Days of Change

Day 339

October 9, 2009
1 Comment

Dead men tell no tales.

Winning a war has always been a matter of will. The American colonists had less resources than the British, but they had a home advantage and the willingness to fight in the trenches. Rebel forces in many wars make the difference. When you win someone else’s land, you are likely to eventually lose it.

The British Empire learned this lesson more times. It was simply not worth the blood and treasure necessary to pacify the people in their colonies who wanted to be free. Many of those people became less free in the following decades, but they were beaten down by local leaders and they were ready to kill.

Part of the will is clearly defined goals. Getting bin Laden was the “goal” of the Afghan war. That became too callous and a war of nation building was created. That’s not a clearly defined goal. By its very nature, nation building requires you to aid your enemies.

If the European colonial powers had nuclear weapons, there would be a very different Middle East. Sufficient resistence would lead to a blinding white light like the hand of God wiping them out. I suspect the moral superiority of the time would give them few qualms about doing it, either.

I’m not in the “nuke everything” camp. That kind of power is too great to be a tactical device. It does work as a metaphor. If your goal is to limit civilian casualties, don’t go to war. Your casualties will be 0. If it’s your secondary goal, it will impact your primary goal. If your enemy knows he can stay safe using human shields, he will. That enemy has the greater will.

Going back to the nukes, in World War 2, we had to drop 2 nuclear devices to make Japan surrender. We murdered 2 civilian population. We had the greater will and the greater technology. It still took 2 weapons.

I don’t see where we have the will to win anything in Afghanistan. bin Laden is gone, the government is in shambles and the only order seems to be the terrorists of the Taliban. We don’t need to give these people food and build mosques for them. That’s what the UN is for. Go big or go home.

And we all know nothing about the president is big.

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