Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Den Beste on "proportionality" 

Mostly-retired blogging great Stephen den Beste lobbed in a guest post over at The Chicago Boyz on the matter of Israel's "disproportionate" response. I actually do not agree with den Beste's proposed answers to the questions "why did so many people demand 'proportionate' responses from Israel, and condemn Israel's bombing campaign as being 'disproportionate'?" However, in getting there he suggests a framework for thinking about modern war that is both powerful and instructive. For that alone it is well worth the two minutes it will take you to read it.

Via Glenn and our own K. Pablo.


By Blogger demosophist, at Wed Aug 30, 11:02:00 AM:

There's still a lot of fog about this more, not least of which involves whether it's really over. But my assessment is that the retired Captain of USS Clueless is probably right about the tactical mistake made by Hez, and Israel's failure to capitalize on it. Indeed, it may be even worse than that, in the sense that it was a strategic blunder for Iran and Syria as well, and could have taken them out of the picture for good... had Olmert been a little less squeamish.

I also think Steven's about right regarding the expectations people have about rules of fairness, but what he doesn't mention is that these rather unrealistic expections, and the convictions people have that they're legitimate and rational... and that therefore people will abide by them even when it's not to their advantage, is precisely what opened the possibility of "running the table" on the Jihadists. That is, the sort of routinized social expectations that people have in the West, and the reliance placed on those routines within the Arab/Persian aggressor's domain, is what opened the possibility of our deceiving them into turning a tactical mistake into a strategic blunder. Unfortunately, a possibility is all it was. Well, so far...

Strangely, people seem to have the same expectations... and Hez's and Iran's capitalization on those expectations could box them in should a similar set of conditions arise, with a different Israeli leader at the helm. Indeed, that set of domino triggers might be even more likely, simply by virtue of the fact that they seem to have "won".  

By Blogger demosophist, at Wed Aug 30, 11:06:00 AM:

I have no idea why I typed "more" when I meant to write "war", except that they rhyme. The way my organic computer works sometimes amazes and embarasses me.  

By Blogger demosophist, at Wed Aug 30, 11:09:00 AM:

BTW, James Buchanan (sixth from the left at the top of the Chicago Boyz site) is definitely not a "Chicago Boy". He's a "Virginia Boy". But he might well be considered an honorary Chicago Boy, if he's willing to stoop to conquer.  

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