Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 12, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

TALKING TOUGH....The New York Post says it's time to kick some ass:

This war cannot be waged with half-measures. It can end only with the total annihilation of those who practice butchery and barbarism. Those who have set as their goal the destruction of America.

....Let's face it: This is a job that's going to take overwhelming - yes, brutal - force. There is simply no "nice" or painless way to accomplish this.

Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, just to prove that we can be as tough as any New Yorker, ber-conservative hawk Bruce Herschensohn derides political correctness about hearts and minds and whatnot and calls for the return of World War II:

We bombed our enemies to submission with all the power and weaponry we had available. After our costly invasion of Europe, with immense U.S. casualties, the atomic bomb was ready and to prevent another invasion we used it on Japan.

.....The only subject worthy of our national attention and the only pursuit that should be acceptable is total victory no matter if others are offended or even destroyed. I know this kind of thinking is not considered acceptable in 2004. But we better accept it and quickly.

It's hard to know which of the two is worse. The Post, for all its tough talk, is delusional about what "overwhelming force" really means, suggesting that it's OK if this means "another division or so of combat troops." That's laughable even for Iraq alone, and if they're talking about the entire Middle East then resumption of the draft and several million soldiers is more like it.

Herschensohn, by contrast, grasps the nettle firmly and seems (perhaps) to understand that a conventional military solution would require occupying a territory stretching from Egypt to Pakistan. Unfortunately, he also seems to imply that if we need to nuke a couple of cities to soften things up first, that might be OK.

So again: which is worse? Huffing and puffing about getting tough without the slightest idea what that really means, or huffing and puffing about getting tough even though you understand exactly what that means?

This is not a war that can be won with conventional massed forces. I wonder why that simple truth is so threatening to so many hawks?

Kevin Drum 7:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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