Masters of War

April 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

When you are fighting the enemy, any option is open. No mercy. America knows war. They are war masters.

— Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, “Dirty Wars” (Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)

…all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war… What we hate is not casualties but losing.

— Michael Ledeen (March 2003 speech, American Enterprise Institute)

The savage injustice of the Europeans rendered an event, which ought to have been beneficial to all, ruinous and destructive to several of those unfortunate countries.

— Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776)

By 1650 the West had already achieved military mastery in four separate areas: Central and Northeast America; Siberia; some coastal areas of sub-Saharan Africa; and the islands of Southeast Asia. Different as these regions, and their inhabitants, undoubtedly were, their experience of the European invaders was, in one crucial respect, identical: the white men, they found, fought dirty, and (what was worse) fought to kill. Thus the Narragansett Indians of New England strongly disapproved of the colonists’ way of making war. “It was too furious,” one brave told an English captain in 1638, “and [it] slays too many men.” The captain did not deny it. The Indians, he speculated, “might fight seven years and not kill seven men.” Roger Williams, a colonial governor, likewise admitted that the Indians’ fighting “was farre less bloudy and devouring than the cruell Warres of Europe.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the peoples of Indonesia were equally appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare.

— Geoffrey Parker, “The Military Revolution”


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