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Sunday, June 09, 2013

 

Obama: “This war, like all wars, must end,”

Richard Fernandez

The problem of declaring victory against an enemy who refuses to concede defeat is not new. The World War 2 generation solved the problem by continuing until the foe threw in the towel. Although President Obama may believe that victory consists in convincing one’s countrymen that “we won”, historically it consisted of convincing the enemy that he lost. In World War II for example, both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were defeated as a military fact by early 1944. But they were not convinced of the fact. The remainder of the war was spent knocking the idea into their consciousness.

But the allies did not declare peace in 1944. They went on and by mid-1945, Curtis LeMay’s bombers were incinerating one Japanese city a night; US battleships were shelling coastal towns, harbors everywhere were being mined and submarines kept ships from leaving or entering ports. Victory as an objective fact was not debatable. But to the Axis accepting defeat subjectively was unthinkable. One of the supreme ironies of World War II was that the Japanese high command needed the A-bomb more than the Americans. They needed it not to change any military fact, they were as defeated before the Bomb as after it, but in order to change a mental perception. The bomb provided the pretext to accept defeat.

But in the bad old, unenlightened days you convinced the enemy they lost. Today we’re smarter. We convince ourselves the whole misunderstanding should never have happened in the first place.

What is the administration’s pretext to accept victory? As near as can be seen, it consists in convincing ourselves that we never had an enemy to begin with. We just misunderstood things. There is no such thing as a Clash of Civilizations, nor rogue states, nor even a militant version of Islam. That’s all a conservative invention. There are just only misunderstood people who, if we got to know better, we would not drive to workplace violence.

Maybe that’s why the White House erroneously refers to its authority to bug domestic communications as deriving from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. Not the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”, which actually exists, but by some slip of the fat finger, the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which are the words which occur in the White House transcript.

Read the whole thing.

If the war is over, why are we bugging everyone in the country and who are we killing with those drones?

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