I wholeheartedly agree with Robert Farley that it would be a good thing, in an abstract sense, if progressives were more interested and engaged in debates about military doctrine, operational tactics, technology, etc.:
As I suggested above, we are approaching a political and economic situation in which real reductions (depending, I suppose, on how we characterize “real”) to defense spending can become possible. Consequently, I think it’s very important that progressives start thinking through the details of defense issues now. Non-partisan blogs like Information Dissemination and the USNI blog have commenter communities that are both well informed about defense issues and lean strongly right; there is no good reason for this situation to persist. Institutions like CAP should continue to contribute on Afghanistan and Iraq, but should also give greater attention to what US military doctrine should look like in five years, and to how progressives can and should shape overall US military capabilities. Robust, consequential progressive work on technology and doctrine will be good for progressives, and good for debates on US military capabilities.
But as they say, if wishes were horses than beggars would ride. I think it’s pretty easy to understand why it is that people inclined toward nationalistic and militaristic political views are disproportionately likely to be the people interested in military doctrine and technology. And it’s also easy to see why people with conservative views receive more encouragement from military officers and defense contractors than do people with progressive views.
This kind of thing is unfortunate, but it’s hardly unique to defense. You have basically a mirror-image situation on education policy, where something like 90 percent of non-budgetary conservative commentary on K-12 education is either by Rick Hess or consists of Reihan Salam quoting Rick Hess. Most conservatives just content themselves with the idea that school spending is wasteful, that teacher’s unions are at fault for this, and that Rick Hess has a book called Stretching the School Dollar. There’s very vigorous debate ongoing about how K-12 money should be spent, but the overwhelming majority of it occurs between warring left-of-center factions since thinking about poor kids and teachers and such is the kind of thing that mainly appeals to liberals.