Wednesday, February 06, 2002

I've been wondering whether the 'American way of war' has become firmly established in the Pentagon as consisting of massive aerial bombardment of civilians until the enemy government, if there really is one, decides to give up rather than risk any more civilian casualities. This would be quite effective in a place like Serbia, where the leader cares about the civilian population and has the power to accede to American demands, but completely ineffective in a place like Iraq, where the leader doesn't care about the civilian population. It may have partially worked in Afghanistan, where the Taliban decided to fade into the mountains rather than continue to put up a fight and provoke more civilian casualities. American war thus involves intentional targeting of civilians in the guise of attacking military operations (which explains why the Americans are always having to explain that the hospital or food warehouse was actually a munitions dump or military barracks) with an ultimate goal of convincing the enemy that civilian casualities won't stop until the enemy capitulates. If this is the way the Pentagon conducts war, the Americans are war criminals.