Sunday, August 27, 2006

Changing the "game" of war

I'm an economist, not a war strategist. But it seems to me that war strategists in the western world have yet to adapt effectively to the enemies they now face. Terrorists do not behave like conventional armies. In particular, they embed themselves into the local population knowing that western armies would be loathe to attack them for fear of civilian casualties. Clearly, the incentives of war are different than in the past. It is time to change the game.

Babbling Brooks' recent post Kill 'em all and let Allah sort 'em out got me thinking. Unfortunately, I am not a "team member," so I could not leave a comment on his blog. Here is the comment I tried to post:

Ditto for Israel.

There would be no quicker way to get the terrorists to stop hiding in the mosques and the cities than to refuse to fall for that gambit again. The first time might be tragic, but after that, if a terrorist wants to be your neighbour and you do nothing about it, you know what to expect.

The rules of war are being rewritten as we speak. It is absolutely stupid to fight a war with one hand tied behind your back. By changing the terms of war, citizens would no longer be collateral damage. Let them volunteer for martyrdom if they wish, but it will be their choice.

Update: It seems Damian (of Babbling Brooks) is on holiday and, while he is gone, his comments are turned off.