Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Perfect Enemy
Let's say that the measure of "success" in a war is how much closer a warring side is to the defeat of an enemy & the end of combat. The "light at the end of the tunnel" as General Westmoreland so infamously said about Vietnam in 1968.
War is always an opportunity for windfall profit. Work hard, bank it, & have fun spending it when the war is over. The Civil War. World War Two. "Conventional" wars.
But what if a war is waged for no other strong justification than the profit of the war itself? A war so profitable that there's no incentive to end it at all. Vietnam without the draft & heavy casualties. A war that doesn't personally touch enough citizens to make a nation demand that the war be brought to a conclusion one way or another. Like Vietnam, fight the war with America's underclass youth, but let them volunteer. With high college tuitions, lack of job opportunities, mortgages, & their uncynical patriotism, they want to volunteer. Run them through the front lines for two, three, four tours-of-duty rather than one year or, as in a full mobilization, "for the duration." Take many non-combatant duties - the cooks, truck drivers, construction units, security, etc. - & contract private firms at exorbitant fees to provide these services with civilians being paid wages much higher than military pay. & hope the soldiers don't feel they're being played for suckers.
Hide the dead & wounded. A funeral here, a funeral there. No long rows of freshly dug graves. "Did you hear Uncle Jack's friend's son got killed? Didn't know the kid myself, heard he was a nice guy, married, had a baby."
Toilet paper, Humvees, canned string beans, bullets, tents, socks, helmets, walkie talkies, laptops & software, beer, bombs, helicopters, motor oil, boots, pharmaceuticals, well pumps, bandages, gurneys, body bags, caskets. Transportation. Move the materials in, use them up. Replace them. But recycle the human beings. The American ones.
Endless profit. One-hundred years of profit. Five years into it. & getting away with it.
Terrorism, the perfect enemy; a tactic, not a nation or even a political system.