Friday, February 1, 2008

War: Not Just for Soldiers Anymore.

Collateral damage, the number of civilians dying in war, is increasing each time, until [after the Gulf War] 99.15% of the causalities are civilians, not military.
David M. Boje (Peace Aware) Sanctions: U.S. Violations of the Geneva Convention

Quote and link found on Finally, a Feminist 101 Blog.

This article, written by a Vietnam veteran, also includes several charts and graphs showing how civilian casualties were 10.74% in WWI and increased steadily throughout the twentieth century, before reaching the present level of what I can only call criminal absurdity.

One should note, too, that after seven years of American campaigning in Afghanistan and Iraq, Osama bin Laden is still at large -- a real case of blowing up the haystack and missing the needle.

When someone hits the wrong target over 99 times out of 100, one may conclude that their aim isn't very good.

The art of warfare has not progressed during the twentieth or early twenty-first centuries. Despite great material advances in weaponry and technology, war has not become more strategic, effective and efficient, but only more senselessly wasteful. If the goal of the armed forces is to locate and neutralize a military target in the minimum time with minimum losses, then, despite its immense firepower, the US's real military capacity has not increased over the last century. It has deteriorated. This can be seen in the fact that our huge military machine can be easily resisted by smaller, more focused forces, such as Iraqi guerilla fighters.

It is, I think, not coincidental that the burgeoning entropization of warfare has followed pace with the growth of the state. Just as bloated bureaucratic apparatus tends to be inefficient in the economic and social areas, so does it promote military inefficiency. When a government has an unlimited fount of tax dollars to spend, it doesn't care much about wasted bullets -- or wasted human lives.

Noam Chomsky has pointed out that the majority of de facto terrorism -- aggression against civilians -- is performed by states, and the United States government is currently the largest terrorist organization in the world. It's hard to say how much of this state terrorist action is the result of deliberate strategy, and how much sheer sloppiness; how many of the deaths are intentional war crimes, and how many criminal negligence.