The Army Recruiter's television advertisement shows young men and women graduating from training, getting exercise, taking orders, operating machinery--anything but actually fighting in a war. Yet in today's volunteer army, the battle zone is the most likely destination of the new recruit. Much has changed in Western culture from only the century before last, when going to war, fighting in war--even dying in war--was the goal of every red-blooded male, and the aspiration every sweetheart held for her wooing warrior. North Americans and Europeans going forth to war against Islamists would do well to read this mid 19th-century poem by Johan Ludvig Runeberg, translated from the Swedish. It shows that the mentality that is still the driving force behind Islamic warfare is not all that far removed from where Western Culture is today.
THE VILLAGE MAIDEN