The quote mentioned in my previous post is from an essay by Jerry Pournelle. He’s a lot of things, among them a science fiction writer. What he originally wrote as a preface to a novel was reworked into an essay on war, armies, and men. Here’s the quote I read that lead me to the Birkenhead Drill.
To stand on the firing parapet and expose yourself to danger; to stand and fight a thousand miles from home when you’re all alone and outnumbered and probably beaten; to spit on your hands and lower the pike, to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King, to be rear guard at Kunu-ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary.
I am going to have to read more of his writing. He wrote the essay I’m quoting in 1983, and these are the closing lines.
In other words, we learn from the latest wars what we might have learned from history. History has never been kind to wealthy republics. We can hope we are an exception.