Thursday, January 11, 2007

Daydream Believers

Appropos of my ongoing discussion regarding the endorsement of Saddam-like brutality as a means to succeed in Iraq (a meme that is all the rage in Republican and right wing circles as of late), Josh Trevino pens an ode to the good old days. A dewey eyed reminiscence of a simpler era:

History never offers exact parallels, but it does have useful lessons. In assessing manning needs for Iraq, one would do well to look to prior conflicts of similar nature… one might look especially to the Boer War, in which a fractious, semi-fanatical culture was slowly ground into submission by an occupying force — several years after the seeming success of the initial invasion. If it sounds familiar, it should: and so the means of victory there offer an instructive thought experiment for Iraq today.

Make no mistake: those means were cruel. I have stated previously that I endorse cruel things in war — to eschew them is folly. The British achieved victory over the Boers by taking their women and children away to concentration camps, by laying waste to the countryside, and by dotting the veld with small garrisons in blockhouses at regular intervals. The men who remained were hindered in their movements by the wire stretching from blockhouse to blockhouse (a phenomenon that the Morice Line experience has shown would be massively more effective now); they could either surrender or die. Absent women and children, the rules of engagement were lax. From implementation to victory took under 18 months...

Consider the Boer-era strategy for victory as it might apply in Iraq.

More concentration camps, barbed wire and free-fire zones? Faster please? Saddam would be so proud.

(hat tip Sadly, No!)

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