Saturday, August 09, 2008

Further ruminating on South Ossetia...

...has led me to believe that the U.S. military has completely spoiled the media.

A whole generation of journalists and pundits has grown to maturity believing that war is a precision affair, with special safe zones like hospitals and places of worship where the enemy can yell "Not it! Olly olly oxen free!"; where bombs only hit bad guys and the exceptions to that rule are worth a circular firing squad of finger-pointing and a cashiered officer; where women and children are safe, "collateral damage" is something to worry about, and rape is a prosecutable offense; where invading armies are trailed by a thundering herd of engineers, civil affairs, and military police and JAG types, anxious to rebuild infrastructure, put up schools, and keep the troops in line.

This is not how war works. This is an aberration, a relatively recent Anglo-American twist on warfare brought to its current fine pitch only by the might of American technology and taxes that allow us to blow up a crude hand-built donkey cart carrying a couple of AK-47's with a $250,000 computerized satellite-guided bomb. And then worry about the wrath of the ASPCA for hurting the donkey.

Nowhere else, nowhen else, has war ever been fought like that. When the Russians go into South Ossetian towns, raining dumb bombs on civilian and soldier alike, that's the way war is and has been for the entire history of the human species. The French even have a special phrase for when nuns get blown up by indiscriminate rocket fire and babies are charred by napalm and the invading army rapes their way through a village: C'est la guerre.

Such is war.

Think about that the next time you rail at America's "brutal, fascist war machine".


Words Twice said...


Turk Turon said...

Perfectly put!

The Captain said...

There is also the matter of the Russians not seeming to care as much about what the hand-wringers say. Even if they had the precision weapon systems that we do, I doubt it would bother them as terribly if an errant bomb took out a house or two.

Earl said...

Rumor has it that the Summer Olympics are where all the media are currently embedded and that was the reason Opening Games in Georgia can't be covered. And no the Russians don't care about precision, but then they remember winning WWII, and losing Afghanistan when using American Vietnam Era tactics.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I am part way through Arkady Babchenko's One Soldier's War, which is about his two tours in Chechnya in the 1990s.

He depicts a Russian army underfed, poorly equipped, and (as I knew) run on a system where veterans beat and abuse new guys, and even the officers beat and kick the enlisted men, with predictable results on morale.

With that kind of treatment, you just know that the average private doesn't think much about human rights.

I suspect that the Georgians might have higher morale, but I also suspect that they will be hoping for international diplomatic intervention -- quick! -- before the Bear walks all over them.

Billy Hollis said...

Tam, I've given up the battle of trying to educate ignorant squishes whose sense of history only goes back to Britney Spear's first baby. They don't want to know. They just want to feel how the world should work, and it's then up to we realist types to make it work that way so they don't suffer psychic pain.

They think we're the ignorant ones because we have not yet reached their transcedent state where feelings are more important than facts.

I've been talking about this phenomenon some at QandO lately. My basic thesis is that these guys no longer think in Enlightenment terms, but in post-modern terms. They don't even agree with us about what such concepts as "truth" and "fact" are supposed to mean. One of the commenters there even talked about how Enlightenment thinking has been destroyed, and that we just have to accept that there are "multiple truths" and reason is useless to help us decide among them.

When you get to the point of realizing that you are talking to people whose world view is so radically different that you can't even use basic words in a way they understand, then you (or at least I did) accept that it's utterly pointless to talk to them about political issues.

Some on our side now avoid those conversations because of the friction they create. I don't care about that; it matters not a whit to me if they get pi$$ed off. My motivation is solely to use time wisely, and it is a complete and utter waste of time to try any level of discussion with those on the left that have been steeped in post-modernist thinking.

If you want a useful guide as to whether someone is too far gone, just ask them if they think campus speech codes are a good idea. Campus speech codes are one of the most visible manifestations of post-modernist thinking, and anyone that supports them is almost certainly beyond the capability to discourse iwith an Enlightenment thinker.

Borepatch said...

The media is a trifecta of venality, cluelessness, and sense of entitlement. The only time they can remember what happened last week is when they're writing a book.

Remember the Iraq war? Remember when clueless reporters put up satellite dishes on the front lines? Remember the outrage when they got shot (see Jordan, Eason).

None of this should be a surprise to any of them. The more or less complete media blackout from Georgia should be a surprise to nobody. Is it possible to spin this against George W Bush and the neocons? No. Is it dangerous? Yes. Would they win any awards if they actually went there and reported it anyway? No (see GWB and neocon bit).

You can't get a more stark example of the left's refusal to confront fascism than what's happening now. What's that about having learned nothing and forgotten nothing?

Apropos this, the comment word verification starts with "dum". I think this is a sign that the Gods of Truth are smiling.

theirritablearchitect said...

"Think about that the next time you rail at America's "brutal, fascist war machine"."

Or, backhand them publicly, like the little, insolent children that they are.

staghounds said...

"That's not faaaaair!"

Eternal cry of the loser. It was only seven years ago that the U. S. got a great big lesson that there aren't any rules. We ignored it then, and we'll continue to ignore it until we are in a serious fight for survival.

Then, watch out. We didn't invent intentional mass slaughter of civilians in war, but people forget that we ARE the current champions.

Anonymous said...

Some time ago, there was an online comic called 'waytoorandom', a first-person account of college life from the view of a young female art student. It was pulled by her university for inappropriate content.
One strip I saved involved a 'womyns studies' teacher asking for a hugely biased paper blaming the white male for all problems everywhere.
The few college instructors I've shown it to don't see the humor or irony.

Neutrino Cannon said...

When the Russians go into South Ossetian towns, raining dumb bombs on civilian and soldier alike

Nitpick: I'm fairly certain that it's the Georgian towns that the Russians are bombing, and it's the Georgians who are bombing the South Ossetian towns.

Leatherneck said...

How come so few of us understand completely what you say so well?


Anonymous said...

Blitzkrieg Bop.

Anonymous said...

For a cogent and well argued take on the leftist mentality, take a look at this link

One of the delicious ironies is that it is written by a left winger who has seen the light ... get it from the horses mouth.

Anonymous said...

The link I just posted doesn't work - try this one


fastbike said...

I'm with neutrino cannon on this one. South Ossetia has been independent since 1992. The Georgians started this and it looks like they're depending on the US to help fix their significant strategic error.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to tell you that the Russians not only don't care about collateral damage, but that they are purposely bombing and randomly raping, murdering, looting, etc. Why? Because they have to make everyone in the world know that they are the toughest guys on the block. After getting whipped in Afghanistan and bogging down in the Chechnya fiasco a few years ago, they've got something to prove. To the Chinese, to citizens and governments of all of the ex-Soviet Empire, and to the USA. They will use their re-acquisition of their old reputation for brutality and the massive overuse of force to obtain any political advantage possible. Innocent civilians? They see it as a positive virtue in the game of Realpolitik.

Ride Fast said...

[...] War [...]

Awesome as usual, Tam, just awesome.

Anonymous said...

War is War. Such an excuse.

Killing for the big men is still killing for the big men.

Mike W. said...

A masterpiece as usual Tam. I just tried explaining this to a bunch of liberals. I can only imagine the responses I receive.