Monday, February 06, 2006

Update: Victor Hanson's Carnage and Culture

Got about a hundred and twenty pages into it over the weekend. Must reading for history buffs, military or otherwise. Caveat, as one starts a new chapter, skip ahead a few pages to the simple maps of the battlefield...makes reading the battle descriptions much easier to follow.

The premise is that democratic citizens wage war better than any other type of culture...the Greek's winn at Salamis (after Thermopylae), Alexander kicking Darius's butt at Guagamela. Even in the loss of 70-80,000 Romans to a far outnumbered Hannibal at Cannae, Hanson shows how those fighting for democratic ideals perform better (in this case outcome notwithstanding) than their counterparts under a tyrant.

Coincidentally, I read this from Hanson at today:

"So is Europe now finally at the front or will they retreat Madrid-like in the face of the inevitable second round of terrorist bombings and threats to come?

"Americans are not confident, but we should remember at least one simple fact: Europe is the embryo of the entire Western military tradition. The new European Union encompasses a population greater than the United States and spans a continent larger than our own territory. It has a greater gross domestic product than that of America and could, in theory, field military forces as disciplined and as well equipped as our own."

The article is a breath of fresh air follwing his and Mark Steyn's recent pieces on the EU.

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