Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Otherwise known as the "Bomb Them Back To The Stone Age" doctrine. It is mentioned favorably in this excellent piece by John Derbyshire, aka Andrew Sullivan's crush. Derbyshire writes:

Postwar Germany and Japan were wrecked societies to which we had applied the “Bomb Them Back To The Stone Age” doctrine (hereinafter BTBTTSA) that Rich (Lowry) sneers at elsewhere in his article. The allies in the wars against Napoleon did not have BTBTTSA available to them, but French revolutionary imperialism had been defeated — twice! — as thoroughly as it could have been. And the case that Iraq is not Vietnam has been made so many times, it does not bear repeating.

(Why, by the way, does Rich sneer at BTBTTSA? Does he think that some other policy would have brought democracy to Germany and Japan? It is true, as he says, that we did not employ that doctrine against North Vietnam. There were excellent reasons for that, though — this was the Cold War, and the USSR was North Vietnam’s patron. Suppose we had employed BTBTTSA against North Vietnam? Does Rich think that the Vietnam War could not have been won by BTBTTSA methods? I am sure it could have; I think any war could be won by BTBTTSA. At this point in history, the American people would not tolerate a BTBTTSA strategy; but we tolerated it in the past, and might again in the future. Why does Rich scoff at THWTHs for the “instinctive favor” we display towards BTBTTSA? It is, as Japan and Germany showed, a most efficacious war-fighting strategy, surely deserving the favor of anyone who thinks seriously about war.

I can hear the claps from the Ayn Rand Institute now. Just last week, I heard its president, Dr. Yaron Brook, speak at UCLA. He expressed frustration over the Bush Administration's concern for building a democratic Iraq. Our only goal, Brook said, should be to utterly destroy our enemies. If that means dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran (he wasn't sure about the necessity of going that far), so be it.

The ultimate fate of Muslims doesn't much bother Derbyshire either, provided they don't kill us in mass numbers. As he puts it: "...the spectacle of Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering each other is one that I find I can contemplate with calm composure." Derbyshire believes that very soon most thoughtful neo-cons will outgrow their fanciful notions of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East and embrace a more "Jacksonian" foreign policy. No more wars tainted with naive idealism, thank you very much. Henceforth, only military engagements with strictly punitive or monitory goals.

Oddly, I hear a lot of liberals supporting this line of thinking. "If we are going to fight the war, then let's at least go all out," they tell me. Granted, these remarks are made confidentially in personal conversations. I don't anticipate Nancy Pelosi making a press conference any time soon demanding that we start "bombing mosques if the bastards are holed up inside." But I do think that the French/cartoon/fill in the blank riots are starting to wake people up to the fact that we need to be a tad more ruthless in this war. Victor Davis Hanson has written on this in the past, saying that it is a good thing for our enemies to think we might be a little nuts.

So I agree with a lot of what Derbyshire has to say, but I think he underestimates the ability of the Muslim world to join the free and modern one. It will happen--especially if we help.


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