Skip to comments.What We Face
Posted on 09/18/2001 10:17:43 AM PDT by Eagle9
Dear friends and fellow Americans,
Like everyone else in this great country, I am reeling from last weeks attack on our sovereignty. But unlike some, I am not reeling from surprise. As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I have a different perspective and I think you should hear it. This war will be won or lost by the American citizens, not diplomats, politicians or soldiers. Let me briefly explain.
In spite of what the media, and even our own government is telling us, this act was not committed by a group of mentally deranged fanatics. To dismiss them as such would be among the gravest of mistakes. This attack was committed by a ferocious, intelligent and dedicated adversary. Dont take this the wrong way. I dont admire these men and I deplore their tactics, but I respect their capabilities. The many parallels that have been made with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are apropos. Not only because it was a brilliant sneak attack against a complacent America, but also because we may well be pulling our new adversaries out of caves 30 years after we think this war is over, just like my fathers generation had to do with the formidable Japanese in the years following WW II.
These men hate the United States with all of their being, and we must not underestimate the power of their moral commitment. Napoleon, perhaps the worlds greatest combination of soldier and statesman, stated the moral is to the physical as three is to one. Patton thought the Frenchman underestimated its importance and said moral conviction was five times more important in battle than physical strength. Our enemies are willing - better said anxious -- to give their lives for their cause. How committed are we America? And for how long?
In addition to demonstrating great moral conviction, the recent attack demonstrated a mastery of some of the basic fundamentals of warfare taught to most military officers worldwide, namely simplicity, security and surprise. When I first heard rumors that some of these men may have been trained at our own Air War College, it made perfect sense to me. This was not a random act of violence, and we can expect the same sort of military competence to be displayed in the battle to come. This war will escalate, with a good portion of it happening right here in the good ol U.S. of A.
These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We must not fear them. In spite of our overwhelming conventional strength as the worlds only superpower (a truly silly term), we are the underdog in this fight. As you listen to the carefully scripted rhetoric designed to prepare us for the march for war, please realize that America is not equipped or seriously trained for the battle ahead. To be certain, our soldiers are much better than the enemy, and we have some excellent counter-terrorist organizations, but they are mostly trained for hostage rescues, airfield seizures, or the occasional body snatch, (which may come in handy). We will be fighting a war of annihilation, because if their early efforts are any indication, our enemy is ready and willing to die to the last man.
Eradicating the enemy will be costly and time consuming. They have already deployed their forces in as many as 20 countries, and are likely living the lives of everyday citizens. Simply put, our soldiers will be tasked with a search and destroy mission on multiple foreign landscapes, and the public must be patient and supportive until the strategy and tactics can be worked out.
For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining itself and presided over by men and women who grew up with - and were promoted because they excelled in Cold War doctrine, strategy and tactics. This will not be linear warfare, there will be no clear centers of gravity to strike with high technology weapons. Our vast technological edge will certainly be helpful, but it will not be decisive. Perhaps the perfect metaphor for the coming battle was introduced by the terrorists themselves aboard the hijacked aircraft -- this will be a knife fight, and it will be won or lost by the ingenuity and will of citizens and soldiers, not by software or smart bombs. We must also be patient with our military leaders.
Unlike Americans who are eager to put this messy time behind us, our adversaries have time on their side, and they will use it. They plan to fight a battle of attrition, hoping to drag the battle out until the American public loses its will to fight. This might be difficult to believe in this euphoric time of flag waving and patriotism, but it is generally acknowledged that America lacks the stomach for a long fight. We need only look as far back as Vietnam, when North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap (also a military history teacher) defeated the United States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle. American soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag waving Americans in 1965 were reviled and spat upon less than three years later when they returned. Although we hope that Usama Bin Laden is no Giap, he is certain to understand and employ the concept. We can expect not only large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but also less audacious sand in the gears tactics, ranging from livestock infestations to attacks at water supplies and power distribution facilities. These attacks are designed to hit us in our comfort zone forcing the average American to pay more and play less and eventually eroding our resolve. But it can only work if we let it.
