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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Technically speaking, war is actually obsolete

First published on Iranian.com August 29, 2007

Recently the administration seems to be on a strange “come clean“ kick. President Bush has finally admitted that the execution of the war has not been “perfect”, and some “mistakes were made”. Almost chuckling.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, finally admitted that “thousands of tactical mistakes” have been made in Iraq.

Meanwhile, military legal scholars from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib are still trying to re-interpret abstract and obscure legal definitions of what exactly an enemy combatant is, and how to get around the Geneva convention and that whole military uniform loophole.

While all this sounds like a big waste of time, and even if it is, the one thing I think that everyone is missing is that war, the technical execution of it mind you, the whole mobilizing of a large group of unruly sweaty men and their wasteful, polluting, loud, military equipment and support staff, to subdue and essentially kill an unknown number of possible adversaries, and win the favor and support of an unwillingly occupied nation of poor brown people, is as I suppose, entirely obsolete.

To be obsolete means, out of date, outmoded, old-fashioned, démodé, passé, out of fashion; no longer in use, disused, fallen into disuse, behind the times, superannuated, outworn, antiquated, antediluvian, anachronistic, discontinued, old, dated, archaic, ancient, fossilized, extinct, defunct, dead, bygone, out.

Why is war obsolete? Simply because ever since Korea, I mean the 1950's Korean war, war has failed to achieve a single positive result. Primarily because those shooting back these days don't seem to be willing to play by the certain necessarily pre-supposed rules of war. The military, it seems, still thinks that war has rules. Even these days. The military does not appear to want to learn from the very history it studies so passionately at its holy "academies of war".

The assumption that in the modern era, any modern army would actually risk wearing uniforms and march in a straight line, isn’t ludicrous, it’s positively retarded. Something ironically, the American revolutionary war forefathers knew well.

The US military in Iraq seems continually stunned that the insurgency is able to continue day after day. They even appear incredulous and insulted that the insurgents use IED's, car bombs and the like, to fight back. They continue to try and fight them with outdated, excuse me, obsoletely asinine rules of engagement. 

Apparently US soldiers in Iraq cannot fire first, unless this and this, then that and that happens. Out of 180,000 troops in Iraq less than 20% are what we would call actual soldiers. The rest are support personnel, for latrines, food, IT services, God knows ATM machines, and those cool bottled water dispensers, you know, “logistics”. Something you would see a Quartermaster for.

This isn’t a war, this is a transition team sent in by corporate during a disastrous merger! And the unwilling stock holders in this blunder are us!

What's really weird is that we've known all of this from before, in detail, during Viet Nam. The first time we tried to invade a country of brown people that didn’t want us there. They even had an evil dictator in charge and everything!

Captive prisoners of war in various detention centers, awaiting some kind of legal dispensation, is an equally nasty pickle too, one we don’t appear to have a good enough answer for. You see technically, it isn’t illegal for foreigners to hate the US, even to plan and wish for its destruction.

Especially if you aren’t AMERICAN!

Yet our guests in Gitmo continue to meet with their appointed lawyers day after day hoping for either time travel to be invented and someone to hit the rewind button, for someone to somehow figure out how to negotiate a mutually honorable way out. 

So much for honor.

All of this comes from the ridiculous notion that today war can actually achieve anything.

I accept that after WWII the long term occupation of Japan and Germany worked.
Yes, in case you have not read your history, after WWII, the US, through the Marshall and various other Plans, occupied both Japan and Germany for as long as 12 years. 

After a war that barely lasted 2.

And get this, in Japan the US dealt with a feudal warlord system, a racist royal family, differing religious and social groups. Sound familiar? Yet 12 years later, the Japanese were building automobiles, listening to transistor radios, playing baseball and reading comic books, under safe 110 volt lighting.

In Germany, once again, occupation dealt with diverse ethno-cultural religions of Lutheran, Catholic, and Jewish people, as well as Nazi party leftovers, and produced the world’s second largest economy based un-entirely on good beer and quality sausage.

The parallels of post WWII Germany and Japan, living under brutal dictatorships, with 2 or more competing religious sects and an ethnic minority under siege, and current Iraq are so uncanny, that once you focus to see it, the Rumsfield and Wolfowitz doctrine is nothing more than 10th grade plagiarism. But does everyone today truly think Iraq will turn out just like Germany or Japan?

The question now seems to be whether or not an appropriate level of military force is the answer. In the examples of Germany and Japan, it wasn’t just overwhelming force, it was literally nuclear levels of force. Even before Nagasaki and Hiroshima, in one night alone during the fire bombing of Tokyo, over 90,000 civilians were killed.
Would the world tolerate a death toll this great, today? Would it take that kind of firepower to subdue Iraq into accepting the kind of inevitable fate we are trying to half-heartedly talk them into today?

The Marshall Plan for Germany and Japan was quite clear. Our rules, our system, we won the war, you lost, shut up and deal with it. It will be for your own good when we're done. Trust us, we know what we're doing.

And it was. And they did.

And so it appears, according to the history the US finds itself repeating, that it does not have one tenth of the manpower needed to stabilize a country like Iraq. Never mind simultaneously attack Iran. And it has not used the kind of overwhelming force we learned is necessary, from the WWII.

Apparently and this is just a joke, Iran's military strategy should America attack via Iraq in the West, and Afghanistan in the East, is for all Iranian forces to drop to the floor when the shooting starts.

But far worse than another military defeat the US is afraid it would suffer from not enough soldiers and firepower in an Asian land war, most damaging to any success is that the US has not bothered to map out a clear and coherent Marshall Plan for the Mid-East.

Ever.

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