Fighting war to win

My father, who knew what he was talking about, always said, "You fight a war to win."  I don't remember him having a pro or con view regarding Vietnam.  I do remember that he was disgusted by the fact that the biggest military superpower in the world couldn't just go in, win, and get out again. 

The same is true of our tactics in Iraq.  If we truly wanted to win this war, we could do so, and do so quickly.  We're afraid, however, of our own strength, and too many of us doubt the righteousness of our cause — and that's Diana West's point in this truly excellent column.  I urge you to read the whole thing, but I'll share this quotation with you as an incentive:

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadis. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of anyone who does.

This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.

Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis.

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  • http://expreacherman.wordpress.com/ ExPreacherMan

    Book,

    Great article.. I was conservtively involved at the time of the Vietnsm sellout. Disgusting.. Fight to win!!

    My latest post a is about a friend’s son who is ready to fight the enemy but is faced with Political Correctness in the Military.

    Thanks for the post.. Let’s WIN.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Ymarsakar was trying to leave a comment and got a digital runaround. Here’s the comment:

    I’d just like to say that I’ve been trying to always figure out better
    methods and strategies that Bush could use. You hear a lot of criticism
    that Bush doesn’t do this or that, and even though that might be valid
    (when it comes from conservatives), it still lacks a vital component. A
    lot of people just don’t know, in detail, to what level of violence and
    maximum force they’d take things and what would be more effective rather
    than less effective.

    The key ingredient I see, is that because the United States has a lot of
    power, we do not have nearly the amount of fear of the enemy as a
    smaller nation like Israel would have. So instead of fearing the enemy,
    and replacing that fear with hate, anger, rage, and determinatin which
    has helped humanity survive for many many generations, we face inwards
    and are paralyzed by another fear, the fear of our own power. Thus our
    efforts are driven inwards. Done by competent philosophers and
    courageous men, like the Marines, this kind of inward looking restraint
    and rationality produces enhanced discipline and war fighting methods
    that are based upon rational and perfectible strategies rather than
    emotional blowbacks. I’m reading “Hell’s Gate” by David Weber, right
    now, which describes the story of two different universes, set in
    quantum parallel, that is at war with each other. They don’t speak each
    other’s language, they have different types and variations of
    technology, even of genetically derived telepathy. Much suffering and
    misunderstanding brought about the war, and the war brought about more
    suffering and misunderstanding. In the history of the human race, the
    problem has always been vendetta, revenge, punitive expeditiosn that go
    on without end or justice. All because of language barriers,
    misunderstandings, the lack of diplomatic channels and access. When one
    tribe slaughters another, there is no diplomat there to explain the
    justice or injustice of the situation, there is no police to enforce the
    law so that people do not take up arms themselves.

    So what basically has happened, in my view, is at the dawn of human
    civilization where we have a rational actor in charge of protection,
    power, and military force (the US), is in fact the time when the need
    for rage and punitive action is at the greatest.

    Humanity, resting upon the acid end of the scale of rage and violence,
    has in 1 to 3 generations swung completely over to the base end of the
    scale. Now we lack rage. And at the time when we are most capable of
    controlling the emotions of war, with trained combat troops. It is a
    particular irony. It is as if a civilization that once safeguards the
    borders and creates prosperity, then becomes corrupt, decadent, and
    weak, which then allows in the more vibrant barbarians that trash the
    city and let the sewage run in the streets. The whole point of war to a
    civilization, is to safeguard itself for more peaceful times, yet once
    we have achieved those peaceful times, we are at risk of wasting all
    that has been gained by too much peace, rather than too much war. This
    is the human dichotomy that is as unbreakable as Heisenberg’s
    UnCertainty Principle.

    The universe has a tendency to swing the pendulum the other way once it
    has become unbalanced. The same is true for this war, in this moment of
    time in humanity. The only question is, when?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Okay, Book has pulled the comment box from exPreacher’s unHoly incantations. Good job!