Why not shock and awe?

The other day, I tried to argue that we need to snatch victory from the jaws of half-victory in Iraq. Today, John Derbyshire in National Review Online, suggests that, given our domestic culture, we are no longer capable as a people of employing the kind of ruthless, “shock and awe” policies that are needed to bring about real post-war victory there.
Derbyshire makes his case well, and the fact that we so often take half-measures in these situations makes it difficult to argue that we are capable of acting differently. However, I’m of the view that most Americans want to see us take whatever measures are necessary to smash all Iraqi resistance and that, more generally, they will support virtually any military action that succeeds. My sense is that our fecklessnes is that of our policy makers, not public opinion, and is less the result of squeamishness than of over-thinking by the elite. If I am right, then it may be that the cultural barriers to a “shock and awe” policy in Iraq, though real, are less deep-rooted than Derbyshire supposes.


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