Wednesday, December 9, 2009

War! What is it Good For?

My generation is familiar with the lyrics of a song, "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"

Though I do not agree with that blanket answer, I do wonder what the value of war is when we are not committed to win?

These thoughts reminded me of something my Dad said a few years ago. I asked him something about how the Japanese fought and how brutal they were in WWII. His answer surprised me as I expected some condemnation for their actions. He said, "They fought to win."

A couple days ago we passed another anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Whether or not it was a mistake by the diplomats, the attack was carried out prior to Japan declaring war. If you read my post about this attack (below), you will see a list of the places Japan attacked during the first 24 hours that began with the attack on Pearl Harbor. They had a plan, they carried it out, they gained a strong upper hand, and they had every intention on doing whatever it took to win. They did not worry about public relations, political campaigns, allegations of brutality, etc. They figured that if they won, who would stand as the accuser.

There is another saying, "Winning is everything!" There are no moral victories in real WAR. Real war is winner take all. The winner lives and rules, the loser is often dead - period.

Since World War II, the United States has been fighting PC wars. We have never, since 1945, gone into a war with the attitude that we would do whatever it took to make sure victory belonged to us.

In Korea, we were gaining the upper hand on the North and the end was in sight...that is, until China sent around a million soldiers across the border to drive the US and South back. The war ended with a "seize fire" and a line drawn in the snow. Now, around 55 years later, we are still there guarding that line. We did not win and did not do what it took to win. When China sent overwhelming numbers into the battle, we were not willing to use the weapon that helped end WWII and secure victory. A couple atomic bombs on a million soldiers in a small area would have ended China's interference. You say, "That is so cold and cruel!" I remind you of another saying, "All's fair in love and war."

We did not learn our lesson and carried the same PC attitude into Vietnam. By then, the enemy probably had atomic weapons of their own and maybe that would not have been the solution. But, there were more conventional methods that were not used and it ended with the US bailing out and the South being overrun by the enemy.

We have been in smaller conflicts between Vietnam and Iraq, but no major wars.

If there has been any exception to the US not doing what it took to win, it would have to be the first gulf war around 1990. In that war, the US used overwhelming manpower and weapons to accomplish the goal in record time. There has been criticism about us not continuing on to deal with Saddam, once and for all. But, killing him was not the goal, defeating him and his army was the goal and getting them out of Kuwait. If there was PC in this war, it was not at a level that prevented victory, and was probably involved with decision to stop before Saddam was dead or removed from power.

The beginning of Iraqi Freedom, the second gulf war, showed signs of determination to do what it took to win. Later, we got involved in PC that tied one hand behind the soldiers backs and resulted in prolonging that war. Hence, we are still there fighting.

Afghanistan has turned out to be a PC war. We are not doing whatever it takes to win and have a decided victory. We are strapped with restrictions and limits as to what our military can and will do in battle. Our enemy has no restrictions. They are like the Japanese in WWII, they intend to win. We, evidently do not. The PC has been evident in this war since the beginning but has multiplied since BO took office. It is clear, his agenda does not involve military victory.

My Dad said something else to me several years ago. I asked him what he thought about Ron and I not going to Vietnam. He told me that if we had been fighting to win that he believed that we should have gone just like the ones who did. But, since we were not, he is glad we did not have to go.

How do the dads and moms and wives and husbands and kids feel today about their loved ones going off to fight, half way around the world, in a war that our government is not planning to win? A soldier is a tool of war, he is another weapon at the disposal of the commanders. It is one thing for his life to be lost in the great cause leading to victory, it is another for the loss when pulling out and walking away is the plan of action by the Commander-In-Chief.

What is it good for? War, in spite of all of the carnage, can serve a great and noble purpose. It is the means to set people and countries FREE. It is the means to defend our freedom. It is the means to conquer evil men and put an end to their deadly plans. Sometimes war is inevitable and may be mandatory due to what others have chosen to do against us. War has its place. War set the stage for America to be free and become the greatest nation on earth. War ended the evil and deadly deeds of Japan and Germany.

All of this is dependant upon one aspect holding true - we must fight to win. To do that, today, would take a major shift in policy and attitude by our politicians and many of our citizens. I believe, without these changes, if the US became involved in another major war against another major enemy (such as Russia or China), we would have no chance of winning. We do not have the desire or determination in the halls of leadership to do what it takes to see victory. My prediction is that the next real WAR will result in defeat for America.

We have lost our capacity for production. We do not mine the necessary ores. We are energy dependant on foreign nations, some of which would fight against us. We lack, in leadership, a "killer instinct". We are worried about POWs getting a "fair trial" and are in the process of giving the enemy constitutional rights. We have limited our FBI, CIA, military, and others in their ability to gain intelligence from the enemy. We have "rules of engagement" that restrict our soldiers from fighting back when a battle is in process. We play politics with war and cater to the Left who have never seen a war worth fighting. We are side-tracked by issues like gays in the army. We no longer "carry a big stick" and pipsqueak leaders of tiny countries have no respect or fear of America actually "doing" something. We are all talk! We are a joke to the other powerful nations of the world. It so happens that the other powerful nations would all love to see the "great US of A" out of the picture. It so happens that none of them would ever consider fighting a PC war. They would all fight to win and they would if we do not change soon.


