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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Jacques Dhervillez

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Jacques Dhervillez

Last Build Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 14:30:05 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

A Warning to Islamofascist Terrorists

Thu, 31 Aug 2006 14:30:05 -0600

What you have really done, by past decades of terrorism, is open a Pandora's Box of horrors that may ultimately harm you and your people more than anyone else. This toughening of the tactics of Western powers is merely an example of Magruder's Law that: "Combat inevitably sinks to the lowest common denominator of the combatants. If you like to wrestle in the mud and your opponent likes to gouge out eyes, then sooner or later you will both be eye-gouging in the mud." Civilization is essentially a compact of non-violence, a mutual agreement that certain measures will not be used by any party under any circumstances. Pieces of paper like the Geneva conventions are merely reiterations of that agreement. But whenever this covenant is broken by one party for a sufficiently long period, it is inevitable that their opponents, and eventually everybody else, will break it too. The end result is Magruder's Law, which applies whenever terrorism is countered by escalation. In essence, the terrorist teaches his enemies to use his own tactics against himself. When the Germans started to use poison gas in WWI, it was regarded by the English and French with numb horror as something unthinkably cruel. But within months, they were using poison gas against the Germans, with improvements of their own. By the end of the war, gas warfare had claimed over a million casualties, many of them German. At the start of WWII, England fought in a gentlemanly fashion, not hitting until they were first hit and scrupulously confining themselves to military targets. Then Hitler flagrantly violated that covenant by bombing civilian neighborhoods in London and other British cities, with the sole objective of terrorizing the British people. It took a few years but when the Allies had the power to retaliate they used it, bombing German cities with a rather half-hearted regard for whether targets were military or civilian and needlessly annihilating Dresden in what many think was a payback for Coventry. In the end, over ten percent of Germany's people died in the war. Japan pulled off the ultimate terrorist attack at Pearl Harbor, killing over 2,400 people. Our immediate response was what would nowadays be called "proportionate"--Doolttle's daylight raid on Tokyo. But our anger festered over the years and was fed by news of later atrocities such as the Bataan death march. The end result was Hiroshima and Nagasaki and nearly a million dead Japanese.. I know that all sorts of pragmatic arguments were advanced, even cogent ones, but I contend that if Pearl Harbor had not occurred, we probably would not have used our atomic weapons. Magruder's Law may not apply during a short combat. It sometimes takes years or even a generation. During the Viet Nam War, when American troops were exposed for the first time to dirty no-holds-barred guerrilla warfare, the first signs of retaliation under stress appeared only near the end, in incidents such as the My Lai massacre, which may have been inspired by the Viet Cong's prior massacre of Montagnard refugees at Dak Son. And already in Iraq, there have been isolated ugly incidents that indicate that the patience of the US forces may be wearing thin. Although you may think that this will be to your advantage, you are mistaken. You don't want escalation when dealing with an enemy with our resources, resolution, and (as cited above) our penchant for delayed but massive "disproportionate" retaliation. You seem to have forgotten that the basic purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to make your enemy cower, panic, and flee. Thus, successful terrorism is always a conspicuous exception to Magruder's Law. On the other hand, when terrorism does not frighten the enemy but makes him more angry, the consequent escalation may be more than the terrorist bargained for and may work to his downfall--especially if his resources are inferior to those of his enemy. But you have gone even further. First, by persisting in attempts to terrorize the Israeli people, who after sixty years of such tactics are uniquely resistant to them, yo[...]