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PC and WAR 23 Jan. 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

PC and WAR

23 Jan. 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

          When America and our allies fought World War II we did it to win.  There was no halfway measure.  It was total war. 

At the onset of World War II our ultimate objective was not established; we just knew we had to fight the forces of the Axis Powers if we were to keep them from our doorsteps.  Keep in mind, the Japanese attacked us on December 7, 1941, not the other way around.  Germany declared war on us on December 11, 1941.  The U.S. was already moving toward a wartime economy, though no one really wanted a global conflict.  But, once we were engaged our leaders knew to a certainty there would be a conflict like none before.  The initial emphasis was on showing our strength and resolve.  It took a good six months after President Roosevelt declared war on Japan before our Navy could mount a significant challenge.  Eventually our nation was involved in every theater of the war, with troops and weapons fully engaged in mortal combat.  It was in 1944 that Allied leaders cemented their agreement that the only acceptable outcome was total capitulation by each of the Axis nations.  We wanted complete submission, not a negotiation where we had to lay something on the table to cajole our enemies to stop the slaughter.

          How different the world has evolved since then.  America has engaged in numerous armed conflicts since 1945, yet has only won one – the “Battle for Grenada.”  Yes, in that one instance our forces did soundly thrash our enemy.  We conquered a small Caribbean island and booted Cuban forces from it.  I’m not so sure that little brush fire even counts, but at least it was a decisive win.  The Cuban’s left and a Marxist regime was toppled.  But, as armed conflicts go, that one was sort of pitiful.  Our nation employed about 6,000 troops.  Our forces suffered 20 deaths.  They were in and done in the space of two months.  It wasn’t a war.  It was more like an incident.  But, again, it was the sole total success our nation has had since 1945.

          Why do you suppose war is what it is today?  Could it be that the advent of the United Nations created the need to fight enemies in a different way; not on the battlefields, but in the capitals of the nations engaged and in the U.N. Security Council in New York City?  No longer would declarations of war be expected from the governments of belligerent states.  Instead, a new term was created.  We engaged in “police actions.”  The Korean and Vietnam wars weren’t real wars.  Not in the legal sense.  They were United Nations sanctioned police actions.  Nothing more.  So, those who fought in those conflicts didn’t participate in a war.  We tend to say they did, but according to international law those who were injured, maimed, and died were casualties of sanctioned international police actions, just as those who died in the first Gulf War, the incursion into Afghanistan, and the second Gulf War.  Let’s all get our story straight.

          This brings up the logical question:  What’s the difference between a police action and a war?  To those who fought in them, there’s absolutely none.  The difference, even in political terms is a very thin veneer of international social respectability, or maybe just a film.   Because those conflicts were fought with some degree of United Nations approval, they were politically correct engagements.  But, because in most cases the adversaries were co-members of the United Nations, there has never been an objective like that of World War II.  We no longer seek total capitulations.  We no longer go for “the big win.”  We only fight for the day the other side agrees to stop fighting.   The closest we came to total warfare since 1945 was in the second Gulf War, when the allied forces took their time preparing and staging for the onslaught against Iraq.  Wasn’t that special?  That conflict started out great, but after all the initial military objectives were achieved in grand style (remember that Shock and Awe thing?) things got all muddled.  The politicians came in and started mucking things up.  We went from a war-prosecution exercise to a thing referred to as “nation building.”  It’s at that point where the forces of political correctness began snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  The politicians did pretty much the same thing in Afghanistan. 

We all should know the results of politically correct war-making.  The fighting goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan, fourteen years from their beginnings.  But, the theater of war has expanded.  Perhaps if our original objectives had been to obliterate our enemy, to crush them until they cried out for peace, maybe we would not be where we are in many places in the world today.  Total warfare is a nasty business, but the idea of fighting continuously in the same places for well over a decade - isn’t that even worse?  In the “good old days” we fought wars, ended them, negotiated treaties or imposed our terms, then went on about our business.  Yes, it’s true that some wars were fought over and over again, such as the 100 Years War between England and France.  But, that prolonged period was actually an anomaly, marked by significant periods of peace within the span of time.

