Thursday, July 20, 2006

Total War, Part 1


At the request of my blogging partners, I'm sending some of my comments from MajorMike's "Peace Through Victory" post up to the "front page."

Perhaps no other phrase than "Peace Through Victory" more succinctly describes what is at the heart of the confict within western liberal culture.

There are times in our past when the debate we're having now simply didn't happen. 1944 - fascism must be annihilated. 1864 - slavery must be destroyed.

In 1865, the South, weary from years of pain and loss, capitulated to the North. In 1945, the United States was weary enough in inflicting and experienceing hundreds of thousands of casualties that they developed and used a weapon of unimaginable power. The fighting became too gruesome and painful to continue. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Truman knew the repurcussions of victor and vanquished. They also knew, however, that to be the victor was much much more preferable to being the vanquished.

My comments do not come without an intense sense of foreboding. We are at a point in the generational cycle when total war is likely to once again be waged. This time around, however, many players in this conflict have the capability to kill hundreds of thousands within a few seconds. The human mind needs a chance to stop and think about the carnage going on around it in order to make a clear decision to do whatever it takes to end the conflict (note that our enemies appear to only want conflict and not victory). How many nuclear warheads will have to go off before we can stop, think, and muster the resolve to stop our enemies' attacks, once and for all?

The process of war used to be a multi-stepped journey full of contemplation. Assemble the troops. Catalogue and prepare the weapons systems. Gather intelligence. Formulate strategic and tactical plans. Excecute those plans. Adapt to changing conditions. Destroy the enemy's ability to fight. Today, however, it is possible for several nations to skip to the last part - destroy the enemy - within a couple of hours. In the past, if the enemy fired a few shells at a city, the response would be to take a day to take out the people doing the shelling, and then take a week to attempt the destruction of the transportation/manufacturing infrastructure that caused those shells to get there. But now - just what is the response to tens of thousands of civilians dead as a result of one single bomb? I'm not sure I want to think about that.

This whole thing with Israel and Hezbollah/Hamas smells a little too much like July 1914. Better just let the Austro-Hungarians (Israel) take out the Young Bosnians (H&H) before the Russians (Iran) decide to help out.

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