The Ability to Wage War

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Dr. Bob, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Stopping a nation from the ability to wage war is a relatively new concept in "civilized" warfare. While never a truism, there was a time when battles and wars were fought with very limited impact on civilians.

    Sherman (US War of Northern Aggression) shocked the sensibilities of the world with his attacks, burning, looting and wholesale destruction of CIVILIAN targets, ignoring an army to burn cities and destroy the infrastructure of the South instead. Had the northerners lost the war, he would have faced trial as a war criminal.

    But that has set the stage for 150 years. Bombing cities, railroads, "soft" targets, civilian populations is now acceptable. Firebombing Tokyo or Dresden were normative.

    Even today, I live in Wyoming, middle of nowhere. But at the height of the cold war we were warned that we were a MAJOR target of Soviet missiles. Out oil/gas/uranium facilities, pumping stations, etc AND the proximity of the MX silos all over the region made survival here questionable.

    The genie is out of the bottle. How do we NOT have a war that does not focus on destroying civilians and soft targets?
     
  2. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    Insurgents show us the way. A militia is like a poison pill to any invader. The more the invader tries to stop the insurgents, the more he drives a wedge between himself and the civilians he wishes to win over. Making war on civilians only bulges the ranks of the insurgents/militia.

    See _Total Resistance_.
     
  3. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    I went to the university in Ruston, LA---60 miles from Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport---to which I learned that Barksdale was the 2nd Strategic Command Center----home base to the largest B-52 squadron the Air Force had---we learned that the base was the USSR's "Top 3" targets--behind Washington, DC and Edwards Air Force Base----not much we could do about knowin' that---tryin' to catch the missle in "mid-air" before its detonnation would have been almost an impossibility for Blackbird!!! Notice I said "almost!!!"
     
  4. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    It may be a shock to some but virtually *every* community had it's legends of being prime commie targets. Anyplace in the country could "boast" of some target that was of utmost importance to the Soviets. Whether or not they were is debatable seeing as how we would be hard pressed to argue that all of them really were prime targets.

    As an aside, I worked on targetting information for a missle command - sometimes the targets one would assume are not as obvious as they might seem and things that the enemy is targetting one would never think about ;)

    But, think about it a different way - the primary purpose of nuclear weapons (or biological and chemical) are anti-personnel weapons. The key to any weapon is to counter its affect somehow. Sad to say, pointing weapons back at the other guy is not a very effective way to counter the effect of their weapons. A much more logical and effective defense would be bomb shelters that could guarantee that more people survive. It turns MAD on its head - if the enemy is not assured of your destruction while fearing for his own, then he is even less likely to use his weapons. On the other hand, with the MAD scenario, he at least has the satisfaction that you are as badly hurt as he is. But, alas, bomb shelters do not have the sex-appeal of StarWars high-tech gizmos and do not provide huge financial benefit to congressional constituents back home in the form of defense contracts.

    Consider though the impact of having a populace that is armed and knows how to use those arms and has a good chance of surviving your attack....that seems a much greater deterant than MAD.

    It was during the peak of such flashy space-age weapons that we lost Vietnam and it never seemed to occur to us that all that technology could not stop our losses. It provides us little help in Afghanistan now or Iraq. The reason is that many of our enemies have seen how to counter technology and make it an albatross around out necks bleeding our own people dry from taxes to pay for things that provide us little real value in the modern world. All the while, the little low-tech low-cost things we could really use are ignored.

    [ January 28, 2005, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: Stratiotes ]
     
  5. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    A great book on the subject:
    Swift Elusive Sword or, a presentation based on that book: Presentation

    "Machines don't fight wars. People do, and they use their minds." - Col. John Boyd
     
  6. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2002
    Messages:
    10,988
    Likes Received:
    79
    The American Indians never attacked soft targets. And the Romans were so nice.
     
  7. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    For "defense" nothing beats a militia...for an empire, nothing beats a large standing army. Which is our real goal?
     
