View the H-War Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-War's March 2010 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-War's March 2010 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-War home page.
1st Reply From: P.Johnston <email@example.com> Subject: RE: COMMENT: Most "Law Abiding Adversary" Date: March 3, 2010 7:27:23 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Dear Subscribers, Mr Lindgjerdet raises an interesting point. It seems that, despite the decline of "conventional" warfare, to be replaced by that which represents more counter insurgency operations, there has been no commensurate decline in the expectations of the Western media. As Mr Lindgjerdet points out, the media still expect all offensives to be carried out without any loss of life to the civilian, as indeed they have asserted in British media here during Operation Moshtarak in Afghanistan. I maintain that, in regards to this operation, this is unrealistic, and perhaps even delusional, for a variety of reasons: 1) The Taleban are using civilians as human shields because they know the precise propaganda value any civilian deaths represent, both in that which they disseminate, and that which the Western media collaborates in (unintentionally.) 2) According to several veterans of operations, the phrase "Taleban" and "civilian" are practically interchangeable in some parts of Helmand. One minute a civilian, the next clasping a weapon, providing intelligence on ISF movements, or planting IEDs. This is the reality of oeprations against insurgencies, when the enemy cannot be seen or easily identified. 3) The political climate in which these operations are carried out; in both Britain and the US, any report of casualties is greeted with dismay. Thus, Western commanders are under pressure to reduce their own casualties, and resort to comparatively "safe" methods of warfare - hence a preponderance of air power in areas of complete air superiorty. By entrusting the warfare to highly technological instruments, and increasing the distance at which these intruments operate, the margin for error is magnified. It can only be removed by regressing to the level of the Mark 1 eyeball, which obviously puts the identifier at considerable personal risk, and political risk for his high superiors. I would welcome any response to this. Best wishes, Peter Johnston, University of Kent, UK. 2nd Reply From: Rota, Giorgio <Giorgio.Rota@oeaw.ac.at> Subject: RE: COMMENT: Most "Law Abiding Adversary" Date: March 3, 2010 8:48:45 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Without entering into the merit of the Top Seven list of law-abiding (or not) enemies proposed by Lindgjerdet, I think one remark has to be done in order to see things in a better perspective. Some of the armies/groups/factions fighting against Western armies may breech our codes, but from their point of view it is perfectly fine murdering prisoners, mutilating corpses, using human shields and targeting civilians. This of course puts a further strain on Western forces and makes it even more difficult to fight "by the book". I wonder how one might bring this point to the public opinion, media and politicians in a clear and successful way. I wonder if somebody on this list has ideas about this or has ever tried to do it. Best wishes, Giorgio Rota 3rd Reply From: Rudnicki, Edward J Mr CIV USA AMC <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: COMMENT: Most "Law Abiding Adversary" Date: March 3, 2010 2:34:46 PM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> From: Frode Lindgjerdet <email@example.com> > Then I must ask my self, what adversary of the United States in a major war >over the last century have been the most law abiding adversary? That is, >towards towards US forces. > > I would guess the following : > > 1. Imperial Germany 1917-1918 > 2. Italy 1941-1943 > 3. Nazi Germany 1941-1945 > 4. North Vietnam 1964-1973 > 5. Iraq 1991; 2003 > 6. Iraqi Insurgents/Taliban 2001- > 7. North Korea/Communist China 1950-1953 Imperial Germany is an interesting case, in that US entry into the war occurred after the introduction of chemical weapons. And those pesky sawtooth bayonets had all been modified ;-) Italy seems the best candidate. My knowledge, however, is limited. OTOH, the book "War Without Hate" came to mind immediately. Nazi Germany, OTOH, brings to mind the POW executions during the Battle of the Bulge. The last three don't even merit consideration as far as law abiding adversaries are concerned. Ed Rudnicki ________________________________________ Original Message: From: Frode Lindgjerdet <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: March 1, 2010 6:45:29 PM EST To: <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Subject: Most "Law Abiding Adversary" Dear Collegues: The Weapons--Napalm/Flamethrowers reminded me of a question that has puzzled me for some time. In recent conflicts, it has struck me that Western forces face adversaries that systematically breech every written and unwritten code of war. At the same time the media and international opinion demand an almost devine ability on behalf of the individual Western soldier to heed every convention to the letter, to hit every target without any collateral damage - with no room for error. And any testemony from the most ruthless dictatorship, insurgent or terrorist are taken at face value without any critical appraisal of their credibility from journalists. From the horror stories of Gitmo to the infamous babymilk factory of Bagdad. Then I must ask my self, what adversary of the United States in a major war over the last century have been the most law abiding adversary? That is, towards towards US forces. I would guess the following : 1. Imperial Germany 1917-1918 2. Italy 1941-1943 3. Nazi Germany 1941-1945 4. North Vietnam 1964-1973 5. Iraq 1991; 2003 6. Iraqi Insurgents/Taliban 2001- 7. North Korea/Communist China 1950-1953 Frode Lindgjerdet, Archivist, Norwegian Home Guard, Freelance Historian ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----