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July 30, 2006 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

The new war is the old war

Myself, I keep going back to my no doubt sloppy and
imperfect understanding of Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure Of Scientific
Revolutions. If the theory of “fourth generation war” is viewed as a
new paradigm (and it seems to me to meet the criteria) then this is
more than a failure of perception on the part of neoconservatives.” From William Gibson’s blog via metafilter.

However here is Wikipedia’s definition of Fourth Generation Warfare:

Fourth generation warfare (4GW) is a concept defined in 1989 by a team of American analysts, including William S. Lind,
used to describe warfare’s return to a decentralized form. In terms of
generational modern warfare, the fourth generation signifies the nation
states’ loss of their monopoly on combat forces, returning in a sense
to the uncontrolled combat of pre-modern times.”

What I think we’re witness is two different paradign shifts actually. One, terrorist forces are employing new techniques but are stuck on ancient ideologies and are still fighting in the older pre-state powered form of warfare while state powered war fare is becoming more exacting, after all Israel is making the claim to not be attacking Lebanon (despite the obvious reality that is exactly what they’re doing), but rather Hizbollah who happens to be in Lebanon. Such paradoxes are increasinly common as state powered warfare focuses in on non-governmental targets, Afganhistan was invaded to find Al-Queda, but the problem with this increasing accuracy is that it negates the former moral obligations. Becuase we went to war in Iraq, we owe it to Iraq to rebuild their country etc. Ya know put in some roads, maybe pay some folks 500,000 a year in danger pay to do jobs that Iraqis could be trained to do in 5 minutes like screwing in the bolts on cell towers etc. On the other hand becuase we invaded Afganhistan to find terrorists etc. we’re somehow not obliged to feel the same level of duty to them.

This would explain, it seems to me, the apparently
literal impossibility of explaining the fundamentally counterproductive
nature of the United State’s invasion of Iraq, or of what’s currently
going on in Lebanon, to those who disagree.”

Actually The Economist, after making a rather good case for Israel’s pre-empetive strike on Hizbollah, showed that quite clearly the occuption of the Gaza strip is counter productive, by summarizing polls and statements by Palestians during years of relative stability and warfare. In other words, the leave them alone approach can easily be measured by the agressiveness a population shows in opinion polls and the correalation this has to increased incendence in terrorist attacks. And ya know what? It turns out that launching rockets into someone’s country pisses them off. Hence, while occupation will ensure safety in the near term as the former terrorists are suppresed it will increase in the long term as the populos increasingly supports the terrorist’s acts do to their sense that occupation is unjust. But this is only for Israel, after all the U.S. occupation of Iraq had the immediate affect of scaring arabic governments into democratic reforms, but if in the long term the U.S. occupation of Iraq will be a positive influence or a destabilizing one as the rest of the middle east has to clean up refugees and surges in militant groups is another question and also the failure of Iraq and the almost unbeleivable ignorance and neglect of Afgahnistan is hardly a good model for building good will. After all less than 20% of the U.S. nation building attempts are sucessfull, but who knows maybe Iraq will turn out like South Korea and Japan? But then again, there is more to effects of the war than just favoritism and earning good will it also has ensured that a for generation of Iraqis and others the U.S. will stand as perhaps the most irrational and ill-advised colonial power in history, after all the taking of lands from native peoples all over the world less than 150 years ago was justified by pre-modernist logics that it was the westener’s right as the more intelligent barque and victorian westeners were better able to utilize the land’s resources and educate those “savages” meanwhile Americans might be the first people to have a mass mystery on their hand as to why they’re colonialists in the first place which is certianly a spot that no one really wants to be in and has created a huge gap in knowing in our culture and a paranoia that Americans have grown so different that they’re no longer able to translate between the various paradigms they inhabit. It is the later that is perhaps more damaging after all the population with the world’s largest army can’t understand the various arguements inside of it’s own culture then it’s actions will never become balanced and consistent over time.

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July 30, 2006 at 11:45 am Leave a comment


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