To regain the steel
Alexander the Great. Napoleon. Sherman. Genghis Khan. Patton. Hannibal. Scipio. Xerxes. Washington. Saladin. Darius.
We remember their names and deeds, some more positively than others, because their lives were tied to the larger events that shaped our world and its constituent civilizations. They reacted to those events (or created them) in ways so effective as to become entrenched in the common legend. Some were imperial rulers. All were outstanding military leaders.
There is another commonality to these men.
All were ruthless.
When the goal is determined, actions must be completed in order to achieve that goal. This might mean burning your own fleet of ships so your soldiers could not retreat. It might mean destroying entire cities over a broken treaty. It might mean outrunning your own supply line and outflanking your main column, even competing with an ally. It could mean burning and rendering entire regions incapable of cover and food supply in your wake, or destroying all traces of a former ally.
In some cases (especially the leaders from antiquity), that also meant wholesale slaughter of innocents -- burning cities, executing civilians, burning lands and poisoning wells. It meant taking slaves, and rape, and pillaging. It meant torture and barbaric treatment of prisoners, whether civilian or military.
Modern civilization has abandoned many of the more ruthless aspects of conflict. The concept of humane treatment for all has been embraced by much of the world, if not practiced as evenly as we would like to see. Prisoners of a modern civilization, whether civil or military, know they will be fed and not tortured. No one has to fear being a slave of another. Social stratification exists, but essentially all people are recognized and basic rights and privileges guaranteed to all. A nation or city conquered by a civil society is not subject to punitive destruction, pillaging, or undue subjugation of the population. The wells will not poisoned; indeed, new and better ones will be dug. More electricity will be made available. Schools will be built, and a functioning local government will be encouraged with the backing of security provided by the conqueror. Even those resisting will be treated humanely once they are captured.
Obviously I am speaking specifically of the United States' occupation of Iraq. If GWB were truly the evil tyrant that the moonbats claim he is, then he would perform the ancient actions of killing all local leaders, destroying the mosques, taking slaves, and generally forcing the local population to swear allegiance to us or die. Leaders appointed by us would run regions and there would be minimal, if any, local leadership. There would be public executions, torture, disappearances, and probably the complete destruction of several cities. There would be a 51st star on our flag, and our oil drilling issues would no longer be issues.
Putting aside all moral arguments and the March of Progress in the Human Condition, there are aspects to the ancient ways that worked very well and are more effective than our modern civil approaches and definitions of victory.
They saw a Pyrhhic victory as acceptable. We try to win "hearts and minds."
They threw thousands of their own into certain death so that they might capture a field or hold a beach. We back away if a couple of guys are dragged through the streets and debate whether the deaths of 2500 over THREE YEARS is worth it.
They went to war over something as trivial as a misspelled name. We agonize over "conflict resolution" with known enemies and recently-acquired superweapons.
They sought to vanquish their enemy and destroy him utterly if necessary. We try to understand them.
They tortured and executed prisoners of war and mutilated their bodies. We give them every accomodation, even moving the toilets so they don't face a certain direction.
Their prisoners would be thrilled if the worst to happen to them was some underwear on the head. Ours are allowed to file lawsuits from air-conditioned cells.
Genghis Khan killed his own brother and executed a longtime ally and prospered. Patton slapped a coward and was relieved of command.
Our enemy is fundamental islamic fascism, a philosophy of hate and subjugation that seeks to place the entire world under its totalitarian rule. It relies on the poverty of wealth, spirit, and education that exists in many areas of the world to maintain the power base of its elite. The basic premise of islam is that all muslims are brothers in their submission to Allah, and all non-muslims are infidels and are fair game for death and destruction. The goal is to expand the religion to encompass all -- those who convert are allowed to live as second-class citizens, and all those who do not convert are to be destroyed and have absolutely no standing as humans. They have spread a holy war to all corners of the earth and view that holy war as a continuation of the Crusades, even calling our captured soldiers "Crusaders."
