Academic Questions: Special issue “The military and higher education”

Small Wars Journal accepted advertising from the National Association of Scholars presenting Academic Questions as an upcoming publication. Published as an academic journal by Springer I was both intrigued and worried. As an academic I sort through the normal morass of anti-academic drivel posited by individuals who reject knowledge along with critical thinking skills. Would this journal be more of the same or the equally anti-military drool stooped in academes roughly sewn in a bag of ex-hippy peace activism slathered by enjoyment of a counter culture they now reject?Imagine my surprise when I received the journal sat down and read it cover to cover. Thoughtful considered, and well researched studies of the relationships from historical and procedural views with what appears to be substantial integrity.  I was intrigued by this group who I guess I am a member of now.  You can find a lot out about a group by what they choose through their own peer review process to publish. The academic model is very illuminating in what is considered good, of value, and intriguing as literature. I found several articles that were overwhelming well written.

Robert Bateman in “The Army and Academic Culture” provided a historical viewpoint that I enjoyed immensely. Understanding the biases and legal cases that have led to the current schism was enlightening. Having witnessed the vapid an misdirected wisdom of my peers when dealing with the military and almost whimsical nannyism for their mental health and welfare I might be seeing the seeds in Batemans article. 

The article “Military educations: Models from antiquity” by Barry Strauss was a well written investigation into the specifics of how military education has grown. I enjoyed the historical prospectus by Strauss almost as much as the article “Why military history” by Josiah Bunting. I have as a student, a scholar, and an academic greatly desired to understand the military history that has shaped with force that which was unwilling to change with peace. The Pollyanna view of a world without conflict is far from my view as I see past the outrages of political punditry into the deeper crevasses of human depravity. The articles were worldview changers and strongly reminiscent of what I wish academia could be like. Contraryism without debate is scholarship without thought. I am sure somebody said that long before I did.

Since the journal came via a membership I cannot say go buy it with the positive recommendation of having read it myself. I can though say should it become available through any of the academic databases or free from their website it would be strongly recommended as scholarly work to be sought out. I enjoyed it. It challenged some basic assumptions. It was interesting and will find a slot on my bookshelf as a tabbed, worn, corner turned well read copy.

 

ETA: One of my graduate students has already gotten his pilfering hands onto it.

1 comment for “Academic Questions: Special issue “The military and higher education”

  1. Zach Tumin
    September 25, 2008 at 5:58 am

    I had the opportunity to work with Bob Bateman at a recent Harvard session on the future of unmanned warfare. He anchored the discussion to the lessons of history in ways that were invaluable. He is a very knowledgeable guy, and a great contributor to the “conversation.”

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