Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight

The usual quit now and avoid the rush folks are out in force at Winds of Change. One of them comes up with the clever idea that in geopolitics it is wise to avoid moves whose outcome is uncertain. Of course that cedes all uncertain ground to our enemies. Given that most of life is uncertain that is a lot of territory.

Here are some of my remarks on the subject. Revised and extended.

Avoid uncertain outcomes?

Prediction is hard, especially about the future.


What I would like to avoid is certain outcomes. If America or Israel gets hit hard enough a nuclear war will ensue. That is a certain outcome I'd like to avoid.


I understand though. In 1936 all the Europeans wanted to do was to avoid 10,000 certain deaths from a confrontation with Germany. And by golly they avoided that certain outcome.

The results of avoidance turned out to be rather uncertain after all. Who at the beginning of 1939 could predict 50 million dead by Sept '45? In January of 1942 was even 10 million dead on the horizon?


So the question you have to ask yourselves: are we dealing with the USSR or Nazi Germany? Are we dealing with cold calculators? Or frenzied mad men? Are we looking at an enemy who has a plan for paradise on Earth? Or is paradise to be obtained elsewhere? A chicken in every pot or Valhalla?

Once you know that you can decide what effort is worth it.

If an enemy is undeterable then you have to kill enough of them so that their followers lose faith.

Here is a little hint to help you along: "Mein Kampf" is a best seller in the Middle East.


So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 12, 1936

If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. Winston Churchill

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Winston Churchill

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

War is mainly a catalogue of blunders. Winston Churchill

Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill. Winston Churchill

Never, never, never give up. Winston Churchill

Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. Winston Churchill


Now gentlemen measure yourselves against that kind of will. Do you have the courage to say no defeat is final?

So Iraq is going badly.

So what?

Our enemies are stalemated just as much as we are. We only have to fight one day more than they do. However long that takes.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Karridine said...

In complete agreement with you, Simon, I suggest that concerned readers take a MOMENT only, to recall that the American Civil War was, for all intents and purposes, ONE CATASTROPHE AFTER ANOTHER, for the NORTH, until the North WON!

And Iraq has gone, and IS GOING, much better than the American Civil War, WHEN we examine the 85% of Iraq that is outside the few 'murder zones'!!

linearthinker said...

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing, which is more important than ... safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than him.

-- John Stewart Mill

In the US we live an era where instant gratification has become endemic. I've seen it my children. I've seen it in my ex-wife. In darker moments, I've acknowledged it in my own reactions to affairs that didn't go the way I'd wished at the time. And now, we're forced to suffer the whining of those across the political spectrum whose wishes for a quick conclusion to the war, that many of them enthusiastically supported, aren't coming true. Let me clarify that: the whiners are unhappy because their wishes didn't come true.

I stand firmly among that dwindling apparent minority of hardcore neo-cons who refuse to believe that everything connected to the war in Iraq is a failure. These things take time, folks. I have to agree with Karradine.

As to the disenchanted masses who can't wait to get out of Iraq, I can imagine their breathless, anguished sobbing when they realized there is no Santa Claus. "Daddy lied! Santa died!"