Excerpt Of the Day #2: A Proportionate Response To An Act Of War?
“In the old days, the idea of fear of a nasty response from a well-armed power often acted as a deterrent (remember that word?) to attacking that country. In fact, that was one of the reasons countries had armies and weapons–not necessarily to use them, but to keep from having to use them very often; to keep themselves from being overrun and attacked, to defend its citizens. And the best way to defend them would be to not even have to defend them, but to just use the threat of a response in defense. And to be threatening, it helped if that threat was somewhat unpredictable in its force and scope.
In the olden days (which weren’t so very long ago) responses were seldom (if ever?) discussed in terms of proportionality. …Each nation would do what it determined necessary to end the threat–no more and no less. Sometimes it would miscalculate, of course. But the idea was that a sovereign nation had a right to defend itself to the best of its ability and its own judgment, and everyone knew that.
And that knowledge probably served to prevent many asymmetrical attacks. “The Mouse That Roared” notwithstanding, weak countries didn’t tend to attack the strong; it would be suicidal. But asymmetrical warfare is now not only chic, but it’s actively encouraged by this idea of “proportionality,” which ties the gigantic Gullivers of the world (such as that mean old, bad old US and its vile mini-me, Israel) down with many tiny ropes.
It’s in the interests of those with less power, and fewer arms, to advance the doctrine of “proportionality.” This evens the playing field, something like a handicap in golf, and makes the game better sport for those with fewer skills….But war is not a game of golf. And leveling the playing field doesn’t make for more fun. It makes for the emboldenment of tyrants in the third world. It makes for lengthy, drawn-out conflicts that never seem to end or be resolved. It buys time for countries such as Iran to gain power and become contenders by acquiring the most disproportionate weaponry of all, the nuclear variety.” — Neo-Neocon
Hat tip to Betsy’s Page for the quote.