Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Cut and Run Redux
President George W. Bush was excoriated and ridiculed for appearing under a banner saying “Mission Accomplished” on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln after toppling Saddam Hussein from power. The yammering harpies of the left intentionally misrepresented the meaning of the banner.
The primary mission of a war is to win a strategic objective. That overarching mission is constructed of a multitude of smaller component missions, each of which breaks down into smaller missions, which in turn break down into yet smaller missions and on down to the individual rifleman and support team. That banner represented two missions accomplished: that of the aircraft carrier completing its own mission to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and that of the operation's mission to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The president in his on-board speech made clear how much work, including fighting, lay ahead to stabilize the country and establish a democratic government and free institutions.
Fast forward to President Barack Obama, who has pulled a play from the Vietnam handbook: declare victory and get out, and damn the consequences to those left behind. We know what happened then in Southeast Asia, and the disgraceful treatment of our own veterans of that war. But there was a Republican in the White House then, and now there is a Democrat.
Nixon ended the American combat role in Vietnam on the promise that the US would continue to support the South Vietnamese against the Communist North. A Democrat Congress reneged on that guarantee, and South Vietnam collapsed in bloodshed and ignominious pictures of Americans escaping by helicopter from the roof of the US embassy, with desperate people hanging from the skids. The boat people put to sea and drowned in great numbers, and then there were the killing fields of Cambodia and Laos. The Montagnards who so valiantly supported the American forces were hunted down and eradicated like wild dogs. Somehow, the Republicans took the blame for the war that John F. Kennedy got us into and that Lyndon Baines Johnson expanded after deciding with his Secretary of Defense, Robert Strange McNamara, that it could not be won. The blame—and contempt--accrued to the veterans who fought the war. There were no honors for them.
But now we have President Barack Hussein Obama, declaring “Mission Accomplished!” in Iraq and yanking out all US troops, consequences be damned. And we hear a clamor for a victory parade for the troops who fought for Iraq's liberation.
Several problems with that. In the first place, Obama's admirers want the parade, not to honor those who fought and sacrificed, but to glorify Obama. The staged photo of Bill Clinton smugly leading a marching formation of Reservists returned from the Gulf War springs to mind. President George H.W. Bush, who presided over the swift defeat of Saddam Hussein and liberation of Kuwait, was forgotten. Bill Clinton took credit for the victory and return home of US troops.
Beyond that, there are some practical matters. When WWII ended with VE and VJ Days, great masses of our forces returned on ships in a short time and remained on active duty for out-processing. They were available for parades celebrating a clear and decisive victory against an enemy. But many of those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who served in Iraq are now in Afghanistan. Others, especially Reservists and Guardsmen, are no longer on active duty or in the military at all—they've returned to pick up their lives again at home. So just whom are we proposing to parade down Broadway?
However, the primary problem with a victory parade is that the war is not over. In April 2009, less than three months after taking office, Obama declared, “I don’t want to run car companies. I don’t want to run banks. I have two wars to run.” Aside from the folly of presidential management of tactical military decisions—John Kennedy (Bay of Pigs), Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), Jimmy Carter (Desert One), Clinton (Yugoslavia)--Obama shares with a large part of the media a fundamental misunderstanding of the War on Terror.
Clarity of thought requires precision of language. Think about World War II: the “European Theater,” the “African Campaign,” the “Battle of Britain,” the “Eastern Front,” the “War in the Pacific.” These were not separate wars, they were parts of the whole. Despite the common misrepresentation that we are fighting the “Iraq War” and the “Afghanistan War,” we are not fighting two different wars, nor are we engaged in “overseas contingency operations” in response to “man-made disasters.” America and our free world allies are fighting one war, a global war against radical Islam, i.e. Islamofascism. Iraq and Afghanistan are but campaigns in the Middle Eastern-Southwest Asian theater of that war. Before it is over, there will be other fronts, other battles, other campaigns and other theaters. Actually, there are already. Islamist terrorists have struck all over the globe, washing country after country in blood. Ironically, most of their victims so far have been Muslims. (Obama did not exactly open a new front of the War on Terror in Libya—Qaddafi, frightened by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, had long since crawled into his hole and was no longer a player on the world field. However, the grisly death of Muammar Qaddafi, who had called Obama “my son,” opens up all kinds of new possibilities by presumably nullifying President Jimmy Carter's Executive Order 12036, which prohibited US involvement of any kind in the assassination of a foreign head of state.)
This is a world war, waged for decades before America finally acknowledged on September 11, 2001 that we were under attack. George Bush correctly identified the enemy as Islamofascists and radical Islam, but was soon worn down by critics; he succumbed to political correctness and softened his language.
The “War on Terror” is a good catch phrase, albeit perhaps not definitive. John Brennan, Obama's counter-terrorism adviser, was not technically incorrect in stating that “the enemy is not 'terrorism,' because terrorism is a 'tactic,' and not 'terror,' because terror is a 'state of mind.'” I think it can be argued that terrorism is a strategy as well as a tactic. Anyway, nobody has come up with a better name for the war, and in any case, the current regime denies that there even is an Islamist enemy. Worse, it appears that the Obama Administration sympathizes with our enemies, and certainly with the enemies of Israel. Whether because of delusion or Islamist sympathies—John Brennan himself refers to Jerusalem by the name the Arabs use, al-Quds. Brennan is just as dangerously wrong on everything else about the enemy.
