We must relearn the will to commit massacres if we are to live in peace. We must once more be prepared to wipe out whole cities, or even entire peoples if necessary. For as long as our enemies perceive that we cannot do this, they will continue to trespass against us: they will conquer once friendly people and turn them too against us; they will abuse us; and they will kill us at random in our office blocks or on the way to work. Slowly, these attacks will escalate until we lose our ability to defend ourselves: and then we will be annihilated instead.
Bizzarely, this is an argument in favour of saving lives. According to the Independent, 71,000 people have died since 9/11. 5,000 people have died in the Palestinian infatada. 3,009 were murdered, many tortured, last month alone in Baghdad.
Daily, allied soldiers try to bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan and all that happens is that they are shot at one-by-one. And the instability just gets worse.
When Najaf, for example, defied the American's the American's attacked the outside of the city and lost many lives in street fighting. The also killed many of the Mehdi Army. They shrunk from destroying the mosque which was doubling as the enemies headquarters, however. They also shrunk from doing anything more than ineffectual killing. They blinked. The result was that this was a turning point in the reconstruction war and from this point onwards democracy has been losing. Najaf and Sadr City remain enemy bastions, impregnable to the American Army, from which the Iranian backed Shia militias go out to repeat the tactic across the rest of Iraq.
Fullujah is another example. Here the Americans let the militants know they were coming and, not wanting to kill civilians, let people leave... including the militants. Then America bombed an almost empty city and killed its remaining civilians. The US declared victory and city is now back under militant control. In Basra too, the British are confined to their barracks, leaving the residents to their fate under the militants, who have effectively captured the city from the British.
Consider this as an alternative post occupation plan: If a Shia, Jew, Christian, army squaddie or gay cannot walk down the high street of a Sunni Iraqi town without fear of his life, then a British or American Army full battalion rolls up. They ask the speak to the leader of the city and for him to guarantee the safety of the said walker and for the leadership of the city to reaffirm its loyalty to the Iraq government. If he refuses (either directly or by saying 'he cannot') then the Army lays seige to that town. Nobody is allowed in or out. The town is given time to think about it. If they still refuse to bend then the heavy artillary opens up and destroys the town and everybody in it. A lot of lives are lost.
The plus side of this approach is that there are no further problems from this particular town. Dead men don't plant roadside bombs. Another plus is that no allied lives are put at risk. The much bigger plus, however, is that when the army moves onto other towns and asks the same question, the liklihood of a favourable answer increases. Once the enemy is entirely convinced that we mean what we say, the killing reduces to zero as surrender is immediate. Thus, we leverage our superior fire-power to do good and bring peace. Conversely, without the will to use them, all the weapons in the world are useless.
While it is troubling directly to order thousands of deaths, we must rediscover the strength to do it. This way we can avoid the trap American and British forces in Iraq have fallen into, not to mention the Israelis in Lebanon: causing thousands of deaths anyway but without any progress.