Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Paradox of Modern War

This year's sequel to the 1991 Gulf War was a military victory but an ideological loss. In terms of swiftly conquering organized resistance and overtaking objectives, we redefined what military success means. Not since every single conquest of France has a nation ever given way so easily to a foreign power. In terms of political objectives, we removed the evil regime that ruled a country we honestly don't want to govern. We ferociously devoured every last Cracker Jack, but found that the prize in the bottom of the box was lacking. Now we are left with the burden of victory instead of the spoils of war. This isn't a defect in the thinking of any major political party or administration as much as it is an indicator of prevailing global values. Not just the effectiveness of conventional warfare is being questioned, but the very necessity to wage conventional wars. It is like taking a chainsaw to a debate. If you wield the chainsaw effectively you will lose the debate because your force was excessive. If you don't use the chainsaw you just end up looking like a jackass for bothering to bring it in the first place. If you are big, violence is always the easy answer. It just usually isn't the right one.

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