Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fighting Like Girls

Great piece.

It begins thusly:

Anyone who has ever been in a schoolyard can see that boys and girls deal with conflict in diametrically different ways. When boys have a problem with each other, the cause of the feud is usually well known to both parties, and they tend to confront one another directly, often physically. The worst insult a boy can endure is to be told that he fights like a girl. While such battles can be violent, they are also short-lived. The victor often offers his hand and helps the defeated boy from the ground. More often then not, the fight is forgotten within days and the boys resume their friendship as if nothing had ever happened.

Girls, on the other hand, fight more subversive battles. Instead of confronting one another directly, they will wage a covert war by spreading rumors and ostracizing the object of their current anger. Very often, one party has no idea what caused the rift and may not even know that there is a war until she is blindsided by an unexpected attack, usually coming from another girl claiming to be her friend. Girls also tend to hold grudges and feuds can last for an interminable length of time. The attacks are often personal and aimed at emotional vulnerabilities as opposed to physical ones. Any parent of a middle-school age daughter can tell you that the focus of girls in grades 5-8 is to make each other miserable, and they are very good at it.

The Western way of war is rooted in the male style of fighting and is very much the way the United States has dealt with defeated enemies in the past. Confront them directly, hit them hard, and then give them the helping hand to rebuild and become an ally. Warfare has a set of rules, both written and unwritten, and there is the unspoken understanding that both sides will fight “like gentlemen.” An enemy who refuses to fight that way is often viewed as weak and too scared to “come out and fight like men.” In other words, they fight around the edges like girls.

The Global War on Terrorism is just such a war...

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