If America and Western civilization are to survive, we must—absolutely must—come to terms, literally, with reality. We are at war with an implacable enemy who intends to cleanse the world of Jews and destroy Western civilization. Mealy-mouthed speeches, attempts to excuse or “understand” those who are dedicated to destroying us, and limp-wristed responses to threats—such as negotiations and feel-good sanctions--will doom us. Our enemies respect only strength, decisiveness and fearlessness.
We were, once upon a time, a nation of warriors. The world despises us now as a nation of appeasing capons, soft and effeminate. Time to man-up again. We did not choose this war, but we must win it. The alternative is unthinkable. To win it, we must know its nature and, as Sun Tzu dictated, our enemy. We must as a people, gird our collective loins and lock arms with our allies—first and foremost of whom are the valiant and beleaguered Israelis.
Our national mission statement must include John F. Kennedy inaugural declaration: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
The enemy then was “International Communism,” the precursor of our threat today, which we call terrorism, the weapon of International Islamism. As with international Communism, international Islamism has state sponsors. Although we eventually won the Cold War which, incidentally, was World War III, we handicapped ourselves and lengthened it by granting immunity to the countries that trained, financed and provided safe haven to Communist terrorists and guerrillas. Likewise we shrink today from taking on those countries that train, finance and provide safe haven to Islamist terrorists, and their kissing cousins the narcoterrorists.
As Dr. Joseph D. Douglass, Jr. documented in his book Red Cocaine, the Soviets and Chicoms developed terrorism and narcotics as weapons in their war against the Free World, especially the Untied States. Communist terrorism and narcotrafficking had merged into a symbiotic system of destruction that had taken on independent existence long before the collapse of the USSR. The Cold War has morphed into World War IV with the rise of modern Islamism. Islamism, like Communism, is both irredentist and imperialist, but for now Islamists and Marxists have submerged their conflicting beliefs to defeat their common enemy: Western civilization with its personal freedoms. And they have strengthened their interrelationship with drug lords worldwide, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. Iran is building bases in Venezuela, the Muslim Brotherhood-spawned Hamas and Iranian surrogate Hezbollah are partnering with the Mexican drug cartels, infiltrating the US through our porous borders. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah are targeting Americans, Israelis and Jewish communities from the Western Hemisphere to the Far East.
America and American citizens have been under attack by communists, by anarchists, by international terrorists, by radical Islamists, by drug cartels for decades. In 1920, an early version of the truck bomb—a bomb in a horse-drawn wagon—on Wall Street killed 35 people and injured hundreds. Incidents in the last four decades include the 1975 bombing of a landmark New York City tavern; the assassination of the American ambassador to Afghanistan in 1979; the seizure of our embassy in Tehran—twice--in 1979; the 1981-82 kidnapping and murder of Americans and other westerners in Beirut; the bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, and the bombing of the US embassy in Kuwait, all in 1983; the second bombing of the US embassy in Lebanon in 1984; the killing of Americans on a highjacked Kuwaiti airliner, also in 1984; the 1985 bombing of a Madrid restaurant popular with American soldiers; the 1985 murder of an American Sailor on a hijacked TWA flight; the 1985 murder of a wheelchair-bound American on a hijacked cruise ship; the bombing of another TWA flight in 1986; the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco popular with American troops; the 1988 bombing of a Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland; the1993 World Trade Center bombing; the bombing of the US military headquarters in Riyadh in 1995; the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, a US military complex, in Dhahran; the simultaneous bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998; the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.
Other than President Reagan's retaliatory attack on Libya that drove Qaddafi off the world terrorism stage and into his hole, and President George H.W. Bush's swift action to liberate Kuwait, the response of American presidents to aggression was feeble and drew only the world's contempt and encouraged our enemies. Not until 9/11 did our government find its manhood again. Twenty-six days after the 9/11 attacks, the United States and our allies smashed into Afghanistan to take out al Qaeda and its Taliban host. Notably, although all of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, that kingdom was not held responsible. The Iraq campaign was opened eighteen months later.
America's “two wars,” Afghanistan and, of late, Iraq must be placed in the context of total war between the Free World—Western civilization—and forces international that seek to destroy us.
This is not the first time that an enlightened culture was threatened with extinction. What we call World War One was only the first global war of modern times, i.e. the 20th Century. There have in fact been other “world wars” prior to our times. Our own American Revolution was a set piece in a global war with the primary players being the English and the French. The Dark Ages didn't just “happen” all by themselves. There were earlier civilizations of scintillating brilliance that were plunged into cultural cesspools because, as Karl von Clausewitz explained, their swords became blunt in peace and, lacking the stomach for violence, they defended themselves with half-measures in war. We, the United States of America, risk that fate now.
The Iraq victory parade? Oh, yeah. The Obamas have decided instead to have another lavish dinner party at the White House to celebrate the president's “victory in Iraq.” As the Entertainer-in-Chief said on December 9, 2011, “We never need an excuse for a good party.”
Party, party, party!
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Karen McKay is a retired US Army Foreign Area Operations Officer living in Western North Carolina with her horses and . During the '80s she led the Committee for a Free Afghanistan and later Americans for Freedom. She is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor and volunteer firefighter/EMT. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.