Blogs by Michael J Hayutin
Fighting With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back
7/2/2008 12:24:20 PM
How do our culture handicaps the war against Islamists?
Fighting With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back
The time has arrived to look deeply into our national soul. As serious Americans we have to examine if we have the fortitude to wage a war against Islamists? We certainly have superior weapons, technology, and personnel. We hold the moral high ground. However our social and political culture has evolved in ways that severely restrict our capacity to win this amorphous, long and ugly war? The first evidence of our weakness is the inability of so many to recognize who the enemy is and what is required to win. We are not at war with terrorism, but at war against Islamist. This is a unique phenomenon whose dimensions dwarf past forms of terrorism. Our politically over sensitive culture has drained many of the courage to identify the source of worldwide terrorism. We are at war with a world wide culture of death.
Our cultural defects contribute to the fact that a significant number of elected representatives feel their job description involves second guessing every setback, mistake, and miscalculation during this war? Would people have thought a rebuttal to President Roosevelt’s war time fireside chats appropriate? Were there feckless unbinding resolutions passed by Congress during past wars calling on the President to redeploy troops in this or that fashion? Were rebuttals to Churchill’s speeches aired during WW II? Was Truman burdened by weekly poles following on cue by ad-nauseam analysis?
We are blessed with the guarantee of freedom of expression while cursed by some who have no sense of how our enemies exploit the lawful abuse of this freedom by some. The war in Vietnam began a trend where every military and executive mistake and the inevitable but rare ugliness of American war crimes, have been used by the press, the opposition party, political opportunists, Hollywood, and malcontents of every variety to discredit the war. All this is done in real time with body counts and bloody pictorials (real news and fictionalized movie accounts). The cumulative effect arouses indignation, a loss of faith in the military’s capacity to win, and leadership’s ability to lead.
Worldwide broadcasts by the entertainment industry have become showpieces for celebrities to display their often ignorant and almost always arrogant anti-war credentials. The enemy watches. They perceive American weakness. The people who produce the decadence the Islamists rail against want no part of any effort to defeat the Islamists. Decadence signals weakness. Those who worship death salivate at the prospect of fighting such an enemy. We appear to worship at the altar of peace not preservation of liberty.
Examine how the uproar over the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq played out on the world stage? The miserable behavior of a hand-full of American soldiers, all of whom were punished, is used by the press, political opportunists and terrorists to mischaracterize our men and women in arms and their leadership. The enemy propagandizes our mea-culpa, creating the illusion of a moral equivalence between the Islamists and the Americans. Day after day for weeks the stories and pictures were published in major newspapers across the world. The Internet transmitted the ugliness on a global scale. We spoon feed the enemy the sustenance they need to reenergize their cause. The senior Senator from Massachusetts compared our soldier’s maltreatment of detainees to those who maim, rape, shred and behead. As if a policy of monstrous torture applied to us and Saddam equally. The insanity of a moral equivalence finds root in such self indulgent politics. Prior to Vietnam our errors, our mistakes, and yes our occasional war crimes were seen as the aberrations they were, not as policy.
Today’s wars are fought amid Congressmen, ex-Presidents, and celebrities touring the world condemning our President, the administration, and our troops. The protocols of the past are gone.
Many have called upon the President to confess his “mistakes” concerning Iraq. They demand a kind of psychological cleansing on the world stage. This clamoring merely confirms the enemy’s perceptions. The terrorist’s are convinced that as long as they can keep up the pressure, senseless murder of any and all varieties that we will cave. Millions of Americans are salivating for the chance to cave. After all we caved in Vietnam. We fled Semollia. We turned tail in Lebanon. We did little after the first World Trade Center, U.S.S. Cole, and African Embassy bombings. Our pathetic equivocation buttresses the enemies resolve. They gain strength watching America fight with one hand tied behind her back. War requires more than laser guided bombs and bullets. It requires a national resolve. Our national resolve is weak.
