Best Defense
Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Is counterinsurgency un-American?

And I don’t mean that in a good way.

By , a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy.
Dresden, Teilansicht des zerstˆrten Stadtzentrums ¸ber die Elbe nach der Neustadt. In der Bildmitte der Neumarkt und die Ruine der Frauenkirche.
Dresden, Teilansicht des zerstˆrten Stadtzentrums ¸ber die Elbe nach der Neustadt. In der Bildmitte der Neumarkt und die Ruine der Frauenkirche.
Dresden, Teilansicht des zerstˆrten Stadtzentrums ¸ber die Elbe nach der Neustadt. In der Bildmitte der Neumarkt und die Ruine der Frauenkirche.

 

 

And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Whilst brushing my teeth, I was thinking about the American way of war. Underneath it all, is it really, at is core, anti-population?

Think especially of our successful wars. The Revolution was partly a war on the Loyalists, who made up a sizable part of the American population. The Civil War at the end was explicitly a war on the Southern people — first, those in Georgia who still supported the rebellion, and then, in South Carolina, pretty much the whole state, as Sherman put it. And consider World War II, with its long-running bombing of German cities, aimed at “demoralizing” the people and killing those working in defense, along with many others.

Photo credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild/Wikimedia Commons

 

Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1

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