History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Wednesday, May 05, 2004

    What is Victory? Part II

    I have received a number of responses already, and will post them now. Others I hope will be forthcoming. Some may choose to blog on it, as it is a subject requiring an essay, and not a sentence or two.

    Here is what Wretchard of the Belmont Club says:

    We lost over a hundred thousand men fighting the Cold War, with Korea and Vietnam making up the bulk of the losses. We won it because we are still here and free. West Pointers, I think, are famously taught that history enumerates far more years of war than peace. Plato said, 'only the dead have seen the end of war'. The sad conclusion is that conflict, is to some extent, the normal condition.

    We will have won it when we no longer fear a nuclear terrorist attack on New York or when we can write about it in a somewhat humorous vein in five years' time.

    Here is what Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit wrote:

    An extended return to the levels of terrorism known
    before 1969 would be a good proxy in terms of outcomes (in which case
    this year looks like progress) but I think our war is really with
    fundamentalist Islamic terror, and for that I'd think we'd want to see
    an end to significant organized groups of that type.

    Steven DenBeste wrote a post on this a number of months ago, which I conveniently forgot. Fortunately he gave me the link to this piece on USS Clueless. I suggest that you read it.

    Michael Totten said he needed to put a lot more thought into it, and it probably deserved an essay, but here is his short bit:

    Off the top of my head, though, I'll say this. It's not necessary for Islamist ideology to be utterly annihilated. There are still neo-Nazis in Germany. The difference between Germany and, say, Saudi Arabia is that Nazism is despised by the average German and the evils of Hitler are taught in German schools. Too many institutions in Saudi Arabia still indoctrinate people into Islamism. Liberals there are besieged by extremism on all sides.

    If the Middle East were like Germany in this regard, I think we will have won as much as we can. But I don't know if we really need to go that far in order to pull it off. I'll have to think about it some more. I spent all of twenty seconds thinking about this answer, so take that into account.

    Hopefully a couple of the others who promised to get back will do so soon.

    Coming: My take on this. I would like to read what others have to say first, which seems appropriate as most historians let others do all the hard work, and simply write about it afterword.

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