Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Economist Walter Williams is the author of today's must-read column:  Will the West Defend Itself.  Among other things, he addresses the problems we're facing in putting down the Iraqi insurgency.

We might also note that the occupation of Germany and Japan didn't pose the occupation problems we face in Iraq. The reason is we completely demoralized our enemies, leaving them with neither the will nor the means to resist.

Our adversaries in the Middle East have advantages that the axis powers didn't have -- the Western press and public opinion. We've seen widespread condemnation of alleged atrocities and prisoner mistreatment by the U.S., but how much media condemnation have you seen of beheadings and other gross atrocities by Islamists?

Dr. Williams hit the nail right on the head.  The reason this war is dragging on, is that we've tried too hard to soft-pedal it in Iraq.  In WW II, the populations of Germany and Japan offered little resistance to occupation because they feared the devastation that would result from our response.  In the days before "smart" weapons and 24 hour news reporting about "disproportionate response," the bad guys were killed by wiping out the area they occupied.  Any civilians unfortunate enough to be nearby suffered the consequences.  Consequently, there was less motivation to resist, or even remain neutral and wait to see who came out on top.  The answer was obvious, the side with the biggest army would win.  And that wouldn't be the insurgents.

Our unwillingness to drop the hammer in Iraq, as humane as our motivations may be, will cost lives in the long run.  Cutting casualties in half may seem like a good thing in the short run, but if it lengthens the war, the final casualty tally may vastly exceed the number that may have resulted from an overwhelming first strike.  In the words of the late General Curtis E. LeMay:

"...if you are going to use military force, then you ought to use overwhelming military force. Use too much and deliberately use too much.. you�ll save lives, not only your own, but the enemy's too."

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