10 commandments of war

By George Jonas, National Post

Impeccable timing: Canada has military jets patrolling Libya as we’re about to go to the polls. If our new leader, whoever he turns out to be, needs 10 commandments carved in stone for his breakfast table, here are my suggestions.

1 Don’t go to war for any purpose but the defence of your country’s vital interests, and only if they cannot be secured any other way. Your responsibility is to protect your country and its military allies. It is not your responsibility to police the world or help your allies embark on military adventures, left-wing or right-wing. The much-vaunted doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) is bunk.

2 Don’t hide behind the first commandment to avoid protecting.Don’t hide behind the first comthings that are, in fact, your responsibility to protect. Do go to war, if need be, to defend the vital interests of your country and its military allies. Don’t let Western civilization -the best and most humane form of civilization developed by mankind -perish by default.

3 Do consider any country not currently armed with weapons of mass destruction that attempts to develop such weapons and/or refuses to sign a non-proliferation agreement to be a belligerent state. Seek to have it condemned internationally, to be exposed to all potential consequences of belligerency, from embargoes to ground invasions.

4 Don’t make a fetish of liberaldemocratic values, even while upholding and defending them. Don’t consider all regimes that are based on a state religion, one-party rule, hereditary succession and other types of non-egalitarian or non-Western concepts necessarily inimical to peaceful coexistence with your country, or unable to satisfy their people. Build no nation but your own.

5 Don’t pretend all cultural values are equal, all faiths pacific or deny that some religion traditions and ideologies, notably some within Islam, contain a strain hostile to Western civilization. Acknowledge that a state of belligerency exists between particular strains of Islam and the West, including Arab and/ or Muslim countries whose governments embrace, support or tolerate such hostile strains of Islam.

6 Do acknowledge that terrorism is the chosen tactic of Islamists against the West; that terrorism depends on fifth columnists; that some Westerners of Arab/Muslim background have shown themselves to be susceptible to Islamist recruitment, and that the authorities cannot refrain from targeting them with such measures of profiling, restrictions or surveillance, as may be appropriate under the circumstances.

7 Don’t rely on the possibility, or even probability, that a majority of people within any hostile and despotic country would prefer to live in a democratic system and coexist in peace and friendship with Western nations, and that only a minority support enmity with the West. It’s a grievous error -not because it may not be true, but because it’s immaterial. Majorities do not necessarily decide the course of events even in democracies, let alone theocracies or secular authoritarian regimes. Militant minorities are far more likely to set the tone in any given country, period, or civilization.

8 If hostilities become unavoidable, please let your soldiers fight. Historically, we’ve never conducted military operations with the view that the enemy was merely “the regime” and not the population. When we bombed Dresden, we didn’t try to separate those who voted for Hitler in 1933 from those who voted against him. Though we didn’t specifically target civilians in the Great War (and would have regarded it an atrocity to do so) we didn’t refrain from any military measure available to us because it might have resulted in incidental causalities among civilians. Fighting wars with a hand tied behind our back isn’t only bad for us, but likely to prolong suffering for enemy civilians more than decisive action. Making the avoidance of civilian causalities a rigid priority in war has two predictable consequences. First, there’s reduced military effectiveness and increased exposure of one’s own troops to danger. Second, a campaign may not be evaluated primarily in terms of its military/strategic achievement, but in how successful it was in reducing collateral damage. It exposes a militarily victory to the risk of being judged a political debacle. It increases the likelihood of winning the war and losing the peace.

9 Don’t let the breathtaking impertinence of al- Qaeda-, Taliban-or Hamas-types -who, having deliberately targeted civilians in Madrid or London or New York, or used their own civilians, including women and children, as shields or hostages, still have the gall to complain when Western actions result in inadvertent collateral damage -persuade you, as leader, that Western nations have a moral duty to impose on ourselves extra conditions in addition to standard conventions of war to which we subscribe, such as the Geneva Conventions. We don’t. Antiseptic warfare is no response to asymmetric warfare.

10 Don’t make war, unless you absolutely have to. Make anything but war. Make love. Make nothing. But if you have to make war, make it on the enemy, not on the sons and daughters of the people who elected you. And if there’s an extra tablet kicking around after you have this carved, please make sure it gets passed on to Mr. Obama.

April 2, 2011 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. Paul Winter writes:
    The “commandments” are reasonable. No country goes to war for others; e.g.neither the USA nor the Brits bombed the rail lines to Auschwitz as stopping the Nazi extermination program was not an allied interest.

    So, then, why did the Brits enter WW-II, and the US enter the European theater?

    Would bombing rail lines have stopped the pogrom? It is more plausible that they had a hard time accepting that anyone could be that evil. The last time I checked they, with the Soviets, did end up stopping the extermination, and then the Brits GAVE the Jewish community a piece of the middle-east to form Israel as a Jewish homeland, which they had lost to Persian and Ottoman invaders previously.

    Why did the US go to war in Korea and Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and now Libya?

    Oh, I forgot! Never mind.

    It was all for the oil, even though the US has more oil and gas reserves than the entire middle-east combined, imports no oil from Korea or Vietnam, Libya or Afghanistan, and did not take any Iraqi oil for themselves, which they should have done to pay for that liberation.

    To stop oppression against innocent civilians their tyrants need to know for certain that they will be attacked and wiped out by any means necessary. Now that we know that there is no permanent damage to the environment from nukes as evidenced by Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the sea around the atom bomb testing atolls, even nukes should be part of the threat. Iran needs to know that they will be re-set to zero and and have to start their civilization all over again just as Japan, Germany and Italy had to.

    Wars cannot be efficiently conducted by vacillating, dithering, pussy-footing and political correctness.

    We should have learned that from Genghis Khan and Alexander.