It is clear to me that the will of the American citizenry - you and I - is the center of gravity the enemy has targeted. It will be the fulcrum upon which victory or defeat will turn. He believes us to be soft, impatient, and self-centered. He may be right, but if so, we must change. The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, (the most often quoted and least read military theorist in history), says that there is a remarkable trinity of war that is composed of the (1) will of the people, (2) the political leadership of the government, and (3) the chance and probability that plays out on the field of battle, in that order. Every American citizen was in the crosshairs of last Tuesdays attack, not just those that were unfortunate enough to be in the World Trade Center or Pentagon. The will of the American people will decide this war. If we are to win, it will be because we have what it takes to persevere through a few more hits, learn from our mistakes, improvise, and adapt. If we can do that, we will eventually prevail.
Everyone Ive talked to In the past few days has shared a common frustration, saying in one form or another I just wish I could do something! You are already doing it. Just keep faith in America, and continue to support your President and military, and the outcome is certain. If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain.
God Bless America
Dr. Xxxx Xxxx, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
Former Director of Military History, USAF Academy
I received this from a very close friend, of over twenty years, who is a former USAF pilot and is in contact with many other USAF pilots.
I think it is well worth reading and remembering this man's opinion. This war, that has been brought to our doorstep, will be a long war requiring patience and perseverance.
So, of course, they will do what they can to destroy it.
Will Joe Sixpack have the patience and perseverance when the body bags start coming home?
This will not be your Fathers' war. His war was where, in short order, America went out and killed people and broke things. It may be quite a while where the only death and breakage (at least what we know about) are here at home.
The author has an excellent point.
We have no choice. They will continue to try and kill us. The right of self defens is Biblical in nature.
Are young men going to spill their bood in foreign lands? Yes.
If they don't they are going to come to the United States and continue to kill. Those that remain in the United States are, as you read this, trying to figure out how the can kill us, or how to implement an existing plan which details how they will kill us.
The die has been cast! I am now willing to help dismember any foreign government that harbors or aids them in any, even if I have to feed my son and grandchildren into the mincing machine. My cousins and uncles did the same for me in WWII so that I could have a peaceful life without a German or Japanese bayonet being stuck up my rear.
It is not the way that I would have planned it, but apparently that is the way that it is.
Keep your pomder dry!
I can only imagine the 2004 elections when we are still engaged in this battle. Public opinion will have begun to turn and whomever opposes GWB will embark on a campaign of "it's time to end this war and move on with the business of the people..."
I worry less about Joe Sixpack and more about the "intelligentsia". It's not Joe Sixpack who is on the TV yacking about the need for moderation and how the US may have had it coming. . .
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Eagle, this is by far, for me, the most straight forward talk yet. Thank you for posting it. Everyone needs to read it...and then...READ IT. Thanks, Eagle.
This is a wonderful post.
To many, it's long been clear that moral degradation and ideological resolve are precisely our greatest frailties, and precisely why this war will either completely make or break not only the United states as a nation, but the entire world experiment in people-oriented representative governmental systems.
It no longer really matters whether the US government or any of the global corporations associated with it have played patsy with dictatorships and authoritarian systems in an attempt to shift resorces and opportunity back to themselves. For the very people who have benefited most from this are average people who've been living softly in the world of cheap fuel, leisure time, and lifestyle unprecidented in all history. It probably includes you and me. And it also largely includes the many hypocrites who decry our situation by pointing out the raw history of US foreign policy, but really don't want to live under the horribly ugly alternative world views they defend by association with an imaginative utopia. They have to be among the most spoiled, naieve, myopic group ever to have lived on planet Earth.
While the enemy looks to be coming from a 1500 year old Middle Eastern mindset, they move on us at a time when our long term ideological enemies, mostly right in the middle of the American Cultural Elite, have spent at least five decades undermining our own "Western Cultural" heritage, and our moral resolve. And we've let them, by yielding to the politically correct view (the same view Hitler called "socially correct").
