congressman and your senators.
This is from Grumbles From the Grave. I'm going to have to dig out my copy and read the whole chapter.

As annoyed as I get by the "we're all doomed" defeatists out there I don't think that's a good rule for today. There's plenty of home-front complaining and it doesn't seem to be damaging morale much. The comments on it I've seen from troops range from fact-laden rebuttals to complete agreement while continuing to do the job professionally. The interesting question for me is whether that kind of restriction was always a bad idea, or if the current troops are much tougher-minded than the "Greatest Generation" conscripts.
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