  2. 10 commandments of war

    So the first country who breaks the rules with a massive salvo of Nukes, WINS?

    That’s why so called rouge nations with nukes or about to acquire nukes are given a pass. We know they will use them. Called fear factor. I want to be feared and alive than loved and dead.

  3. Shy Guy says:
    April 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Stupid Jews.

    You are being overly kind. Stupid might be excusable.

  4. The “commandments” are reasonable. No country goes to war for others; e.g.neither the USA nor the Brits bombed the rail lines to Auschwitz as stopping the Nazi extermination program was not an allied interest.

    The point is that the USA’s restraint award or Israel’s “purity of arms” concept is pure lunacy. Our fighters are our family members and our fellow citizens and their lives are more important than that of any enemy citizen, soldier or not. Civilian lives are no more precious than that of sodiers. When an enemy, like the traditional jihadis use civilians as shields and as expendable propaganda objects, they are committing war crimes. If it is possible to meet a military objective by sparing civilian a nation should do so, but if not the blame lies with the enemy for not putting the safety of their civilians ahead of their war objectives.

    Further, we need to break down conflicts into military and political phases. Once a conflict has started, politicians must refrain from directing the battle, the more so when they are foreign politicians. This has been the lot of Israel in several wars with the Arabs when the UN or the USA demanded a cessation of combat, esultiing in enemies who were spared from defeat, only to restart the conflict. And not only politicians must keep out of the battle, but lawyers must also be sidelined: no battle can be properly prosecuted if a commanded is constrained by every possible legal contingency that may arise out of lawfare or human rights industry action. Those who rush to judgement over the actions of civilised nations defending themselves are much too frequently silent when savages, much like they themselves, aggress.

    And last, but not least, we must do away with the Nazi concept of total warfare, where there is no surrender and no mercy. In Israel’s battles, the Arabs have always been spared from defeat and in their subsequent actions have shown no mercy to Jews. They have been spared from making reparations or yielding territory to the point where they arrogantly demand concessions from the nation they attacked and which beat them as the proce for negotiating peace. The world has created a situation where – to paraphrase Love Story – if you are mohammedan, you never have to say sorry.

  5. Ted, I happened to be in Canada a week ago, and the election campaign dominated the news. Nothing of substance was being discussed, nor did I hear anything about Libya. I was on my way back home from China at the time, and wondered whether I had entered the Twilight Zone. The people seemed friendly enough, though, and quite harmless.

  6. George Jonas writes:
    1. Don’t go to war for any purpose but the defence of your country’s vital interests, and only if they cannot be secured any other way. Your responsibility is to protect your country and its military allies. It is not your responsibility to police the world or help your allies embark on military adventures, left-wing or right-wing. The much-vaunted doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) is bunk.

    Millions of Jews and others died in the Holocaust to prove that this “First Commandment” is bunk when it comes to the USA as the world’s only superpower that belongs to the world and MUST be its peacekeeper.

    The US, which was built by people from all over the world and thus belongs to the world MUST rescue oppressed civilians when they are being attacked by their own tyrannical governments and are unable to defend themselves. This must be well known policy, not subject to vacillation and dithering, so that every tyrant knows for sure that he will certainly face the full shock and awe wrath of US might if he orders an attack by government forces on unarmed civilians.

    Wht good is it to be a superpower if we cannot reliably go to the aid of innocent civilians from whose midst many of us come, whose DNA is part of the American melting pot.

    However, this must be done in the most politically INCORRECT manner possible, so that the conflict is brought to a close as soon as possible with maximum casualties on the side of the enemy and minimim casualties on our side.

    In Iraq the allies deposed Saddam and helped set up a new Iraqi constitution and democratically elected government in short order with few casualties. However, when the Sunni and Shia radicals started attacking each other’s innocent civilians to create chaos and derail the nascent democracy, aided and abetted by Al Qaeda, Iran and Syria, the US started helping defend the new Iraqi government using politically correct rules of engagement. For example, Muqtada al Sadr was allowed to live when he should have been whacked right after he was indicted for killing a fellow-Shia Imam and resisted arrest. This alone would have saved thousands of lives. Instead he continues to be a problem and a thorn in the Iraqi government’s side. Civilians in every city that harbored radicals, whether the Sunni Fallujah or the Shia Sadr City should have been warned to leave and the cities levelled if the insurgents did not surrender and lay down their arms.

    The same would apply to cities in Afghanistan and Pakistan that harbored deadly insurgents.

    That’s how you defeat a deadly implacable enemy that is running amuck with minimum casualties on your own side.

    George W. Bush was on the right track until he became politically correct in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  7. In last few minutes we hear that US “assets” have been removed from the Libyan “theater”.
    One has to assume that to Soetoro’s standards, (if any), all Libyan civilians have been sufficiently “protected”… forever. I imagine that the US wanted to prove how much it is lost in limbo and
    they accomplished that with authority.
    And that brings us all back to the 10 comments by the author.
    The purpose of the military is to destroy external or combination of enemies. That would basically distinguish a democratic system of government military from other such things.
    In Libya the military is of the later type.

    As a rule, a military system is no a melting pot, a social growth medium, a school, a peace instrument, etc. They are trained to be Dogs of war.
    Civilians in a war situation.
    Intentionally attacking civilians, is not the way a well groomed military would go about business. The ISRAELI military is in many ways prevented to act decisevely by constrains that cause undeu danger to soldier and civilians alike.

    And we will all see how all of that is played during 2011 12 in the Middle East.

  8. If Israel can remember how God blessed Joshua when He commanded them, “Kill them all and spare no one,” perhaps that will be necessary.

    They will try to wipe you out so it will be required to take action BEFORE they do, BEFORE it’s too late.



    That’s how Joshua was able to inherit the promised land. I would command the same.