Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Rules of War

There has been a bit of babble on the tube about the Iraqi forces "not playing by the rules" of warfare, the Geneva convention, or whatever. These are the same newscasters who shamlessly cheer American tactical victories and gloat about how the Iraqis would be destroyed if only they would come out in the open with their uniforms on.

It's called "assymetric warfare," of "guerrila tactics." When the sides are so unbalanced that there is no chance for the weaker to survive in open combat, that is what our enemies have historically resorted to. The only other option is surrender, and this enemy has decided not to surrender. Yet.

You can't have it both ways. There is no rule of warfare that says a combatant must commit suicide. There are no rules when bullets are headed your way. You say they use hospitals for military bases? They hide tanks in playgrounds? They store ammo in schools? What else do you expect them to do? We can reach out and destroy any target that we can identify. The enemy can either act on that fact, or capitulate. I, personally, wish that they would capitulate, but since they will not, I find it silly to complain about the tactics of guerrilla war as if this really was just a video game. It's not. If it was, if warfare was waged logically, and the weaker forces would just surrender to the side with the stronger armmy, then the U.S.A. would just declare the entire world as a part of the American Empire, and world peace would descend upon the planet.

I for one would not object to the imposition of such a Pax Americana. But most of the rest of the world would. It's too bad, really.