Victory in war does not come only through the use of vastly superior firepower, but the very real threat that you will use it.
The Associated Press is reporting that Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, has rewritten, er… cleaned up language in an earlier directive by former commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, that the troops there said tied their hands when it came to rules of engagement.
Now that we have the politicians fighting the war on terror it’s clear that this thing will drag on until America once again tires of media reports of the war and of more American casualties and we pull out with our head hung low in defeat. What happened to the generals of old who’s only mission in life was to kill people and break things? Seems today if one of those warrior generals rises through the ranks our civilian leadership fires them and replaces them with political generals.
The last warrior general allowed to do his job, at least for a time, appears to be Gen. Douglas MacArthur. A recipient of the Medal of Honor for his efforts to galvanize the war effort in the Pacific, and one of only five men to ever rise to the five-star rank of General of the Army, Gen. MacArthur presided over and signed Japan’s unconditional surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri. America’s annihilation of two major Japanese cities just days earlier forced the issue for Japan and sealed America’s victory in World War II.
Amazingly, victory does not seem to be our ultimate goal anymore. Though we toss the word about like it is, our leaders are unwilling to do what it takes to seal victory for us. I think too many of our leaders are too concerned with being liked and receiving an invitation to the next dinner party than they are with their sole job of winning a war. In the case of World War II, our victory was sealed, not when we killed the leadership of the opposition, but when we killed millions of their people and forced their leadership to come to terms with the political issues that they faced if they continued to ask their citizens to fight and support their war effort. Nothing about what we did during World War II was about surgical strikes and picking and choosing our military and civilian targets. A target was a target and whomever got in the way was destroyed.
Bad as war is, we need to do that again. We can’t win this war on terror by simply winning battles against armed insurgents here and there. We need to engage the people of the country and employ their political power and will in the equation by being willing to annihilate as many of them as possible in an effort to force an end to the war and a certain victory for the United States. The goal should be to kill as many people and break as many things as possible so that those remaining throw up their hands in unconditional surrender. Nothing less will do.
Imagine the political power and will employed when the remaining civilians begin to rise up against their leadership and truly ally themselves with the United States and coalition forces to oust the leadership in these terrorist organizations and states. Call it a form of severe peer pressure. What we’re engaged in now is nothing more than very expensive diplomacy with bullets. We could do this much cheaper and with a greatly reduced loss of American lives if we simply gave the CIA a few more bucks and access to weapons and simply hoped for the best, but that isn’t and shouldn’t be our goal. After all, we weren’t the ones to start this but we sure ought to be in it with a mind to effectively finish it.
Sadly, we had the ability on Sept. 12, 2001, and would very likely have had the backing of a great number of Americans on that day, had we simply sent a few bombers over to the Middle East with the express orders to repave several countries in a sheet of radioactive glass. We could have destroyed Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan in under 30 minutes and sent a very strong message to the rest of the world that the United States will not tolerate an attack on our soil and that any aggression against ANY of our interests will be immediately met with a similar fate. That’s not simply how you win a war, but how you deter others from seeking it against you.