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American Impatience and its impact on global politics
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 07, 2006

OK, pop psychology time.

I've argued, as have many, that we've become a nation which demands instant gratification. We market our products to promise that. We find ourselves most pleased with events and situations which deliver that. Generations of TV and movie goers have been raised on screen epics which clearly deliniate good guys and bad guys and have a resolution to the complex problems of the world in an hour or two.

We have come to want and expect fast and complete resolution to all sorts of problems and situations, and we become impatient when we don't get them. There is nothing today in which that is more evident than Iraq. Just last week we had Ted Kennedy asking Donald Rumsfeld why, when WW II only took 48 months Iraq promises to require many more than that.

Of course many of our enemies have a completely different approach and, in many cases, bank on American impatience to work in their favor. The North Vietnamese waged a 30 year war and were willing to fight even longer for their cause. The same can be said for many terror organizations who take the long term view, feeling that at some point, if they keep the pressure on and deliver enought carnage and casualties, the Ameican public will tire of the effort since it's hunger for a quick resolution to problems will have been denied.

Peter Brown discusses that in an article about the polarizing effect of the Iraq war:
To a degree the comparative data may reflect the transformation of the American personality over time. There is an increasing impatience in American society and other Western nations as well, today.

"Long-term" has become a matter of months, not years or decades. We want what we want when we want it. The shorter time horizon is evident in everything from the way businesses obsess over quarterly statements rather than multi-year returns, and the pressure on coaches in professional sports to win immediately or be fired, or that TV shows can be canceled after only three episodes.

One can only imagine what Franklin Roosevelt's poll numbers would have been in the early years of World War II when the Japanese and the Germans were winning the war. But then, there weren't gruesome television pictures bombarding Americans 24-hours a day, nor analysts telling anyone who read a newspaper or watched television about the potential catastrophe around the corner.
He has a point and we've hinted at it at times when we've wondered how the media of today would have reported WW II with all the polling and 24/7 news coverage and its effect on shaping public opinion. Oh we certainly have all the news and information one could ask for today. But my question: is it perhaps too much?

I'm not saying it should be curtailed or controlled. I'm simply asking if perhaps it feeds this seeming propensity of Americans to demand an quick and complete resolution through its almost total emersion style of news coverage. We get tired of the situation quickly. And because most complex situations don't have quick resolutions we have a tendency to want to move on to other things and end our involvement in those which don't satisfy this apparent need for gratification.

Again, it's been pointed out that the casualties in Iraq, are very low in relative terms to other wars we've fought. But that doesn't particularly seem to matter to opponents of the war. It appears, at least to me, that the time involved and the slowness of progress (and some argue lack thereof) are the most relevant reasons (although perhaps unstated) that most want us out of there.

Thoughts?
 
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Generations of TV and movie goers have been raised on screen epics which clearly deliniate good guys and bad guys and have a resolution to the complex problems of the world in an hour or two.


I do think this makes a difference, even if it is pop psychology.

Now, before the usual suspects pop up and blather about how we all know the difference between fiction and reality, stop and think for a moment. Do you really believe an activity that someone does for four hours a day for their entire lives fails to affect the way they perceive the world?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Thoughts?
Sorry, you lost me at "OK, pop psychology time." Can someone summarize the article for me?
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Seriously though, another part of the problem is the sheer amount of information available to us and the complete lack of time we have to consume it.

I read the news while I’m at work, probably to the detriment of my continued employment. Because when I get home, I simply do not have the time between the kids, the housework, the yard, etc. Add in the fact that I need to entertain myself for sanity, and I need 15 second news bites in order to get an idea of what’s going on in the world.

I think a lot of people are happy with the 15 second review and think that’s all they need to be informed. I at least realize I don’t have all the facts and do tend to research those topics which interest me.

Technology is both a great achievement for and a detriment to mankind.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
I have written before about the bizzare and unrealistic expectations which have evolved in the US regarding wars. Bottom line: do not unleash the dogs of war UNLESS you are willing to let them run until the end...whenever that is. Doing so is an abominable waste of time, treasure and blood that only serves to weaken the nation and its patriots.
 
