Friday, February 15, 2008

Winning the War on Terror

To avoid the incessant references to yesterday's annoying Hallmark holiday, I started the day watching the History channel, and there was a show about Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War. This got me to thinking about how wars are won. The Civil War was a simple war of attrition. The Union won by wearing down the Confederacy, demoralizing them, and destroying them. The lesson of the show was that wars are often won by psychology as much as by arms.

All through history are examples of how psychology is used to win wars. World War II ended because we proved to the Japanese we could wipe them out without a traditional battle. That gave us nuclear warfare, which has yet to be used again. The Cold War was completely psychological, from the challenge of the Cuban missile crisis to Reagan joking about starting the bombing in five minutes. Even our war for independence was won by demoralizing the British as much as by military victory. We had to survive long enough to win a battle, and convince the Brits they could not break us.

And now we are in a war that is different than any other, but can be won, or lost, like all others. We face an enemy with no country, with absolutely no hesitation to attack civilians, and an absolute belief that their war is blessed and demanded by God. To win, we need to destroy that.

We are hampered, as in Vietnam, with a population that is increasingly against the war, specifically the Iraq theater of operations. This is how the enemy seeks to defeat us: by outlasting us, by dividing us, by winning the psychological battle. Then they will strike us here again, as they did in New York in 1993, and again on 9/11. This enemy fights wars over decades. They work in small numbers, hide in civilian populations, and will not stop until they are dead.

To combat this enemy, we must kill each and every one of the leaders. We must convince the populations of countries that either help, harbor, or tolerate terrorists that we can not be defeated by murderers, that we desire peaceful coexistence, and we will not accept any country that feeds the terrorist infection. We must do anything that we can to find them. We must employ whatever methods are necessary to break the resolve of captured terrorists. And we must never forget that we are not fighting honorable soldiers, but fanatical sons of bitches that are less than human and must be eliminated from the face of the Earth.

The question we are left with, then, is simple: Do we possess the resolve to win the War on Terror? And, will the next Prsident have a similar resolve?

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