My colleague Carrie Lukas has a terrific piece on National Review about the sinking of the Titanic (it will be on our home page momentarily):

“Imagine a luxury liner sinking into artic waters with too few lifeboats for its passengers. Who would get those seats?

“When the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, the answer was obvious: women and children had first priority. Why was this? Certainly, the male passengers could have over-powered most of the women and saved their own lives. What kept them from doing so?”

The answer is chivalry, which is a form of manliness. I can’t help thinking that the parade of retired generals criticizing the conduct of the Iraq war is another symptom of the decline of manliness.

Here is part of historian Victor Davis Hanson’s description of this phenomenon: 

“Currently, there are many retired generals appearing in frenetic fashion on television. Sometimes they hype their recent books, or, as during the three-week war, offer sharp interviews about our supposed strategic and operational blunders in Iraq – imperial hubris, too few troops, wrong war, wrong place, and other assorted lapses.

“Apart from the ethical questions involved in promoting a book or showcasing a media appearance during a time of war by offering an “inside” view unknown to others of the supposedly culpable administration of the military, what is striking is the empty nature of these controversies rehashed ad nauseam.

“Imagine that, as we crossed the Rhine, retired World War II officers were still harping, in March, 1945, about who was responsible months during Operation Cobra for the accidental B-17 bombing, killing, and wounding of hundreds of American soldiers and the death of Lt. Gen. Leslie McNair; or, in the midst of Matthew Ridgeway’s Korean counteroffensives, we were still bickering over MacArthur’s disastrous intelligence lapses about Chinese intervention that caused thousands of casualties. Did the opponents of daylight bombing over Europe in 1943 still damn the theories of old Billy Mitchell, or press on to find a way to hit Nazi Germany hard by late 1944?”