Allen West: "Total War" Only Kind of Responsible War With Syria

Categories: WTFlorida
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​Congressman Allen West has had enough of these half-assed wars in the Middle East.

While West was focused mainly on Obama's spending policies at his town hall meeting in Deerfield Beach on Wednesday afternoon, he was also very critical of cuts to military funding and foreign policy interactions that he said made the U.S. look weak, particularly in China, Iran, Egypt, and Syria.

And West said the only way to wage war in Syria is just to blow the place up.

"In Syria now, you have Iranian revolutionary guards, you have al Qaeda, fighting it out on the streets. If we get involved with Syria, you better be willing to fight a total war, 'cause that's what it will take," West said. "You cannot fight a half-measure war with these very nebulous rules of engagement like we've seen in Afghanistan and Iraq and, of course, back in Vietnam."

Military historian Stephen Badsey defined "total war" pretty specifically for the BBC:
The French Revolution of 1789 had seen the first attempts to harness citizenship and patriotism to a national war effort. In the ideology of revolutionary France, young men were conscripted into the armed forces as part of their duty as citizens, but the remaining population was also expected to make personal sacrifices for the war, blurring the distinction between civilian and soldier.
Known at first as "People's War," this idea developed in the 19th century as part of a growing sense of national identity. By the middle of World War One it was known as "Total War" -- the organisation of entire societies for war in a social, economic, and even spiritual sense.
Later in the town hall, however, West immediately shot down the idea of reinstating the military draft when asked about it by a constituent:

"I don't want people that's been pressed into servitude. Because there are some kids, and you know, you seem them around here, they got orange hair, green hair," West said. "It'd be a nightmare. It'd be like what's his name, Stripes, Bill Murray. I don't want Bill Murray in the Army. I want professionals."

So it seems more likely West was talking about the part of total war in which one side tries to completely destroy the enemies' will and ability to fight. When the U.S. dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan and killed more than 150,000 people, it was total war that was used as justification.

West didn't say anything about diplomacy or nation-building or anything of the sort. He laid out what he said were grave dangers -- extremists in Egypt, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Cuba -- and said the track military spending is currently on is not the one that will leave the country prepared to defend itself.

"I say give 'em the right size of a military based on the threat that is out there, give them the tools, and give them the right type of orders and rules of engagement to go kick the enemy's ass," he said.


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15 comments
FQS9000
FQS9000

West is absolutely correct.  If American troops are going to be committed, then get the killing over as quickly as possible, as that is the only way to minimize the loss of life on both sides.  That means use overwhelming force.

This is a concept that liberals can not and will not grasp.  They always want to negotiate and take half measures.  This encourages continued resistance and drags the conflict out for years.

This is idiotic.

Ethan Oringel
Ethan Oringel

This guy is totally irresponsible. He says he protects Israel but he wants to go in and wipe Syria off the map? He is living on another planet if he thinks "total war" in Syria will help the civilian population in Israel (which directly borders Syria). Planet Psychoville. Anyone with even a BASIC understanding of the Middle East knows these facts.

brendonimise
brendonimise

WE  AS A COUNTRY WILL GAIN NOTHING ''     '

brendonimise
brendonimise

well reading all your points about this idea of total war.  yes i agree getting rid of everybody in a country limits the risk of someone riseing up and abuseing further power.  But it is wrong and dis tasetful there are innocent peoples lives at stake.  take this to heart go home and look at the ones you love and say to yourself in the mirror west.  How would you feel if your loved ones were stuck in the middle of a war that has nothing to do with them and the other side was saying wipe them all out.  the side goes both ways.  the out rage is equal.  there will only be more bloodshed.   like i said before the economy is is shit and its only getting worse.  prices are riseing.  we are already in debt how can we affored to protect ourselfs when a real threat comes along.  we wont be able to buy weapons to supply troops let alone food and clinic aid. 

Ethan Oringel
Ethan Oringel

This buffoon always talks about how he is a big supporter of Israel... Well how in the hell does he think "total war" with Syria would go for the people of Israel? Does he think Syria, Iran, Hezbollah are going to stand there and take it and not attack the people of Israel??????

You could not make a more dangerous comment for the people of Israel, and global peace for that matter, then to suggest what would amount to an open war involving the United States, Israel, and NATO partners against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their benefactors China and Russia.