Written By: Unscripted Thoughts
URL: http://
It doesn’t help that bad events are much more likely to be considered news than good ones. I believe that reinforces the idea that everything is going to hell in a handbasket.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Good post, I’ve been thinking about this very thing this week. Specifically, I’ve been wondering how military policy will shift. The military seems very good at adapting to the cultural realities that revealed themselves in whatever the previous conflict was — no draft, precision weapons, Powell Doctrine, embedding reporters, etc.

One thing I’ve thought of is a "rip the bandaid off" approach, where the shortest possible timeline is priority. Good or bad, I think Americans have reached a point where more total casualties over two weeks is more acceptable than fewer total casualties over two years. It seems possible to me that "overwhelming force" may get redefined upward.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
I think that you are doing the equivalent of shooting the messenger. In this case, it IS the [real] messenger whom should be shot. Let me explain.
We cannot, most of us, learn [even with the overflow of information] enough to have the confidence that our opinion on a given issue is the correct one, based solely on our personal fact gathering and analysis. So, we rely on pundits, who we presume spend the necessary time and effort to reach the desired confidence level for us. So far, so good. Enter the thumb on the scale [since almost all meat is pre-packaged, we probably should say "the finger on the computer", but anyway, the older folks know what we mean].
For various reasons, pundits adopt a narrative and they bend their publications [and their thinking] to support that narrative. If pundits spoke with each other, or read each others stuff without prejudice, the overall narrative would be shaped into something valid in the real world, as it appears to have been in past times. Instead, today, the narrative is shaped backwards by each pundit from the desired ends. New input comes mostly from others having similar narratives. Those following that narrative are not really in the real world.
Inevitably, those pundits desiring a change from what is actually happening in the real world build into their narrative an urgent need for immediate change. That is IMHO, the source of the impatience in their followers.
Ah, you say, but why, given a free choice of narratives, have so many adopted the "instant gratification" narratives? Certainly, in the case of the Iraq war, there are pundits counseling "stay the course", "it’s a long, slow process", etc. Well...Dja ever hear of the baby boomers?
See any "2007" automobiles in your ad section? Last I looked, it was 2006 for five more months. So, we can change things even before the earliest date they CAN change. A war is much more important than a car. Ergo; what is wrong with those in charge that they cannot, with all the technology at their disposal, get this thing done NOW.
"After all, my pundit says that, if we change political parties, it can be done. Look stupid, I’m DRIVING A 2007! Geddoudahere with that loser "It can’t be done stuff"".
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Wow! Just… Wow!?

So now it’s too much information. Unbelievable. Just listen to yourselves…
Seriously though, another part of the problem is the sheer amount of information available to us and the complete lack of time we have to consume it.
The sheer amount of info available is a problem!? Is that another way of saying that if the info wasn’t available, one wouldn’t feel so uninformed?

It doesn’t help that bad events are much more likely to be considered news than good ones. I believe that reinforces the idea that everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

That
doesn’t help!? Excuse me, Mark, but what doesn’t help is the thousands and thousands of Iraqis marching in Baghdad screaming “Death to America”.
Seriously, what do you want? Do you want reporters to wade through crowds screaming “Death to America” ignoring it completely while trying to find some school or hospital that just reopened for the grateful Iraqi people?

It’s the anti-American chanting, the roving bands of death squads, the ever increasing events of sectarian violence that “reinforces the idea that everything is going to hell in a hand basket”. Not because the reporter chooses to tell us that.

Just bewildering.

I don’t buy this notion of instant gratification, either.
It’s not that the American people are just impatient, it’s that they see not only no progress… they see regress. They see hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives poured into this stinking rat hole in the ME and they’re rightly starting to question the wisdom of going in there.

In WWII, we had progress. We cleared out North Africa, we island hopped our way to the Japanese mainland, we cleared out Sicily, Italy, France…. In Iraq, we clear nothing. Little wonder why the American people are questioning the wisdom.

I’m not saying it should be curtailed or controlled. I’m simply asking if perhaps it feeds this seeming propensity of Americans to demand an quick and complete resolution through its almost total emersion style of news coverage. We get tired of the situation quickly. And because most complex situations don’t have quick resolutions we have a tendency to want to move on to other things and end our involvement in those which don’t satisfy this apparent need for gratification.
So what should the American people do, McQ?

Should they turn off CNN and let Rumsfeld be?
Should they cancel their newspaper subscription and allow Cheney free reign to do as he wishes?
Should they turn off the PC and permit Bush to wage this war how he wants to and for how long as he wants to?

