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OTHER ITA SITES:
Why We’re Not Winning The “War Against Terror” II
I hope that the capture of no less than 15 Royal Navy personnel by the Iranians is no more than a damning indictment of British “Rules of Engagement”. Surely no sailors or marines of this once great military force would otherwise submit meekly to capture… But that’s another story.
Meanwhile, it was encouraging to see progress being made following President Bush’s brave but controversial Iraq “surge” policy; and those spring initiatives in Afghanistan look as if they’re getting results too. But I fear these are short-term successes. My first paper clearly shows why we won’t win. Not unless we change our fighting methods, and revise our stated objectives; what we want to achieve with these two battles.
If you read my first paper, you might assume that I do not support the war against terror being waged by the American and coalition forces in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere (notably in Africa, but that’s another story)…
Should we give up and let the terrorists have their way? Never! To protect our western civilisation we MUST fight terrorism wherever we find it. We’re in as much danger now as we were at the beginning of the Second World War.
IN WAR: RESOLUTION
Winston Churchill used these as the “moral of the work” for his superb volumes on The Second World War when the west faced subjugation by Nazi Germany and the Japanese war machine.
We would do well to adopt Churchill’s guiding principles in these equally dangerous times of the twenty-first century. Extreme Islam today is as dangerous as Nazism was in the twentieth century. Although the Islamic extremists are far less militarily powerful than Nazi Germany, they’re using cunning, infiltration and ruthless terrorism to achieve their aims. They hide behind civilians, who themselves are at best neutral and sometimes active terrorist supporters. But if we can’t defeat the terrorists for fear of causing civilian casualties, they’re going to win the war.
WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?
Let’s start with the published motives for the battles in Iraq and Iran (the two most visible elements of our war against terror): We were taken into these wars on several different premises; ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that don’t seem to have existed and then ‘regime change’. Well our military achieved the second, but for what?
The current main objective for both battles seems to be to create two modern, democratic societies in the heart of Islam.
That’s both morally and strategically wrong. It seems that “Democracy” is the new “Christianity” and as such, it is offensive. Our leaders are seen to be crusading for Democracy – Missionaries for Democracy. No wonder virtually the whole of Islam are up in arms. Who the hell are we to be telling foreigners how to run things inside their own countries? Democracy? I fear that only a relatively few Middle Eastern intellectuals (mainly émigrés) understand or want it. Maybe this Crusade for Democracy is actually a big cover-up for the real reason we were taken to war?
The only sensible objective for going to war in Iraq must have been to secure it as one of our important sources of oil. That is a legitimate objective; our own soldiers will think it worth fighting for; and our enemies might not like it, but they’ll understand and (secretly) respect it, because they’d fight for the same cause.
And the only sensible objective in Afghanistan was to eliminate, or at least control the regime that provided Al Qaeda sanctuary. This is another legitimate objective, easily understood by all and worth fighting for.
These objectives are far more sensible than the western crusade to change a peoples’ way of life by means that threatens their religion and their identity. Forget about trying to impose ‘democracy’ on the Islamic states. People will fight to the end against that…
I believe these (legitimate) objectives can be achieved, provided the West is prepared to renounce its crusade for democracy and declare these simpler goals. Make these declarations public and support any credible government that can achieve them. Strong, moderate Islamic prospects would surely come forward in both countries so we can get out and leave them to get on with it – with or without our ongoing support as they choose.
But if not, then we of the west must show that we can fight both wars to a satisfactory conclusion with the sort of determination our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did. After all, they started fighting in two world wars with woefully inadequate resources and were still victorious.
But first, imagine if Britain and the USA had tried to fight the 1939-1945 War the same way we are fighting the so-called War on Terror:
•Obsessed with German or Japanese civilian casualties;
Had this been our approach, Hitler would have won the War in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and the Far East would be ruled by triumphant, militaristic Japanese.
Now, in the twenty-first century, our “rules of engagement” are so restrictive that our soldiers are (figuratively) trying to fight with both hands tied behind their backs. British soldiers are particularly hampered in this way – Americans less so, thank God.
The militant Islamic enemy face no such restrictions, while western media and our legal system are quick to criticise western soldiers, and find excuses for terrorists.
The Islamic enemy may have mixed – often poor – fighting equipment and skills; they hide behind civilians; they lie and cheat and are utterly dishonourable. But their leaders are highly skilled at winning the media war – modern propaganda. They’re so good at propaganda that many of the western public don’t even believe we are at war.
If it comes to having to go on fighting these wars, we must give notice that enemy civilians will face the consequences of their support (even tacit support) for terrorists. We must make it clear that enemy civilian casualties are of less importance than the safety of our soldiers. And rules of engagement must be changed to reflect this…
The United Nations is as useless as its predecessor (the League of Nations) was before the Second World War – look at Bosnia, Congo, Darfur (Sudan); Ethiopia, Eretria, Uganda, Rwanda and the rest... Only American military power can save us.
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Travel Part B