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Gen.Sherman's, Scorched Earth Policy,

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:
in response to reader comment: How To End Terrorism

Submitted by Steve Smith (United States), Jan 11, 2007 at 09:40

To set course for one possible response, the President addresses the American people, and identifies the enemy nations involved. He asks for, and receives, a formal declaration of war from Congress. He pledges to achieve victory as quickly as possible, a goal which he defines as the unconditional surrender of the enemy regimes, and a fundamental repudiation of war by those involved.

Americans mount a vigorous offense against the center of the enemy's power. Waves of bombers obliterate dozens of enemy cities. His food is choked off, his military is decimated, his industry is bombarded, his ships are sunk, his harbors are mined—his people are psychologically shattered. In a single night, a hundred thousand civilians die in a firestorm in his capital. Americans drop leaflets telling the enemy population which cities could be next. Civilians are immersed in propaganda from their government, telling them that they are winning the war—yet they cower defenselessly while American bombers level their homes.

One of our generals announces his personal goal: to "kill the bastards." We name our final drive against the enemy, "Operation Downfall." A force of overpowering magnitude amasses on the enemy's borders, as thousands of American bombers pulverize his cities. The President and two foreign allies issue an ultimatum that includes these words:

The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the enemy armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the enemy homeland. . . .
The time has come for the enemy nation to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought them to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason. . . .
Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay. . . .
There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world. . . .
Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established. . . .
We call upon the enemy to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative is prompt and utter destruction.3

When the enemy balks at the ultimatum, atomic bombs are dropped on his cities. He surrenders, thus acknowledging the reality of his defeat and making a political decision to cease fighting. He orders his reluctant soldiers to lay down their arms. The American military occupies the defeated nation. We censor the media, impose reforms on schools, dismantle economic cartels, efface militaristic language from discourse at all levels, and write a political constitution which they are forced to accept. We tell them, pointedly and publicly, that they are defeated, and that we have no obligations to them. When they face starvation, we remind them that their miseries are their own fault. We charge them for many of the costs of the occupation. Not one dime of aid arrives until they demonstrate their complete surrender, in word and in action, including their repudiation of the militaristic ideology that motivated their attacks.

This principled, all-out merciless offense is one possible response to the sneak attack. "by john lewis

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