The concept of sanctuary comes into play here. Simply stated if your enemy is humane and honorable then he deserves the same treatment. It also assumes that your enemy will not mix in among civilians and clearly identify himself via a uniform and or insignia. It is a basic military custom.
Since our enemy cleary does not abide by this custom and has already attacked civilians to make a political rather then a military attack, he has opened the door to have “total war” made upon himself. I think we have fufilled our obligation by not doing so first and showing enormous restraint in prosecuting the war. However, this courtesy should not extend to enemy combatants fighting as irregular troops. Typically they were shot in the battlefield as soon as they were captured.
That’s all well and good, but do you believe total war can work in an unconventional conflict? Does that make any sense?
Just an fyi, I wasn’t referring to spies and partisans, I meant the irregular troops, which is most of the so called insurgents and jehadists we are facing.
Do I think total war can work work in this type of conflict? Yes without a doubt. Do I think we have the stomach for it in 2005…I do not.
Germany and Japan did not welcome US troops after they surrendered. They were very afraid of our armies. We made war on the civilians as well as the military and they had no doubt of our resolve. German SS partisans known as werewolves attacked US troops for months after the surrender in 1945. US forces used reprisals against the villages that harbored them. The German civilians soon either killed the SS partisans or turned them over. Was it fair or humane…in no way at all.
Is it workable in 2005? Not under present conditions and I don’t think we would do it, but yes it would work, always has. My fear is that workable or not it will be the end result of this conflict as I see the Islamofacists using a nuclear weapon at some point on US soil, then all bets are off regarding US restraint.
Partisans/insurgents, semantics, I meant the same thing. Come on, please don’t bring up the Werewolf example again. Rice and Rumsfeld referenced that a while back, it’s a terrible analogy, a handful of die hard Nazis hanging on and killing a mayor once is nothing like the insurgency in Iraq today, fuelled by a huge (20%) disaffected minority of the population, aided by foreign fighters, and offered sanctuary in neighboring countries. You can’t even compare the two. You’re ex-Army right? If you were armor, going by your avatar, Armor magazine had an article on the Werewolves a month or two back, and it was a pretty poor case. And we also had a slightly bigger Army back in 1945.
And countries that are brutal enough to employ total war against insurgents often still don’t succeed. See Russia in Afghanistan, or, further back, the Germans in Yugoslavia.