Scorpio’s World

Thoughts on Politics, Race, and Middle Earth

“The Roots of War”

Posted by scorpiomkm on March 1, 2007

  The Felicity Daily Herald
   “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

      An “Opinion” piece

The roots of today’s wars

By Ralph Peters Wed Feb 28, 7:01 AM ET

I cringe each time  President Bush repeats his claim that we’re engaged in “a battle of ideas.” We’re not. Our enemies aren’t fighting about ideas, but over fundamental issues of identity: faith and ethnicity. Their motivations make them far more implacable, and even crueler, than yesteryear’s ideological opponents.

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike are lost in history, clinging to an outmoded, if comfortable, view of the world as we wish it to be, rather than as it is. But we face a radically changed global environment that makes nonsense of the last century’s theories of international relations and the ability to regulate warfare. An epoch has ended, and a new historical period – with terrifying new rules – has begun.

From 1789 and the French Revolution until the Soviet Union’s disintegration in 1991, humankind took a bizarre historical detour through the Age of Ideology, when hundreds of millions – if not billions – of people accepted the notion that intellectuals and other charlatans could design better systems of social and political organization than had arisen naturally.

The arrogance of men such as Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong in believing that they could compress human complexity into their scribbled utopian visions may have been stunning, but the willingness of the masses to put their faith in such systems was a form of collective madness.

Inevitably, human beings disappointed the demagogues who tried to perfect humanity. Leaders responded by forcing men and women to fit the “ideal” pattern and the quest for utopia led inexorably to the gulag and Auschwitz, to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia or, at best, the poverty of today’s Havana.

The Cold War was a battle of ideas.  Iraq isn’t.

Back to the mainstream

The Age of Ideology still echoes in Latin America, but the great “isms” of the 19th and 20th centuries are essentially dead, unlikely to rise from the grave. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean we’ve entered a new era of peace: We’ve simply returned to the mainstream of history, to conflicts over religion and ethnicity.

As globalization paradoxically revived old identities of faith and tribe in traditional societies, such default allegiances became worth fighting for again. Men are once more killing to please an angry god or to avenge (real or imagined) ethnic wrongs.

The turmoil in Iraq and  Afghanistan today, and that which we are bound to face elsewhere tomorrow, is asymmetrical not only in military terms, but in the motivations that stoke the violence. We have ideas, ranging from the universal validity of individual freedom and the power of democracy, to equal rights for women. Our enemies have passions – the ecstatic intoxication of faith and the Darwinian bitterness of the tribe – that give them a ferocious strength of will.

Iraq has been a terrible disappointment to many who believed in the galvanizing power of our ideas. Instead, we unleashed the killing power of faiths struggling for supremacy and thesavagery of ethnic strife. This is the warfare of the Old Testament, of the book of Joshua, an ineradicable pattern of human behavior. For our part, we try to fight with lawyers at our elbows.

Our two major political parties may have different views on Iraq, but what’s deeply worrisome is their shared view of the world as amenable to the last century’s solutions: Negotiations first and foremost, with limited war when negotiations fail. But our enemies are only interested in negotiations when they need to buy time, while our limited approach to warfare only limits our chance of success.

Washington’s unwillingness to face the new global reality is compounded by our ignorance of history – which lets spurious claims pass as facts. For example, talking heads somberly assure us (vis-à-vis Iraq) that insurgencies are virtually impossible to defeat. That’s false. Over the past 3,000 years, insurgencies and revolts have failed overwhelmingly. It was only during the brief and now-defunct Age of Ideology that insurgents scored substantial victories – usually because imperial powers were already in retreat and anxious to leave the territory the insurgents contested.

The bad news here is that, while throughout history most insurgencies failed, they had to be put down with substantial bloodletting. Across three millennia, I can find no major religion-driven insurgency that was suppressed without significant slaughter.

Even the insurgencies of the Age of Ideology failed more often than not: French savagery won the Battle of Algiers, but the victory came too late because the French people had already given up on the struggle (a foretaste of Iraq?). The British destroyed the Mau Mau movement in Kenya with hanging courts, concentration camps and resolute military action – then left because they had no interest in remaining.

What has worked

Historically, the common denominator of successful counterinsurgency operations is that only an uncompromising military approach works – not winning hearts and minds nor a negotiated compromise. This runs counter to our politically correct worldview, but the historical evidence is incontestable.

Simply because the truth is hateful to us doesn’t mean that we can declare it false.

We have entered a grim new age in which we must cope simultaneously with a return to old-fashioned wars of blood and belief, with the fatally flawed borders left behind by European imperialism, with the destabilizing effects of the information age on traditional societies, and with the explosion of our cherished myths about the pacific nature of humankind.

There were many things we failed to understand about Iraq, but our comprehensive mistake has been failing to understand our place in history.

Ralph Peters is a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors and the author, most recently, of Never Quit the Fight.


This is one of those THINKING pieces that somehow leads to nowhere, huh! Because go back over what was stated by Mr. Peters and tell me what his Point was, okay!

I can’t.

And I say that because this being an “Opinion” piece has a certain Argument to advance ~ a Persuasion of sorts to adhere to. Yet, I find this “Opinion” so convoluted that I can’t find the Point.

The fact of the matter is this IMHO:

New York City was ATTACKED by 2 planes commandeered by several foreign nationals, okay! (most of Saudi abstract)

George Bush and the neocon-neonazis USED that Event to Launch their “Pax Americana” ATTACK on Iraq and soon to be Iran and Syria as a facade to this “War Against Terrorism” scheme.

That’s iT!

Now then. Since Bush took it upon himself to inject the U.S. directly into a WAR against the Iraqi People (as he’s trying to do in Iran) ~ quite naturally old Tribal hatreds and ethnic tension will be a by-product of such instability, isn’t that right. So for this Author (Peters) to claim that what we’re seeing in the Mideast is the direct result of some Culture War or internecine ‘whatever’ instead of American HUBRIS is preposterous as far as I’m concerned.

We ‘F-up’, Baby!

              Big Time!!

As I’ve stated since ‘Jump Street’: Take any nation ~ ANY, including our own ~ that is ATTACKED by a Foreign Power, and see if they won’t ‘Fight Like Hell’ for their Land, Culture, Religion, and ‘Way of Life’.

                            Any nation.

Why …. some Vietnamese, with nothin’ but some gym shoes and a bowl of rice ran our ass out of Vietnam: why did Bush think the Iraqis would do less, hum?

It’s the Act of “Imperial Greed” that is at the Root of WARS in the Twenty-first Century, Baby! That once let loose spawns Tribal Hatreds and ‘pay back’ TIME throughout a Region. And don’t forget: most of what we’re viewing on the 6 O’Clock News is the result of ‘Pay Back’ by Shiites against Sunni ~ with Uncle Sam being an ENABLER!!

These kats that write “Opinion” pieces for the Major News media can attempt to place lipstick on a sow all they want; the fact remains that when you ATTACK a sovereign nation it’s just like San Quentin Prison:

“Easy to get in ….

 but hard as hell to get out!”

                   The Felicity Daily Herald


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