July 08, 2005

War or Feud?

Mean Ol'Meany has a post advocating bombing, including nukes, any Muslim country that doesn't surrender in the next 24 hours. We'll call that the all out war strategy - ie we're at war, directly, with Islam, and we're damn sure going to win it.

Lee Harris, at TCS [H/T: Glenn] on the other hand thinks of this as a blood feud:

In the blood feud, the orientation is not to the future, as in war, but to the past. In the feud you are avenging yourself on your enemy for something that he did in the past. Al Qaeda justified the attack on New York and Washington as revenge against the USA for having defiled the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia by its military presence during the First Gulf War. In the attack on London, the English were being punished for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the blood feud, unlike war, you have no interest in bringing your enemy to his knees. You are not looking for your enemy to surrender to you; you are simply interested in killing some of his people in revenge for past injuries, real or imaginary -- nor does it matter in the least whether the people you kill today were the ones guilty of the past injuries that you claim to be avenging. In a blood feud, every member of the enemy tribe is a perfectly valid target for revenge

From my standpoint, SDB still has the best analysis of the entire war, including this bit:

In the mean time, now that al Qaeda has broken the ice, there will be further terrorist attacks against us as long as this war continues. They may be made by al Qaeda itself, or they may be made by other groups who will spring up. We can't totally prevent that until we've removed the true cause of those attacks: Arab cultural failure. Nothing short of that will stop the attacks. They're part of the setbacks which always accompany any major war. We'll do our best to foil such attacks, but inevitably some will succeed.

And those who don't understand the true issues will inevitably point to such attacks as proof that our campaign is a failure, that by our aggressiveness we raised further terrorist groups against us, that we should abandon the war and try appeasement, concession, aid, humanistic solutions.

And they'll be wrong, because they don't understand the real reason why we're being attacked and therefore why such approaches won't truly remove the source of the grievance..

They won't stop hating us until they become successful and begin to achieve on their own.

We are at war. The war is going in the direction we want it to go, although there will always be things we could do better with hindsight. We could end this war quickly, by killing everyone who could possibly be a threat to us, but that isn't a way I want to choose: I don't think it's necessary, and I think it would be a disaster for us.

Posted by Owlish at July 8, 2005 01:15 PM | TrackBack
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