Sunday, March 2, 2008


". . . the essential decency of the American fighting forces -- a fact we need to affirm unapologetically today in the face of jihadist propaganda, and as one principal manifestation of the superiority (yes) of the culture and civilization that we are defending."
--Robert Spencer

With what do we, in the civilized world, concern ourselves mostly? what do we spend the most time wrangling about--in the halls of Congress, in endless hearings? Whom do we grill, drag into courts--military or civilian?

All of the foregoing being done while carrying out this war against the Islamic jihad that threatens to overwhelm and enslave us?

Is it our enemies? The apprehended jihadists---whether here or abroad--whom we torment?

No! We bend over backwards to give our enemies the benefit of the doubt.

What worries us most is whether we can stay on the high moral road while fighting an enemy that recognizes no morality except that of forcing Islam upon all those not already ensnared by that cult--an ideology based on unreason, a fragmentary and poorly understood aping of two existing religions--not ideologies.

We are trying to hold on to this "moral high ground," against an enemy who disregards all the compacts and conventions formulated to make war more "civilized," an enemy whose most sacred text counsels breaking cease-fires, deceit at all costs. While we are doing this, we are losing sight of what warfare is all about: survival--winning.

No, we do not want to sink to the level of our enemies, to become savages--again (because before the introduction of Judeo-Christian morality, war was a no-holds-barred affair).

But we (Western Civilization) are being ridiculous about what worries us most, as we continue fighting the savages who attacked us--again--using the establishment of Israel as a ready excuse. There were plane hijackings and murder of children, women and civilian men, and then the signal that Islam was on the warpath--once again--with the takeover of the US Embassy in Teheran, Iran.

Islamic attacks against us followed after our non-response to this act of war on the part of the Iranian ayatollahs.

By now, the Islamic jihad against us--Western Civilization (Islam is not a civilization, it is a catastrophe [naqba])--is in full swing. And what outrages us the most?

The killing of near 3000 innocent civilians in New York by jihadists? Blowing up of our embassies in Africa? Blowing a hole into one of our warships, unprovokes, with casualties of our naval personnel? Killing our U.S. Marines in Lebanon--uprovoked, sent there as peacekeepers--to save Moslem lives?

No. These incidents passed, while we sighed, mourning our losses, and in the greatest outrage of all--the 9-11 attack--unduly concerned that the members of the ideology living here, in our country, were safe from what could have been an enraged citizenry.

Beheadings of our people, caused us to shake our heads in disbelief that such savage acts could happen today--the 21st Century. Were we outraged? Not really.

What brought us to flaming outrage was Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the monitoring of jihadists phone conversations (some of the jihadists perhaps US citizens!).

Marines and soldiers face courts-martial , often based on the words of people that could or could not be enemies (all being of the same ideological persuasion of our enemies).

All is needed is that one of the co-cultists of the jihadists bring charges against our military personnel and we get in a tizzy.

We are worrying about the wrong things. In war--and this is war, although too few of us seem to realize it--winning is the only thing.

(Lest you'd rather be dead, knowing before you got that way, that you and your fellow citizens were traipsing along the moral high road.)

Photo: HH-60H Seahawk. Its weapons system includes Hellfire missiles, 2 GAU-17 mini-guns and a Forward Looking Infrared imaging system with LASER designator. The crew deploy SEALs,and fly behind enemy lines for rescues and combat support.

The flag being displayed is the first U.S. Navy Jack. Since 1977, the First U.S. Navy Jack adorns the oldest active duty warship. The USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 serving in the Persian Gulf currently holds this distinguished honor.


MORE . . .

Case in point of the meticulous investigation of any action on part of our fighting personnel is the shooting of three Islamic jihadists enemy combatants in a mosque complex by a Marine corporal. The Marines had been under fire from the mosque, and during the clearing operation of the main mosque building. One of the jihadist combatants appeared dead, but his left arm was hidden behind his head. The corporal, familiar with the jihadist tactic of feigning death and subsequently killing Marines, made certain that the jihadist--who appeared to be dead--was dead.

The shooting of the jihadist enemy combatant was captured on video tape by an embedded reporter. The video clip caused an outcry for an investigation into the incident.

The value of "embedded reporters" with our combat forces is dubious to say the least. The anti-military orientation of some of these "embeddeds" may cause them to act as self-styled "neutral" observers--with an axe to grind--and have them take on the role of civilian "enforcers" of the Rules of Engagement (ROE).

The investigation by the Marine Corps was exhaustive--and to my mind unhelpful to the morale of combat troops. Shooting an enemy jihadist who either was feigning death--or was dead--to protect Marines from a deadly threat only became a "celebrated cause" because the embedded reporter decded to make it so.

You can read the Marine Corps Press Release--a short one-page writeup--at

Well worth your time.





From RULES OF ENGAGEMENT -- There [Iraq]

For the insurgents, Iraq has become a war without rules, and yet the militants also score big propaganda victories every time Americans break their own codes of warfare. In the battle for Fallujah the insurgents feigned surrender, waving white flags to approach within killing range of U.S. Marines and Iraqi government forces. They positioned their fighters in mosques, medical centers and civilian neighborhoods. They booby-trapped their fallen comrades' corpses and shot at crews trying to collect the Muslim dead. Practically every taboo has been discarded.


