It seems to me, if the Romans had fed, clothed and housed the civilian population of Carthage, history would not have been written in Latin and we might be worshipping Baal. Had the Allies fed, clothed and provided medical care to the German people during WWI or WWII then we would probably be speaking German. It is patent folly and moreover stupidity to provide logistical support to an enemy in wartime. The side that engages in providing logistical support for the enemy’s civilian population may be more civilized, on some level, but is it really civilized to facilitate barbarians wiping out civilization? I, for one, like civilization!
To be human hearted is noble and civilized. We all seek human heartedness in our lives and the good among us seek to bless society with human heartedness. To have empathy for the suffering of others is the table facet of human heartedness. The suffering of people, is the worldly manifestation of evil, and so it is unconscionable. We should all seek to lower the level of suffering in the World. It is in our personal interest to do so even when that suffering seems far away.
Lets say you have a full water skein. You notice it has a leak. Does it make sense to put your hand in and plug the leak? No, your hand will displace far more water than the small leak will loose in an hour. With dubious results of actually fixing the leak. We can safely say that the repair will do more harm than the problem. If we can adhere some material to the outside, temporarily, we can use the skein until it is empty then we can repair it properly.
The same is true of human suffering. It doesn’t make sense to magnify suffering, to diminish it, especially when it creates much more misery then the original problem would have. The intervention in Libya is an example. Had the war ended months ago, (as it would have), the suffering would be over and the people would be rebuilding. But the intervention, to fix a problem of suffering, has led to far more suffering, now the Elite must save face, so the war goes on…
Lets examine the misery in Somalia today. The war and a drought have led to… hard to believe… a famine. Apparently, a state of perpetual warfare and a people who rely on a mix of subsistence farming and international handouts, is not a path to prosperity. The International community is sending aid. Mostly Britain and the US. But the war with the radical Islamic movement, Al Shabab, is hampering efforts to feed clothe and provide medical assistance to the civilians under the control of Al Shabab.
Meanwhile people are starving who are not within the sphere of influence of Al Shabab. Why not simply feed the people who do not support Al Shabab? Why is it so important to provide logistical support for the radical Islamist movement trying to conquer the country and instill Sharia? Why not defeat them first then feed the people who emerge. To provide medical supplies, food, and other essentials, to the civilians under a tyrannical military is not feeding the people, it is feeding their tormentors. The supplies will never get to the people and if some does it will be seized and sent to the fighters extra will be sold to provide ammo and guns.
The food sent to Al Shabab will also be a terrific recruitment tool for them. Join and you will be fed. Not hard to comprehend. No way that could be a bad thing huh? Until the war is over and the country has a functional State, that can protect the property of the people, there will be no end to the famines. Providing logistical support to the civilians within the sphere of influence of Al Shabab will only lead to more war, famine and suffering and perhaps, Al Shabab’s victory. Doesn’t it make sense to provide support for the free people of Somalia and eschew supporting Al Shabab?
In the longer term the answer to permanently ending the cyclic famine in Somalia, is to defeat Al Shabab and establish a stable government. Then keep regulation low, taxes low, and keep a tight grip on public servants and government with a NUMA. If this is done the economy of Somalia will grow rapidly. Industrializing Somalia will break the cycle of famine there forever. What could be more human hearted than that?
When a country or ideology is engaged in an existential war then that ideology or country must engage in war. This is simply the framework of reality we have to work within. Civilized suicide is a sin. The loss of civilization to barbarism compounds the vice and is no virtue no matter the intentions. Clausewitz would be indignant at the notion of providing logistical support to the enemy population during wartime. Hsun Tzu would be clicking his tongue like a school marm at a rascally student…
By the way, “Death to Carthage!”