  8. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2002
    Messages:
    10,988
    Likes Received:
    79
    You know in your heart that the USA is not after an empire. You also know it in your head. Rome was the last world empire. It is one thing to conquer the world and another thing to hold an empire. The USA has too small an army to be a true land power. We are mostly an air and sea power. China or India has the potential to be large land powers. We could never match either one of them.

    We should offer citizenship to illegal Mexicans who serve in the military for 4 years.
     
  9. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,071
    Likes Received:
    101
    What is your definition of a world empire?
     
  10. carpro

    carpro
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,894
    Likes Received:
    294
    History teaches us otherwise.
     
  11. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    History teaches us otherwise. </font>[/QUOTE]Which history - Swiss history supports the militia - they've had a democracy and been at peace a lot longer than our record.
     
  12. carpro

    carpro
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,894
    Likes Received:
    294
    History teaches us otherwise. </font>[/QUOTE]Which history - Swiss history supports the militia - they've had a democracy and been at peace a lot longer than our record. </font>[/QUOTE]U.S. history, of course.

    As if you didn't know.

    You would believe differently if the Swiss had been attacked ala Pearl Harbor. Or the Polish or the French or the British ala Germany.

    The list of those who have been attacked by others and could not defend themselves is a long one. The war may be lost before you can get your militia together.

    Especially in todays world.
     
  13. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    With a militia - a people's army, the war is never over. When we depend on a standing army, it is over when the enemy defeats that army. Whether or not a militia can respond as quickly does not support your point. It does not need to respond quickly - it can continue to work even after the country has been invaded...and that's the point of a militia...that's why it is a poison pill to the invader.

    And, it is a purely defensive stand that makes it clear that its only purpose is national defense - it is not a force that any potential enemies might consider a threat to themselves. Pearl Harbor is an example of the weakness of a standing army. Japan saw the US as a threat and so attacked. Perhaps Switzerland has not had its own Pearl Harbor for that very reason.
     
  14. carpro

    carpro
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,894
    Likes Received:
    294
    Not true at all.

    The fact that the militia has to respond at all is the problem.
    You are advocating that countries should go ahead and allow whoever the agressor is to take over their country before they respond. This is sheer lunacy.
    I realize and you should too, that the Swiss example is truly unique in the annals of world history. For other nations in this day and time to try to claim neutrality at any cost will most likely be met by an invasion or an attack of some sort.
    Japan attacked the U.S. , not JUST because they were a threat. If that is true, you would have to say the same about China, all of SE Asia and Korea including all the islands in the Pacific.
    surely they weren't all threats. More likely they had raw materials Japan needed to expand it, s empire.
     
  15. fromtheright

    fromtheright
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/2844.JPG>

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    2,772
    Likes Received:
    0
    For "defense" nothing beats a militia...for an empire, nothing beats a large standing army. Which is our real goal?

    Yeah, those rotten imperialists, George Washington and the Founding Fathers. Your argument is a false choice, a "fallacy of the excluded middle" I'm told (I'm no logician, tho') which (1) ignores the middle position of a "non-large" standing army and (2) doesn't define large either absolutely or in terms of relative needs/threats.
     
  16. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is a very well accepted theory by those who study "war" for the purpose of defense of our country.

    If you have an agressor country whose government makes war (like Germany and Japan in WWII)--that the fastest way to end the war is to make the civilian population loose respect in their war-mongering leaders. The ONLY way to do this is to take the war to the civilians.

    This theory was used to decide to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although many may disagree with doing this, the concept is easy to understand and most will agree that it is true.

    But, there is another side to this. If you want to be an agressor and you destroy your enemies civilians, watch out, retaliation will be much harsher due to civilian support for the war itself.

    Shortly after 911 we saw overwhelming support for destroying terrorism. Before, when targets were blown up overseas, it was just not a big issue. It became one when downtown New York was directly hit and civilians lost their lives.

    Otherwise, we might as well play war-games on a video gaming computer and whoever wins takes over the government. (How about two-out of three?)

