The Fog of War
The Fog of War
Any military commander was honest with himself will admit that he had made mistakes in the application of the military power. He had killed many people unnecessarily. But he hasn’t destroyed nations. As McNamara said “In this world, there will be no learning period with nuclear weapons, you make one mistake and you are going to destroy nations. ” According to that, McNamara was trying to tell us that using nuclear weapons in these days will be extremely harsh and dangerous even if we knew the consequences and the circumstances of using it.
Consequently, we see the United States and the United nations these days chasing Iran, Afghanistan and other countries that are trying to improve their nuclear weapons. So the U. S could stop them. Let’s just think for a moment if world War 3 happened and both sides used nuclear missiles, what could happen? Beside the awareness of using nuclear missiles, McNamara talked about ten lessons he experienced during war. I’m going to talk about five The first lesson is to emphasize with your enemy. Emphasizing is the idea that we try to put our self in our enemies’ body, and look through their eyes.
Just to understand the thoughts and ideas behind their decisions and actions. For example, what The United States will do if it was Cuba during the Cuban-Russian Nuclear missiles crisis? One of the best ways to simplify that lesson is to go back to that crisis. When Russia introduced their nuclear missiles in Cuba targeting 90 million American citizens, it was a sign of a beginning of a new war. The United Stated faced two letters after a while. At first, they received the soft message and then the hard one. During that time, Thomson was thinking of a way to stop the war.
He was thinking of a deal that he could say to the Russians” Kennedy was going to destroy Castro but I prevented it”. He made the right choice in the perfect time, Because Kennedy thought that replying to the soft message will do nothing. If the war started, neither the United States nor Cuba will win. It will be a disaster. “Rationality alone will not save us”. That’s the second lesson McNamara talked about. He said, at the end of the Cuban crisis, “It was luck to prevent nuclear weapons. We came that close to nuclear war at the end” why that happened?! Rational individuals. Kennedy was rational, Crusher was rational and Castro was rational.
Everyone was acting rationally. They became so close to a total destruction of their societies. He also added “Is it right and proper that today there are seventy-five hundred strategic offensive nuclear warheads that could be launched by the decision of one human being? ” Personally, that question is really difficult to answer. So if we analyze the way how the Cuban crisis was going, we can realize that the combination of nuclear weapons and human errors will result in a major catastrophe. Therefore, human decisions can really affect in global politics. For example, a week ago, we saw Israel had an attack on Syria.
I don’t want to talk about why or how, I’d like to talk about the president Bashar Al-Assad reaction after that attack regarding to the rationality. We saw no reaction from the Syrian side. Which I think that was one of the best ways to deal with that attack during this difficult time that Syria is going thru. Because if Syria’s reaction was to attack Israel, the situation will be like Israel saying “hey world, Syria is attacking us. Killing us …” and the whole world will be like attack Syria! And that’s what Israel wants, a war against Syria and Iran because they are the only remain resistance against Israel in that area.
But the president made the right choice. So the president didn’t only use the rationality, he emphasize with his enemy too If we go back to Tokyo, 100,000 burned alive in Tokyo. Wasn’t that awful? McNamara said by himself “We were as war criminals”. Since then, McNamara realized an important lesson we can use in war which is “Proportionality should be a guideline war”. McNamara possess the question of whether or not it was necessary to drop two atomic bombs on Japan when they were destroyed already with firebombing. McNamara then goes through how much of Japanese cities were being destroyed and making proportions.
Some of the more notable figures are: Tokyo, roughly the size of New York at that time, 51% destroyed; Toyama, the size of Chattanooga, 99% destroyed; Nagoya, the size of Los Angeles, 40% destroyed; Osaka, the size of Chicago, 35% destroyed. Can you imagine after all that, throwing nuclear bombs what could possibly happen??! In the movie, away from the ten lessons, we see Dominos over the world map between several scenes. That refers to a theory that’s called the Domino theory. It’s like whenever the War started in a country, it will affect the other countries ext to it. For example, since 2010, The Arab Spring. It all started in Tunisia. After that, the revolution started in Libya. Then, it was Egypt’s turn. In the end, it stopped in Syria. In one year, Three Arab presidents were out of the presidency except Syria. We’ll be waiting to see what news and developments could happen in Syria. “Never say never” is the number ten lesson McNamara has mentioned. The point that McNamara was trying to tell us is not don’t quit on war or don’t surrender in a war time. He was trying to say: never say that you never make mistakes.
The point is that everyone makes mistakes but we shouldn’t repeat them, especially when individuals think rationally. For instance, after the United States knows that Vietnam War wasn’t a good decision, why did it go to war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq? The U. S already knew what’s going to happen. Same thing in Afghanistan. Moreover, McNamara said that if John Kennedy was alive, the situation would not have been as bad as it was. Also, McNamara stated that he is sorry for his errors. He admit that he had mistaken. That was brave and honest. Finally, “You can’t change the human nature”.
Besides all treaties that have signed and peace agreements, the possibility of war is still available. Personally, one of the things that I like in realists, is that they see the world as anarchic. Which is definitely true. All against all in the state of nature. Especially, when there’s no national authority above all states. Each state wants to be the hegemon and trying to do that. Furthermore, McNamara explains that ‘the fog of war’ refers to how complex war is and the inability of the human mind to fully comprehend all of those complexities at one time.
In conclusion, As Benjamin Franklin stated “There was no good war or bad peace”. According to that quotation, I think it is obvious what he was trying to say. Especially, after watching “The Fog of War” and seeing what happened during Cuban missiles crisis, Japan war and Vietnam War. Because if we had a look, there was no winner at the end of each war. For example, the U. S had lost 54,000 soldiers and the other side got ruined during cold war. But unfortunately, as McNamara said, the human nature will never ever change.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 29 September 2016
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