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The Eagle and the Chakor: The Military Experience of the U.S.A. and Pakistan

The Eagle and the Chakor: The Military Experience of the U.S.A. and Pakistan

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Urooj Raja . Originally submitted for history at Princeton University, with lecturer John Stark in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Urooj Raja . Originally submitted for history at Princeton University, with lecturer John Stark in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In 1777, the United States of America declared formal independencefrom Britain. 170 years later Pakistan was born out of partitionfrom British India. Both the U.S. and Pakistan broke off from theBritish yolk but their inherited military traditions remained.Ingrained in the military culture of these nascent nations was arespect for civilian control over the armed forces. Moreover as thesubsequent military traditions of each country evolved thisinheritance was tweaked to fit the historical context of eachrespective nation. Whereas, the American military abided by thistradition because of its geopolitical lack of hostile neighbors welded by a succession of strong civilian institutions, Pakistan on the otherhand wavered from civilian control because of its real and perceivedfear from its neighbors. Though the U.S. had its share of enemiesthe critical moment of birth for the two nations defined thetrajectory of each successive nation. The difference being that America was a product of revolution and Pakistan a product of partition. This paper will argue that the U.S. and Pakistani military traditions originated and subsequently broke off from Britishdomination but deviated to reflect the parallel evolution of theirrespective societies. Thus as Pakistan turned to praetorianismdefined here as forceful military intrusion in politics and society.The U.S. retained its civilian supremacy intertwined with its fear of a standing army. Consequently, the Pakistan military evolved inresponse to a perceived and real fear of its need to become a barricaded nation to protect itself from its geopolitical neighbors.The U.S. military evolved for, by and to civilian concerns.
 Part I: The American Military Experience
Historian Maurice Matloff divides the evolution of the Americanmilitary from 1607 to present day into three stages: colonialsettlement (1607-1775), continetal expansion (1775-1898), andoverseas expansion (1898-present).
In each of these three precedingstages the civilian institutions played a pivotal role. The successive journey of the American forces from a militia to a mighty professionalized army was tailored to civilian concerns. Thecolonial stage was catergorized by the establishment of settlementsprotected by the settler forces. In this stage, the volunteer force wastasked with the protection of the civilian settler population andadhered to the mandate of the civilan court assemblies, theprecursors to the colonial goverments after the Decleralation of Independence. The continental expansion stage was marked by theacquisation of territory and westward expansion. In this period of the American Revolution a limited war was fought as a reflection of civilian choice. This period was critical for civilan superiorty overthe armed forces because the civilans in the form of soliders definedthe execution of the revolution. Moreover, the westward expansionstage and the acquistation of terrority was a civilian call to the
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armed forces to carry forth its thirst for manifest desitiny. In theoversees expansion stage after the Spanish-American War, Americaemerged as a world pow 
er, where the “Army…carried the flag to thefour corners of the earth.”
Akin to the continetal expansion stagethe military followed civilan sentinment.In the colonial stage, the American solider and the civilian was onein the same. Soliders such as George Washington, Israel Putnam,Charles Lee, and Horatio Gates, would use their invaluableexperience in the French Indian Wars to serve the civilian cause inthe American Revolution.
Furthermore, the English fear of astanding army was acutely compounded in the Americanconscience both as a consequence of British heritage and as anexperience in response to the British military suppression until the War of 1812.
By 1783 with the end of the Revolutionary War,Congress called for the demobilization of the army in order topreempt its fear of a standing army. Matloff credits this to the heavy costs associated with maintenance of a peace-time army, as well asthe fragility of the confederate states and fear of military force.
 Therefore when Congress passed the militia law in 1792, many 
including Washington believed that the militia was the “only alternative to a large standing army.” For a long time there was no
need for a standing force as Britain was defeated and had nodesigns to reclaims its lost territories.
This is where the Pakistanimilitary experience deviates as it viewed Indian claims on itsterritory of Kashmir and its eye on Bangladesh before 1970 as acomplete reversal of this American perception. This is an issue thispaper will return to in greater detail.Military Historians Kenneth J. Hagan and William Roberts explain
that after the War of 1812 the army evolved from a militia with “atemporary civic obligation” to t
he need for a formalized military 
education and viewed “service as a way of life or profession.”
Thus,from 1800-1850, the American force was small and supplemented by citizen soldiers. But this belief originated in 1812 because theprofessionalization of the army could lead to civilians devoting their volunteer time to the workforce. Therefore, a trained and equippedarmy could carry out the civilian mandate while the civilian workedfor the progress of the American economy. This need for
Maurice Matloff, ed.
 American Military History Volume 1: 1775-1902.
 (Pennsylvania: Combined Books , 1973), p 15-16.
Ibid., p 39.
Ibid., p 100.
Ibid., p 108-109.
Kenneth J. Hagan, William R. Roberts, ed.
 Against All Enemies Interpretationsof American Military History from Colonial Times to the Present.
(New York :Greenwood Press, 1986), p xvii .
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professionalization was brought about to alleviate this civilianconcern.However, amidst the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the force became essential to the U.S. policy of westward expansion. Therank and file of these forces bonded over common held beliefsincluding
the “civilian ideologies of Anglo–
 American racialsuperiority and Manifest Destiny, and saw an increasingly professionalized military as the instrument of territorial
Here again the unity of the professionalized army was
 brought about by “civilian ideologies.” Historian Adrian Lewis
maintains that America framed an army control and command
structure as “a culturally unique American system,” it was thecontribution of these “civilian ideologies” that paved the way for
this unity of command.
More importantly, the reverence to the civilian superiority is not just a relic of the colonial period but has sustained throughout the American military tradition. This more than anything evidencesthat this civilian tenant has become a reverberating theme in
 American military history. As illustrated by Lewis’s suggestion that
from the days of the American Revolution and as recently as 1957 in
periods of conflict civilian mobilization created a “citizen
 Army” of volunteers.
Likewise, a 1945 letter to the Director of  War Mobilization and Reconversion from the Joint Chief of Staff 
states “no forces
-land, sea or air-will be established or maintainedin the Pacific beyond those required for the most economical defeatof Japan at the earliest possible d
In an earlier letter that same year to Admiral Leahy from the Office of War Mobilization and
Reconversion, from the Joint Chiefs states, “it will be difficult to
convince the public that almost as many aircraft will be needed todefeat Japan as were
needed for a two front war…I also believe thatthe public will find it difficult to understand…the Army and Navy need.”
In both these letters the public inclusion demonstrates the
Georg Schild, ed.
The American Experience of War.
(Zurich: FerdinandSchoningh, 2010), p 39.
Adrian Lewis.
The American Culture of War: The History of the U.S. Military Force from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(New York : Routledge ,2007), p 171.
Ibid., p 21.
Letter to Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion from Joint Chiefs of Staff. JCS
684/9 (26 May 1945) , Enclosure “A”,
Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1942-1945 Relating to the Strategic Issues Meetings, Section and the UnitedStates (Scholarly Resources microfilm), Reels 14, 15.
Letter to Admiral Leahy from Office of Mobilization and Reconversion,
 Washington, D.C. JCS 684/9 (20 March 1945), Enclosure “B”,
Records of theJoint Chiefs of Staff 1942-1945 Relating to the Strategic Issues Meetings, Sectionand the United States (Scholarly Resources microfilm), Reels 14, 15.

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