Sometimes you just need to rip the bandaid off

We all know that the only thing more painful than ripping a bandaid off is taking it off ever so slowly.

We all know that you treat cancers by swiftly removing the whole tumor (if possible), and not by gently nudging out one cancerous cell at a time.

We all know (don’t we?) that you fight wars to win.  To that, I’d add that there’s probably more humanity in getting a war over swiftly, even if that means bringing in a lot of upfront firepower against enemy troops, than dragging a war out forever in order to spare as many enemy troop lives as possible.  That is, I’d be willing to bet that, if you could play the two war scenarios out in alternative universes, the swift, but more brutal war, would end up with fewer casualties than the attentuated, but kinder war.

In any event, because I believe that principle, I was gratified to see this story:

NATO troops fought a six-hour battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan Monday in a firefight that left 55 militants and one NATO soldier dead, the Western alliance said.

Twenty militants also were wounded in the fight in the Daychopan district of Zabul province, NATO said. The nationality of the dead NATO soldier was not released, though many of the Western troops in Zabul are American.

The battle came on the heels of another major fight between militants and NATO and Afghan troops Saturday in neighboring Uruzgan province in which 70 insurgents were killed after they attacked a military base north of Tarin Kowt.

Maj. Luke Knittig, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, said troops in southern Afghanistan are moving into areas where insurgents are active in order to set security conditions to allow reconstruction and development.

“We’re not going to get fixated on a scoreboard tally of insurgents killed,” he said. “What’s more important is getting an accountable government in place.”

NATO and Afghan troops are pressing ahead with a new joint offensive called Operation Eagle, aimed at keeping pressure on the Taliban through the fall and winter and to pave the way for long-promised development after the harshest fighting since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

The 32,000-strong NATO-led force took command of security operations in all of Afghanistan last month and has been battling resurgent Taliban militants in the south and east.

There’s more, but the point seems to be that NATO has figured out that you don’t win a war against a determined enemy by dropping a desultory bomb or two on a mule.

And no, I do not feel sorry for the Talibanis who died.  This is war, for God sakes!  Their goal is to kill us; our goal is to kill them first.  They’ve put themselves in the line of fire.  If they’d go away, and leave the beleaguered Afghani people to enjoy the fruits of democracy (and, of course, stop trying to kill NATO troops), we’d leave them alone.  And just to keep the dead Talibani’s voluntary appearance on the battlefield in perspective, remember that the Taliban worked closely with Al Qaeda in 2001, not to kill soldiers in a declared war, but to massacre as many American civilians as possible.

The same situation applies in Afghanistan as it does in Israel.  As you know, the saying there is that, if the Palestinians stopped fighting, peace would come to that land; if the Israelis stopped fighting, they’d all be massacred.  War is never just about killing.  It’s always about the reasons behind the killing and the impetus or lack thereof to continue with the killing.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

  1. says

    We all know that the only thing more painful than ripping a bandaid off is taking it off ever so slowly.

    Ripping bandaids off is painful? What exactly are you talking about, Bookworm ; )

    There’s more, but the point seems to be that NATO has figured out that you don’t win a war against a determined enemy by dropping a desultory bomb or two on a mule.

    It isn’t NATO. It is the Americans and the British and other folks and molks who agreed together to fight together with what they got, hang NATO promises.

    And just to keep the dead Talibani’s voluntary appearance on the battlefield in perspective, remember that the Taliban worked closely with Al Qaeda in 2001, not to kill soldiers in a declared war, but to massacre as many American civilians as possible.

    You don’t have to convince me that the Taliban are our enemies. I have no sympathy for folks living in the stone age, not only by necessity but by choice.

  2. says

    “As you know, the saying there is that, if the Palestinians stopped fighting, peace would come to that land; if the Israelis stopped fighting, they’d all be massacred.”

    Oversimplified propaganda. If all they were doing is defending themselves, I wonder how they get themselves into situations like this:

    Israel admits using phosphorous bombs in Lebanon PRINT FRIENDLY EMAIL STORY
    AM – Tuesday, 24 October , 2006 08:24:00
    Reporter: David Hardaker
    TONY EASTLEY: Israel has admitted for the first time that it did use controversial phosphorous bombs during its war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. White phosphorous causes highly painful chemical burns, and until recently Israel had maintained that it used phosphorous only to mark out targets or territory.

    As Middle East Correspondent David Hardaker reports, the admission has led one Israeli parliamentarian to say Israel should be tried for war crimes.

