Was just googling to find Gary Brecher (the War Nerd), and found a great interview. Two of my favorite writers: Steve Sailer interviews the War Nerd for UPI. A choice quote: "Get it straight: massacres are normal, battles are unusual."
Q. When journalists [describe] various wars in Africa as 'senseless,' are they making sense?As a fellow war nerd, I say read it all. Brecher is funny, which is why people read him, but what's he's saying is not funny. And it's more applicable now than ever, what with the Iraq situation.
A. That's the best question you asked. No, it's absolute BS but nobody calls them on it. If you guys were doing your job, they couldn't get away with it, but they do. When Kristof says 'senseless,' he means he doesn't WANT TO KNOW about it. He won't even try to think like the people doing the fighting. Try doing that and see if it still seems senseless.
Here you've got one kind of war, the 'sensible' kind with uniforms, 'rules of war,' and big battles like Jena or Verdun. That kind means you stand up and walk into cannon fire, grapeshot or machine-gun fire and massed artillery, and all you get out of it is a few dollars a month, and if you decide to quit on your own, they hang you. How is that sensible?
Now take African war. You have these neighbors you hated since forever, and you decide to do something about it. You get together quiet with the rest of your tribe and jump the enemy village while they're sleeping and kill everybody except maybe the cute girls, then you take all their stuff and burn their houses and take the girls home to be slaves.
Maybe I'm crazy, but that sure makes more sense to me than getting your head blown off for the glory of king and country.