John Derbyshire stops just shy of a “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” approach to our enemies, but he thinks America will stop short of decisive victory in Iraq because our culture is too squeamish to annihilate the enemy.
Consider, for example, those news photographs we see every couple of days, of streets thronged with fired-up young men — in Fallujah, or Gaza, or Tehran — waving their fists, or sometimes automatic weapons, carrying pictures of some imam, or bearing the coffin of some tribal panjandrum we have killed. When I see one of those pictures, my thoughts run along the following lines. These young men hate us. Nothing we do will make them stop hating us, and pretty much any action we take in our own rational self-interest will end with them hating us more. The right thing to do is to kill them, while they are all conveniently gathered together like this. These demos go on for hours. We have spy satellites, remote-controlled drones, and so on. Why don’t we take these people out? What are daisy-cutters for?
These are not, I admit, very charitable thoughts. I can’t see anything wrong with them, though. War consists mainly in one bunch of fired-up young men setting out to kill another bunch of fired-up young men. Wars are won when one side runs out of young men, or out of fire-up. They don’t end until then. Our problem in Iraq, basically, it seems to me, is that we have not killed enough fired-up young male Iraqis insistent on killing innocents.
He’s dead on target about the nature of victory in war, but I hope to God that Derb’s underestimating our lack of guts. The Islamofascists suffer from no such weakness.