Days go by
I was navigating our convoy through the city today, looking for bombs and trying not to get us lost, and the thought occurred to me. What the hell am I doing here? I know I have a job to do and I do it the best I can. I understand that I have certain responsibilities, to myself, my family, and my fellow Marines, to get us home safe and sound. I can accept those. My issue is with the war itself. I wonder as I sit here, listening to the calls on the radio, why we don’t fight, why we don’t attack. Where is the will to win? Why are the politicians fighting this war? How are we supposed to win this if we can’t even acknowledge that there is a war going on?
Some friends were listening to an interview on MSNBC, and they swear that, in this interview with Condoleezza Rice, she says that this isn’t war. I didn’t hear it myself, but I wonder; what the hell this is? If we are not at war, then what are we doing? Call it a war on terror, call it a police action, call it whatever you want, but if it looks like a dog and it sounds like a dog, then it’s a dog. Our government spends way too much time debating action and trying to appease the Arab populace. Our bases get attacked almost daily, yet nobody does anything about it. Rockets and mortars, small arms fire, snipers, everybody is trying to kill us, and we have to worry about the rules of engagement before we can fight back. General Patton would be spinning in his grave if he saw the war this war was being fought. If you want to win, you have to destroy the enemy, and nobody wants to do that. We spend day and weeks trying to find the enemy and nobody wants to admit that the enemy is everywhere. Here is an example…
Abu Hassan spends his day in his little shop, selling snacks and sodas, food items and bits of stuff to the local people in his area. He is a small man, about 40, with 4 kids and a wife. He works pretty hard, and makes a decent living. He closes his shop at night, goes to prayer, and listens to the Imam talking about killing the infidels, avenging the dead, or becoming a martyr. Abu Hassan goes home; his head full of mystical sayings pulls his AK-47 out of the closet, puts on his night clothes. He goes out to the end of the street, waits for the nearest American convoy, shoots 5 rounds at them, and then ducks back down the alley and out of sight. He meets up with 4 other Shia friends, and the drive three blocks over. The see a bunch of Sunni men sitting in front of a store, and immediately start shooting. He then has his friends take him home, where he puts his rifle back under his bed, kisses his wife and kids good night, then goes to bed.
The enemy is everywhere, and we have seen him day after day. The guy standing on the street corner, counting American patrols. The taxi cab driver, who follows them at a distance to get the spacing between vehicles, The kid selling black market gasoline on the side of the freeway, whose job is to call in large vehicles. The woman tending to her sheep, the local guy who works on the base, the street sweeper, the farmer; all of them. You can’t beat them by appealing to them. You can’t win them over by providing jobs, schools, and goods. You can’t pacify them by creating a democracy, holding elections, and declaring the end of major combat. You can only win by crushing them. You can beat the militia’s, the Hezbollah’s, the Mahdi Army’s, by finishing this war, killing every person who takes up arms against you, and making the survivors understand that might makes right, and we do have the strength to back it up.
In 1944 and 1945, we defeated Germany and Japan by crushing them into submission. We made them surrender, and we killed those who refused to. By doing so, we created a platform to build on, and we helped build those nations into what we see today. Unfortunately, that was the last time we ever beat anybody. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq I and II. We spent more time trying to win hearts and minds, and not enough ass kicking. We could crush the resistance in this country, and then there would be no more problems. Not only that, but Iran, Syria, Jordan, would think twice before ever raising a hand against us, and that would give this nation a foundation to succeed. But no, we can’t do that, because our politicians think that spending billions of dollars on projects the Iraqi’s themselves destroy, is a much better way to nation build. We fight the war on CNN and Hardcopy, not on the streets of Ramadi or Sadr City.
In Ramadi, Marines are dying every day, because somebody doesn’t want to take control of the city. They would rather the Marines create pockets or protection, then hopefully peace will spread its wings and people will see that fighting is just wrong, drop their weapons, and take up knitting. In another age, we would have carpet bombed Ramadi into pebbles. Newsweek commented that this type of fighting; this”corporate warfare” is the newest type of combat. Fighting not a nation, but terrorists required a whole different type of military might. I would agree with that, but when the terrorists are everywhere, when you know where they are and who they are, you must be able to take the fight to them. If you don’t do that, because you may hit some quasi-innocent women or bystanders, then you surrender the advantage to the enemy, and you give him the ability to decide the outcome of the battle. He can predict your movements, and control them so that he has the upper hand. Sure he is shooting at us, but he is surrounded by a bunch of women, so we can’t shoot back. He is shooting from a mosque. Oh sinner, how could he do that, but we can’t shoot back.
We are not going to win here, as long as our elected officials refuse to win. We are not going to win as long as we play by the modern rules. We are not going to win, as long as we try to make friends before we kill enemies. Americans are going to continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan and every other place, as long as we allow the politician-general to make the decisions. FDR where are you???
So, as we race down streets filled with people, I look out and wonder which one of the cars on the side of the road is going to explode. My eyes dart from person to person, trying to identify the one who is going to race out into the street and pull the pin on his suicide vest. We turn left, and the street is empty. Bad sign, when nobody is around. I grip my weapon a little closer, waiting for the blast to hit us. We travel down the street quickly, waiting, looking, searching and praying. Shadows behind a wall, a large tire in the middle of the road. Trash burning in the center of the street. Is that the signal to start the ambush? We scan for snipers, check our systems, flip safeties off the weapons. Look left, swerve right, stay away from that debris, I think I see wires. We turn right and its back out into the busy market. I hear sighs of relief, silent prayers, weapon safeties click on, and everybody relaxes a bit.
Why am I here?
Because someone forgot that war is hell, and there was nobody around to remind them…