When Xerxes was irritated by the Athenians aiding the Ionian rebels, did he send a small expeditionary force to rough them up a bit? Did he ensure that his response was strictly proportional to the size of the insult he had received from Athens? Did he hire the minimal amount of Phoenician warships that he estimated would have a fair chance of beating the Athenian navy? No, he knew that the principle of war is to attack in strength at weakness. Thus, he went for massive overkill and amassed the greatest army the world had ever seen. Of course, all we remember nowadays is that the Greeks beat Xerxes. But that gigantic army of his crossed the Hellespont and marched all the way through Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly, almost all the way to Athens, without having to fight anyone*. Most of the Greek cities on the way joined him, because he was so obviously going to win. He made good all of his losses after Thermopylae by more Greek cities throwing in their lot with him as his army kept advancing to Athens. Which they trashed. So, leaving aside the fact that Xerxes then got whipped at Salamis, lost his nerve, and ‘redeployed’ out of Greece, I think his actions show the proper way the ‘War on Terror’ should have been approached.
It would appear, says Crackpot Neoconservative National Security Advisor Dr Clam, one bright sunny morning in October 2001, that there are certain countries which are state sponsors of terrorism of a jihadist stripe. These countries seem to be Libya, The Palestinian Authority, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Gosh, says the President, that sounds bad. What can we do?
Let us declare to all the countries on this list that they can either fight us, or fight with us in beating up the others, says Dr Clam. Then, let us amass a ground force of two million men and commence an attack on the smallest and weakest of the nations that has opted to fight us. If, after it is defeated, there remain nations that still want to fight us, let us move onto the next weakest. Et cetera.
My God! says the President. You are a lunatic.
Bwahahahahaha, says Dr Clam.
Hmm, that scenario didn’t quite end up at the place it was meant to end up, when it started. But it seems to me that we will still have to fight all of those people, or co-opt them to our side, or lose. It will just be a much more messy and drawn out problem.
Marco’s blog says that it is dedicated to solving the world’s problems, one at a time. At the moment I can’t think of any solutions to any of the world’s problems. I don’t know if I can carry on attempting to put together arguments as to why we should follow one course of action or another, when none of the alternatives I can think of are very good.
I may have to re-invent this blog as one dedicated purely to the line-by-line exegesis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.