[FoRK] Westmoreland Dies...
Ian Andrew Bell FoRK
Tue Jul 19 14:46:17 PDT 2005
On 19-Jul-05, at 2:23 PM, Russell Turpin wrote:
> Jim Whitehead:
>> Huh? In most wars throughout history, the losers had their homes
>> and cities burned, the women were raped, and many of those who
>> lived ended up in slavery. Remaining populations were often
>> marginalized for generations. Nanking? Dresden? Hiroshima? Manila?
> King Philip's War?
When he says "The thing with many wars is that the odds of a really
bad outcome aren't really all that high" I think SDW believes that
all wars are like the Falklands Campaign, where two nations go at it
like gentlemen and blow up a bunch of ships, planes, and sheep only
to return to their respective corners to each declare victory and
have a pint or two. As it is I thought the original comment was so
laughable (or was a typo) that I didn't bother to comment.
During the 20th century alone we probably killed 5%-8% of our
population in wars (I'd be curious how this compares to other times,
though I doubt it'd be possible to get accurate stats -- I'm betting
the 16th Century has the 20th beat cold). Clearly somebody might
have felt a few of these times that there was a "bad outcome" like,
oh, I dunno... those Jewish folk.
The original point was that I think that war is stupid, however if
you're going to enter a war which can be rationalized within a the
vox populi, it's even more irresponsible if you don't utilize enough
1) Effectively deter the enemy
2) Distinguish between civilians and combatants
3) Maintain civil order within the conquered territory
In Iraq and Vietnam the US has failed on all three counts.
I think combatants should be measured by their success in reducing
enemy casualties while still achieving military goals -- this is
actually a standard measure of military, if not political, doctrine.
If you scare the shit out of someone and they flee before your
advance, you've just saved their life.
More information about the FoRK