[lit-ideas] Re: War and Panic

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 22:57:50 -0600

I'm not a historian, but I play one on Lit-Ideas and I say that your Hansen is as piss-poor a genius as Amago has shown Einstein to have been and beyond that, a complete and total idiot. True we have the sterling examples of Athens annihilating Melos and Rome erasing Carthage but in neither case did it produce peace for those states. Peace only comes through peace-making, not war-making -- god, I love pithy little aphorisms, don't you? WWII wasn't caused by the failure to kill all the German males, take the women and children into slavery after WWI, it was caused in large part by the ruinous demands on Germany by the treaty of Versailles. The astonishingly brilliant Marshall Plan after WWII is, I assert by the powers invested in me as an acting historian, to be the cause of peace in Europe for the past 60 some odd years -- but of course, we Americans couldn't stand not trying out our wonderful whizzbang weapons somewhere and have found lots of other people to kill over the years. Still, it was peace-making, not annihilation that brought peace to Europe.

If you want peace in Iraq, get the fuck out of there. Apologize and pay them about 800 billion dollars in reparation and let them settle their disputes their way. Then annihilate all the neo-con ideologues that brought this crap on us -- no, no, just kidding. But god in heaven, make sure every school child in America knows what morons they are.

There you have it.

Mike Geary Would-be Historian Extraordinaire Memphis

----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Yost" <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 9:22 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: War and Panic

>>Acts of war are designed to create "shock and awe:" to make
manifest the power of one's nation.

Reminds me of Hansen's thesis--that only wars which completely annihilate the adversary produce lasting peace.

For example, WWI ended with Germany more or less intact (no troops ravaging toward Berlin) and as a result, the German nation was back to war again in a couple decades. In WWII on the other hand, Germany was annihilated and troops ravaged their way through every nook and cranny of the country. The German nation has enjoyed peace for sixty years and counting.

Applied to Iraq, this military historian's argument implies that to successfully "reshape" the country, Iraq should have been completely conquered. The US "shock and awe" never happened. As a consequence, the insurgency is still very much at it. They were not demoralized, and so they fight on.

What would it take to "completely conquer" Iraq? Certainly allowing the encircled Iraqi troops to "run to ground" as our advancing forces did, is not part of completely conquering an adversary. "Total defeat" involves a lot more killing, bombing, and terrorizing of the Iraqi people than actually happened.

Would it have been possible to completely conquer Iraq? Of course, the US military could easily have clobbered every last bit of resistance there, BUT it would have been politically impossible. It would have been politically impossible because everyone was watching on TV all over the world, and Bush was spouting homilies about how the world would see the humanity and courage of American troops. Yadda-yadda-yadda ...we're so humane...yadda-yadda-yadda.

Which brings me to this point. Assuming Hansen's thesis is correct, and assuming that global TV coverage now prevents any nation but dictatorships (like China) from exercising the brutality necessary to totally conquer an enemy--that may mean that TV will prevent humanity from achieving lasting peace. TV was supposed to end war by showing the world the true face of war. Yet it may be that TV will end lasting peace by preventing the brutality necessary to force a lasting peace.

It would be a bitter paradox if TV ultimately caused lots more wars because it prevented one side from totally defeating another.

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