Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Brutality in War

TigerHawk has an excellent post here regarding the dynamics, usefulness, and need for brutality in war.

1. If war requires our soldiers to do brutal things in our name, and if we must support them in that, perhaps we need to reconsider our modern reluctance to dehumanize our enemy. This does not have to amount to racism, but it will require forging a national contempt for the enemy. We need to be comfortable taking joy in the deaths of these miserable bastards. In this regard, precision-guided slurs might actually be weapons of war.
Aside from the great article, I found one of the comments to be particularly enlightening:
Prior to America’s entry into WWII, the enemy had dehumanized himself. For instance, the news reels had shown in graphic detail the rape and slaughter in Nanking and the bombing of London. Now, consider how many Americans remain ignorant of the hundreds of jumpers on 9/11, because the media chose not to broadcast the horror of the day, caused by an inhumane attack on innocent civilians.
I think this is an idea that needs to be explored in depth; our media is really good at being "shocked and appalled". We see it every day with examples of sexism, "war crimes" and Republican scandals. But how much control do they really exert on our opinions? We are shocked and appalled by Abu Ghraib. We were shocked by the clone-stamped image of burning Beirut and Pallywood productions. When was the last time we got mad, really really mad about a suicide bomber or IED? 9/11? The USS Cole? The Marine barracks in Beirut?

How mad were we then? Mad enough to cuss? Mad enough to enlist, ration for the war effort, fly an American flag?

...mad enough to call someone a rag-head or a Mooj? Or a Hadji?

How much of an impact does referring to your enemy as a Nip or a Jap or a Kraut or a Mooj...or a Joo / Juden really have on a society? When put in that light, I think the answer becomes self-illuminating.