Friday, February 20, 2009

life is cheap

... and after the bankrupt ruin of the invasion of iraq, so are neocons.

fred kagan, brainchild of george bush's "surge strategy" escalation gamble, on iraqi indifference:

... the interesting thing is that when we were fighting those battles and doing that damage, on the whole the iraqis were not bitching about collateral damage. you had nothing like the degree of upset about how many civilians were being injured and how much damage was being done to the infrastructure in iraq at a much higher level of destruction than you have in afghanistan at a much lower level of destruction.

i think there's a cultural reason for that: afghans don't fight in their cities. iraqis do. for good or ill, iraqis expect to fight in their cities. that's where the insurgents dug in, saddam hussein planned to dig in to the cities or lure us into an urban fight. it's sort of understood that the battlefield is going to be there, that doesn't mean that they don't complain about it, that doesn't mean that it's not a problem, but it does mean that when the insurgents dig in and we root them out, the iraqis don't on the whole say "darn it, you shouldn't have blown up all of our houses." they sort of accept that. afghans do not.


shorter kagan:

the oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the westerner. life is cheap in the orient.

— general william westmoreland, “hearts and minds” (1974)


... which is why we shouldn’t feel bad about killin’ lots 'n' lots of ‘em, amirite, freddy boy?

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