Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Strange Logic in the Lebanon War - article by Daniel Pipes

In this article Daniel Pipes picks up on an interesting historic reversal in the way warring parties wish to be perceived both by their own citizens and by their enemies.

Referring to how both Israel and Hezbollah try to highlight the damage each has received:
But this phenomenon of each side parading its pain and loss inverts the historic order, whereby each side wants to intimidate the enemy by appearing ferocious, relentless, and victorious. In World War II, for instance, the U.S. Office of War Information prohibited the publication of films or photographs showing dead American soldiers for the first two years of fighting, and then only slightly relented. Meanwhile, its Bureau of Motion Pictures produced movies like "Our Enemy Â? The Japanese," showing dead bodies of Japanese and scenes of Japanese deprivation.

Proclaiming one's prowess and denigrating the enemy's has been the norm through millennia of Egyptian wall paintings, Greek vases, Arabic poetry, Chinese drawings, English ballads, and Russian theater. Why have combatants (and their allies in the press) now reversed this age-old and universal pattern, downplaying their own prowess and promoting the enemy's?

Because of the unprecedented power enjoyed by America and its allies. ...

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