Did you know that we as a country have been operating under a false assumption for the past 20 years? It may or may not have been intentional on the part of our government; they may have been duped as well. The worst part of this whole embarrassment is that even if they become aware of the mistake, they won’t change the machinations that are in place. What is this falsehood to which I refer? Why it is the war on terror of course.
I’m not saying that there is no war on terror—well, actually I am—but it is not in the way it has been portrayed. The “war” was declared by Reagan and that banner was carried on by both Bush administrations; but it is not a real war. Sure, we are sending our sons and fathers into harm’s way, sure we have lost too many souls to this conflict, but it is not a war in the purest sense of the word.
A war has to have certain defining characteristics. You have to have combatants. Well, yes, we have those. You have to have a battlefield. Yes, we do have that. You have to have definable goals that are mutually exclusive. There is the rub: we are not fighting for the same goal. We are fighting to “liberate” Iraqis and promote democracy. The enemy is fighting to kill us. Simple as that. They want us dead.
If you look at the term that Reagan coined, you see the problem. War on Terror. To examine it closer, let’s look at terror: from terrēre to frighten; akin to Greek trein to be afraid, flee, tremein to tremble. The goal of a terrorist is to cause fear. The goal is not to take territory. It is not to obtain wealth. It is not to dethrone a government. It is only to cause fear.
Our military was developed and modeled after the old British regimental system. This model has served us well in WWI and WWII, not so well in Korea or Vietnam and not at all in the Middle East. The terrorists do not meet on a battlefield and draw lines. They do not meet in climactic exchanges of fire where they try to advance a position. They attack from hiding, or by sabotage, or by laying traps not to advance a position, but rather to kill Americans. They only want to kill Americans. That is all. They won’t surrender. They won’t stop.
We cannot defeat them in the way we defeated the Germans and the Japanese. There will be no armistice. There will be no treaty. There will be no “Victory.” The war will end only when one of the two combatants is incapable of fighting anymore. Our enemy has demonstrated a willingness to die in combat that includes blowing themselves up. They will fight until they are dead. So either they all have to die (which sounds good to me) or we have to stop giving them targets to attack. But the strategies of the pentagon have been fundamentally flawed since the war’s inception.
The Obama administration would like to pull our troops out. Will this end the conflict? I doubt it. Will they pull the troops? I doubt that too. Terrorists will still attack wherever they can find a target. They will do this even as Obama tries to placate and appease them by apologizing to Muslims and turning our backs on Israel. The enemy will try to kill us as long as they and we live. We need to realize that and make decisions with that in mind. This “war” is unwinnable. We need to stop calling it a “war” and call it what it is: murder on a mass scale. Then we need to give them as good as we get. No more Geneva conventions. No more respecting their rights. They are murderers and criminals and need to be dealt with as such.