Monday, November 15, 2010

Winning with Warlike Souls

One of the many famed quotations attributed to General George S. Patton is his assessment of fortified defensive positions, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity. Any thing built by man can be destroyed by him.” Patton also believed that "the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it." The Colonel fervently believes that our republic needs to pay heed.

With the 2010 holiday travel season rapidly approaching, and nine years into our phony war with politically and militarily weak Islamic extremists employing terrorism as the only effective weapon available to them, the American people, in particular the traveling public, are stupidly subjected to increasingly onerous inspection regimes that are the TSA version of the Siegfried Line, against threats already discovered and narrowly thwarted, and therefore discarded as an ineffective tactic by the enemy. One could easily, and the Colonel will noisily, make the very good argument that the fixed fortifications through which the American people must wastefully weave in order to use public transportation are more of a hindrance to the protected than an obstacle to those against whose attacks we are presumably protected.

The Colonel is exasperated beyond words at the inexplicable, inefficient, and ineffective way in which the greatest republic in the history of man has frittered away blood and treasure against a flimsy foe. He has said it before, and the Colonel believes it bears pedantic repetition, if the United States had responded to the aerial attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the same way we have, FOR NINE YEARS AND COUNTING, responded to the Islamic Extremists attack on 9/11, we would still have a fleet stationed in the middle of the Pacific intercepting individual Japanese aircraft. That may sound to some a cheap and effective tactic, but staying on the defense and giving an enemy time to develop increasingly effective offensive weapons and tactics is simply a recipe for disaster and defeat.

Most disappointingly to the Colonel, he is beginning to believe that the enemy is winning.

The goal of an enemy employing terror as a tactic is to unsettle you psychologically. He can't beat you operationally on the battlefield, but he can cause you to make decisions that are in his favor strategically. Particularly, he can hurt you more on the homefront than on the battlefield and that is the purest definition of success for anyone fighting America. Our response to terrorism has been to punish our population, in order to "keep them safe." That is a win for the enemy.

The goal of an enemy employing terror as a tactic is to incite panic, not only in the populace but in their leadership. Panic leads to decision-making such as that in which a nation's principles are sacrificed in the name of the safety of a relative few. Case in point--the torture of Kalid Sheik Mohammed, justified by the claims that information so gained has thwarted attacks that would surely have killed Americans and allies. The Colonel stands firm in his conviction that the lives of none are so precious as to justify the discard of the American principles of human decency and rule of law to protect.

One of the seminal books in the Colonel's early professional military education was John G. Hubbel's P.O.W.; A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973. What so deeply impressed the Colonel was not so much the incredible and monstrously inhumane torture endured by American fighting men at the hands of their communist captors, but the reasons for their resilience, chief among them being the sure knowledge that America was better than their captors; that America would never submit its helpless captives to any mistreatment, let alone torture. The Colonel is dismayed that, in our current fight, we have stepped into the gutter with the enemy. That is a win for them.

The Colonel is afraid that this situation is destined to continue its descent towards defeat for America. It is inevitable that our enemy will find a crease in our static, fortified domestic defenses and our populace will pay the price for our leaders' unwillingness to prosecute this war with Patton's "warlike soul."
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