Monday, February 16, 2009

Perhaps They Should Have Read History

Thomas Ricks has been making the rounds of talk shows with his new book, The Gamble. I have heard him make the point that a survey of people being held in Iraq for anti-American activities frequently reported when asked that they did so for the money; that was the rationale for paying tribal groups to join the American side rather than fight as insurgents.

He also said that part of the change in tactics was for the American military not to fight for territory that they would not hold if won.

It seems to me that the ancient Persians, the Byzantines and many others were experts at splitting their enemies by making payments to one group to join in fighting against the other. History is full of people who came to grief conquering and reconquering people and territory that they could not hold.

Am I missing something?

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