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The War Nerd August 24, 2003
 
You Pussies!
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 2
 
The Brits didn't lose their nerve. Lord Kitchener, commanding the British forces, took a coldblooded look at the situation and realized that the Brits faced the classic problem in counter-insurgency: the Boer women and kids were acting as spies and supply line for the Boer guerrillas. So the Brits rounded up all the Boer women, kids, and old folks, and put them behind barbed wire in the middle of nowhere, the first concentration camps. Of course with thousands of civilians jammed into a few tents -- open latrines, no running water, no doctors -- every disease in Africa hit the Boer women and kids. 40,000 of them died.

The British weren't fazed at all. They realized the camps were winning the guerrilla war for them. Every time a family died in the camps, the news got back to a Boer guerrilla hunkered down in the bush -- no more wife, no more kids, all died horribly in a camp while he was off playing soldier. Some of the guerrillas went crazy, some killed themselves, and the rest started thinkin' real hard about whether it was worth it. In the long run, reason prevailed, as the saying goes. The Boers surrendered after three years.

We wiped out the Indians' civilian population the same way, for the same reason: we wanted the land and we were willing to do what it took to get it. "Massacres" like Wounded Knee weren't accidents, they were just standard guerrilla war tactics: you kill the civilian population that supports the guerrillas. Mao said guerrillas swim in the civilian population like fish in water. So you drain the lake.

Maybe you think that's too mean or something. Well, you shoulda thought of that before you let a half-dozen talkradio morons and a draftdodger-in-chief talk you into taking over every city in Iraq.

Maybe now you can appreciate how coldblooded and smart our strategy in Gulf War I was. Every chickenhawk on the air was moaning about how Bush Sr. and Colin Powell let Saddam get away in '91, how we shoulda gone in and taken Baghdad. Still think so? Let's see Michael Savage stand on a streetcorner in Fallujah sweating in a kevlar vest, jumping every time a car turns the corner. Let's see Bill O'Reilly do night patrol through Baghdad in a Humvee. In '91 we did it the way the Brits would've: neutralized the threat, then left and let Saddam try to pick up the mess. Sure we betrayed the Kurds and the Shiites along the way. That's what empires do. The most basic tactic for running an empire is using Tribe A against Tribe B: Kurds vs. Sunni, Sunni vs. Shiite, village vs. village. If one gets too strong you bleed it for a while. Then you let it bleed the others. After a while they're all bled out and your imperial troops are the only force in the country worth mentioning.

What the Brits would be doing about now is arming the Kurds and sending them to police the Sunni Triangle. The Kurds have already asked us to let them do it. They're begging for the chance to get a little payback. They said, "We guarantee we'll have the place pacified in a week. We can read these people! You can't! We can tell who's a guerrilla and who isn't! All we need is a few fingernail-pulling pliers and a portable generator hooked up to a cattle prod or two!"

Of course we won't let them, because it'd be messy, like Sabra-Shattila times ten. There'd be dead Sunnis thicker than sagebrush. But the Brits'd do it, and it'd work. Then, when the Kurds had bled the Sunnis out, they'd recruit a new police force, all Sunni and all-volunteer, to go police Kurdistan, bleed the Kurds for a while so they don't get too strong.

That's the sort of thing you have to do if you want to run an empire. But you guys, you're just brave enough to get us into trouble and not brave enough to see it through. You want to kick ass, plant the flag on somebody else's land and blow stuff up, and then have everybody on the ground love you for it.

That's not an empire. That's a bedtime story for pussies.

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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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