[FoRK] Westmoreland Dies...

Luis Villa luis.villa
Tue Jul 19 14:51:35 PDT 2005

On 7/19/05, Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) <fork at ianbell.com> wrote:
> 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
> forces to:
>      1)    Effectively deter the enemy
>      2)    Distinguish between civilians and combatants

I agreed with you completely right up to here... how does # of forces
affect that ability, esp. in modern warfare, where *every* underdog
immediately attempts to blur the line between the two?

>      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.
> -Ian.
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