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Unformatted text preview: d economic growth.
When analysing the intervention of the US in Iraq in 2003, Roxborough leans heavily on Victor Davis Hanson’s views on war as a culture-determined phenomenon. Hanson stresses that the democratic Western societies have developed an unusually aggressive style of war focusing on the decisive battle. That is why American military doctrine depends crucially on constructing a massive technological advantage over
potential enemies and on the so called pre-emptive strikes. Roxborough
(2003a: 188-189) puts it in the following words:
The American military has come to adopt a Jominian, engineering approach to military operations. By this I mean that, instead of thinking of a
war as a clash of wills between two adversaries seeking to thwart each
other, the American military tends to see war as the technical application
of force to achieve a desired result. They are technocrats of violence. In
this image, the adversary is an inert or resistant medium to be hammered
into shape by American military power. Chapter III 86 After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, when Bush declared a ‘global war on
terror’ it remained unclear “whether this would be a literal war, or
whether it would simply be another hype of militarized rhetoric, covering
what would in essence be a low-key police and intelligence operation”
(Roxborough 2003a: 186). In any event, one of the key issues was the
problem with the conceptualisation of the enemy. American military tradition as spelled out above has been developed to win wars with an opponent similar to the US, i.e. a nation state. Although the US lost the
Vietnam war despite its dominant military power, it did not influence the
way of thinking about war by the American political and military elite.
Thus a war on terror creates a basic problem of identifying the enemy.
Terrorism and terrorists can only be fought within this strategy if their
status as a social transnational movement is re-conceptualised. Therefore,
the American foreign policy had to underscore that the US would hold
the governments and the states on whose land terrorist organizations operate responsible for their actions. In this way they seek to legitimize
American intervention in such countries.
When it comes to the Second Gulf War, Roxborough believes
that there are two major causes behind the fiasco of American efforts to
reconstruct the Iraqi state after the war. They are American military tradition and the misconception of the nature of terrorism on the part of
American leaders. RDO (rapid, decisive operations) gave Americans a
swift and spectacular victory over the Iraqi army, but by no means did
they allow them to control the entire country. The major problem, as
identified by Roxborough, was a disconnection between the achievement
of military objectives and the political aims, which should be blamed on
the Jominian rather than Clausewitzian approach to war.5 He claims that
the periods between the fighting and humanitarian aid and state reconstru...
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