Where are we going, in our wars, and why?
An interesting comparison can be made to today's wars by citing the American Revolution. Although most Colonial elements did wear uniforms of a recognizable format, it was in the main a guerilla type war, and the British lost because, among other things, primarily they did not adapt to the war presented to them, strategically or tactically. A bit strange since they were fighting the very soldiers who fought for them in the French and Indian Wars, and certainly were aware of guerilla tactics. They suffered the fate of a force underestimating its enemy, and one without full support of it's public at home. We did not "beat" them at every turn, but we did "win" the war. That is the nature of guerilla war.
Today we face a multinational enemy, not a nationalist enemy (no matter who tries to paint that picture), camouflaged by lack of uniforms, and one comprised of a fanatical religious affiliation, rather than a purely nationalist instinct. The fanatics are the minority, with influence over and above their numbers. They will and are attacking there own people as well as the "foreign" occupiers. World opinion seems to hold us to Geneva Conventions, while absolving the enemy from any similar conventions. For example: What do you think the world opinion and uproar would be if US & Brit forces began beheading captives on television? Alternatively, why isn't there such a clamor against the insurgency for doing exactly that? Muslim fanatics blow up each others' Mosques, and manage to somehow make it appear like it is our fault. Would you consider that to be legitimate "popular" strife if Baptists were blowing up Episcopal churches, and vice versa, back here? Would you turn you back on the majority of Episcopals and Baptists, saying it is none of our affair?
These fanatics, with their 8th Century system advocacy , are wholly incapable of inventing so much as an egg beater or dishwasher, independently, but manage to use our technology against us.... i.e. television. Now they are importing shape charge technology from those other terrorist states who have copied it from us. They literally are one step removed from cooking over goat turd fires, but are cunning enough to beat us with our own stick, knowing we will not return the favor in kind with determination. All the Viet Minh, later the Viet Cong, and subsequently the NVA, had to do to control a village was to march in and public ally slaughter in gruesome fashion the head man and maybe a few others, with the message clearly given that they can always reach out and get you (the villagers) while the foreigners will leave you and not defend you in the end. Hello? It was both a nationalistic endeavor, as well as a political conquest, which is what made it confusing to the peaceniks. The intention of fanatical political agendas is not independence, but subjugation. We were fed a steady diet of comparing the vicious guerilla enemy with the corrupt Mandarin like ally. We ultimately decided that it was not worth the trouble, they were after all, only yellow people....who cares if they are ruled by corrupt Mandarins or Communists?
This same self interested fanatical enemy of today will oppose us where ever it can, right now that is Iraq and Afghanistan, with feints and gestures elsewhere....and trust me, 9/11 was merely a feint, no matter how gruesome. It caused us to go to the enemy, as it should have, but upon arrival we are not letting the military do its total job, still making the same errors the British did in the American Revolution...that of looking down upon and under estimating the enemy, and adhering to the ethical notion that "we are better than that" in terms of tactics. The Brits lined up like duck pins in the 1700's for the same reasons. They lost.
We do not need to begin slitting throats on television, we have the means to be equally forceful without the personal horror of that gesture. Those who feel that they'd rather give up than support that kind of grim effort, are doing so from the comfort of their safe homes (viewing others as literally the "unworthy ")....how will they feel if (and possibly when) the battle is at their doorstep, in their neighborhood, on their own block? It is a "pay me now, or pay me later proposition", there is no immunity, and distance is no longer a barrier. All warfare since Sherman's march to the sea has been about destroying enemy resources, and the reality of that is that towns, men, women and children are resources, particularly in guerilla war, where the logistics are endemic, not systemic. So long as we refuse, as a civilian public, to acknowledge that Mao Zehdong was right about guerilla war, not to mention Cochise, Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Quana Parker, et. al., on up thru Che Guevera, Nugyen Vo Giap, Ho Chi Minh, and Pol Pot, who himself was crushed by Nugyen Vo Giap subsequent to 1975 (reference: "Brother Enemy" by Nayan Chanda) in a confrontation dating back to 1066. We will allow the enemy to sustain its offensive by allowing it to retain its endemic resources, garnered by instilling more fear of them than of us. Most any teacher will tell you that before you teach, you must gain the attention of the students. And you must gain their trust....right now the enemy is telling the population that we cannot be trusted to see it through, that we will cut and run eventually, and then it's "pay me now, or pay me later." Pol Pot executed his own people en mass for things as little as wearing glasses...e.g., for the sin of education. The same psychological phenomena is at play today. It is the ultimate form of prejudice and bigotry to ignore it ...fear can motivate choices that are seen as the lesser of horrors, but still horrors , if you are abandoned to that fate.
We believe, ethically, that putting our soldiers and marines on trial for "war crimes" shows our morality. Okay. Meanwhile, the enemy is laughing his ass off and using our very gesture to prove to their public that we are weak and do not have the fortitude to stay the course. They systematically slaughter their own people every single day, 365 days a year, and there is little hue and cry from the international community , let alone our anti-war elite. Academics grimace and explain away places like Darfur, and previously Uganda and Somalia, with tomes about cultural anthropology. Pure bigotry. The military has a dozen or so men perhaps get untracked over the same 365 day period, and the screaming is endless. You can't really know, unless you were there with them, with certainty, whether they were "under the apprehension that their lives were in danger." Go figure. This is not a video game, but we seem determined to act like it is one. We are willing to believe the worst without an large body of evidence, in fact, we do it based upon hearsay. Nearly half the nation voted for John Kerry in the last election, even though it is indisputable that he lied to Congress (The Winter Soldier Testimony) and testified to criminal acts by US soldiers in Vietnam that he never saw, and never had any direct knowledge of himself. He lied. He said what he knew they wanted to hear. He held up hearsay and 3rd and 4th party war stories as history in fact. A public bought the story, and the line, if My Lai was true, then everything else is true. How'd you like to fly in an airplane designed with the same false logic applied to engineering design?
I came of age, so to speak, in the 1960's. Knowing what was really happening was critical to my life, literally. The television news showed me bodies coming home, they did not show me the virtual gutting of the Viet Cong by the failed Tet Offensive. I did not enlist, rather than be drafted, because I was suicidal. Canada was 5 minutes away from my front door. I participated in countless debates and discussion and read continuously. I read "Street Without Joy" before I went in to the Army. I was laboring under no misconceptions about what lay ahead. I was very lucky. I didn't wind up as an infantry grunt. I did see combat. I came home. It didn't take a great deal of insight to realize that those infantry grunts paid a price for the privileges of us all. The decision to go at all was basically, I understood, that I could "Pay now, or pay later."
In that regard, nothing has changed.
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