Saturday, June 03, 2006

VDH: The Alternative to Punitive War

Hanson discussing the alternative to punitive war and the effects on asymetric warfare which the U.S. citizenry seem so squeamish about.
And once America enters such a risky landscape, the clock ticks. The question of victory or quagmire is decided by whether we can defeat the insurgents and set up a local government before the enemy can erode U.S. public opinion — either by killing enough Americans on the evening news to make us doubt the cost is worth the gambit, or by suggesting that the vaunted values of Western bourgeois society have become sullied in the conflict at places like My Lai or Abu Ghraib. The key in any such effort is mostly political: Can indigenous forces, with American aid and the promise of democratic government, take the lead in the fight, ensuring fewer American losses, while offering something better than the past that resonates with sympathetic Westerners?

That an odious enemy beheads or tortures helps us little. Indeed, in such asymmetrical warfare it is to the advantage of the terrorists to embrace barbarity — either to terrify suburban America or at least to galvanize anti-war opposition by opening a Pandora’s box of horrors that inevitably “follow” from America “aggression.”
Wars with the U.S. will pretty much be lost at home in today's climate. The public neither has the patience nor the sense to understand that sometimes war is neccessary in order to survive.

Have a read. Hanson has some interesting statements with relevant history relating to insurgency and the American will to fight.

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