Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Battle of the Somme Versus the Iraq War

During the First World War, the Battle of the Somme, fought by the armies of the British Empire and the French Third Republic against the German Empire, began on July 1, 1916. On this single day of intense fighting, the British side suffered 57,470 casualties (worst in the history of the British army), out of which 19,240 died. But there were no calls for ending the battle in Britain and France. The battle went on for four months (till November 18, 1916 ) leading to over a million casualties on both sides, and the war itself continued for another two years. 

The majority of the people in the USA and the UK turned against the Iraq war when about 3000 of their soldiers died. In the twenty-first century, for good or for bad, the West is no longer the ruthless fighting machine that it used to be till the first half of the twentieth century. The twenty-first century Westerners are not willing to die in the name of a “Holy War” or “to save their nation” in large numbers. Yet they want to be regarded as a superpower—this is a sign of hubris. To be a superpower, you have to be prepared to make super-sacrifices. 

I have never supported the Western military interventions in the Middle East in the last two decades, because I knew that the West could not win against an old oriental civilization defending its home turf. But the point is that the people in the West thought that they could win these wars without suffering any casualty. They thought that a war is like a video game.

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