Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Just Do It!

Where, I ask you, is the courage in our elected leadership? I have never seen such a vacuous cluster of do-nothings and ne’er-do-wells in my life. I’m referring to the issue of the War on Terrorism and the spinelessness of our Congress to support it.

I have been watching with dismal abhorrence for the past several months while these pampered political popinjays parley over whether to send more troops to bolster the war effort in Afghanistan. They readily agree to a Stimulus Bill that presumes many trillions of dollars at the expense of the American taxpayer, but they are unwilling to vote in favor of continued support for the war effort, either in manpower or funds. This is unconscionable! These are our sons and daughters. Our husbands and wives.

I guess what really got under my skin recently on this whole issue was when Congress wanted assurances of victory. Then they might authorize more troops and money. Pardon me? Assurances? If I hadn’t heard this myself, I’m not sure I would have believed it. There are primarily three certainties in war: First, death – and lots of it! Second, destruction – and lots of it! Third, confusion – and lots of it!

Let’s start with this matter of death. The moment you begin to sling arrows at one another, people begin to die. It is inevitable. Our military takes extreme measures to avoid “civilian” casualties. Yet, in the final analysis, it is impossible to completely avoid such casualties when we are fighting against terrorists who dress in civilian clothing and mix in with crowds, or use civilians for cover knowing American soldiers will hesitate to fire when civilians are present. We have refined our weapons to such a degree that we can bomb a building from the air and only destroy that building, leaving the neighboring buildings perfectly intact. The Rules of Engagement (referred to as ROE) for our military do not permit the wanton killing of anyone, even the bad guys if they can be taken alive. This is in keeping with the basic Judeo-Christian teaching that has been a bedrock principle since our nation’s development. We value life – even the life of our enemy. This principle has certainly become highly suspect in our secular national realm – case in point: wholesale abortion. But within the military life is valued.

Now let’s look at destruction. With the types of munitions that our nation has developed over the years we are capable of destroying anything with startling precision and accuracy. What is typically destroyed in combat? Tanks, bunkers and buildings. This is where enemy military are to be found. This makes them a target. In the vernacular of military verbiage, to take out such a target is referred to as “neutralizing” the objective. Though it tends to ruffle our sensitivities, our military is designed to “kill people and break things.” It exists to do this so that you and I can live in peace, and to be free from the fear of enemies who want to kill us and destroy our nation. Here’s something I want you to think carefully about: Without question we are the strongest nation on earth, and we have the best trained military bar none, and we have the most powerful weapons known to man in our arsenal. We have nuclear weapons capable of destroying entire nations, dropped from a bomber flying higher than radar can detect. Because we have these weapons, we could very easily have dropped them on Iraq, or Afghanistan, without ever placing one soldier in harms way on the ground. So then why do we send our troops to these hellish regions of the world to face death and hardship, conditions of war long forgotten by those of us in the comfort of our homes? It is because of a moral code that is engrained in our makeup as Americans. Some of our enemies, such as Iran, would have no such code to hold them back from seeking to annihilate us along with Israel and anyone else they felt like incinerating. Just listen to the ranting of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has publicly stated numerous times that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. And the United States too. Do you doubt him?

Lastly, there is confusion. War and confusion go hand-in-hand. You can plan and strategize till the cows come home, but when the bullets start flying and the bombs and rockets are coming in bunches, most plans go right out the window. The objective then becomes one of completing the mission any way you can. If you need to take that hill from the enemy, then do it. When the dust has settled, and you have successfully won the battle, how it was accomplished may look nothing like what was planned.

We would do well to learn a little lesson from history. The bigger and more powerful army does not always win the war. We learned this sad lesson a mere forty years ago when our military was not allowed to win in Vietnam. Congress refused to continue supporting that war effort then, and it would appear we are repeating the same folly this time as well.

Is this what we want for our nation? To turn tail and run? Remember: Each time Congress pulls the rug out from under our troops, we further emasculate our military. Our enemies will see us as weak and indecisive, ripe for the picking.

So here’s a word for Congress: No more waffling on the war. Just do it!

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