What he is suggesting is literally a recipe for WORLD WAR III.... With the Israeli people living on Ground Zero.

Allen West is the most dangerous and psychotic member of the Republican Party of Fascists... and that's saying something.

Elliot Miller
Elliot Miller

I've searched the article and I find no place where West says we should "just blow the place up." Furthermore, the definition of "total War" by Stephen Badsey has nothing to do with the context of West's use of the term, so what was the point of quoting Badsey? Badsey was referring to total immersion of civilian culture in the war; West was referring to a war without "half measures" like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Viet Nam. To take that statement and link it to the "total war" of nuclear holocaust is pure sensationalism. I actually read this article because I am no fan of West and was hoping to use something he said to document war-mongering on the political Right, but truth and fairness will not allow me to use this. Sensationalism is wrong whether you are writing from the Left or from the Right

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Mr. Obama asked the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to recommend to him the deepest cuts to the Pentagon budget they could live with while remaining fully confident in the military's ability to fight two major wars and various unexpected contingencies. This they did, and Obama went with their numbers. So civilian West now knows more than the Joint Chiefs? Please. Get outta town, clown. 

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

West is the offspring of either "General Jack D. Ripper" or "General Buck Turgidson". I see he used the Deerfield Beach City Hall for his venue. The VFW must have turned him down.His recipe of perpetual war for perpetual peace is the rant of the lunatic fringe. Pour it on Patrick Murphy. Displace that looney from office. November can't come anytime too soon.

brendonimise
brendonimise

and thats why the world is going to the dogs people like that and should i say more.  the point is what you think if it happened to you and everyone and everything thing you no is gone because of some coward pushing a button/  another thing is we are not the only one with weapons of mass distruction if one goes off it will be a chain reaction untill the whole world is destroyed.  keep thinking its paying off for you.  trust me i would like nothing more then to do that but it wont solve nothinnnnng.  the economy is shit now wait till you cant even afford band aids

Fishymish
Fishymish

And your point is? The purpose of war is to break things and kill people. West is absolutely spot on (as usual).

brendonimise
brendonimise

killing every one in my opinion is imoral and sick.  the thought that there are people still like that in the world sickens many.  Havent people had enough of this cruel and unconventional way to handle the problems.  this is just a repeat attempt that will only end in more pain and devastation.  just think this happened many times in history it always ends the same.  sadam, hitler and bin laden look how the world remembers them cowards.  to take care of the problem the people need to come together to rid the world of this evil.  stand as one  and attack the problem head on.  i understand what the congressman is saying im sure we all think that its easy to wipe out a whole country rather then handle the situation.  but a genescide is not the action that should be taken.  im only 22 what do i no right. 

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

The problem with the criminal Wests idea is its the people rising up against the Syrian government.  The way he wants to deal with it is to kill everyone.  Sounds like someone else from history..who was that guy who wanted to kill an entire population?  The name escapes me..something with an H...

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

What do basic understanding of facts and Allen West have to do with each other?

Rich Abdill
Rich Abdill

West said of Syria that "you better be willing to fight a total war." That concept has two sides -- the mobilization of civilians and civilian structures to support the war effort at home, and the destruction of civilians and civilian structures supporting the war effort for the enemy. I included Badsey's definition to show the part of total war West ruled out by knocking down the draft idea, which leaves the other half -- destroying Syrian civilian infrastructure -- as the part West was endorsing.

Though you're right: It doesn't really think West is exactly agitating for war here. He was very careful to say "IF" we go to war with Syria. The town hall was more than 90 minutes long; I picked this out because West was calling for a turnaround of military strategy he indicated has been in place for more than 45 years. The U.S. has been in the "limited war" business since Korea, and West said that wouldn't be good enough anymore. Seems like a big enough deal to document.

brendonimise
brendonimise

well it has everything to do with each other because if you think about what is being said.  if he could go through with what he thinks is right it will only lead to to the problems that i and others have stated and we as a country are not prepared for the consiquences that will follow.  This whole thing is a very touchy topic that some understand and some dont.  the fact is he is not thinking with his head.  just look at the point that ethan oringel said above i totaly agree with him.

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