I’m no advocate of war.  There’s usually little good to be obtained from it.  Every student of foreign policy understands war as the last tool in a nation’s policy kit, after all efforts at diplomacy have been exhausted.  There are times when the stakes are high enough to warrant armed conflict.  No one really likes war once it gets beyond the posturing phase, people begin to die, and ways of life are destroyed.  But, even as I don’t argue for war I do argue for total commitment if a nation is going to engage in it.   The continuing international problems we’ve had since 1945 have been mostly due to a lack of total resolve and the urge to prosecute politically correct conflicts.  We commit only to a limited degree, then back off.  The people who call themselves humanists consider backing off to be humane, decent, good, and proper.  But, if our nation had the same resolve we showed in World War II, our planet would have a vastly different shape, and possibly a much more peaceful and prosperous one.

Consider one war only, though the same kind of argument can be made for many.  Consider America’s experience in Iraq after 2001.  The united forces under U.S. command obliterated the Iraqi army in very short order, with very few allied casualties.  The military did its job.  It won.  The enemy had quit the field.  There was every reason to believe we could have demanded any term we wanted from the government of Iraq.  But, that’s not what we did.  Instead our government went on search and destroy missions to root out the Baathist forces of Saddam Hussein and we put “dead or alive” bounties on the heads of their top 52 leaders.  We criminalized them.  Were they criminals?  Yes, in many respects they were.  But the justice we gave them was not conducive to any lasting peace. 

We should have recognized at the time Iraq had one thing in common with the Balkans.  It was a nation of large, strong interest groups who were held together only by the iron fist of a dictator and his ruthless regime.  Once that iron fist was removed from the scene chaos ensued.  The Balkans fragmented after the death of Tito.  Iraq fragmented with the toppling of Hussein and his army.  There was no internal force to keep Sunni from Shia, or Sunni and Shia from Kurd.  It was only the presence of U.S. military forces that kept the country from disintegrating into civil war.  Once we allowed the new Iraqi government to hang Hussein, all bets were off.  Remember, too, the government of Iraq was reorganized under a constitution that was more or less imposed on them by a bunch of progressive western academics who thought they knew better than the Iraqi people.  The new constitution was intended to reshape Iraqi society and to bring democracy to a nation that was ruled under Sharia law.  Why would any rational person predict success?

Any chance of success was guaranteed by the continued presence of U.S. troops.  Even then, the Iraqi government was increasingly turning toward the interests of its Shia majority.  Once President Obama announced the troop withdrawal timeline it should have been a foregone conclusion that something very bad would happen.  President Obama unilaterally declared all American objectives in Iraq to be complete and our troops left.  There’s no need to talk about the rise of Isis or the regional domination of Iran; results of a feckless U.S. foreign policy that didn’t understand or accept the idea of actually winning a war.  From the time our military achieved its war objectives in Iraq to now the practitioners of political correctness have totally messed everything up.  The result is what we see there today.  War and more war; killing and more killing.  It may have been otherwise, had we prosecuted a total war strategy, then allowed Iraq to reform however it wished.  We could have left Iraq then with the threat of return.  We could have let them decide who would run their country. 

The current situation in the Middle East is as much the result of western impositions as anything else.  Our country should never attempt to impose a government in a foreign land.  We should never “help” select their leaders.  War should be used as a means to influence policy, but once war objectives have been met, it’s up to the defeated nation to determine its future course.  But, political correctness demands we do differently.  It demands we try to impose a form of government that’s palatable to the international community, despite the wishes of the native population.  If world leaders today would spend some time studying the campaigns of Alexander The Great, they might learn how to do it better.  They might learn that imposing a different political system or social culture only guarantees future conflict that might be worse than the original.  Alexander knew it.  Why don’t our current leaders?

If we find our nation once again in a position where war appears to be the only avenue to pursue, let us have the resolve of our 20th century ancestors and commit to war with all our means and energy.  Let “shock and awe” become the hallmark of war with America.  Let total war become our only philosophy for engaging our enemies.  Then, after we have defeated them, let them pick up their pieces and figure out their future without dictates from outsiders.  It’s a harsh philosophy, but one that will guarantee fewer enemies for America, shorter wars, and better chances for lasting peace.  We should never wish for war and never push another nation into one, but if war comes to us we must not succumb to the idea we can succeed and still be politically correct.  War is not that kind of undertaking.

In Liberty,
Steve