Monday, April 05, 2004

What were they thinking?

In the continuing coverage of Operation Vigilant Resolve, Fox News notes:

The California-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force assumed responsibility for Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division on March 24. The Marines said they intended to take a softer approach with Fallujah residents, hoping to win popular support.

But the Marines have quickly found themselves mired in violence. On March 26, Marines and insurgents fought a lengthy street battle in the city that killed one Marine and five Iraqis.


Well duh!

The United States (in all its various components) needs to come to the realization that this is a war unlike any other in our history. We face an enemy who can not be negotiated with. This enemy is one of only two we've faced in our history who isn't only willing to die, but actively seeks to die for their cause. As students of history know, the first was the Japanese in WWII. Old Marines who served in the Pacific can tell you all about what that fight was like. It ended when approximately all the defenders on a given island were killed.

Fighting fanatics is a kind of war that we as a country aren't going to particularly care for. It is a bloody business on both sides. A lot of people will be killed and wounded, and sometimes they won't be combatants. Mistakes will be made in identifying and eliminating the threat. And we'll make most of those mistakes, and it will cause a great amount of uproar both at home and abroad.

We'll also lose a lot of our own soldiers. Each one that dies is a hero and an irreplaceable loss. Each one should and will cause us grief.

However, we will lose far fewer of our soldiers if we give up on this "winning popular support" business. It sounds suspiciously like the "winning hearts and minds" nonsense from Vietnam--and look how well that theory worked out there.

I'm going to keep saying this--the goal can not be to get the terrorists to love us or negotiate a peace with us. The goal must be making them fear us so much that they mark us off their list of potential targets. The goal is to make the respect our resolve and our willingness to use force to defend ourselves. The goal is to make them pay such a high price for any attack that they are unwilling to attack at all.

It could be that this becomes a cockroach killing contest--it isn't over until they're all dead. If necessary, then so be it. The world will be a better place with them gone. If not, then that's fine too, as long as the terrorists learn to leave us alone.

An the sooner we start using the necessary tactics to accomplish this, the sooner our people can come home--and the fewer of them that come home dead.

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