Magazine November 15, 2021, Issue

Preserving the Warrior Ethos

(Deagostini/Getty Images)
It is corroded, and the necessary restorative work belongs to us all

In war, the moral is to the material as three to one.

— Napoleon

The warrior ethos that emerged in the modern Western world has its origins in the warrior myth as embodied by Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War in the Iliad. In America, the warrior ethos evolved into a covenant that binds warriors to one another and to the citizens in whose name they fight and serve. It is grounded in values such as courage, honor, and self-sacrifice. The ethos reminds warriors of what society expects of them and what they expect of themselves.

One might wonder why this esoteric

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This article appears as “The Corrosion of the Warrior Ethos” in the November 15, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Athwart

Supervictim

It’s all familiar and boring, the recasting of an American archetype into a new mold to instruct, because they can’t come up with archetypes of their own.

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