Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Shorter Andrew Sullivan

Shorter Andrew Sullivan: If we were going to conquer a country, we should have done it properly.


  1. From a previous discussion about preemptive war.

    >Churchill and others were fully aware of the danger posed by the Nazis during a time frame when it would have been possible to take them out. At that time the Nazis simply did not have the military might to resist a preemptive attack.

    >Had that occurred, it is very likely it would have saved something on the order of 40,000,000 deaths. Almost certainly tens of millions.

    This comment to you by another responder got me started thinking. It is easy to claim that what if situations that support your cause would have worked out merely by stating they would have. But how are we to know that had England, France and other aligned Western powers had preemptively attacked Germany that Germany would not have just exploded into a bigger catastrophe later on, or would not have successfully fought back?

    After all, many historians lay the cause of the popular support for Germany's start of WWII by it's own people, and even some Britons, in the way the first World War ended with heavy reparations and what the German people saw as repressive tactics by the victors. A preemptive attack would merely prove the point that they were being oppressed and give them even more cause to "defend" themselves.

    It is easy to wave your hand and say if we preempt we stop something permanently. In practice there is little proof of that. Over-reacting tends to effect the aggressive party more in the long run, at least in the history I have studied. Worse we give up the moral authority we fight from. There is little argument England had huge moral support from the rest of the world during the actual WWII events. America was seen as isolationist and morally bankrupt for initially abandoning Europe to the Nazis. Would we have even joined forced with England if it had attacked the Germans first?

    That is certainly a debatable point. What if scenarios need to be taken with a grain of salt because acting first is most often an indefensible position to take that leaves you vulnerable and exposed. Even the strongest power can lose its interests to the combine actions of those who, while weaker, align themselves against it through perceived necessity.


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