I received in private response to my Spine, "War All The Time," a missive from a trusted and probingly smart old friend, who has spent his career as a cardiac surgeon at one of the Harvard teaching hospitals. In his retirement he is helping bring a local hospital up to teaching standards and beyond. This is a committed life.

His observations about the world around us are--not that I want to be cute--scalpel sharp and incisive. And, in this comment below, he argues that our methods of warfare and of diplomacy are simply not matched to the provocations.  I invite readers to respond to his argument, a very important argument, indeed.

For those who think wishfully that we are not at war, I refer you to Phillip Bobbitt's "Terror and Consent: the Wars for the Twenty-first Century", the follow-on tour-de-force that followed "The Shield of Achilles". Bobbitt's masterful explication of the nexus of strategy, war, and governance is must reading for every serious person with an interest in political philosophy. The epoch of massed armies of nation-states battling over vast spaces ended with Peace of Paris in 1989. That "Treaty" ended the 20th century's Long War (1911-1989) with the triumph of parliamentary governance over fascism and communism. The new world of market states is now fighting a new war between states of consent and those who would deny the legitimacy of consent. Now, as in the past 6 centuries, terrorists (or pirates in other ages) will duplicate the forms of the predominant governing states ( now market states). In other words, we are experiencing a war with a transnational ideologically driven enemy. It is global in reach (like our transnational market organizations), but with local franchises (ditto), using our own technology and forms. By almost any definition, it is war, just not what we've thought of as war in the past 150 years. there will be no signing of an instrument of surrender on a battleship, and the war may last years. the only TRUE difference in this one is that the opponent's main war aims are the terrorizing of civilians, and the weapons (in which there already is a "market") are capable of inflicting immense damage, or even destroying the integrity of "states of consent".