Some cry that our civil liberties are eroding. But shouldn’t we balance the temporary loss of a few rights during war time against what will be achieved in victory and what will be lost in defeat? We only kid ourselves if we think past wars were won without some civil protections encroached upon. President Bush has actually been very constrained compared to his predecessors. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. FDR interned Japanese Americans and bombed cities. Truman dropped two nuclear weapons on innocent civilians. All these acts were done with no congressional approval. Good and bad decisions were made during those wars. The results: the abolition of slavery, preservation of the union, liberation of Europe from fascism (a free and thriving Germany and Japan), and creation of a vibrant democratic republic in South Korea. The Gulag that is North Korea should be a lesson for all of us. Wars are not tidy little adventures. Was the diminution of a few liberties during past wars worth the freedom that was won for hundreds of millions? Were any of the limitations of American’s freedom during war continued in peace time? How many more would have been murdered or relegated to totalitarian rule had we not acted?
The non stop press analysis of polling data endangers both the executive and legislative capacity to do what is right and build momentum. A vicious cycle of negative news and instant polling creates a defeatist culture that handicaps any serious war effort that does not end in a very short time. The public is fed a nonstop procession of war failures (real and imagined) and then polled. Negative reports are used to engender negative responses that are reinforced by more negative reports.
Walter Cronkite declared the Tet Offensive in Vietnam a defeat. The public was fed inaccurate information by a man they trusted, so fiction was perceived as fact. Cronkite didn’t want the war to continue so he became an advocate instead of a reporter. Years later the truth emerged. It was too late for the millions sent to reeducation camps and murdered in Vietnam and Cambodia upon our retreat.
No matter what one’s opinion of that war, Americans should be able to recognize how such behavior thwarted the American effort. Those fighting the war in Iraq are likewise harangued by tens of thousands of back seat drivers.
One need assert no particular opinion on the merits of our war in Iraq, in order to understand how our cultural and political environment has stifled our national will. I guess if you don’t believe war is ever appropriate this makes you feel very good. But if you understand that we have a responsibility to secure America against those who would impose Sharia, then you understand that war can be both necessary and moral. We face a worldwide Islamofascist threat that spans the four corners of the earth. Fighting this war is particularly difficult because it is not bound by an army or border. Our enemy is driven by a philosophy that worships death. The last thing we need is self induced social and political handicaps. This enemy sits in front of their computer screens gleefully watching as we tear ourselves apart.
This enemy beheads. They stone people to death. They destroy religious sites. They target children. They persecute gays. They treat women as chattel. A retreat from Iraq will give them a base to impose and export their primitive world. The 12 million who risked all to vote will be abandoned to such monsters. The center of the Middle East will have a new playground for the training of those who wish us the ultimate harm.
War is ugly, brutal, and inevitably prone to tragic overreaching. If our military and its civil leadership is handicapped by standards that prevailed in times when a war is not being fought than our future may be bleak. Americans are instinctively against engaging in war. Until Pearl Harbor the anti-War movement was very strong. We were hit numerous times by Islamofascist for more than 20 years before September 11, 2001. By nature, despite what our critics say, Americans are not comfortable with war. It is for this reason that we need to look deeply into our national soul. How do we go about winning a war against Islamists that may last for decades? What is the price we pay if we are not able to win this war? Can any leader hold up knowing that he or she will be held accountable and polled in real time, with no historical perspective, for every misstep. I am afraid that our ability to fight the epic battle of the 21st Century will remain hobbled until the unimaginable occurs. Terrorists will acquire some form of weapon of mass destruction and use it on American soil. Only when tens or hundreds of thousands are killed will the niceties of perfect civil liberties, gentlemanly interrogation and the need to second guess every hard decision made by leadership lose its appeal.
Post a Comment new!
More Blogs by Michael J Hayutin
CALIPHATE OR REPUBLIC - It's up to all of us! - Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Pandering and Patronizing - Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Hello! We're At War and We're the Good Guys - Monday, April 27, 2009
Disingenuous and Regrettable - Monday, February 16, 2009
Teach In Nostalgia - Friday, January 16, 2009
An America Unappreciated Is An America Lost - Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Our Precious Secret Ballot - Saturday, November 29, 2008
Moral Hazard or Bailout? - Monday, November 17, 2008
He's My President Too - Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Inadvertently Allied With the Devil - Friday, September 26, 2008
Underappreciated Prosperity- The Need for Civics Education - Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sara Palin - Radical Feminist Nightmare - Exemplary Female Role Model - Thursday, September 11, 2008
Resurrection of a Myth - Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The Village AWOL - Thursday, August 21, 2008
Don't Ignore the Wolf at the Door - Friday, August 08, 2008
The Enemy of Cultural Progress - Friday, August 01, 2008
Fighting With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back - Wednesday, July 02, 2008