Friday, July 29, 2005

There's No Such Thing as a Perfect War

Writing for The Chicago Tribune, historian and noted conservative Victor Davis Hanson provides one of his always fascinating history lessons. This time it’s to scold those who improperly distort or misuse history when discussing today’s war on Islamic fascism.

The main thrust of Hanson’s piece is that there has been changing war rationales, civil rights abuses and giant intelligence mistakes in all American wars. Now, I’m not a big fan of the “well, we were pretty bad last time too” argument. There is no point in using the low bar from the past to set our goals for the future. But Hanson’s argument is a little different. He is, in effect, saying that we’ve never been able to wage war differently.

Government transparency, highly accurate intelligence and robust civil rights. Are those just not compatible with war? And, if they’re not, how do we the people judge our leaders? What amounts to incompetence and deception—and what are understandable actions during the fog of war?

I don’t know. But Hanson is right about history. An honest reading proves there is no such thing as a perfect or even close-to-perfect war.


At 11:36 AM, Blogger cakreiz said...

But since we're in the modern age, we've concluded that war is obsolete and outdated or, if somehow unavoidable, that it be crisp, tidy, neat and fast. We're such realists.


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