Tuesday, March 21, 2006


John Derbyshire explains an interesting theory of war, that I to some extent concur with. I am not as eager and willing to threaten other countries and to "bomb them back into the stone age" in order to get our way, but I think it a more prudent policy than what I refer to as "messianic democratism," the current strategy.

The one problem I have with the article is that Mr. Derbyshire repeats what I consider to be a common canard regarding the comparisons of Germany/Japan after World War II and Iraq:

I don’t find any of these historical analogies persuasive. Postwar Germany and Japan were wrecked societies to which we had applied the “Bomb Them Back To The Stone Age” doctrine (hereinafter BTBTTSA) that Rich sneers at elsewhere in his article.

In other words, the major reason why Japan and Germany are different is in what we did to them, not in who they were. To be fair, I don't think this is exactly what Derbyshire believes, but it is what he is indirectly (and perhaps unintentionally) saying. Taken literally, this would imply that were we to bomb Iraq a little more and be a little more callous in regards to the loss of Iraqi life (or perhaps even go so far as to embrace it), we could pull of what we did in Germany and Japan.

The fact of the matter is, of course, that Germany and Japan were totally different societies from Iraq, or indeed the entire Middle East, and regardless of how we defeat them, that fact will no change. Germany and Japan were highly industrialized countries with lots of high IQ people and cultures that promoted devotion to teh country as or more importantly than devotion to one's clan. Iraqis may well be incapable of democracy on their own, at least incapable of it under the current culture and their current multiethnic makeup.

So the idea that the major obstacle to democratizing Iraq is U.S. unwillingness to be sufficiently vicious is a rather naive one, in my opinion, as well as one that tend s to gloss over the actual differences of different peoples. Seeing as Derbyshire believes in the differences of different peoples (he mentions so in his piece) I can only imagine that he neglected to point out the cultural differences between the Midle East and the Axis as being relevant to democratization because he was concerned with other issues.

That is all.

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