April 1, 2009  

Last resort

Ralph Peters’ article “The damage done” [March] hits hard. His article is right on. The damage done is significant.

I think the entire basic understanding of war and its place in the scheme of policing the planet has been skewed since Robert McNamara. There is a role of last resort in war. It must be understood as a last resort, used only after all other solutions have been pursued and failed.

When this impasse is reached, then there is war, and the deed must be done so that some unbearable evil can be eradicated and some degree of civility can be retained among the peoples of this earth.

The decision to go to war should be understood as the decision to inflict unbearable pain on an enemy until he is rendered harmless, and the most humane way to do it is to limit its duration — do it fast with full fury.

I doubt that this concept of war will ever again be acceptable to the politically correct American body politic. Instead, we have the Harvardian concept of proportional response and the Israeli concept of eye for an eye, tit for tat, that goes nowhere beyond maintaining the status quo (forced on the Israelis by circumstances beyond their control.)

Maj. Gen. John T. Carley (ret.), Army

Clemson, S.C.