War’s Future

Despite our hopes and efforts, we are epochs away from hammering swords into plowshares.

Pax Americana is real, though. Industrial war is but a romantic memory, resolved for the time being,  to lurk amongst the pages of high school history books and hour-long Discovery Channel shows. Millions of lives are saved for that.

Instead of the classic “couldron battles” of yesteryear, war is reduced to the simmer of a slow-cooker. No more massive tank clashes. No more dashing field marshalls with tactical brilliance. The true king of the battlefield will have to master cultural and mass psychology. How to control groups of people who are willing to kill and die over thousand year blood-feuds.

Under the leadership of men like Gen. David Patraeus, we’ve come a long way in learning to deal with insurgencies. But I’m not sure some future politicians will get it. In an article that I recently posted about Patraeus, one Democrat criticizes the surge, not for it’s effectiveness but because of its effectiveness. He states that because there was a huge reduction in violence after the surge, future administartions may be more apt to believe that problems can be solved with violence.  

And he’s right. But it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

The myth that violence solves nothing has been smashed, its death celebrated in a hundred wars of ideology, land grabs and blood feuds. We can never afford though, to allow our enemies to know the truth–that violence works–while ourselves denying that same truth. Millions around the world, and throughout history have died or suffered the most horrible tortures because evil men knew that violence was an option, while the premise was denied by hopeful or just plain cowardly leaders and populace.

We must not elect men to office who tell us, that through policy, we can make the world an easy place to be. Easier, yes. But we can never avoid choosing. Not once.

Those that want isolationism seek to gain a moral high-ground with their rhetoric. They believe that America has done more damage than good in its foreign wars, especially recently. They misconstrue losing the wars, or those wars having no easily defined outcome, with the morality of fighting in the first place. I will grant, that states should always consider whether a war in winnable before entering into it. And obviously it is not right to throw away the lives of a nation’s soldiers in un-winnable wars.

But many of those arguments are made behind the veil of time, through which the evils of Soviet power remain blurred. Not only ideological evil, resulting in millions of executions and persecutions, but stupid economic evil too. Communism just doesn’t make money. So people starve and become slow, dumb, uncreative and in the end–unloving. Ask the women of old Soviet Russia what their men were like. Barbarians, that’s what. Lazy, drunkards whose wages were the same if they scrubbed toilets or performed bypasses. So corruption became the order of the day. It was the only way to get ahead, and it’s doomed modern Russia to be its slave.

I digress, as I’m prone.

We can not claim though, a moral high ground, when millions die and something can be done about it. Neither are we right when our own people face danger in the form of jihadists, zealots and cataclysmic madmen, but we choose to ignore them in hopes they’ll go away.

They won’t.

When governments ignore terrorism, at least the larger acts of it, it encourages the terrorist. As much as many of them claim to want martydom, the biological impulse to live remains. The idea of laser-guided bombs and efficient American troops raiding their layers, is frightening.

And yes, we must kill them.

We will have to deal with their propaganda and recruiting efforts after. But remember that for one who wants to hate, for one who feels empowered by his hate, there is always a reason to hate. Combining that hatred with a slight twist to the tenets of Islam will always bring armies of more haters.

So America must protect the populace in which the terrorist grows. We must show the people that we are not only using military force to protect America, but to protect them. In doing so, we again protect ourselves. We segregate the suicide bomber from his own people. Instead of the populace believing that the violence will stop if America just leaves, they must know that the violence will stop when the terroists are gone. When there are no more terror-schools.

In the end we must choose where we stand on American intervention abroad. This Iraq war did indeed carry on for far too long. But confusing it’s length with its rightness is a mistake.


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