Thomas Wictor

Different cultures fight wars in very different ways

Different cultures fight wars in very different ways

Every culture and nation within that culture must decide how it fights wars. What works for one group of people isn’t necessarily acceptable to others. Therefore when I discuss my preferred way of fighting, I’m not saying that everyone should adopt it. Also, when I point out what I see as the shortcomings of different war-fighting methods, that’s only my opinion. My preference is only that.

I agree with one of my heroes, General William Tecumseh Sherman.


War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking.

Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.

War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.

Sherman wasn’t talking about committing atrocities; I don’t support targeting civilians. And despite the effectiveness of Sherman’s March to the Sea, I also don’t support destroying civilian infrastructure. It’s wrong, and there’s evidence that making the civilian population suffer often strengthens its will to resist.

The American soldiers below stand in front of a wall in Germany, 1945.


Behind them, the graffiti says, “1918? Never again!”

Germany agreed to an armistice to end the combat operations of World War I on November 11, 1918. This set the stage for World War II. The Germans were not required to unconditionally surrender after World War I. Their armies marched home armed and intact, which allowed the Nazis and their followers to delude themselves.


Nobody stabbed the Germans in the back. The reality is that they were thoroughly defeated in World War I. They lacked the resources and manpower to continue fighting. The children below are members of Infantry Regiment No. 162. They’ve just completed a course at the School of Close Combat Methods in Lockstedt, 1917.


How many of them lived until November 11, 1918?

World War II had a different ending. On May 8, 1945, the Germans were forced to unconditionally surrender. We’d learned from the mistake we’d made in 1918.

Different interpretations of the law

I believe that the Arab League has learned from the mistakes that the US, Europe, and Israel have made in fighting the war against Islamic terrorism. Remember, this is only my opinion. I’m not criticizing the US, Europe, or Israel; I’m saying that I have a different view on how to prosecute wars. But I’m not a military leader. My opinion has no real-world value.

Here’s what Customary International Humanitarian Law says about war crimes.

Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes

Rule 158. States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.

That’s it. The International Committee of the Red Cross clarifies.

The rule that States must investigate war crimes and prosecute the suspects is set forth in numerous military manuals, with respect to grave breaches, but also more broadly with respect to war crimes in general.

Since there’s literally no guidance, modern-day armed forces have—in my opinion—hobbled their fighters with rules of engagement meant to protect commanders from bad press, not win wars. I’m about to show you a video of an AC-130H gunship engaging the Taliban in 2002.


This was a night attack. The way these operations work, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the site sends live video to a command center. The commander in charge of the operation has to ask an officer of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) if it’s permissible to attack. Only after the JAG approves can the commander order the air strike.

Listen to how long it takes to get permission. You’ll see Taliban being killed, but keep in mind that these were religious maniacs who murdered tens of thousands.

The first voice is a gunner. “We’ve got people walking out of the building right now and getting into vehicles, so we need to speed up the timeline if we can.”

“We’re going as fast as we can, crew,” replies the pilot.

They’re discussing permission to hit a target that they already know is filled with armed terrorists. The rules of engagement (ROE) have to be debated at the command center first.

“Just to confirm, you’re not cleared to fire until I talk you guys onto that rectangular building. Just to let you know: We suspect it is a mosque at this point.”

A MOSQUE? We can’t possibly hit that! (Even though the enemy shows no reverence for such edifices by using them as military posts.)

“Copy. Not cleared to fire until we have your permission.”

A “talk on” is just that. The commander explains for the camera which specific structure can be hit and which will be avoided. This is in case someone accuses him of war crimes later.

Then the AC-130 is allowed to engage, immediately told to not engage, then told to engage only some targets. Though it’s an obvious shelter for terrorists, the mosque is spared.


The men on the AC-130 are completely unsure of what to do. They have to ask every step of the way, as though this is a nightmarish university where all romantic contact between males and females can be retroactively transformed into rape unless the woman had explicitly approved of each procedure.

Do you know how Americans used to fight? On the morning of December 7, 1941, the destroyer USS Ward was patrolling the entrance to Pearl Harbor when Lieutenant Commander William W. Outerbridge—who had been skipper of the Ward for only two days—was informed by another ship at 3:57 a.m. that a periscope had been sighted. Outerbridge immediately headed toward the area to make a search. At 6:37 a.m. he spotted the periscope and ordered his gunners to open fire, hitting a Japanese two-man midget submarine. To finish off the vessel, Outerbridge had a full pattern of depth charges dumped.

After sinking the sub, then Outerbridge contacted the Naval District watch officer.

We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area.

In the US military, there were “standing orders.” You were told, “If anyone does X, do Y.”


Outerbridge sank the submarine without having a clue that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor. He saw something he didn’t like, so he obliterated it. That was a different era, long before war became Mother May I?

IDF rules of engagement are the stuff of legend. They’re the most restrictive in the world. Only Jew-haters dispute that.

The Israeli Military Adjutant General (MAG) Corps investigates all accusations of war crimes made by almost anybody, even groups like B’Tselem, which falsifies reports. According to the MAG Corps, an IDF soldier fired a tear-gas canister that hit Mustafa Tamimi in the face and killed him. This is not true. Tamimi was killed by a rock that Palestinians hurled with a sling.

Mustafa Tamimi 9/12/11

In the photos above, the green arrows point out three fragments of the rock that hit Tamimi. The red arrows indicate a landmark, so you can see that the fragments were momentarily suspended in midair.

It’s clear that the Israeli MAG Corps is overworked. In my opinion the Israelis investigate every single claim of war crimes in an attempt to prove to the world that they’re not the monsters that the press makes them out to be.

Here’s how the Saudis handle accusations of war crimes.

“We know where our aircraft are now over Yemen and what they are doing,” the [Saudi-led coalition’s combat] planning chief said.

“If we don’t target today we can target tomorrow or after tomorrow. We are not in a hurry,” the brigadier said, adding that with all the precautions “mistakes should not happen” and so far have not.

The coalition records all its actions and if people have doubts about that, “we have the evidence”, the brigadier said.

“There is nothing to hide.”

The Coalition looks at the video, says, “Doctors Without Borders is lying,” and gets on with the war. That’s how the Coalition fulfills Rule 158 of Customary International Humanitarian Law. Each investigation takes ten seconds. If Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, or Human Rights Watch want to bring Saudi Arabia before the International Criminal Court, the Saudis have the evidence that accusations of war crimes are false. Until a formal war-crimes case is made, the Coalition doesn’t waste its time dealing with those who argue in bad faith.


Different and more pragmatic. Better, I believe. The Coalition doesn’t care about bad PR, because it knows that it’ll be criticized regardless. It has no expectations of NGOs or the press.

Currently the US, Israel, and Europe have agreed that they’re guilty until they prove themselves innocent. In contrast, the Saudi-led Coalition rightfully demands that the accusers prove the veracity of their claims.

How can you defeat terrorists if you’re willing to be controlled by corrupt NGOs and the deranged press? Do the corrupt NGOs or the deranged press ever congratulate you on your humanity, or do they simply come up with new lies?

I’ve seen no evidence of war crimes being committed by Israel, the US, Europe, or the Arab League. Mistakes are made, but the term “war crime” is now like the screech of “Racist!” Overuse by liars has robbed the concepts of their meaning.

Even though I prefer the Arab League method of dealing with slimy, dishonest, destructive organizations that don’t actually care about anything but their own funding and the privileged lifestyles of their members, I’m just a blogger. Anyone who takes up arms to fight jihadist terrorism—regardless of their rules of engagement—is a much better person than I am.



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