THE BLOG
09/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Using Money To Make Peace -- Toward A New Kind of Warfare

OK, laugh.

But we are pouring lives and billions down the drain all over the world and money could accomplish a whole lot more with less expense and fewer (or even no) lost lives.

I'm serious. Dig this.

In Pakistan they figure if they more than double certain sorts of aid (the kind that educates people not to be terrorists) it becomes economically viable for corrupt officials to gravitate to our side. Yes, I am talking bribery. Carrots. The point is, it is cheaper than making weapons and training soldiers to become targets. And I bet it accomplishes more.

I propose a contest.

Try using money for a month to do what you want to get done militarily. Compare the costs. I will bet you that a million spread here and there, say to build a needed bridge or purchase 100 donkeys or buy some seeds, will outperform a bunch of soldiers with guns every time. You get what you want on the cheap.

I am not saying disband the service. I am saying have a fair contest. If money (aka smart bribery, aka targeted help) works better than ammo and soldiers, then turn the soldiers into smart bribers. It's that simple.

Money has worked forever to buy peace, it just has not penetrated the military mind or, for that matter, the political mind. If we can bail out a bunch of Wall Street good for nothings with billions, we can surely risk this experiment.

Face it, you will do the same thing I am proposing anyway. The only problem is you will combine it with military stuff and that will more than cancel out the positive effects. You will say you are doing the money thing, but you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Get the hell out of AfPak militarily. Stop playing that this is a war. It is a slow suicide mission. Every military thing you do strengthens the will of a proud and stubborn people. How smart do you need to be to figure that out?

Nope.

Go the cash route. Cash with strings. Cash with observers -- soldiers who are learning to function in some other way than as killers and targets. I am not saying do not defend against the Taliban. Sure, set up a perimeter that is clearly not part of an offensive maneuver. Or begin to withdraw to the point that it will be obvious that you do not intend to fight.

President Obama is very wrong on one single point. (I never say such things. You read this and forget it.) He is wrong in saying that the only way we can stop Al Qaeda is by doing what we are doing, wasting millions of dollars and daily lives on a pipe dream. The way to stop Osama and Company is with a combination or ridicule and proportional retaliation for any actual attacks.

For example, if Osama, or whoever is in charge, launches a killing attack somewhere, do something bad enough in the area where the planning is going on so that they will think twice about their strategy. No one is going to fault a proportional response. A teargas in the caves sort of thing.

What we have now is not proportional. It is silly.

We need to unite geeks and soldiers and play this like a non-lethal war game. Money has a value. It can be used to achieve lots of things. We are pouring it down a bottomless drain if we think we can win AfPak without going through a major attitude adjustment.

Other discredited ideas can be found on my blog at http://stephencrose.wordpress.com