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Journal FortKnox's Journal: War! *hu*! What is it good for? 6

In honor of JonKatz's completely idiotic story, I've posted a great quote from Heinlein, that I feel needs extra exposure:

"If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cut its head off? Of course not. You'd paddle it. There can be circumstances when it's just as foolish to hit an enemy city with an H-bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an axe. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him...but to make him do what you want to do. Not killing...but controlled and purposeful violence. But it's not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It's never a soldier's business to decide when or where or how -- or why -- he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people -- 'older and wiser heads,' as they say -- supply the control. Which is as it should be."
[Heinlein 1959:63, emphasis and ellipses in original]
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  • There are plenty of human casualties in the Afghan conflict -- though few among Americans
    Hello!? 9.11.2001? Did he miss the coverage on CNN (or on every OTHER station)? Am I wrong that the death of MANY American lives is what STARTED this mess? How quickly we forget. Just because they didn't die on the battle field doesn't mean they don't count. Come on Jon...
    • JK says plenty of dumb stuff, but I think that his point here was clear: how many people died in the conflict, IN Afghanistan. I think his piece was about the changing battlefield, not the change in war, necessarily.

      Of course, I think some people mentioned terrorism as the great equalizer, and if you carry the battlefield to that point (I try not to, as it legitimizes the terrorists too much for my taste) then your point is, of course, germane.

      Here's a funny (odd funny, not haha funny) thing: Vietnam and Korea were 'police actions', when they clearly should have been wars. Afghanistan is a 'war' (kinda) when it is more appropriately a police action (IMHO).
    • So true. That article of Katz's was truly fucking stupid. If we were to go to war with a similarly technologically advanced society, like Russia or the EU, don't you think they'd be smart enough to attack the few people commanding the "robots"?! I mean, c'mon! Iraq and Afghanistan are hardly a match for American firepower. WW II could have been the exact same 'war from a distance' with our sophisticated flying bombers and tanks, but we were fighting equal enemies, not third world countries versus a post-modern world power.
  • Although some notable wars in history have been wars of annhilation. The third punic war sticks out in my mind as the best example...the war was started with the expressed purpose of wiping Carthage off of the map permanently.

    In any case, you are spot on in your appraisal of Katz'a article. Its not that he can't write - its just that his opinions aren't particularly enlightened.

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