A good friend sent along this remarkable picture of an American soldier who devised a brace for a weapon that now occupies the shortened end of his leg, amputated courtesy an Afghani IED:
Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Lenzo; Hat tip: Blackfive
Pace Sgt. Jason Pacheco's leg-stump gun turret and the hopeful resilience it implies about the rest of us, I've been thinking briefly on motivations.
Thoughtful foreign policy scholars lately have been trying to divine China's military intentions based on The Dragon's explicit arming (PDF). "For what war?" they ask.
Good question. Why would China need to patrol the southeast Pacific? To ensure trade? If so, then why park your blue water fleet off Japan? To make it safe? Or to make it -- and by extension, America -- feel puny?
The answer is obvious. An aging, near-derelict Japan threatens no one; and the land-bound Islamists cockroaching up Pacific island nations are a problem not conducive to naval correction. So China bullies about stealing lunch money from geriatric Kamikazes to demonstrate its potential maritime strength, if not actual. Who would do such a thing? And why?
America does not fight offensive wars, the long-ago Indian conflicts and Mexican-American War notwithstanding. Armed to the hilt, America is very unlikely to exploit friend or foe by brute force.
But China, with its very recent and unsavory brutalities against her own people, is comfortable with force. China has not only no legal enshrinement of individual rights, it has a solid culture of ignoring them.
Imagine at whom this gunner's weaponized prosthetic would be aimed? A defenseless subsistence farmer upset at being forcibly relocated under Beijing's next Grand Plan? Or at the crazed, power-hungry abrogator of individual rights such disregard implies?
I know what picture easily comes to my mind for our American hero: I know who his gun is pointed at, and what he is defending. Could you ever even begin to imagine such motivations as what must inspire Sgt. Pacheco arising in China, among its forced conscripts?
I can't. It is not who they are. Not today, anyway. Total disregard for God-given individual rights, ultimately, will be China's undoing. Regardless, there's a lot of harm to be had before the undoing is done.
Steady on, Secretary Clinton, steady on.