I am an antichrist[sic] (Yes, we know it was all a send up and shrewd social hack by McLaren. And yes, they couldn't play to save their lives. We agree PiL was more interesting, too).
I am an anarcist
Don't know what I want but
I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by cos I
I wanna BE anarchy !
No dogs body
Anarchy for the U.K it's coming sometime and maybe
I give a wrong time stop a traffic line
your future dream is a shopping scheme cos I
I wanna BE anarchy !
Today's general theme seemed to be anarchy — whether in movies, fiction, Bakunin's writings. A theme in almost Bach-like counter fugue to the 'We Love Authority' press conference Bush conducted in West Virginia seeking to gloss over events in Iraq. The Pistol's faux anarchy, V's more authentic sentiments and events in Iraq have one thing in common: the inability of States to stop them.
And here is where Martin van Creveld comes in. As we noted back in November 2005, he wrote a terrific column about the Iraq War,“Costly Withdrawal Is The Price To Be Paid For A Foolish War”. The famed military historian wrote this widely cited close:
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.Given Bush's claim this week that 'future presidents' will deal with withdrawal, van Creveld's thinking behind the November 2005 statement is worth pondering. A future presidency means not only prolonging the war in absolute temporal terms. A risk is that a new team may believe they, unlike this crowd, have figured out a way to 'win' or have 'peace with honor'. And van Creveld's point would be no.
To him, Iraq and Vietnam are, to use the terminology he used in his book “The Transformation of War”, non-trinitarian conflicts. The future of war, according to him, is non-trinitarian, non-Clausewitzian, and probably not winnable by organized state armies. He notes that almost all countries that tried to fight such wars from 1941 to the present lost. Most pointedly, the U.S. lost two such campaigns: in Vietnam and Somalia. Van Creveld asks, “Why should the war in Iraq end up differently?”
He explained it this way in 2004:
In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old – even such a one as originally attacked him with a knife – will be perceived as committing a crime; therefore he will lose the support of bystanders and end up by being arrested, tried and convicted. In international life, an armed force that keeps beating down on a weaker opponent will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. Depending on the quality of the forces – whether they are draftees or professionals, the effectiveness of the propaganda machine, the nature of the political process, and so on – things may happen quickly or take a long time to mature. However, the outcome is always the same. He (or she) who does not understand this does not understand anything about war; or, indeed, human nature.If van Creveld is right, there is no real formula for a successful military outcome in Iraq. The 'We Were Betrayed By Rumsfeld's Incompetence' line — while true about his prosecution of the war — misses the larger point van Creveld makes. In the end, it wouldn't have made any difference. Moreover, should U.S. forces continue staged withdrawals inside Iraq and substitute our troop presence with U.S. air power, the situation ironically may only grow worse. Air power on call to Iraqis can easily be perverted to destroy rival sectarian or political enemies. It will certainly only magnify the disparities in force.
In other words, he who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids.
We do differ with van Creveld on one point: his last image might be mistaken. As we wrote here in November 2005, the 1989 Soviet withdrawal of the 40th Army from Afghanistan sought to cloak retreat with order and precision. Yet it was withdrawal all the same. We can only hope that our future president will be that competent. And not come to that realization too late in the day.