  1. The beginning of the Iraq War carried the weight of Cheney's excuses for torture. Our guys went into the country with the sad misconception that mistreating people gets good information, and that the country they were invading was complicity in 9/11.

    In 2007, Bush permitted Gen. David H. Petraeus to introduced counterinsurgency doctrine, what you seem to call "PC war." This is based on treating the civilian population with respect, something we actually did when we occupied Germany and Japan.

    Counterinsurgency emphasizes the need to treat prisoners with respect. Of course, we entered our Revolutionary War with the same "PC" principle. General George Washington, and many other American military and civilian leaders, spoke of treating captives with kindness.

  2. Brian, good to hear from you again. I have to take exception with your first paragraph. First, I am not sure what you mean by "carried the weight of Cheney's excuses for torture." Cheney was not the commander in chief. The Bush administation sought legal advise as to what was allowed and what was not allowed when interrogating prisoners. They followed that legal advise. If soldiers did not follow directions, they faced discipline. I have never heard anyone say that we went to war so Cheney could fulfill some desire to torture someone.

    The left, after the fact, has attempted to argue that the reasons we went to war in Iraq were (choose one-based on the current political climate): so Bush, the son, could avenge Bush the dad; for oil; empire building; or because Bush lied and accused Iraq of being part of 9/11.

  3. (Continued)

    I do not believe any of those were the reason(s), and certainly, it was not so the VP could direct men to torture others. We fought the Iraq war because: Saddam was a crazy dictator who was systematically murdering his people, him being in power of such a stategically located country threatened our national security, his refusal to give up the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), his refusal to allow UN inspectors, is multiple violations of the UN cease fire agreement, his ignoring of multiple UN resolutions, and his continued threat to the region.

    There did not have to be that war. Saddam could have allowed inspections, proved he did not have WMDs, and cooperated with the UN. If he had, he still would be there and could have been running an oil-rich nation.

    As to "the sad misconception that mistreating people gets good information", I guess you would have to define who the "people" are you are mentioning. From the very beginning of the war, we treated the civilians with respect. Why do you think they cheered our troops when we liberated them? In war, it is not the goal to treat the enemy who is trying to kill you, with respect. As I said, we have treated the civilians with respect from the beginning. This is largely because we were not there to fight them but to set them free. Once they realized that, they have not been afraid of US.

  4. (Continued)

    As to the comment that we treated the civilians with respect in Japan and Germany. Sure we did, when the war was over. We did not "occupy" Japan and Germany while we were still at war. When fighting was over, we spent billions helping those two countries rebuild and get back on their feet. Before the war was over, we spent millions on bombs to level their cities. I am not sure what comparison you are trying to make.

    As to treating prisoners with respect. We abide by the Geneva Convention and follow those rules. As stated, if an individual soldier went beyond what was legal, they were punished.

    "Waterboarding" was determined to be a legal method of getting information. The Dem leaders were briefed at the time we began using that method and they were fine with it. It produced very valuable information that saved American lives. The Dems only found fault and "shock" as they believed it would bring them political points.

  5. (Continued)
    As to treating prisoners with respect, those at Gitmo (for as dangerous as they are) have been treated with great respect. They have a clean place to live, fed good food, allowed to practice their religion, exercise time, etc.

    Compare to how our prisoners have been treated. In present conflicts: heads cut off, bodies burned, bodies drug behind cars, etc. In past conflicts: forced to make "death march", herded into fields where they are machine-gunned down, tied to trees and gutted while alive.

    Treatement of civilians: in WWII, we took Japanese Americans and put them in camps where we fed and housed them for a period of time. Japan took civilians (Chinese) and raped, murdered and used them for "live bayonett practice" and contests to see who could cut off the most heads in a given time frame. Germany rounded up anyone who they did not like and just gassed them to death or shot them. Presently, our enemy blows them up in the marketplace.

    The point of my article was not about torture or even promoting it, but was about an attitude that will be necessary if we plan to win our current war and even have a chance in the next big one.

  6. Thank you for the salutations. I do believe the approach to the population and the treatment of detainees affects whether troops have the cooperation or the opposition of the people.

    In 2007, General David H. Petraeus implemented a counterinsurgency strategy that introduced a new approach to both civilians and detainees. This change in policy was more than a troop increase, or "troop surge," but Petraeus was not the first to introduce counterinsurgency in Iraq.

    In 2006, AP correspondent Antonio Castaneda reported from the city of Ramadi, Iraq, "U.S. troops are switching tactics in the fight against insurgents in parts of this rebellious city, replacing confrontation with courtesy in hopes of winning public trust and undercutting support for the militants."

    Instead of busting down doors and barging into homes, Marines knocked on doors and ask if they could speak with residents. Attacks on US forces in that part of Ramadi decreased.,4675,IraqSwitchingSignals,00.html

    This article documents two things. First, it documents a new approach that emphasized respect for the people. Secondly, the article indicates a very different attitude prevailed earlier in the war (2003-2006); the article documents that American forces in Ramadi, and probably other parts of Iraq, busted down doors and broke into family homes.

  7. Everything you just wrote makes sense. Maybe I just misunderstood what you meant in the firt comment. "Our guys went into the country with the sad misconception that mistreating people gets good information..." This sounded like you believe that the plan was to mistreat the people, on purpose. And by "people", I mean the general public.

    Thanks for the thoughtful input. I appreciate it.