War Stinks . . . But Sometimes, Just Sometimes . . . !!
“Silence In The Face Of Evil Is Itself Evil: God Will Not Hold Us Guiltless. Not To Speak Is To Speak. Not To Act Is To Act.” Dietrich Bohnhoeffer
I have been watching the crises in Iraq with some saturnine curiosity. I am not even sure where to begin with this Robservation. But I guess the best thing to do is to “cut to the chase” so to speak. These ISIS criminals are dangerous; not only to Iraqis who think differently than they do but to the world as a whole. They hate everything and everybody who does not conform to their way of thinking.
I have always had this morbid curiosity in seeing, let’s say, gross stuff. Weird? Yeah, I know but what can I say? How many of you remember the days, not too long ago when gas stations were the immediate repository for automobile accidents? As a kid, I would always run over and inspect the cars as carefully as I could. I remember during show-and-tell when I was in the third or fourth grade, I told of a car wreck I saw at a gas station on my family’s way to Atlantic City. It was pretty gruesome inside that car and I still remember it to this day. My teacher, Mrs. Kole, told me to sit down and immediately called for an emergency parent-teacher conference. She told my parents I was the “most morbid little kid” she had ever seen. As strange as it may be, these images have always helped me put things into a certain perspective. Whether driving or flying, I try to be as competent as I can be because I have seen what happens when things go horribly wrong. Likewise, because I have pored over thousands of grisly wartime images through the years, I know war is something to be avoided at all costs.
In other words, I have a pretty strong stomach and images that make most people look away, have little negative impact on me. Until now. The other day I happened to see a link to images of what ISIS is doing to Christians in Iraq. Of course I had to go there and what I pulled up were some of the most terrible images I have ever seen. EVER. I called my wife over and by the time she came into the room I was actually crying. Those images, now seared in my brain will likely be with me for a long time. Although those pictures can still be found on the internet (or my iPad - sorry), I do not recommend going to see them. No way. Just say no.
I have seen hundreds of images of Nazi and Japanese atrocities, I have been to the concentration camp at Dachau several times, I have seen images of the desolation of Hamburg and Dresden, walked battlefields like Verdun, seen car wrecks and crashed airplanes with their mangled crews, but nothing really compares to what I saw happening in Iraq right now. Not to me anyway. It is not that these photos are in vivid color but rather it is their hellish nature that got to me. One of the more disturbing images showed a distraught and crying Iraqi man holding his little girl in his arms. The little girl was wearing a pretty blue dress with white leotards but had no head, courtesy of ISIS. The pure evil on display, only matched in the past 100 years by Hitler’s Germany or the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodian genocide led by Pol Pot from 1975-1979, is equally sickening and barbaric if not in scope but certainly in its intent. If ISIS had the technical know-how to be better killers, they would be. As a men and women of the West, we had better start preparing ourselves for the potential fight to come. Whether there or over here, it is coming because they have stated it is going to happen. “C’mon, Rob. They really don’t mean it.” Yeah, just like Hitler didn’t call his shots in Mein Kampf back in 1925 and 1926.
Today, I hear pundits continually talking about our strategy in Iraq and what we are going to do, or not do, with ISIS. What would you say if I told you that strategies are worthless? Before you told me to go soak my head I would then continue my thought by saying, “Without clearly defined, measureable and attainable objectives, strategies are worthless.” What I hear about our participation in Iraq is a lot of gibberish and nonsense with respect to what our strategy(ies) should be. Almost all media types are ignoring, whether out of ignorance or misfeasance, the truest of realities that our strategies appear flawed because I contend we have not yet developed any cogent tactical, operational and/or strategic objectives to deal with ISIS. Without clear objectives, you cannot have clear strategies because objectives define what you want to accomplish while strategies define how you are going to accomplish your objectives. “Rob, how can you say this?” Well, I kinda taught this stuff for ten years in the Air Force.
What I am getting at here is yes we are bombing ISIS targets now, but to what end? What are our real objectives there? Is it just to bomb them so people think we are at least doing something? Is it purely humanitarian? Is it to annihilate this regional threat? I have no idea and to be honest, few of us have a right to be privy to all information surrounding our operations in Iraq. But as an American citizen, I do feel our government has a responsibility to spell out what our goals (i.e. objectives) are regarding ISIS; much like President Bush succinctly did before Desert Storm.
This leads me to the real issue. If we are indeed going to fight ISIS, what are we actually prepared to do? Are we going to go after them like we did the Germans and Japanese in WWII? Are we going to pussyfoot around just marking time? Are we going to beat them down, without mercy until they can no longer threaten not just their region but the whole world? What? What are we going to do there? Although they may not be able to directly threaten us today, look at their doctrine. Doctrine is a powerful thing and it lets you know precisely what the enemy thinks. ISIS’ doctrine (strategic aim) has stated that they want to plant their flag over the White House and they want to destroy the US and Europe. Again, Uncle Adolf’s doctrine in Mein Kampf was pretty clear yet the whole world ignored it for over 15 years. I am sure you know what happened there!
Again, what are we, not just Americans but other Western countries willing to do? If America is going to do nothing but enter into yet another politically correct, kumbaya feel good operation that hamstrings our warfighters’ abilities to do what they have been trained to do, I say get a couple of C-5 transports, fill them with our more worthless politicians (we have to leave at least 25-30 behind) and let them fight their politically correct war.
I believe that IF we are going to fight ISIS, our goals must be clearly defined, measureable and attainable (our doctrine). Once defined, as quickly and savagely as possible, we have to accomplish those objectives (Sun Tzu Art of War 101). I for one do not want to see any more men holding up their beheaded children, Christians actually being crucified, pits with dozens of men machine gunned (just like the Nazis did to the Jews), the back of pickup trucks filled with severed heads or entire villages of men being slaughtered and their wives taken as sexual property. We need to wake up as to what is happening there and brace ourselves for what may very well be heading our way.
Winston Churchill, still my favorite statesman of the 20th Century perhaps said it best when he quipped, “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” Do ya’ll remember the Kenny Rogers’ song, “Coward of the County?” In the song he said that you don’t have to fight to be a man. But sometimes you have to fight when you are a man. If the ISIS threat is deemed to be legitimate then an appropriate and legitimate solution must be achieved.
The day before I sent in this Robservation, American Journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS. This morning, 20 August was the 74th Anniversary of Winston Churchill’s famous Battle of Britain quote. He said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Just as the Battle of Britain was really heating up, three-quarters of a century later, again the West finds itself in a confrontation with pure evil. I just hope current world leadership has the panache, will, desire and intestinal fortitude to do what has to be done. More than ever, we need men of strength of character more than men with a 3 handicap. Pray for James Foley’s family and our leadership. Remember, sins of commission and omission are still sins. Bonhoeffer had it right all along.