War And Stuff

I’ve been avoiding writing about the war recently because the events and politics around it have been kind of depressing lately. If you haven’t seen C&F’s most recent cartoon on it, I think it summs it up nicely (it also seems as if they’re reading many of the same things I’ve been reading). So go take a look.

To add my two cents in, there are three kinds of war, and any one war may include elements of all three. They are wars of conquest, wars of liberation, and wars of punishment. To use WWII as an example, Germany’s invasions were wars of conquest, America’s invasion of Normandy was a war of liberation, and our fire bombing of Dresden was a war of punishment.

The purpose of a war of punishment is not just to exact revenge on the people you’re waging war against, but to break their will, and to disavow them of the notion that there will be some future victory off in the future. It’s what Rome had to do to Carthage to end the punic wars. The North did it to the South when Sherman marched through Atlanta. And it’s what we did to Dresden, which had no military or strategic importance to us whatsoever during the war.

In Iraq, our initial invasion was a war of liberation. By and large the people of Iraq were happy to see Hussein gone and welcomed the Americans as liberators. But that’s just by and large. Amidst the general Iraqu population were those who resented us. There were those would prefer to see the return of the Baathists (backed by Syria, a Baathist regime), and there were those who would like to see Islamic Theocrats take over (backed by Iran, an Islamic Theocracy). Neither party has given up their fantasy of eventual rule over Iraq, and they won’t, so long as they go unpunished. Without taking action against Iran and the citizens of Fallujah, this war will never end.

I think that if we flattened Fallujah, we’d wind up employing what I call the Full Metal Jacket strategy. If you remember from the movie, Private Pile was unable to complete boot camp simply being punished himself. However, when the drill sargeant started punishing the entire platoon for every mistake Private Pile made, the platoon made sure Private Pile never screwed up again. That’s the kind of ripple effect we need in Iraq.

In any event, here’s a list of mandatory reading on the topic, if you haven’t already read them. I’ll try not to blog on the war for a while until things get better, because frankly it’s too depressing.

Read C&F Give War a Chance. In fact, read everything they’ve done in the last week because they’ve been on a roll.
Read Peter Schwartz.
Read Onkar Ghate.
Read about Jimmy Carter and how he screwed up so royally in Iran. (found via vz)


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