As so many say so well, the object of war is for our troops to kill people and break things, not to be emasculated by these godawful rules of engagement. These ROE, as the military calls them, should be to permit the most efficient killing of people and breaking of things, not to prevent getting hurt--or even worse, not to hurt the poor enemy.

* * *

. . an embedded reporter with our own surging troops in Iraq reported on National Public Radio that our troops chased a very bad guy, a big time leader of the bad guys in Sunni Iraq, into a mosque. Did they go get him? Of course not. Why not? Rules of engagement. The reporter never stated what happened to the bad guy, which leads everyone to "know" that he got away to kill Americans again

Death by Rules of Engagement

fromSixth Column (a.k.a., Brush Fires of Freedom, 15May07)

from We have the technology to defeat any enemy in the world . . .but . . .

Although many military personnel may support the Iraq war, and although war is inherently distressing, Washington’s immoral policies necessitate putting our troops in an impossible situation. The reported attitudes of combat troops in Iraq can be understood as the natural reaction of individuals thrust into that situation.
* * *
According to the report: "More than one-third of all Soldiers and Marines continue to report being in threatening situations where they were unable to respond due to the Rules of Engagement (ROE). In interviews, Soldiers reported that Iraqis would throw gasoline-filled bottles (i.e., Molotov cocktails) at their vehicles, yet they were prohibited from responding with force for nearly a month until the ROE were changed. Soldiers also reported they are still not allowed to respond with force when Iraqis drop large chunks of concrete blocks from second story buildings or overpasses on them when they drive by. Every group of Soldiers and Marines interviewed reported that they felt the existing ROE tied their hands, preventing them from doing what needed to be done to win the war."
from Brushfires of Freedom, quoting

From The Nightmare of Being a U.S. Combat Troop in Iraq Hamstrung By Washington's Battlefield "Ethics"

The death and misery caused by Washington's self-crippling rules of engagement--rules endorsed by liberals and conservatives alike--are part of the inevitable destruction flowing from a broader evil: the philosophy of "compassionate" war.
This perverse view of war holds that fighting selfishly to defend your own freedom by defeating enemies is wrong; but fighting to selflessly serve the needs of others is virtuous.

From Guantanamo and the Geneva Convention

When the enemy consists of fanatical terrorists (who, incidentally, are not part of a national army), the idea of applying the Geneva Convention is grotesque. Yet Senator John McCain, who was himself a POW in the Vietnam war, worries about the consequences to our soldiers if we don't play nice with the terrorist captives in Guantanamo. But, in fact, there's simply no relation between the treatment of Guantanmo captives and what will or won't happen to American POWs in some unspecified future future war against some unspecified enemy.

From Why is the Bush Administration Sacrificing Our Marines?

The law regulates international military operations, and anyone found in violation can be held liable for war crimes and be court-martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is not uncommon for insurgents to launch attacks from homes, hospitals and other public buildings, where civilians can get caught in the crossfire. [Lolita C. Baldor, AP]

Let us consider the basic facts. There is no legitimate reason for Iraqis to oppose the US mission in Iraq. The US has toppled a bloody, brutal dictatorship and replaced it with a government whose constitution was written by the Iraqis themselves (and US policy in this regard has been excruciatingly deferential, for the Iraqi constitution is a mess). Despite the magnanimous treatment of the Iraqi people by the US, many in Iraq nevertheless oppose the US mission and have either given material support to the Iraqi insurgency, or have allowed the insurgency to flourish by failing to fight it themselves.


By making war a "no-no." A fact of history and life that must be derided, ignored, relegated to lower human life forms.

As Victor Davis Hanson says:

"The academic neglect of war is even more acute today. Military history as a discipline has atrophied, with very few professorships, journal articles, or degree programs. In 2004, Edward Coffman, a retired military history professor who taught at the University of Wisconsin, reviewed the faculties of the top 25 history departments, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. He found that of over 1,000 professors, only 21 identified war as a specialty.

When war does show up on university syllabi, it’s often about the race, class, and gender of combatants and wartime civilians. So a class on the Civil War will focus on the Underground Railroad and Reconstruction, not on Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. One on World War II might emphasize Japanese internment, Rosie the Riveter, and the horror of Hiroshima, not Guadalcanal and Midway. A survey of the Vietnam War will devote lots of time to the inequities of the draft, media coverage, and the antiwar movement at home, and scant the air and artillery barrages at Khe Sanh.

* * *
Historians of war must derive perverse pleasure, their critics suspect, from reading about carnage and suffering. Why not figure out instead how to outlaw war forever, as if it were not a tragic, nearly inevitable aspect of human existence? Hence the recent surge of “peace studies” (see “The Peace Racket”).