It is my opinion that if we fail in our resolve, EVEN if we find ourselves locked into an ugly war brought on by deceitful corporations, politicians, or misguided foreign advisors, we will not only CEASE to exist as a nation, but cease to exist as a people. I really think there's no longer any room to tool about in our Volvos, teaching our kids about a daydream of peacefully coexisting with all the multicultured peoples of the world and living side by side in competition with wild animals that nature has designed to literally eat us. The wake up call is here, but it truly looks to be a long day at work before we have any possibility of retiring to the comfort of a safe bed, if EVER again.
Now some have been trying to warn us for some time now about the importance of the trend to dilute or destroy not only our national morale, but the strength of the ideologies that provided the foundation of our heritage in liberty. And the relevance of that arugment itself is mute, because NOW it's evident beyond the pale. And if there are lay people here who haven't been exposed to this view of revent American History, I urge you to read THIS brief secular piece and see what I mean about either intentionsionally or unwittingly setting up our vulnerability. Although dated by a few years, it explains one significant element of the idological offensive that was launched to weaken our resolve, long before the current enemy realized that it was an opportunity for him to act. And it explains one of the most important fronts that this upcoming age of war will be fought here at home.
Thank you for posting it and for calling my attention to it!
THANX NINER GREAT POST !
This is a most wonderful change since the last creep was in office. I think the reverse to the thinking of some has happened. We have been sparred this test until we had someone in office who is up to the task.
If God is just than he is for a just cause and rooting out terror may be the most important thing that President Bush takes on in his lifetime.
|Will Joe Sixpack have the patience and perseverance when the body bags start coming home?
That's an interesting point, for you are assuming that the body bags are "coming home." What if the body bags are right here? What if every two weeks another building full of people blows up, or another airliner drops out of the sky, right into a nuclear power plant?
Does Joe Sixpack sue for peace, or he does demand the nuclear annihilation of however many it takes to make it stop?
I think you know the answer. I suspect our foes do not. I suspect they are stupid enough to stage another attack, perhaps before we even begin ours on them. God help them if they do.
In the end we are not fighting to occupy terrain,so much as we are fighting to make an enemy stop its actions.
We can make every Aircraft impossible to take over to be sure , but then they can come after Busses ,Trains ,Bridges ....you get the Idea. This will be as much a war of taking and seizing terrain as it will be of taking and seizing a mind set. The Backers of these Fanatics may not want to lose their "Comfort Zone " either. The U.S. can and should target the backers, making it Manifestly clear "WE WILL REMOVE YOU AND YOUR POWER BASE AND REPLACE IT WITH ONE OF OUR CHOOSING"... God save us if polititions begin fighting this war as they did with Viet Nam....
Let us not forget; we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with barbarians who pervert the sacred teachings of that great religion for their own putrid goals. Their only resemblance to civilized humanity is the fact that they walk upright.
Let us be firm in our resolve to do what must be done. No trials, no courts, no Miranda readings. No, they must be hunted down and disposed of like the rabid vermin they are.
To do less would be to stand aside and let barbarism triumph over freedom. To those to harbor, welcome or attempt to apologise for this tyranny, I say to you; OVER MY DEAD BODY.
To those who, even now, are moving to stand in the gap; welcome aboard...let's send 'em to hell!
Very late Monday night (or very early Tuesday morning) I saw the news crawler at the bottom of Fox News mention that this past weekend $54 million was the movie box office receipts. This was way up when compared to the same weekend last year (I don't recall the % increase) and was attributed to Americans wanting to get away from all the bad news. This was only four days after the attack. While escapism is natural and breaks are needed, this is going to be a long war.
I read the article "Original Sin" that you linked, and found it both fascinating and thought provoking. It's bookmarked.
You summed it up very well.
God save us if politicians begin fighting this war as they did with Viet Nam....
SURELY we've learned. If not ...........
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