Stop. Don’t answer that. I know you wouldn’t want them to do that.

The amount of information is not the problem. It’s this Administration’s bungling. It’s time you pointed your fingers to them…
Not cable news.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Scout that is something I’ve considered, too. A very many pro- and anti-war types have railed on and on about "not enough boots on the ground." The vast majority fail to define exactly how many boots they think are necessary, but let’s run with the idea for argument’s sake. Suppose the logistic capability existed to transport and support not just a few divisions, but let’s say 90% of the active duty army and reserve units. Again, let’s assume skeleton crews are left at bases home and overseas, etc. Suppose we had invaded Iraq with almost every division we have. Would that have been enough? Would that actually have made a difference or would that just have increased the friendly fire incidents? I’m not a military scientist or a former serving member of the military. I am, for all intents and purposes, an "armchair strategist." I don’t really know the answers to these questions. I do know that this is something that should have been considered by the higher-ups. Perhaps it was and was rejected as either impractical or unsafe.

What needs to happen regarding discussion about our armed conflicts isn’t less or more news. It’s less rhetoric and political posturing. Both sides are guilty of gross excess of useless rhetoric and I think that this is another of the signs that a good housecleaning is in order. Having said that, however, I also believe that more people need to let the professionals handle the conduct of the war and give up the armchair quarterbacking.

A lot of the debate going on now centers on the nature of the American military. I’m going to skew off into the hazy realm of unsupported opinion here and perhaps fail to take my own advice as given above, but in my experience of world travel (have only missed two continents, Australia and Antarctica), the army held to be the most PROFESSIONAL is the British army. I think this has been true since at least World War 1 and probably before. If you read some of the memoirs of British officers from the 1914-1945 period you’ll see constant reference to the fact that American officers, while extremely brave and well-meaning, lacked professionalism and even some basic competence. You can dismiss this as arrogance or simple anti-Americanism, but I’m not talking about the more stand-offish Brits. I’m talking about Slim, Alexander, etc. Even during the Korean war, British officers were still lamenting the essential amateurish quality of American commanders (granted their number one piece of evidence was MacArthur, but still). The view of the American military around the world (regardless of its arguable inaccuracy) is that of jumped up amateurs fed on adrenaline and bloodthirsty rhetoric. Again, this isn’t a heavily cited indictment, merely an expression of the opinions that I have heard firsthand. Now I know the curriculum at the service academies, ROTC, etc. is producing good managers. And I know that the NCO’s and enlisted folks demonstrate the highest courage imaginable, but the problem isn’t now (or ever was) courage. It’s simple understanding of professional soldiering. It seems to me that when officers make the jump from O-3 or so to the upper ranks, they begin to lose the essentials and begin to embrace managerial (CEO) methodology. By the time they’ve punched the tickets and played the games necessary to make flag rank, they’ve almost universally lost the ability to think and act as professional combat soldiers. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are exactly that: exceptions.

Is the British Army perfect? No, not by a long shot. Anthony Beevor did an excellent book on the nature of the modern British Army several years ago and I think it still holds true today. Compare Sir Peter De La Billiere with "Stormin Norman" Schwartzkopf and you’ll see the inherent difference. American officers are too inculcated in the idea of cartoonish flag officers. "Bull" Halsey, MacArthur, Patton, etc. They make for good books and movies, but not necessarily the ideal that we want junior officers to strive for. As is so often repeated, perception is reality. When the world’s images of the American military at work are (again, arguably inaccurate) Abu Ghraib, Haditha, even Tailhook, what can we expect? I have the greatest of respect for our fighting men and women. They do have a serious image problem, however and they seem to show no signs of either correcting it or even acknowledging it. Look at the latest Army recruiting theme if you doubt this (An Army of One)!
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
So what should the American people do, McQ?
That’s the question, Pogue ... I threw it out there for discussion.

So other than throwing crap at other people, what do you think?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I really hate it when libertarians start to sound like totalitarians.

Americas ability to rapidly reassess a situation is the major strength that we gain from being capitalists. As money invested in once promising lines dries up once market conditions change, so our political and military priorities change as a result of a changing world. Those who adapt most rapidly win, those who fail to adapt will suffer.

