Friday, September 15, 2006

Not Imperial Enough?

Wretchard comments on some re-thinking of the War on Terror:
The genuine tone of amazement in the WSJ is a reminder of how poorly understood the military role of the War on Terror has been, especially in Iraq... The point is that from the beginning the Administration's War on Terror was never primarily military; it was always -- even from the days of the First Fallujah campaign -- fundamentally a political war and continues to be to this day, as the continued existence of Moqtada al-Sadr illustrates.

...The military's prosecution of a politico/military campaign can be viewed as an attempt to compensate for the failure of other aspects of American power (diplomatic, development and informational) to project themselves into the field. It's a Band-Aid to compensate for the absence of institutions which America, if it were truly an imperial power, would have had. But America will never have a BBC, which was itself the evolutionary product of Imperial Britain. Yet America has its own sources of strength, including media industries which enabled it to dominate the popular culture of the world. The most serious question posed by the WSJ article is not whether the politico/military approach is the correct approach, but whether such a broad campaign can be prosecuted by so limited an agency as the US military without the rest of America's "soft power" behind it.
Perhaps we need to do is to go full-out Imperial and appoint some aristocracy. Hillary Clinton for Duchess of Bagdad?

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