Friday, January 2

Asymmetric warfare

Richard Fernandez, who strikes me as a very astute analyst, identifies the basic asymmetry in the war between western civilization and Islam.

After the end of WW2 most civilized nations seem to have decided to make every effort--when possible--to avoid "collective punishment."  That is, if American troops take fire from a village, they virtually never burn the place down and kill all the occupants. 

That's not to say stress never causes western troops to snap:  Lieutenant William Calley was originally sentenced to life in prison for killing 22 villagers in VietNam.  Our military justice system comes down hard on soldiers who deliberately kill innocents.

By contrast--a huge contrast--ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the like believe all non-Muslim civilians--including women and children--are all legitimate targets, because their ghastly, murderous book says it's fine to kill "infidels."

Further, they seem convinced that we won't change our self-imposed restrictions.

It's an...interesting...asymmetry:  In effect, they can kill any westerner but our troops can only target people who are actually shooting at them.

It doesn't take a military genius to see that this is a huge advantage for the fanatics.

I think the only way to get Islam's beheaders and car-bombers to decide they'd rather do something else than kill westerners is to recall how we fought WW2:  Total war.  Germany and Japan had world-class armed forces and had shown themselves to be totally ruthless.  No negotiation, no rules.  So the Allies squared their shoulders and said "We can play that way too."

And we proceeded to bomb their cities--and their civilian populations--until they were reduced to rubble and misery.

You may have noticed that both Germany and Japan have been exemplary nations since then.

Now, I realize 73 years have passed since 1941, and we've had time to agonize over tough moral decisions.  It's quite possible that today a majority of Americans would rather die or convert to Islam than do what must be done to win.  If a few bombs go off in shopping malls here, it's easy to imagine a majority of the public believing it's really our fault for supporting Israel, or for letting our women dress unIslamically, or for letting some guy make a movie insulting Islam.

And in truth, it doesn't matter what excuse, what fevered provocation they'd cite.

But there's a tiny, tiny chance that just enough Americans will wake up and say "This is bullshit.  If they wanna fight this way, we accept the challenge."   And go to total war.

I suspect the Russians and Chinese wouldn't object, as long as we didn't target one of their active clients.  How many Muslim cities would have to be turned to glass before the beheaders said "enough"?

Don't misunderstand: It would be better if they didn't push us to this.  But they don't seem inclined to see reason.  Quite the contrary:  The longer we continue letting them kill our civilians without consequences, the weaker we seem and the more invulnerable they believe they are.

I suggest you choose your next few presidents carefully.


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