As you noted, the Vietnamese were willing to fight for another 30 years. Had we stayed we would still be at war with them. Instead we left. Viet nam became a stable trade partner that that is very unlikely to side with our adversaries. By pulling out we achieved our goal. Had we stayed we would have made matters worse. We were able to adapt to this. We prospered. The soviet union refused to change. They went away.

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
I really hate it when libertarians start to sound like totalitarians.
Good grief ... you know, without this you had a pretty good comment. You missed the point, but still not bad.

So pray, tell us, how did a particular libertarian start to sound like a totalitarian?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How’s the 2007 Volvo holding up, cindy?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
As you noted, the Vietnamese were willing to fight for another 30 years. Had we stayed we would still be at war with them. Instead we left. Viet nam became a stable trade partner that that is very unlikely to side with our adversaries. By pulling out we achieved our goal.
Yeah.....they became a stable trade partner! We achieved our goal by pulling out! YAYYY! Lets just gloss over the millions of people killed and decades of misery in that region that were sparked by our pulling out!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Beat me to it, shark. ;)
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Mr. Mahone’s comment reminds me of MK’s early days here, when he had no idea how to communicate with other than fellow liberals. Mr. Mahone’s comment crosses off every liberal Democratic talking point, one by one. Who knows, history may make them all right. In the meantime, reprinting them here with small adjustments for the particular post that is being responded to, is not very productive. It also makes the commenter appear the perfect dupe.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
We’re impatient both because of technological trends and because we percieve ourselves as strong, because we are rich, because we are aggressive. The aggressor is usually impatient. Impatience is very close to aggression on the psychological spectrum. Famously aggressive generals - George Patton comes to mind - are often famously impatient.

Of course, while a certain level of aggression is sometimes a useful asset, other times it is a self-debilitating limitation. Insurgents and terrorist groups will usually have the advantage of patience. They look out at a huge army, country, society and understand that they are small, and the task is inherently a large and gradual task. Also, they are often poor and acclimatized to suffering and reversal as part of their lives. It arguably phases them less (gross generalizations here). Of course, the more irrational they are, the less likely they are to be able to be patient - and they usually get killed off.

On the other hand, the US sees itself as a strong and powerful country facing, in asymettric war, a bunch of puny insects, lacking firepower, numbers, and the ability to stand and fight. It’s natural to think the task is small and to be impatient confronting it. It makes sense that we were more patient in WWII - just by opening a map of the world and examining the 25% of it controlled by the Axis, the struggle is perceived as between equals and/or near-equals.

Sorry to parrot Democratic talking points, but another good point if we are doomed to compare Iraq and WWII over and over again, is that the Axis bombed Pearl Harbor on American soil and killed lots and lots of people. Nazi Germany was literally and obviously involved in conquering the world. That’s an easier case to sell people on for "retreat is doom" than a bunch of Sunni & Shiite guerrilas blowing each other up in a contained Iraq that never attacked American soil. It’s akin to trying to convince Americans that Somalia marked a struggle for our survival. The American people, impatient as they are, don’t like arguments that require "what-ifs". Lacking a smoking gun, they don’t see the point.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Wow! Just… Wow!?

So now it’s too much information. Unbelievable. Just listen to yourselves…
How can I with you sqwaking like a parrot stuck in a DLC meeting?

Maybe next time, try examining that vast amount of information that I wrote before commenting. My comment is information economics 101. The supply of information outstrips the demand of time. In today’s connected world, I have vast access to data our parents didn’t have at our age. I can make much more informed decisions but it comes at price of expending time and effort. Most of us have jobs and lives, so we try to manage the flow of information with the importance of that information.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Pogue, just because you have Iraq on your mind 24/7 doesn’t mean that everyone else does. My comments were about news reporting in general, which is why I didn’t mention anything specific.

But hey, I’m glad to hear that there is absolutely no f*cking good news in Iraq. None. Not a bit. Nothing worth mentioning.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I won’t comment at present on the larger debate about information, but I’d just note that a few factors seem to exacerbate the quickness with which Americans tire of war in the new generation:

Very few allied casualties combined with lots of information access means that personal details of each dead soldier can be fit into the newspaper and several of the many evening news programs. Each soldier’s name can be listed off, each soldier’s picture shown with a very short delay after his announced death, and his family can be found and contacted in no time. I’ve seen a number of news reports titled with the hometown of the soldier: "Simi Valley soldier dies in Iraq" or some such. Brings the war home that much more.

