Conservatives have correctly accused of Obama of being unwilling to utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” If you won’t even identify your enemy, there is no way you can defeat it.
However, those conservatives who increasingly call for more boots on the ground are equally as guilty of dishonesty. It is time to state the obvious, to speak the truth:
Wars in the middle east, against radical Islam, cannot be won; not because we lack the military strength, but rather because we lack the political will to kill enough of the enemy to defeat it.
George Santayana taught us that “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”
So let us briefly (and yes, admittedly….simplistically) revisit several examples from our own recent history.
During WW II, the western democracies confronted two evil regimes: Germany and Japan. Both countries were led by madmen. Both nations committed atrocities on a previously unimaginable scale. Both regimes enjoyed considerable support from most of the populace. And studies have shown that both regimes had a hard core, near fanatical support base of about 10% of the population.
We defeated both nations, at a cost of almost one million Americans killed and wounded. We did so by completely destroying both nations, eliminating their ability to wage war. In the process, we killed millions of the enemy, and millions more “innocent” civilians; many who supported the regimes up until the surrender.
And then we accomplished a near miracle, and did it twice. We completely reconstructed both countries, and turned them into model democracies.
Thus, the myth of “nation building” as an instrument of our foreign policy was born.
But we have forgotten the two key lessons of that successful exercise:
1. You can’t rebuild something unless and until you first demolish it. You cannot construct a new house on a rotten, broken foundation.
2. In war, people die, often civilians. You cannot let fear of that fact shape and define how you conduct war to achieve the ultimate goal.
Yes, millions of Japanese and German civilians died in the bombings and the battles. Yet how many millions of its own citizens had both regimes killed? How many millions more would they have killed had they not been defeated. ? And more to the point: Since the end of WW II, how many hundreds of millions of Germans and Japanese have enjoyed the benefits of democracy; of living in freedom?
So, there’s the calculus. You do the math. Was it worth it?
I would submit that every German and Japanese born since 1945 would say yes.
During the Vietnam War, LBJ and Robert Strange (and was ever a man more aptly named?) McNamara threw away 58,000 American lives because they lacked the political will to wage war. Talk about micromanaging: the two would meet each day in the Oval Office, review the strike photos, and decide what and where to bomb the next day:
And we thus ended up with the incredible scenario of Soviet cargo ships freely unloading war supplies in Haiphong harbor, where they would then be sent down the Ho Chi Minh trail and used to kill American troops. Even worse, we then sent out planes to kill trucks, and lost many pilots in these actions.
The longest conventional war of the 20th century was the Iraq-Iran war, from 1980-1988. Probably 99% of Americans today have no idea that it ever happened, let alone why. Even while it was ongoing, it barely was covered by the MSM. Casualty estimates range from one to two million killed on both sides. We will likely never know the real numbers, for lives were meaningless to both sides.
Saddam established huge minefields on the border areas. The Iranian military at the time lacked modern weapons, but had an abundance of manpower. They adopted the failed strategies of WW I, and sent human waves toward the Iraqi positions. But they went one better. Why waste a soldier, when instead, you can send a child ahead…the canary in the coal mine..to detonate the mines. Tens of thousands of Iranian families willingly, nay happily send their children to their deaths.
This is the mindset of the enemy we face today.
In many ways, that war presaged all that has happened since in the Middle East. The eternal conflict between the two factions of Islam; Shia and Sunni has now morphed into a geopolitical war.
During the Iraq war, our troops were forced to operate under rules of engagement that were so shaped by political correctness that they cost hundreds, if not thousands of lives.
The most telling example, for me ( and I wish I could find the clip) is of Marines passing a mosque, taking fire from the minarets, and forbidden to return fire, and then we actually see an RPG launched from the minaret.
Today, the latest “cri de coeur” concerns the hospital bombing in Afghanistan. Many want to hold us to an impossible standard. Yet the horrific murders of thousands of Christians are ignored. Hideous atrocities against women and children don’t rate more than a #hashtag.
We have to recognize, and accept, that wars cannot be fought, and won, that way.
Germany and Japan had a combined population of some 150,000,000 at the start of WW II. Total deaths, both civilian and military, were about 11,000,000.
Today there are some 1.5 BILLION Muslims in the world. Many, some say a majority, (as shown in multiple polls) willingly embrace many of the more radical aspects, such as Sharia law. Some 10% are believed to be highly radicalized.
And that’s the mathematics of the problem. The really, really bad calculus of war.
Simply put, we have to be willing to kill a lot more of the enemy, and yes, that cost includes many innocent lives, in order to win.
Otherwise, if we are not prepared to do so, it is not worth one more American life.
And to conservatives who advocate for more “boots on the ground,” I say “have you no shame?” To send one more troop into the area without a willingness to seek victory is nothing short of criminal.
There is a means to victory, if only we have the political will to seek it. Here’s one possibility.
1. Bomb all of Iran’s nuclear sites. And keep on bombing them.
2. Bomb all of the ISIS and Al Qeda sites.
Heavy bombardment, not the pinprick, so called “surgical strikes” that do nothing.
Announce that if Iran retaliates in any way whatsoever…missile launches or terrorists strikes, then we will immediately bomb and destroy ALL of their civilian airports: Tehran, Abadan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, and Isfahan.
And if they still continue attacks, or supporting the Islamic radicals, then we next will destroy their train stations in major cities, and the electrical grid.
And at the same time, target their political and military leadership. They want to be martyrs…let’s accommodate them.
Yes, thousands, maybe tens of thousands..many innocent, will be killed and injured.
So what? What’s the worst that can happen? A big, collective, howling and screaming from the left…
We tell “world opinion” and 99% of the UN to collectively go and piss up a rope. The American people will support it, and indeed, much of the western world will acquiesce, if not agree with it.
Possibly the Iranian civilian populace will rise up and overthrow the Mullahs. It might have happened years ago, had Obama the guts to support the reform movements inside the country.
Yes, tens of thousands will die, but tens of thousands, nay…hundreds of thousands more, will live.
The difference this time, the game changer, is that Iran is very close to achieving a nuclear capability. And if that happens, all bets are off.
Personally, I would rather see 100,000 Iranians die than 1 million Israelis.
But I do not want to see one more American killed or wounded while Obama continues to play golf.
So, then..there’s the Hobson’s choice. Kill perhaps 100,000 now, and end much of the violence and mayhem in the region..and save tends of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives, each and every year going forward, and maybe, just maybe, see if they are in fact capable of governing themselves freely; or
Let the carnage continue, and this time risk a nuclear catastrophe.