    Do any of you remember the old star trek show where people were walking into a disintegration machine? They found out that the planet was at war being played as war-games on computers and when a city was struck the people would all quietly go into a machine that terminated them without pain.

    Captain Kirk took away this ability. In the show his theory worked. Take the war to the people, let them see what war is really like, the gore and all, and peace treaties were immediately signed.
     
  17. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to highly disagree with you about new technology. New technology has kept the body count of civilians to an extreme minimum while attacking Iraq and other targets. True Afganistan has been difficult, but we do not have a lot of assets there; most were busy taking on Iraq.

    Where do you get your information that high-tech "Starwars" technology was at its peak during the Vietnam "conflict"?

    Technology has grown exponentially since the sixties and early 70's.

    It is Starwars that made the Russians give up on their theory that they could survive a first strike on the United States.

    As having worked in "targeting" you should be aware that nuclear offensive targeting was to strike targets on order of importance and that makes our retaliatory weapons the number one Soviet targets. So, Dr. Bob is correct. Included in this would be early warning and standard military radar systems, including early warning and communications satellites. (Break down command and control at the same time as breaking the enemy's back defensively). Command and control would include Washington DC as a primary target to destroy as many government officials as possible. Along with the presidential hide-outs such as camp david and those not published.


    The secondary targets would then be the air-force's SAC and defense commands and airports/aircraft. The same with aircraft carriers. (BM Subs would be targeted as primary targets).

    Finally, third in line would be weapons manufacturing, storage and inventory.

    The old theory of bomb shelters was not much of a consideration after the 60's when it was realized that coming out of a shelter to a world of radiation and mass disease. It would make little sense to destroy an enemy with great power and not have anything left to conquer. Therefore, we had the development of the neutron bomb.

    Back to high-tech wars. If we used weapons the way we had to in Vietnam, multitudes of civilians would have been killed in Iraq, leaving a devistated country and civilians who would hate the United States even more than many do today.

    The civilian count was extremely low for an all out government overthrow of a nation with so many weapons.

    We are now seeing the Iraqi's enjoy free elections by utilizing smart-bombs and much more advanced weaponry.

    It should also be noted that technology has increased greatly from the first Gulf war to the second.

    Besides just hiding in a desert full of thousands upon thousands of mountains full of caves; how do you think the enemy has defeated our technology? Your statement here makes little sense. For example, remember all of the GPS jammers Iraq bought? Didn't work did they? Those gps directed smart bombs kept going right into the government buildings for which they were targeted.

    Afganistan is a whole other sitution with the limited number of assets, man-power, huge land mass, cities full of people (to try to find one man) and lots of friends who will hide the guy. Short of starting war with Afganistan, we have done quite a good job destroying terrorist training camps and breaking Al Quida's back. Will we see new terrorism? Probably. But, we have prevented new strikes by destroying the operations of the enemy, at least on a temporary basis with what manpower is involved. We should thank our military for this.
     
  18. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    Those "rotten imperialists" you speak of relied heavily on the militia. It was the militia system that supported the army. It is the intent of the 2nd amendment to make certain the militia stayed strong. The very ones you would offer as examples were themselves some of the biggest advocates of the militia.

    I think a militia system is approached rather like some people approach Christianity - it isn't that it was tried and found wanting, its that it was tried, found too restrictive/boring/difficult.
     
  19. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    3,816
    Likes Received:
    0
    Those "rotten imperialists" you speak of relied heavily on the militia. It was the militia system that supported the army. It is the intent of the 2nd amendment to make certain the militia stayed strong. The very ones you would offer as examples were themselves some of the biggest advocates of the militia.

    I think a militia system is approached rather like some people approach Christianity - it isn't that it was tried and found wanting, its that it was tried, found too restrictive/boring/difficult.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Are you a member of the militia?
     
  20. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2002
    Messages:
    10,988
    Likes Received:
    79
    I can't understand that total destruction was something invented by a Yankee during the Civil War. I think that it is the nature of war from the start of the first war in human history.
     

Share This Page

Loading...