Warblog free zone

Warblog free zone: Again, I am glad this is not a warblog, because I would be ranting again about the desire on the part of those who are running and covering this war, including especially the green reporters and the retired generals, to drop MOAHBs (Mother of All Hyperbole Bombs). Are others who read history, even a little, as dumbfounded as I am? And I’m only catching the radio coverage and scanning the daily newspapers. I unplugged the TV a week ago and avoid any Internet coverage beyond that which is on newspaper sites. This morning, I ran across an insightful piece on the front page of the WSJ which at least tried to explore historical precedents for the current war and its skirmishes.

My major complaint also is the obsession with the desire to know the duration of the war. History about the duration of previous wars is foggy when you’re depending merely on your recollections, as it appears many of the greenies and military retirees are doing. For example, check out this handy timeline regarding the War in Afghanistan. That war, which seemed to be over quickly, began on October 7, 2001 and the last Taliban stronghold fell on December 16. That’s ten weeks or 70 days. This war is near its end. It may take a few more weeks, but in a broad historical context, it will be recalled as being over before it began. And I’m glad, because I want to quit posting about this not being a warblog.

  • Hudge

    The duration of a lot of wars has been debatable. Old Europe war designations – 7, 30, 100 years – to some extent describe long periods of relative peace and relative, well, lack of peace, and active warfare. We’ve all heard the argument that WWII was actually the continuation of WWI, which was a flare-up of earlier conflicts.

    I too find the obsession with the war’s duration annoying, perhaps driven by the need to define how long a short-attention span viewer should plan on paying attention. The harder questions to ask and to answer are what comes afterward.

    I just started an intriguing book called “The Crisis of Islam” by Bernard Lewis which begins with an overview of the roots of Usama Bin Laden’s grievances in the partitions of the Middle East post WWI. Lewis notes that even illiterate Muslims are keenly aware of their history – compared with Westerners – and that it lives for them and informs their actions and attitudes in a way Western history does not. So the roots of the conflict in religious as well as economic spheres go even deeper than the early 20th century. Our presence, even as supposedly benevolent infidels, makes us not one wit less infidels, and that will shape the future.

  • Rex Hammock

    You are correct, I think. Two weeks vs. Nine hundred years makes little difference in the context of Middle Eastern history. We are but a marching band in the age-old parade of occupiers who have marched through the region. We will occupy for a couple of decades or, as long as it takes to invent an affordable hydrogen-powered engine and the security devices necessary to protect us from suicide bombers armed with nuclear devices.