We’ve all heard the old Pacifist canard: “No one actually ’Wins’ when it comes to war”.
It’s old hat and, if I may say so, slightly boring.
But the twist put on it in this post by Professor of Management at the USC Marshall School of Business, Kathleen Reardon, titled “Why We Can’t “Win” Any War”, proves her Pound Salt Dumb*.
Try this thought process out:
Consider this — In the past, winning a war meant annihilating or in some fashion destroying by force an enemy’s leadership and major forces. The defeated enemy’s beleaguered followers were largely content to go home even if they harbored anger and disdain for the victors. That facilitated what could reasonably be called a “win.” In short, a “win” was possible then. Many thousands of lives may have been lost, but a “win” of sorts could nevertheless be called, especially as the other side usually surrendered.
The enemies America has now, many in Iraq, most elsewhere, are bred from near infancy to hate. They are as committed to their cause as those who lead them. Terminate their leaders and others emerge to take their places. Living to go home is not high among their priorities – beleaguered or not. Dying a martyr is. We’ve seen how those who hate America and Israel (soon to more evidently hate Europe, Australia and other countries, many lying low in the false hope of being spared) are emboldened by both failures and successes of their enemies. Both can be used to foster recruitment to the cause.
Today’s terrorist enemies also don’t seek to win a war; they seek to change the world. Losses along the way are expected when the goal is so substantial. They come as no surprise and are planned for in advance. This is an enemy that might be contained, outmaneuvered, driven back, controlled, and managed, but not one against which it’s even sensible to seek, especially in the short term, a definitive, final “win.”
Yet, thousands of lives, countless dollars, and valuable resources have been diverted from increasing and improving national security and the development of much needed intelligence operations in order to achieve such a “win” in Iraq. Ingenious people who are capable of coming up with counterintuitive strategies of the “Greeks-bearing-gifts” type should be gathering in Washington, D.C. right now as guests of the White House, no matter their political leanings, working day and night to outsmart this enemy. But, instead, the Bush Administration and many members of Congress cling to a win scenario they can’t even define, let alone achieve. Predictability is the kiss of death in negotiation, politics and war, and yet we’re extremely predictable in our need for a “win.” Once predictable, we’re manageable. And that can’t be good. A much more clever means of succeeding will be needed. But it won’t be found until simple, limiting constructions (win or lose) no longer shape the thinking of those who could make a difference.
Her “plan” is to negotiate with the islamofascists until we can figure out some kind of “gift” we can give them that will destroy them.
She doesn’t lay out what we should negotiate with them FOR, or what the “gift” should be, but that is her “plan”.
With ideas like that coming from the left, I’m rather pleased to stick with the “Kill them until they give up” plan.
* – Pound Salt Dumb – It is essentially the same as “Pound Sand Dumb”, except that when you pound sand, your hand just gets raw and stuck with sand. When you pound salt, your hand not only gets raw, but you get the salt granules burning your hand.
Yet people like Kathleen Reardon keep on pounding, because they’re Pound Salt Dumb.