Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and a Fox News strategic analyst. He is also the author of a column that advocates waging wars without any regard for the most basic tenets of human morality. The article, Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars, for the neo-con Journal of International Security Affairs, argues that anything goes in warfare, and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt or what violations of international law you commit.
“As our enemies’ view of what is permissible in war expands apocalyptically, our self-limiting definitions of allowable targets and acceptable casualties – hostile, civilian and our own – continue to narrow fatefully. [...] Instead of agonizing over a fatal mistake made by a young Marine at a roadblock, we must return to the fundamental recognition that the greatest ‘war crime’ the United States can commit is to lose.”
That statement is ridiculous on its face. Losing, while not on anyone’s list of goals, is not a war crime at all. But gassing six million innocents is. Peters is conflating tactics with conclusions to make a point that would shame a lobotomized imbecile. His view, which justifies the killing of non-combatants, women, children, allies. and even our own troops, is a perfect example of just how depraved the warmongering hawks on the right have become. It is a view that goes a long way toward explaining how conservatives can tolerate, and even endorse, torture. But Peters goes even farther than condemning to fate the unfortunates who have to fight wars or reside in proximity to them. Peters has come out as an advocate of directly attacking the media, whom he regards as “killers without guns.” On this Peters says:
- Today, the United States and its allies will never face a lone enemy on the battlefield. There will always be a hostile third party in the fight, but one which we not only refrain from attacking but are hesitant to annoy: the media.
- Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar.
- Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”
Peters doesn’t bother to qualify these outrageous remarks, so I suppose that he would condone this tactic being carried out either on battlefield correspondents or in Manhattan newsrooms. Presumably he would support Marines advancing on television studios in New York and Washington and slaughtering everyone from the anchors to the interns. After all, if they are just “lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar,” why should they be afforded any mercy?
This is not an academic debate, either. The media has too often been the target of military attacks. This is what happens when you permit your values to be weakened by fear and vengeance. Peters justifies this repulsive strategy by asserting that, since our enemies have no ethical barrier to inhumane conduct, we shouldn’t be constrained by it either. Then Peters anticipates the obvious response to his paean to barbarism:
“In closing, we must dispose of one last mantra that has been too broadly and uncritically accepted: the nonsense that, if we win by fighting as fiercely as our enemies, we will ‘become just like them.’”
Peters then proceeds to refute the premise by asking if the bombing of Dresden in WWII made us like the Nazis. The problem with his construction is that it isn’t comparable. To be accurate, he should ask if we were to have built concentration camps wherein we starved, tortured, and murdered prisoners, would that have made us like Nazis. The answer is quite obviously, yes. And, unfortunately for Peters, that is precisely what he is proposing. When he says that we ought to fight as “fiercely” as our enemies, he means that we ought to be as neglectful of humane principles as the terrorists we are battling.
When moral degenerates like Peters mouth off about abandoning the values that have made our nation great, one would hope that no one would listen. But Peters has managed to secure for himself a platform that reaches millions of the already deluded – Fox News viewers. I just wonder if Peters would extend his philosophy to the Fox studios when the Marines are dispatched to kill him and his pals in the media.