Friday, July 08, 2005

"Ripeness is all"

If you have not been reading The Corner discussions following 7/7, you are missing some very good give-and-take.

John Derbyshire, as my readers know, is one of my favorite people. He is a little more "dark-clouds" than I am by nature, but I trust his instincts. More often than not he is right on target. It is hard to read what he says now and then, but his thoughts are rarely ungrounded. He is very much from the "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst" (OK, "Expect the worst, and prepare for it") line of thinking. He has made a very good point, looking very darkly though the rangefinder.
Wars should be fought with the utmost ferocity, to the complete destruction and humiliation of the enemy, and without any regard to casualties among noncombatants in his territories. To fight a war in any other kind of way is to sow dragon's teeth, as the second half of the 20th century illustrates. Yet such a war is impossible under present Western sensibilities. America has now been fighting the War on Terror for longer than we fought WW2 -- yet we have not even captured Osama bin Laden!

I do believe that people know these things instinctively and will not for long whole-heartedly support a half-hearted war -- not in Britain, not in America. These kinder'n'gentler wars of the present age will never have strong public support, and so will always be tied, or lost.

Most likely the terrorists will get nukes and destroy a couple of our cities, with casualties in the 6- or 7-digit range. We shall then revert to tribal-warfare mode and do to our enemies what our fathers did to the Japanese, or perhaps even what our great-grandfathers did to the Plains Indians. It would be better to do those things before we lose the cities, but of course we can't. "Ripeness is all."
Historically, he is correct.

Now and then,
"What now? Let me tell you what now. I'm gonna call a couple of hard, pipe-hittin' (word that starts with N that I cannot write or people with no sense of anything will not understand my point - intellectual coward moment of the day for me) to go to work on the "homes" here, with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. You hear me talkin' ... boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on your ass."
is more than a funny movie quote.

Interesting times, indeed.

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