"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Drones And Targeted Killing

President Obama has gone waffly on American drone policy; but this untenable and anti-historical position will soon be overturned.  By calling a de facto truce with al-Qaeda (permanent war is not sustainable) he is doubling the retreat.  We are and will be at war with a hydra-headed, implacable foe out to destroy us.  Once again we have been undone by a self-serving political misjudgment, a wrongheaded military policy, and a misreading of our enemies.

Obama has won a devilish trifecta.  First, he has let al-Qaeda know that America is tired of war.  It is sapping our vital resources, killing innocent civilians, and only serving to further enrage our enemies. Second, he has confirmed current military policy to ‘do no harm’ – that is, to limit civilian and American military casualties.Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have never had such compunctions.  Suicide bombings are daily occurrences, killing both militants and civilians alike.  This nice, friendly, hearts-and-minds, family-considerate policy has only prolonged our wars and encouraged our enemies. If a country takes the serious decision to begin a war, then it should take every means to end it quickly, decisively, and completely. 

Thirdly, Obama has assumed that al-Qaeda, the Taliban, North Korea, and Iran will listen to reason, disarm, abandon their decades-long antagonistic fight against the United States, and help lead the world to peace.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  al-Qaeda has been bloody-minded, aggressive, and absolutely unstoppable for twenty years.  North Korea has become increasingly hostile since the end of the Korean War.  Iran has not shown one sign of softening or weakness since 1979. Not only that, these regimes and asymmetrical enemies go by no Western rules of civility and Christian ethics. 

Where did this sudden concern about civilians come about? Anyone with the slightest understanding of history knows that Rolling Thunder, Nixon’s campaign to bomb North Vietnam into submission was indiscriminate in its killing of both militants and civilians.  Napalm was no less generalized mass killing.  Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki were expressly, deliberately designed to kill civilians, sap the will of the enemy and win the war. 

History is not on the side of gentleness, compassion, or restraint. Genghis Khan took no pity on his enemies, and his routes of conquest were lined with the impaled heads of those who stood in his way.

Let’s make no mistake about it.  War, terror, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban will not go away; and if Obama wants to call off the perpetual war and call it something else (which he will have to do), all fine and good; but with his current policies, winning is not an option.

Please see my two previous blogs where I discuss this subject in more depth:

Drones and Targeted Killings – Bombs Away!


The Case for Secret Warfare


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