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Surrender And Be Free!

Reader comment on item: War as Social Work?

Submitted by Ed (United States), May 6, 2003 at 13:20

This otherwise fine article and line of argument suffers a bit by undervaluing the utility of war as social work.

To make my point quickly let me put it in the simplest terms: To the degree that America earns a reputation as a state which improves the lives of those it defeats in war, its warmaking power is significantly enhanced. Opposing regimes will be unable to count on the support of their population in war against America.

Why did the Iraqi armed forces melt away? At least in part because they did not view an American victory as an Iraqi defeat.

With such a reputation under its arms, America can focus its warmaking against the diehard defenders of the regime and avoid having to take on and defeat the entire enemy armed forces. The ability, in war, to separate a regime from its people ought not be undervalued.

My suggestion: the heck with the State Department. The Pentagon should form a new Department of Reconstruction whose contribution to warfighting is to subvert the enemy into giving up without a fight.
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