“Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and thoroughly immoral—doctrine that, ‘violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom.”
– Colonel DuBois, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
This…..this statement is….how shall I say it? It’s….so…definitively….shortsighted. It sounds definitive, sure. Yup, we beat Hitler. And in beating Hitler, we gave birth to the Cold War and it’s numerous proxy wars. Does anyone remember WWI? The peace it brought lead us right into WWII.
The truth is: violence can stop a symptom of the problem but it can’t solve the root cause. Often times (actually, almost all the time) the violence applied alone makes the situation worse. Take this as an example: in Iraq when American convoys would take incoming fire from one direction, they would often fire in all directions. They would apply overwhelming superior firepower. In the short term, the enemy would be killed or duck and run. Objective complete, right? No. Because in “defending” the convoy, they created 10 new insurgents for shooting up apartments, killing a family member, etc. So, they defended the convoy but made it far more dangerous the next time they roll through the neighborhood.
A better answer, in that situation, is the hard one. Precision fire correctly applied to suppress enemy movement or debilitate them would allow an escape of the convoy. Followed up with sustained friendly interaction with the population would gather intelligence on the network that the insurgents operate. Once discovered, a covert raid. Word would spread that attacking Americans is a bad idea. The local population would, the theory goes, learn to slowly trust Americans. After a prolonged period of time, we would win.
Basically, we would have to adopt a mentors role. But our politicians can’t do that. Nope.
It’s like going on facebook and watching your childhood buddy post a meme how spanking a child took the disrespect out of the child like it did with him….knowing that the dude was always disrespectful. Spanking doesn’t solve disrespect. It teaches fear. While fear and respect are very close in meaning, the difference between the two is very, very big. Spanking with mentorship, where a loving parent actually models the respect in his own life, that works. It provides an example to follow and a reason to not stray away from that example. If you don’t have the mentorship, you are just beating your kid. Sure, it’ll work for a little bit. But that fear will eventually manifest itself in other, far more destructive ways. You’d be turning your son into a bully, or a sociopath, even a rapist who learned to use violence to get control. Maybe you’ll end up with offspring that is a jerk with a temper.
Look at Japan. Look at Germany. What did America do after we conquered them? We gave them their own country back, slowly, and applied our Western philosophy mixed with their own culture. We let them develop into a thriving economy of freedom free from corruption. The Philippine Islands didn’t turn out as well, but they are their own independent country that can survive on it’s own. Cuba was allowed to have a Dictator, and we totally screwed them over by allowing that. When we militarily take over a country and allow them to follow in our footsteps with mentorship and a gradual release of power, the countries tend to thrive. Leave them in a power vacuum or micromanage them and it’s all screwed up.
Japan, when they invaded the Philippines and China, were harsh and brutal. This caused the population of China, which was split amidst a revolution, to unite and fight the Japanese. The Philippines carried out one of the most brutal and effective guerilla wars in history against the Japanese, tying down many combat divisions that could have been used elsewhere throughout the war.
As usual, there is no quick answer when solving the root cause of violence and the solution usually involves someone acting the right way over a long period of time. Violence is solved with a strategy of chess and we all want a video game strategy. It truly is a matter of “Treat others as you would want to be treated” and, in the end, Love does win.