In Praise of Attrition

    7 January 2005, late at night

This article, In Praise of Attrition was in the December issue of Harper’s—well sort of anyway. Basically, Harpers just took sentances here and there from the essay and stuck them together to make a shorter essay. I wonder if they do this all the time in their ‘Readings’ section?

There is no indication that the essay they present in the magazine isn’t the essay I linked to here. Harper’s mentions in the magazine that their essay is ”... from In Praise of Attrition, by Ralph Peters…” as opposed to actually being In Praise of Attrition. Haper’s took bits and pieces throughout the essay to make a new one—that doesn’t sit right with me. I would think that if you are quoting from another work, which is really what Harper’s has done here, you would select some contiguous block of text as your shorter ‘essay’. There are no ’...’ to mark where text is missing; we are simply shown what looks to be a short essay on war. The essay Harper’s presents is the equivalent of a Hard Copy or Daily Show interview.

Mind you, both articles are fucked up. To sum up the essays, the military stratergy the US needs to adopt is: killing as many people in as violent a fashion as they can.

This essay does not suppose that warfare is simple: “Just go out and kill ’em.”

Trust me, it does. This essay is all about how killing is the only effective means in which to win a war. I suppose that should really be thought of as some sort of axiom of war.

Consider our enemies in the War on Terror. Men who believe, literally, that they are on a mission from God to destroy your civilization and who regard death as a promotion are not impressed by elegant maneuvers. You must find them, no matter how long it takes, then kill them. If they surrender, you must accord them their rights under the laws of war and international conventions. But, as we have learned so painfully from all the mindless, left-wing nonsense spouted about the prisoners at Guantanamo, you are much better off killing them before they have a chance to surrender.

This quote was cut from the Harper’s essay; the emphasis is mine.



  1. I can’t read essays like those without screaming: what is WRONG with you !!

    ”... better off killing them before they have a chance to surrender …” WTF

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