Join on December 19 for POISON DUST. Plowshares activist Susan Crane will lead the discussion after the film is shown, and a recovering Chuck michaels will be there as well. Kagiso, Max
The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee is hosting its latest FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS VIDEO SERIES. The next film, POISON DUST [
Filmmaker Sue Harris tells the story of young soldiers who came home from
t r u t h o u t | 12.16
Mr. Obama, Weigh the Price of War
Monday 15 December 2008
by: Douglas MacGregor, Defense News
Today's world is different from the world of 1991 or 2001. Outside of the
In the broader Middle East, as well as in most of Africa, Latin America and Asia, "damage control," not "total victory," is the most realistic goal for
India's looming conflict with Pakistan, along with Russia's recent scrap with Georgia, may be a foretaste of future wars, rather than the insurgency model some mistakenly believe we have mastered. In fact, conflicts in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the
But these conflicts need not involve the
When word reached Britain on Aug. 1, 1914, of Germany's mobilization for war, Winston Churchill recorded of the British Cabinet, "At least three-quarters of its members were determined not to be drawn into a European quarrel unless Great Britain was herself attacked, which was unlikely."
German-speaking and English-speaking peoples had a long history of cooperation, not conflict. British leaders also knew the
However, war was popular with the British people, whose recent experience was limited to a short conflict with the Boers in
In the end,
Britain's Pyrrhic victory cost the British people their national power, their standard of living, and, in less than 20 years, their empire. Had anyone in London's leadership stopped to seriously examine what outcome it was they wanted to achieve with military power, and what military capabilities were at their disposal to do so, it is doubtful they would have reached the decisions they did.
After the decision to fight was made, Field Marshal Sir Herbert Kitchener, the newly appointed British minister of war, briefed the British Cabinet. He stunned
Britain's leaders, including Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, believed a war with Germany would be short, and the Royal Navy, not the British, French and Russian armies, would decide its outcome.
The possibility that Britain's small, professional army could not sustain a war with Germany and Austria for more than a few months, that Germany would decline to fight on Britain's terms (at sea), and that the war on land would consume Britain's national wealth did not seem to occur to most of the Cabinet members until Kitchener made his presentation.
How did this happen? The British interpreted the world that existed beyond their empire in ways that flattered
The lesson for Obama is instructive: When national military strategy fails to answer the questions of purpose, method and end-state, military power becomes an engine of destruction not just for its intended enemies, but for its supporting society and economy. If the price of victory is potentially excessive, then the use of force should be avoided.
Douglas Macgregor is a former US Army colonel who contributed a chapter, encapsulated here, to the new anthology, "
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