Why They Fight


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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7 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    I”m not sure how you define provocative. Manzi seems unaware of any sort of basic ideas of morality. There is a simply a categorical difference between a person who is under our control as a prisoner and person who is not. once they surrender they have stopped being an active combatant and are now our responsibility. Has this guy really thought through the consequences of treating prisoners as people without any moral or legal protections?Report

  2. RH Potfry says:

    It’s only a matter of time before Obama has our soldiers armed with rubber bullets.Report

  3. Will says:

    Greginak –

    I don’t know, I think there’s some value to throwing out a provocative viewpoint every one and awhile.Report

  4. Will,

    So what if the military makes torture a tool of warfare? What if we raise the black flag and commit to violently torturing every captured soldier as a way of breaking the enemy? Does it then become more justifable?Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Game theory.

    If a rational actor sees more of a downside to continuing to fight than he does to waving the white flag, he will wave the white flag.

    If a rational actor sees more of a downside to waving the white flag than he does to fighting, he’ll fight to the death.

    The question to ask is: What goal are we trying to reach?

    If the answer is “genocide”, yeah, surrender is something that you probably shouldn’t take into consideration.

    If, however, the answer is *NOT* genocide, you must ask what your goals are and whether your methods will bring you to your goals.

    Is your goal to establish a military base? World Peace? To get the survivors of a campaign to shudder when they think of what will happen the next time you get pissed off?

    What do you want?Report