This saying is not original with Byrd (neither Sensing nor MOAA say it is), but has been around (in this form) at least since 2004. Both pro-war and anti-war commentators seem to be using the phrase. The former use it to try to raise the consciousness of the American public to get more people behind the war (i.e., to judge the war a good and proper thing for the nation to pursue). The latter use it to push a domestic agenda of higher taxes and controls on society – that’s what we did in WW2’s total war, isn’t it?
I’m one of those oddballs who think it’s a good thing our nation isn’t at war – just our military. Those who remember (and yearn for?) the total war of WW2 are thinking of something that would produce such a degree of overkill weâ€™d become pariahs in the eyes of the world – and if we did so the world would be right.
Assuming the war in Iraq is moral â€“ fighting a total war, i.e., a war that mobilizes our whole country and all our national resources, would totally obliterate the Muslim world. That’s what total war does. It doesn’t focus our wrath and resources on only the tank, terrorist or division of either arrayed against us. Rather, total war mobilizes a nation to fight another nation to utterly destroy their capacity and will to make war. OUR capacity â€“ in terms of military and economy â€“ so dwarfs anything Al Qaeda and any of their adjuncts can ever hope to have, that we MUST engage in finesse and great self-restraint. This is difficult, but necessary – if we want to maintain the semblence of morality as we do so.
Please donâ€™t wish total war on anyone. Certainly donâ€™t propose it as an advance in morality or national policy. And don’t rile up the American people to want such a war. Just because Al Qaeda and the Wahabbi preachers are doing it doesn’t make it right.