Our enemy believes that it is perfectly acceptable to do the following in accordance with their holy war:
Torture, kill, and mutilate prisoners. This includes decapitation, gouging of eyes, dismemberment, and removal of private parts.
Hide weapons and equipment in your own holy places. Garrison your forces there as well.
Hide within civilian populations. Use women and children as human shields.
Place explosives in public places specifically to maim and kill. Time explosives so that the Big One goes off while rescuers are around.
Leave poisonous gases in subways. Hijack and fly planes into buildings. Drive trucks laden with explosives into public places.
Clearly there is a gap in perceived civilization between our enemy and us. Certainly they view our society as godless and hedonistic. As the reigning superpower culturally and economically we are the prime target -- take us down and the rest of the world will fall that much faster. It is truly a clash of civilizations, and with the advent of advanced weaponry that includes nuclear and biological weapons, possibly the most important of our history, second only to the the Neanderthal/CroMagnon conflict in scope. The outcome of this war will determine the course of humanity and is the fork in the road between the last vestiges of barbarism and the next step in human advancement, an advancement brought about SOLELY on the basis of intellectual progress and embracing technological development.
Ever notice there aren't muslims in Star Trek? Can't build starships if the local mullah says Allah won't even let you listen to music.....
Obviously we cannot stoop to become our enemy in winning the war. We should not torture our prisoners, nor terrorize the innocent.
We can not currently be described as "ruthless." We worry far too much about how we are perceived, whether the prisoners are comfortable, how to keep our own people and civilians safe, and what our own press says about our military effort.
That being said, I believe it is time we become more ruthless in our approach -- more Alexander, less Montgomery. We need to let our military fight this war as the military should -- kill people and break things. We can and will be the best friends Iraq has ever had, but that means they must assist us with ridding themselves of those who would not be our friends.
If they pick up a kid, shoot through the kid if necessary. KILL the bad guy.
If the neighbors are hiding the terrorists, flatten the neighborhood.
If prisoners are found to have committed atrocities like those committed against our 2 privates this week, execute them publicly and roll them in pig fat before displaying their bodies.
Interrogate prisoners properly -- no koran or prayer mat, if they want to starve themselves to death that's fine, and no air conditioning. Hold them indefinitely in undesireable but humane conditions.
Airstrikes, airstrikes, airstrikes.
We must have some degree of terror from all so that we can more quickly end the terror of the innocents.
GWB can do some ruthless things, too:
Kick out all media and reporters, pro and con, from Iraq. Let the press get their news the old-fashioned way: through military dispatches.
Put the congress on notice that they voted for this -- while hostilities ensue, any attempts to undermine the effort will be met with suspension of habeas corpus (Lincoln precedent) and imprisonment. Charges of sedition and treason will be explored. Support the war fully or resign.
Obviously these steps will not be taken, especially at this late date. But until we are willing to take more steps APPROACHING this level of ruthlessness, the steady trickle of casualties will continue, and the remnants of the marxist defeatocrats will continue their pacifistic crusade against our noble efforts in order to cause us to withdraw. We should not gouge their eyes out, but neither should we shy from making them uncomfortable and scared of us.
Let no one doubt this: We Will Prevail. This war can and must be won by the forces of civilization, and the barbarians must die at the gate. There is no other acceptable course, and it is perfectly acceptable for us to let some of our rules of civilization lapse in order to achieve this. If we were fighting an honorable enemy with shared values, this would not be necessary. The march of freedom is not merely a slogan; it is a necessary approach to advancing humanity.
But our enemy is not honorable and does not share our basic values. There is little point to extending human rights to those who do not view us as humans. We must do what is necessary to exterminate this poisonous enemy in order that we might prosper ourselves.
Our most ruthless modern leader, Ronald Reagan, said, "Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose." He also said, "Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong." This man stared the Evil Empire down and DARED them to launch missiles. But his ruthlessness failed when the islamofascists drove a truck bomb into Marine barracks in Beirut and we pulled out. What lesson were they to take from that? America would stand up to the Soviets but not the Soldiers of Allah?
The sword of bronze will falter against the sword of iron. Which will we be? Soft metal or hard?