This is especially true when the context of the war is difficult or just time-consuming to relay to the audience. In Vietnam as in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s no real *front* on the map and sometimes we don’t even know which group was involved in the soldier’s death. Instead of having a specific group which we can understand and objectify as "the enemy," casualties are often reported by how they died, e.g., "3 soldiers killed by IED in Iraq." During the invasion, sure, lots of people can stay on board because the news guy is in a chopper showing the lines of tanks and humvees steadily progressing towards a known goal, like *Baghdad*. We have fairly clear objectives, a known enemy, and we all have at least a rough idea of how the objective’s going to be taken.

With the counter-insurgency, you have a noted lack of pitched battles, you have our soldiers dying from snipers and booby traps and IEDs — nobody reports what exactly they were supposed to be accomplishing on their patrol or with that convoy. For all the public can tell, Iraq for the most part consists of soldiers driving around in Humvees of varying armor thickness waiting to get blown up by a roadside bomb. Oh yeah, and an uncontrollable civil war where the players aren’t even that well-known.

These factors, when combined, make continued investment in a counter-insurgency that much more difficult. The American public had in World War II some monolithic enemies, a comprehensible front, benchmarks for progress (territory can be nice like that), and wouldn’t even bother trying to track down the pictures and personal stories on all roughly 2,500 Allied deaths on D-Day, for example. They would have needed an army of reporters and newspapers would have been thick as dictionaries if they gave each soldier in WW2 the same treatment we give each soldier today.

I’m not commenting on whether that’s a good or bad thing. It just takes a psychological toll on the population, to be exposed to that constantly. It exaggerates the costs compared to past reporting.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://

Imagine if we had 24/7 news from Germany from May 1945 until May 1947 covering such things as the continuing guerrilla attacks on Allied soldiers (and much of that coverage propaganda from the guerillas), the failure to establish a government in Germany, the failure of the four powers to even reach an agreement on Germany, the failure to rebuild Germany (the coverage focusing the failures but not on the successes).

Imagine splitting Iraq into two countries and then imagine the hollering from Senator Kennedy.

Imagine after the occupation offically ends the United States keeping our military there over 50 years.

 
Written By: Bill
URL: http://
The facts of current "long wars", and the moral and money-draining Reality of decades-long insurgencies are only present because of the current rules governming warfare.

Primarily the supposed "sanctity" of enemy civilian life.

Post WWII - Geneva and various "human rights laws" naively supposed that future war would be massed armies and Airforces maneuvering for strategic dominance and enemy civilians could be spared to militaries still went about their business but avoided "needless civilian loss of life in attacking military targets.

This has just apparantly created the fertile ground to set up a New Era of assymetric warfare, terrorism - and the deliberate targeting of civilians by one enemy against a foe they assume are "too lawful, too pure, too moral" to reciprocate and make such terror or butchery a penalized act. As if to reinforce this, the "usual suspects" now make it a lifetime political quest to hector democracies on their absolute duty to spare enemy life and optimize enemy "rights" no matter what is done.

It has also set up the bizarre current valuation of human life. A soldier in uniform defending his nation has a "worthless" cab-be-legally taken life in war and can be slaughtered w/o moral approbation at any time - armed or not - at the frontlines or not. A "freedom fighter", however, may only be killed if he is actually fighting with arms in hand, but not while unarmed or sleeping- but not any "freedom fighter" not seen bearing arms in the logistics side. Meanwhile, enemy civilians are growingly annointed with the presumption of lives having a higher value than our guys.

The facts of current "long wars", and the moral and money-draining Reality of decades-long insurgencies are only present because of the current rules governming warfare.

Primarily the supposed "sanctity" of enemy civilian life.

Post WWII - Geneva and various "human rights laws" naively supposed that future war would be massed armies and Airforces maneuvering for strategic dominance and enemy civilians could be spared to militaries still went about their business but avoided "needless civilian loss of life in attacking military targets.

This has just apparantly created the fertile ground to set up assymetric warfare and the deliberate targeting of civilians by one enemy against a foe they assume are "too lawful, too pure, too moral" to reciprocate and make such terror or butchery a penalized act. As if to reinforce this, the "usual suspects" now make it a lifetime political quest to hector democracies on their absolute duty to spare enemy life and optimize enemy "rights" no matter what is done.

The facts of current "long wars", and the moral and money-draining Reality of decades-long insurgencies are only present because of the current rules governing warfare.