    DAVID HARDAKER: It’s been literally a burning question left over from Israel’s war in Lebanon. Did Israeli forces use phosphorous bombs on civilians?

    SHABTAIN GOLD: Phosphorous is a weapon that’s limited and controlled by international law, and it should never been used in areas of civilian populations, it certainly should never be used against civilians.

    DAVID HARDAKER: Shabtai Gold is the Jerusalem based spokesman for Physicians for Human Rights.

    SHABTAIN GOLD: The wounds are very specific, they usually create tremendous burns, which don’t go out at all. First people have to be dunked in water, when the skin dries, it can again erupt into flames. And therefore it’s a very, very, very cruel and unusual weapon to be using against civilians.

    DAVID HARDAKER: In Lebanon, there were reports of civilians being treated for injuries, which doctors claimed were consistent with being hit by white phosphorous. Israel though, maintains it only used prosperous as a way of marking out targets.

    But a different story has now emerged. And Israeli Government Minister Jacob Edery has confirmed that Israeli Army used phosphorous bombs to attack, what he said were military targets in open ground.

    ZAHAVA GAL-ON: I’m concerned because I think that although we are fighting against each other, there are some limits that we have to put during the war.

    DAVID HARDAKER: Zahava Gal-On is a member of the Israeli Parliament representing the left-wing Meretz party. It was her question, which brought the admission.

    ZAHAVA GAL-ON: They are weapons that I can’t accept because of their effect on the people there, on the civilians.

    DAVID HARDAKER: Were you surprised that the answer that you received?

    ZAHAVA GAL-ON: Yeah, actually, I was amazed, I was astonished, because I thought that I will ask them and they will answer, no, it’s nonsense, don’t believe international newspapers, it’s nonsense.

    DAVID HARDAKER: The answer was that yes, phosphorous is used, but on military targets in open ground. In other words not in, say, a high-density building.

    ZAHAVA GAL-ON: Well, it’s very difficult to differentiate, sometimes within military targets and civilian targets, because the war was in an area that there were also civilians.

    DAVID HARDAKER: If the IDF has actually injured civilians with phosphorous, is that a war crime, in your view?

    ZAHAVA GAL-ON: Well, in my view, yes. It’s a war crime, although they thought they are using it against military targets. But if people were injured, I can consider it as a war crime.

    DAVID HARDAKER: The Israeli Defence Forces declined our offer of an interview to clarify precisely where it had used phosphorous bombs and how it could be sure civilians weren’t hit.

    The IDF supplied a statement, saying that under international law the usage of phosphorous is permitted and that it conforms to international regulations and standards.

    White phosphorous weapons aren’t forbidden by international law, but the Geneva Conventions ban their use against civilians or in civilian areas. Some human rights groups believe they should be reclassified as chemical weapons and banned.

    TONY EASTLEY: Middle East Correspondent David Hardaker.
    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1772187.htm

  3. says

    Israelis are a bunch of pacifists. The only reason they are still around, is cause they had a bunch of hardcore military and civilian frontiersmen that stopped the Arab invasion dead cold by piling enough Arab and Israeli bodies in the battlefield.

    And they only got that chance to fight the Arabs cause other people’s militaries and power, saved the Jews in WWII. The Jews don’t have a very long martial history, or if they do, they’ve reformed most of it. They aren’t Spartans and if they were, the Palesitnians would not be fighting the Jews anymore.

    The Spartans would have burned every town near the Northern Israeli border with fire bombing, aka phosphorous and napalm ingredients, so that there would be miles of no man zone. They wouldn’t be talking, in the media, about whether he did or did not use phosphorous, they would begging the Spartans to stop, and offering up everything from cows, lambs, to their second born as way of appeasement.

    Ooo, white phosphorous, Israelis must be bad arse. Give me a break. America is using like 10% of our maximal core strength, and Israel is even using less cause they got less excuses for punitive expeditions with their casualties.

    If the entire Israeli nation started fighting like Spartans, the Palestinian problem would be solved, for all time. So don’t try talking about Israel as if they are “hardcore” in war. Cause they aren’t.

    The IDF supplied a statement, saying that under international law the usage of phosphorous is permitted and that it conforms to international regulations and standards.

    The IDF should have told people,

    “Pock off, international jokers, for every complaint you make against the IDF, we’ll use 100 more phosphorous bombs on targets of our choosing. So keep talking”

    That’s war to the knife. Israelis aren’t fighting a war to the knife, just like Bush ain’t doing Total War.

Leave a Reply