Monday, September 22, 2003

Applying the Lessons of Macedonian War

The recent article by Robert Fisk on American tactics of appeasing its guerilla adversaries poses interesting moral questions. Reporting on the content of the letter by Major General David Petraeus to suspected Iraqi war criminal General Sultan Ahmed who afterwards surrendered to the occupator, Fisk writes:
In his quite extraordinary letter to General Ahmed the US officer says that "although we find ourselves on different sides of this war, we do share common traits. As military men, we follow the orders of our superiors. We may not necessarily agree with the politics and bureaucracy, but we understand unity of command and supporting our leaders [sic] in a common and just cause." Thus far have the Americans now gone in appeasing the men who may have influence over the Iraqi guerrillas now killing US soldiers.

What is presumably supposed to be seen as a gesture of compromise is much more likely to be understood as a sign of military weakness - which it clearly is. Historians will also have to ruminate upon the implications of the meaning of "supporting our leaders in a common and just cause". Are Saddam and Mr Bush supposed to be these "leaders"?

No comments: