Yesterday, Porphyrogenitus mused:
The next thing some people will start complaining about – including many of the ones who predicted horrible civilian casualties and talked about how we were thinking of napalming urban neighborhoods while cackling like that guy in Apocalypse Now while we deliberately strafe civilians – is that we’ve made war too “humane” and thus will want to engage in it now.
That is, the next complaint – from some (not from the willfully ignorant who will intransigently insist that we turned Baghdad into Dresden) – will be that by having high-tech weapons that “minimize” civilian casualties (they’ll always put “minimize” in quotes and sneer at “collateral damage”, just like they’ll always put “humane” in quotes), we’ll have the urge to conduct more wars now. Their new “worry” that will wrack them with “deep concern” will be that we’ll now think we can have “war on the cheap, with few casualties” and thus resort to it at every opportunity, and that we’ll be filled with hubris in thinking we can solve all problems with military force at a “low” cost in innocent lives (they’ll put “low” in quotes, too). Because of this there will be more U.S. agression against the peace-loving despotisms of the world.
From the LA Times Op-Ed page:
A Danger of Success
The plan to seize two of Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad presidential palaces wasn’t devised by the U.S. high command but rather, as The Times’ David Zucchino reported Tuesday, by Col. David Perkins and his staff in a command field tent in the shadow of a highway overpass. Indeed, the skillful use of troops, first in Afghanistan and now on a greater scale in Iraq, should put to rest a piece of conventional wisdom that emboldened Osama bin Laden and other terrorists: that America won’t send its young men and women into battle.
There’s no disputing that since Vietnam, U.S. presidents have been reluctant to commit ground troops and quick to pull them out. In 1983, President Reagan withdrew U.S. Marines from Lebanon after a suicide truck-bomber killed 241. Reagan’s retreat created the perception that enemies could terrorize the U.S. with little consequence.
Go read the whole editorial, then tell your friends you know a prophet by the name of Porphyrogenitus.
John Cole finds the LA Times engaging in the behavior I prognosticated. Stephen M. St. Onge recommends checking out March 30ths Kausfiles and Sergio Breton brings this Dowd screed to my attention (both the Kaus worry and the Dowd article