* * *
A wartime public illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself paralyzed in the acrimony of the present. Without standards of historical comparison, it will prove ill equipped to make informed judgments. Neither our politicians nor most of our citizens seem to recall the incompetence and terrible decisions that, in December 1777, December 1941, and November 1950, led to massive American casualties and, for a time, public despair. So it’s no surprise that today so many seem to think that the violence in Iraq is unprecedented in our history. Roughly 3,000 combat dead in Iraq in some four years of fighting is, of course, a terrible thing. And it has provoked national outrage to the point of considering withdrawal and defeat, as we still bicker over up-armored Humvees and proper troop levels. But a previous generation considered Okinawa a stunning American victory, and prepared to follow it with an invasion of the Japanese mainland itself—despite losing, in a little over two months, four times as many Americans as we have lost in Iraq, casualties of faulty intelligence, poor generalship, and suicidal head-on assaults against fortified positions.
It’s not that military history offers cookie-cutter comparisons with the past. Germany’s World War I victory over Russia in under three years and her failure to take France in four apparently misled Hitler into thinking that he could overrun the Soviets in three or four weeks—after all, he had brought down historically tougher France in just six. Similarly, the conquest of the Taliban in eight weeks in 2001, followed by the establishment of constitutional government within a year in Kabul, did not mean that the similarly easy removal of Saddam Hussein in three weeks in 2003 would ensure a working Iraqi democracy within six months. The differences between the countries—cultural, political, geographical, and economic—were too great.
Instead, knowledge of past wars establishes wide parameters of what to expect from new ones. Themes, emotions, and rhetoric remain constant over the centuries, and thus generally predictable. Athens’s disastrous expedition in 415 BC against Sicily, the largest democracy in the Greek world, may not prefigure our war in Iraq. But the story of the Sicilian calamity does instruct us on how consensual societies can clamor for war—yet soon become disheartened and predicate their support on the perceived pulse of the battlefield.

Military history teaches us, contrary to popular belief these days, that wars aren’t necessarily the most costly of human calamities. The first Gulf War took few lives in getting Saddam out of Kuwait; doing nothing in Rwanda allowed savage gangs and militias to murder hundreds of thousands with impunity. Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin killed far more off the battlefield than on it. The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic brought down more people than World War I did. And more Americans—over 3.2 million—lost their lives driving over the last 90 years than died in combat in this nation’s 231-year history. Perhaps what bothers us about wars, though, isn’t just their horrific lethality but also that people choose to wage them—which makes them seem avoidable, unlike a flu virus or a car wreck, and their tolls unduly grievous. Yet military history also reminds us that war sometimes has an eerie utility: as British strategist Basil H. Liddell Hart put it, “War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it.” Wars—or threats of wars—put an end to chattel slavery, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, and Soviet Communism.

Military history is as often the story of appeasement as of warmongering. The destructive military careers of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler would all have ended early had any of their numerous enemies united when the odds favored them. Western air power stopped Slobodan Milošević’s reign of terror at little cost to NATO forces—but only after a near-decade of inaction and dialogue had made possible the slaughter of tens of thousands. Affluent Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”

Indeed, by ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don’t know exactly what they’re doing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, frustrated by the Bush administration’s intransigence in the War on Terror, flew to Syria, hoping to persuade President Assad to stop funding terror in the Middle East. She assumed that Assad’s belligerence resulted from our aloofness and arrogance rather than from his dictatorship’s interest in destroying democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, before such contagious freedom might in fact destroy him. For a therapeutically inclined generation raised on Oprah and Dr. Phil—and not on the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman and William Shirer’s Berlin Diary—problems between states, like those in our personal lives, should be argued about by equally civilized and peaceful rivals, and so solved without resorting to violence.

Yet it’s hard to find many wars that result from miscommunication. Far more often they break out because of malevolent intent and the absence of deterrence. Margaret Atwood also wrote in her poem: “Wars happen because the ones who start them / think they can win.” Hitler did; so did Mussolini and Tojo—and their assumptions were logical, given the relative disarmament of the Western democracies at the time. Bin Laden attacked on September 11 not because there was a dearth of American diplomats willing to dialogue with him in the Hindu Kush. Instead, he recognized that a series of Islamic terrorist assaults against U.S. interests over two decades had met with no meaningful reprisals, and concluded that decadent Westerners would never fight, whatever the provocation—or that, if we did, we would withdraw as we had from Mogadishu.
In the twenty-first century, it’s easier than ever to succumb to technological determinism, the idea that science, new weaponry, and globalization have altered the very rules of war. But military history teaches us that our ability to strike a single individual from 30,000 feet up with a GPS bomb or a jihadist’s efforts to have his propaganda beamed to millions in real time do not necessarily transform the conditions that determine who wins and who loses wars.

excerpted from
Victor Davis Hanson: "Why Study War? Military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict."
City Journal
Summer 2007
Reprinted at
More there, read the whole thing!
Especially the section "Studying War: Where to Start" This gives you a starting bibliography. It will show you that we should be concerned with winning any war we engage in instead of worrying about the well-being of our deadly enemies.

Links Related to this Post:

(some material is redundant--but a lot of new and different information)

Islam delenda est


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