Primarily the supposed "sanctity" of enemy civilian life.

Post WWII - Geneva and various "human rights laws" naively supposed that future war would be massed armies and Airforces maneuvering for strategic dominance and enemy civilians could be spared to militaries still went about their business but avoided "needless civilian loss of life in attacking military targets.

This has just apparantly created the fertile ground to set up assymetric warfare and the deliberate targeting of civilians by one enemy against a foe they assume are "too lawful, too pure, too moral" to reciprocate and make such terror or butchery a penalized act. As if to reinforce this, the "usual suspects" now make it a lifetime political quest to hector democracies on their absolute duty to spare enemy life and optimize enemy "rights" no matter what is done.

So we don’t become them. So we don’t set up a cycle of violence! The slippery slope! The "moral high ground! Create more invincible terrorists instead of making them like us!"

It has also set up the bizarre current valuation of human life. A soldier in uniform defending his nation has a "worthless life" according to Lefties and the usual human rights people - can be slaughtered w/o moral approbation at any time - armed or not - at the frontlines or not. A "freedom fighter", however, may only be killed if he is actually fighting with arms in hand, but not while unarmed or sleeping. Nor supposedly can the 90% in any Army, the support element not actually fighting, be touched if it is a non-uniformed freedom-fighter, Jihadi force. Meanwhile, enemy civilians are growingly annointed with the presumption of lives having a higher value than our guys, by the ACLU lawyers, media and others supposedly on our side....

Even though the well-to-do wealthy Gentiles and Jews doing the hectoring, lawsuits, and meeting with other Transnational Ruling Elites and issuing Noble Declarations&Deplorations - also believe in "moral equivalency".

But it is a luxury.

Rules of war privileging insurgents and barring retaliation for civilian attacks are only going to exist if the "new rules of war" do not hopelessly disadvantage modern nations against a barbarous foe out to claim the world. Only an exceptionally dumb person or someone willing to let someone else die in their stead to keep "pure morals" would accept unilateral rules that place their throat on the barbarian’s knife..Like the famous hypothetical of Gandhi trying his pacifist schtick on SS soldiers instead of British soldiers. The only debate in that hypothetical argument surrounds just how long the SS would have left Gandhi be before he was executed or packed off to a concentration camp. "Sparing civilians at all costs" only works if both sides agree to it, and only if they both fight without deliberately blurring or eradicating the difference between combatant and civilian.
In a world made small to create a war scenario for simplicity’s sake, reduced to two villages, side by side, of inamicable cultures...peace is only possible if both agree to abide by rules. If a dispute arrives that cannot be reconciled and war breaks out, the historical result is total war and utter defeat or slaughter of one village...unless this is made a controlled and limited war by consented-to rules of conduct. If one village is "weaker" than the other, it cannot, under war and game theory, be allowed to violate rules and be free of consequence simply because of the "weakness argument". Something the Left, feeling not threatened by present enemies, ignores.

If the weaker village decides their soldiers will operate without uniform so they can infiltrate defenses and strike unguarded civilians or targets of value in the second village...maybe they can get away with it for a few tries. As response forces go to the attacking village and find the enemy butcherers have blended back into the host population of supporters, and are lectured not just by those villagers but many well-meaning of their own village on the "sanctity" of enemy lives other than the unidentifiable "actual attackers". But after a few more attacks by the "weaker" village, the enemy defenders within the struck
village change their opinion or are silenced as enemy sympathizers. Then retaliation is killing a selection of men in the other village. If that doesn’t stop attacks, the two village model goes into total war. Survival paramount, mass slaughter, bayoneting of little enemy babies just part of what has to be done for victory.

War and game theory recognizes what the "enemy rights" defenders and the foe who uses the rules to create deadly insurgencies and assymetric war don’t realize.

Rules are not immutable if abused or flouted by one side.
The "sanctity of enemy life" argument already does not apply to American retaliation doctrine for a nuclear-level mass slaughter visited on us. In an existential war, the thresh hold can easily be lowered if we have to. If Iraq was an existential conflict, we could have responded to the bushwackings of our troops and sabotage that has cost us 15,000 casualties and 400 billion in occupation costs so far by flattening Fallujah...and if Muslims seethed, foamed and raged...then flattening Ramadi...and more until they became the docile bitches they had to be under the Mongols, Ottomans, Colonials. And despite the Lefty and Pacifist chirping on how "it would make America just like the enemy and destroy our civilization if we were hardasses" - bunk. Rome was Rome after Carthage was eradicated. Carthage...wasn’t.

