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The American Way of War - Its not quite what weve been told
National Review ^ | April 1, 2003 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 04/01/2003 12:01:47 PM PST by Asher

April 1, 2003 7:30 a.m.

The American Way of War

It’s not quite what we’ve been told.

(1)In this new age the American military does not like fascists, and it thus will unleash horrific power to eliminate autocrats like Noriega, Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein.

(2) It is as difficult to provoke the United States as it is to survive its eventual and tardy response. We will take months, years, even decades of slurs, random murdering of our own, terrorism, and general hostility before acting — and then in some primordial rage at last unleash firepower undreamed of to remove the odious regime.

(3) The American media and its punditry follow a predictable wartime volatility — as Gulf War I, Serbia, Afghanistan, and the present conflict attest: day-one euphoria; followed by week two of dejection and recrimination; followed by days of false knowledge; culminating in mild “I told you sos” as peace seems nearer. Confidence in victory is never as strong as despair on rumors of quagmire. The stronger our military, the more likely grow the doubts of our elites.

(4) There is no typical "American Way of War" anymore in the textbook sense of traditional armored drives supported by overwhelming firepower. George Patton would smile on our current ride northward as would Ulysses S. Grant admire the hammer and tongs that batter Baghdad. A Swamp Fox would also praise the special forces in Kurdistan, but then so would Hap Arnold like the bombing campaign, Admiral King the naval broadsides, and Admiral Nimitz our marvelous carriers.

(5) The enemy will usually have killed more of its own civilians than we will kill its soldiers trying to kill us. Examples: Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein.

(6) The Arab street is as ready to rush out when the American military moves as it is to dissolve when it wins. It will always galvanize on behalf of homegrown fascists if they are fighting a democratic United States.

(7) The American military fights best when it is asked to keep on the move and go from point A and end at point B. The very idea that troops “were going to Baghdad” was worth a division — like “on to Germany” or “Next stop, Tokyo” and, tragically, so unlike “on to nowhere” in a static Vietnam.

(8) Criticisms of the present generation are misplaced. In fact, in this last decade of wars our youth shows signs of being the best fighting cohort of Americans since that of World War II.

(9) Our military no longer is just a fighting force per se, but is asked to preserve oil fields, clear waterways, organize oppressed peoples like the Kurds, feed those without food and water, and under fire distinguish killers from innocents. It is hard to fight a force that employs everything from dolphins to satellites. When it clears Iraq of Saddam Hussein, it will have been done more to feed and help the Iraqi people than all the efforts of the U.N. of the last two decades.

(10) When war actually starts, the efficacy and professionalism of the American military tend to silence rather than incite its critics, as the example of brave soldiers seeking to free Iraq makes a sorry contrast with “Not in Our Name,” ANSWER, and the assorted likes of Peter Arnett, Hans Blix, and Dominque de Villepin. Americans always prefer to see brave young men fighting for ideals than pampered critics for a few minutes vomiting in public in San Francisco or staging die-ins on the pavement in Washington — before driving home to resume their comfortable lives only made possible by those sleeping now in the sands of Iraq.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraqifreedom

1 posted on 04/01/2003 12:01:47 PM PST by Asher
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To: Asher
When it clears Iraq of Saddam Hussein, it will have been done more to feed and help the Iraqi people than all the efforts of the U.N. of the last two decades.

VDH bump!

2 posted on 04/01/2003 12:06:21 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: Asher
Always wise and reliable.
3 posted on 04/01/2003 12:13:04 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Asher
Talking with a peacenik the other night, I suggested that if she really had an open mind, as she claimed, she should read An Autumn of War and Hanson's justification for the WoT found within.

Her response: "On what authority does he justify the war?"

I somehow manged not to laugh. "September 11th, ma'am. But if you're asking why his opinion matters, he is the single best authority on military history in the United States."

*SIGH* Fighting these people is like shooting fish in a barrel. They is just not too bright.

4 posted on 04/01/2003 1:21:21 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (What part of "We're winning" did you not understand?)
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To: ClearCase_guy
"When it clears Iraq of Saddam Hussein, it will have done more to feed and help the Iraqi people than all the efforts of the U.N. of the last two decades".

Yes, this is so true. So why don't we just get out of the U.N. and take the money we give to this useless organization and give our military guys and gals a big fat huge increase in pay.
5 posted on 04/01/2003 2:08:28 PM PST by maxwellp (Pray for American P.O.W.'s - We must get them back!)
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To: Asher
"(6) The Arab street is as ready to rush out when the American military moves as it is to dissolve when it wins."

This is true, and the reason it is true is ignored I think. It is because to the muslims, allah favors the victorious. When America wins battles, muslims feel that it is because of some curse being visited upon them for their bad behavior, a humiliation that gives other muslims a chance to 'hate' them in the classical sense. It's a brutal but faciniating belief system Americans can hardly fathom.

6 posted on 04/01/2003 4:08:24 PM PST by Darheel (Visit the strange and wonderful.)
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To: Asher
1) Agreed. We don't like facists. But we don't automatically fight every dictator out there, it takes a threat or humanitarian crisis.

2) It's not always difficult to provoke the US. It depends on the president in office and whether he is going to cover up terrorism or commit to weeding it out.

3) The American media and it's punditry do not represent the nation. But the left is predictable.

4) I think the typical American war has evolved. War will always be flexible and depend on the situation. Some things that are typical of American wars now are the airspace dominance, psycological ops, and quick humanitarian aid.

5) Agreed. Enemies that pick a fight with the US are not too bright and usually have no respect for human life.

6) Agreed. The Arab street has been thoroughly indoctrinated in propaganda and hate for the west. Even after Osama admitted to 9/11 they still blane the jews every chance they get. Consequently the Arab street's credibility has reached an all time low.

7) As opposed to what. Sitting still in a peacekeeping operation? or a tit for tat response? Then I would agree.

8) War has changed. Technology is much more of a factor. But I would agree they are disciplined and courageous.

9) Agreed. But it's not really a change, we did reconstruction in Germany and Japan. That is an indictment of the UN on aid though.

10) Agreed. But the only reason many of those critics had a voice in the first place is because of the liberal media which doesn't represent the nation. And they will be silenced only temporarily ready to spew their vile assaults on our society at the first opportunity.

7 posted on 04/01/2003 7:29:38 PM PST by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
*SIGH* Fighting these people is like shooting fish in a barrel. They is just not too bright.

Listen How Stupid They are

An Iraqi in exile tears up a peace activist on talk radio.

If you havnt heard this this is a must listen. MP3

8 posted on 04/01/2003 7:49:41 PM PST by antaresequity
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To: Asher
I checked to see if this was an excerpt.

Someone at NRO must have forcibly restrained VDH from typing on!

Just kidding... good stuff.
9 posted on 04/01/2003 9:10:36 PM PST by tictoc
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