Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Max Hastings on the War

This is an interesting piece:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1880091,00.html

Max Hastings is a first-rate military historian and a fine newspaperman. He talks quite a bit of sense in this article, though I think it's simplistic to blame Bush and Blair for every mistake made in the war on Islamic fascism. Some were built into the nature of the military response. For instance, had Bin Laden been caught in the fall of 2001, rather than be allowed by corrupt Afghans and Pakistanis to escape into Pakistan, the U.S. would have, at least, scored a major victory early-on.
But I find the comments more interesting than the article. People are now thinking in slogans. Depleted uranium in shells is equivalent to WMDs. Using white phosphorus in bombs (as opposed to napalm? chordite?) is the moral equivalent of hijacking airliners and crashing them into office buildings. The problems started with Lawrence of Arabia... the Zionist movement... the Six Day War... It's the West's inability to compromise, not fundamentalist Islam's quick resort to violence, that's to blame.
It just goes on and on.
No one seems to work this through.
What happens in Israel/Palestine, when Hezbollah has the artillery and soldiers to shake the Israeli state?
What changes when Iran explodes a nuclear weapon, and, with the missile technology it already has, points those weapons at Israel and Europe?
What will America be if someone sets off a WMD in New York, Washington, Chicago or LA? What civil liberties will be left? What would a fully-moblized US, in a total war mode (converted industries, conscription, wartime press control) do to its enemies?
At this point, the War on Terror is being fought on the cheap, as a sideshow in a peacetime economy. Most scenarios, especially those involving a Vietnam-style retreat, end with something much worse.

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