Civilizations that kill mass millions snap back to the pre-slaughter people they were once war or totalitarian rule is over, and are not permanently altered by the Hiroshimas, Great Leap Forwards, Algerian Conflict, Bolshevik-caused Ukranian Famine, various civil wars, German mass ethnic cleansing 1945-46 (3 million killed). It is silly to pretend that America was horribly scarred and made irretrievably immoral by the 660,00 killed in the Civil War or the millions we killed in WWII, Korea, Vietnam...

It is worth noting that past militaries, throughout human history had little problem with occupations if they were fierce enough with reprisals.

Japan managed to rule conquer Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia and hold them with only 45,000 troops. Economies running full bore, few acts of resistance. Because the Japanese regarded acts against rule as a collective rebellion and quashed rebellion like they did in Japan...brutally and totally. So a conquered people only made a few stabs at ambushing Japanese soldiers before word got out on the consequences that came to all leaders, all men of military age in the closest town or village ...if the Japanese were feeling merciful. Britain smashed uprisings in India and Kenya through lethal brutality and collective reprisals. With more finess in Malaysia and Greece....

Do I advocate killing civilians? No, not at this point. [Except in decidedly non-proportional retaliation after a nuke or major WMD strike] But a civilian life is -by all religions and nation’s laws - no more valuable than a man volunteering or forced into military service. That rules privileging civilians in war are recent rules drawn up as "good ideas" by various leaders....and that those rules may go if the trend towards abusing them by terror targeting one side’s civilians for mass slaughter, assymetric warfare, and growing use of "part-time soldiers and ambushers of all genders and ages" continues.

If the evolution of Islamist war and modern assymetric war and the Lefties failed "crime model" makes Geneva worthless, we will sit down and create new rules after another big war..

 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
So other than throwing crap at other people, what do you think?
I think that we are as well informed as one could conceivably hope for. And I think that it’s a GOOD THING. I don’t have to tell you, McQ (with your impressive skills at finding information not widespread via the traditional outlets), that the information is there for the taking. And anyone motivated to learn about where our soldiers are going and what they are doing, and where our money is going and how it’s being used (or misused as in most cases) can fulfill that motivation through a few clicks on the mouse.
And I don’t know how that’s possibly a bad thing.

++++++++++++
Mr. Mahone’s comment reminds me of MK’s early days here, when he had no idea how to communicate with other than fellow liberals. Mr. Mahone’s comment crosses off every liberal Democratic talking point, one by one. Who knows, history may make them all right. In the meantime, reprinting them here with small adjustments for the particular post that is being responded to, is not very productive. It also makes the commenter appear the perfect dupe.
That’s all you got for me, Mr. Fulton?

Uhh. You sound like a liberal. :-}

Good work!
(Talk about not being productive.)

You know, (and this is for you too, Robb)
I don’t subscribe to DLC talking points. I don’t subscribe to any talking points, and those who are familiar with my comments should honestly realize that.
I gather my opinion based on the subject information overload. So you can stow that partisan accusation BS. I like to think that I am kind enough not to throw that winger/moonbat label around, and I would like to think that commenters here would treat me in kind.

But hey, if it makes you feel better, go ahead… call me a liberal. I’ve been called worse. I won’t lose any sleep.
Or, you could address my opinion with cogent, factual denunciation. Whichever.



McQ’s post was about how he believes the American people are impatient with the war. He believes that the overflow of bad news from Iraq leads people grow weary and demand instant gratification.

I wholly reject that.

I believe that the American people can separate war and geopolitics from whether or not they get their pepperoni-extra cheese in thirty minutes or less.
I believe that the American people can digest copious amounts of information and make a well informed decision.

And if they see what I see, then their concerns are justified. More information is a good thing. Because, after all…
But hey, I’m glad to hear that there is absolutely no f*cking good news in Iraq. None. Not a bit. Nothing worth mentioning.

Written By: Mark A. Flacy


We are all ears.


 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
And I don’t know how that’s possibly a bad thing.
Where did I say it was?
McQ’s post was about how he believes the American people are impatient with the war. He believes that the overflow of bad news from Iraq leads people grow weary and demand instant gratification.

