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Winning the Peace

Dana Blankenhorn points to the most important objection to the Shock and Awe plan: how it will affect the possibility of peace.

Why was poisoning wells unthinkable according to Just Law doctrine? Surely poisoning the drinking supplies of enemy villages might shorten a war. But, it was understood that doing so would make it impossible to return to peace. And that’s the aim of war: to return to a more just peace.

So, while we will hear — and should listen to — arguments about how Shock and Awe will reduce the number of casualties, we also need to think about the effect of launching 800 missiles to make cities unliveable. If our soldiers are not greeted in the streets with cries of joy, then we will have lost the war.

From David Isenberg, in a posting to a mailing list:

Let’s call the U.S. strategy for the attack of Baghdad by its true name — it’s not “Shock and Awe,” it is Terrorism.

I know it is hard for some people, even some people who don’t like the idea of the coming war, to equate what happened in New York with what is likely to happen halfway around the world.

However, when I read about the United States’ “Shock and Awe” strategy I imagine 800 Boeing 757s, each one crashing into a New York building in a ball of fire, a new World Trade Center disaster every four minutes for two days — terrified people jumping from windows to escape certain death by fire, terrified people running from the dust clouds in panic as buildings collapse, grieving loved ones with pictures begging strangers for news, and the sickening smell afterwards. Only it will be 800 times worse, because airplanes are not *designed* to kill people, but the United States will drop weapons designed to kill. In addition to the fire and explosion, thousands of little daisy cutters will rip the flesh of office workers, janitors, restaurant workers, firemen, policemen, rescuers, people on the street.

If the U.S. “Shock and Awe” program is not Terrorism, we have lost the meaning of the word.

2 Responses to “Winning the Peace”

  1. Forgive me if I’m completely wrong here, but isn’t the whole idea of releasing these details an attempt to avert war?

    Shock and Awe in terms of Holy Crap! they’re going to drop 800 bombs on us in a day? Perhaps we should reconsider revealing our weapons in the face of this awesome threat.

    I can’t imagine what’s going through the minds of Saddam, his generals, his soldiers and the Iraqi public, but surely they’re thinking about contingencies.

  2. Certainly could be. But it’s been pretty poorly publicized if it was a deliberate leak.

    Besides, simply releasing these “trial balloons” has its own destabilizing effect, like announcing that you think the use of battlefield nukes is ok.

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