WEST MEETS EAST: Victor Davis Hanson also makes the case this is part of a wider war. Essentially, he argues that this is a war against a paradigm rather than a regime:

So nothing in the present war is new. Despite the political incorrectness of it all, there really is a Western and an Arab way of war, each a reflection of quite different cultural traditions and military practices.

Consensual governments that embrace rationalism, civic militarism and open markets prefer that their wars of annihilation hinge on brief, brutal, and decisive battles of firepower and shock – often as at Waterloo, Gettysburg, or Verdun nearly to the point of extermination. Free men depend on merit-based and civilian-controlled military establishments to instill notions both of group discipline and individual initiative among soldiers who are citizens, not subjects.

In contrast, tribal cliques, under which freedom is unknown and inquiry often bridled by political and religious strictures, prefer to avoid head-on exchanges with Western armies’ overwhelming firepower and discipline.

Their soldiers enjoy few constitutional rights and responsibilities. Instead, their conscripts accept that advancement is accomplished through tribal favoritism, that their weapons will be imported rather than invented or manufactured and that military organization will be parasitic upon the West rather than vice versa.

In response, terrorism, sniping, torching oilfields, the ramming of planes into buildings and the murdering of soldiers in their sleep – what our experts more charitably call “asymmetrical warfare” – are the preferred methods of nullifying these historical Western advantages.

I repeat: Read it all.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.