I wholly reject that.
Well good ... since that’s not what I said.

Anaphlactic shock a possible excuse?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It isn’t?

Well you and I must be talking about different posts. I could swear that I’m commenting on this…
I’m not saying it should be curtailed or controlled. I’m simply asking if perhaps it feeds this seeming propensity of Americans to demand an quick and complete resolution through its almost total emersion style of news coverage. We get tired of the situation quickly. And because most complex situations don’t have quick resolutions we have a tendency to want to move on to other things and end our involvement in those which don’t satisfy this apparent need for gratification.
Because with words and phrases such as “seeming propensity” and “tendency” and “apparent need”, I could swear that you are proposing an opinion in the form of a question.

Okay. Fair enough. I’m on board with plausible deniability.

There are some who suggest… There are those who believe… etc... etc...

It’s all good. I’ve been known to do the same thing from time to time. But it then begs the question to be taken back to you.

Do you believe the American people demand instant gratification? Do you believe that the American people grow weary of the war due to the “emersion style news coverage”?

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Because with words and phrases such as “seeming propensity” and “tendency” and “apparent need”, I could swear that you are proposing an opinion in the form of a question.
And where does the "overflow of bad news" come in?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I suppose one difference between WWII and GWII is the rhetoric. Where is the equivalent to "blood, toil, tears and sweat"? "Cakewalk" Adelman? "Flowers" Cheney?

I believe that the American people have a tremendous capacity to sacrifice for others, so long as we have some understanding why the sacrifice is being asked of our soldiers. Instead of calling for shared sacrifice after 9/11, the President literally told Americans to go shopping. Now in Iraq, after being told for years now that we have turned the corner and the next six months will show progress, we are told that our forces are caught in a religious civil war. We have been told for years that as Iraqi forces stand up, we will stand down. Yet after more than 250,000 Iraqis have received some form of training, we are adding to our Bagdad patrols.

As a country, we would have been far better off with a far more blunt message. Having been sold the war on the cheap, we now resent the price.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis makes a good point.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
After 9/11, we saw what happens to a government that is too PC and not willing to take risks. Everyone jumps on them for not being risk-takers and connecting dots, and preventing future attacks.

After Iraq, we see what happens to a government that takes too many risks, connects too many dots, and tries too hard to prevent future attacks.

Thus, using the Goldilocks Theorem, the next government will get things JUST RIGHT.

(Same points could be applied to the Balkans, where our failure in Bosnia, led to some overzealousness in Kosovo.)
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Seriously, what do you want? Do you want reporters to wade through crowds screaming “Death to America” ignoring it completely while trying to find some school or hospital that just reopened for the grateful Iraqi people?
As of July 2006 the estimated population of Iraq was 26,783,383. There wasn’t 26,783,383 chanting "death to America". I’m sure that there was something else going on in a country that about twice the size of Idaho other than the demonstration.
In WWII, we had progress. We cleared out North Africa, we island hopped our way to the Japanese mainland, we cleared out Sicily, Italy, France…. In Iraq, we clear nothing. Little wonder why the American people are questioning the wisdom.
We didn’t exactly hop anywhere. The battle of Okinawa lasted for 82 days and killed over 250,000 people. Of the 250,000, 150,000 were Okinawan civilians.

 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
but another good point if we are doomed to compare Iraq and WWII over and over again, is that the Axis bombed Pearl Harbor on American soil and killed lots and lots of people. Nazi Germany was literally and obviously involved in conquering the world.
It wasn’t the Axis that bombed Pearl Harbor, it was Japan, acting on its own. About 2,300 Americans were killed, less than on 9/11.

Nazi Germany was not intent on conquering the World, and had no capacity to do so.

Hitler in fact would have preferred to be allied with England, and that may have saved England: the early WW2 U-boat campaign was restricted to such an extent that it was highly ineffective, until it became clear that diplomatic efforts with England would not work out, and the restrictions removed.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Again, it’s been pointed out that the casualties in Iraq, are very low in relative terms to other wars we’ve fought. But that doesn’t particularly seem to matter to opponents of the war"

It doesn’t particularly matter to me, either, and I am not an opponent of the war. If I measure the casualty rate, it is in relation to the current objective. If it took 50,000 American casualties to liberate Grenada, I would deem that excesssive.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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