For those of you just joining tonight’s program, the Nazis are the bad guys
Just when you think the Peter Pan Right can’t possibly get any daffier, they just manage to do so. By way of Crooked Timber comes this synopsis of a Michael Novak article in the Standard:
Josh Marshall links to a Michael Novak piece in the Standard – a piece that is surely the apotheosis of Green Lantern foreign policy (well, until next week); complete with vulnerability to the hideous yellow streak that is the MSM.
It begins … horribly:
Today, the purpose of war is sharply political, not military; psychological, not physical. The main purpose of war is to dominate the way the enemy imagines and thinks about the war.
Read those two sentences again.
Other bits (in which our author is pretending to speak in the voice of an Islamist terrorist/insurgent, but I think he’s just being bashful):
The weaker political will yielded to the stronger will …
Yet, as always, will followed storyline. First comes narrative, then the acts that give it flesh in history …
In such wars … whichever party maintains the stronger will, along the most durable storyline, always wins …
I really don’t know what to say. War is a continuation of punditry by other means? Have I got that right? It’s looking increasingly like sheer intellectual inconsistency on the part of the neocons and warbloggers that they have not marched on – and levitated by force of will – the New York Times building. What’s stopping them?
Pearls of wisdom from the Barcalounger Bravehearts of the 101st Chairborne Division. How are these guys not laughed out of the room? Haven’t these guys ever heard of terrain or logistics? Triumph of the will. Feh. It’s just the Dolchstosslegende retooled and repurposed for the neocons.
Note to neocons: You are not Keyser Soze.
Novak is undoubtedly a liar and a fool, but there is a molecule of truth in his rant. War is not just about killing the enemy, it is about making him do what you want him to do. Some of the most successful wars have involved little or no killing by soldiers.
An excellent example is the Brits’ successful anti-guerilla campaign in Malaya in the 1950s, recounted in The War of the Running Dogs, by Noel Barber. They won by promising the mass of the common people what they really wanted (i.e. independence)[and subsequently delivering on that promise]; offering rewards not only to ordinary people to turn in terrorists, but to terrorists to turn themselves in and become their allies; using police instead of soldiers for raids on terrorist bases and safe houses, because police are better trained in using violence selectively and sparingly; and using soldiers, if at all, for things like perimeter security.
This campaign, by the way, is the only successful anti-guerilla campaign I have heard of, so I would have thought our esteemed military and civilian leaders would want to read the book about it. But maybe not…..
I wrote a long comment on this, but somehow it ended up on the wrong thread (my error, I’m sure, I just don’t recall what I did.)