One of my dad’s more memorable lines was his response to the question about what his strategy was for fighting the Cold War. Simple, he said, “We win, they lose.”
That’s the way it worked out; we won, they lost.
We won because the Reagan strategy was to apply relentless pressure on the Soviets with unflinching resolve, to never let up, and to grind the Communists’ faces in the mud at every opportunity while the world looked on, no matter how much it shocked the media and the go-easy-on-the-Kremlin liberals who feared giving offense to our sworn enemies by treating them unkindly and incurring the condemnation of the world’s wimps.
We are now fighting a war that demands similar resolve and a rigid determination to defeat the enemy, whatever it takes, without regard to how it will shock the media and the anti-war left.
We are not meeting those demands and as a result the mightiest nation on the face of the earth – with the finest military force ever assembled in all the world’s history – is losing the war, not by being defeated in combat, but by default.
In Afghanistan, as both the media and the Defeatocrats have joyfully proclaimed, the Taliban we drove out is back and giving the NATO and coalition forces arrayed against them a very hard time.
Nothing could drive a stake in the heart of that reborn Taliban insurgency better than the killing of their top leadership, yet when faced with a golden opportunity to do just that we did nothing but stand by and watch.
According to NBC, 190 top Taliban leaders attending a funeral and packed in a tight formation were seen by an eye-in-the-sky drone, presenting an easy target for a quick air strike that could have decimated the Taliban leadership and perhaps brought an end to the insurgency in Afghanistan.
A black and white photo published on the front page of the New York Post shows what NBC told the Associated Press are the Taliban militants standing in several rows, like cattle being led to the slaughter pens.
It would have been an easy kill and a major victory in the fight against the Taliban, yet our military were forced to sit and do nothing but watch because the oh-so-sensitive rules of engagement forbid attacking cemeteries.
And that’s not all. While U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan were still raging about the lost opportunity, the military brass was up in arms – not because of a missed chance – but because the embarrassing drone photo was leaked to the media.
According to the Associated Press, Lt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman with the U.S. military in Kabul, said the photograph was released to NBC by someone who did not have the clearance to hand it out.
“It is an operational security issue and the photo was released at an inappropriate level,” she sniffed to the AP. “Inquiries are being made into how it was released.”
This incident is an example of the out-of-control political correctness that is driving the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Out of fear of offending the people whose freedom we are fighting to ensure, we are waging a war by half-measures.
Our enemy is a furtive force lurking hidden among the civilian population, using civilians as human shields. The only way to deal with these fanatical insurgents is to kill them all, and in order to kill them all you have to be willing to inflict unintended damage on the civilian population, just as we did when we bombed Berlin and Tokyo and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
When you fight this kind of war, you incur the wrath of the media and the anti-war left, who remain ever-alert for any chance to charge the U.S. with committing “atrocities.” When you allow fear of their reaction to dictate the rules of engagement, you allow them to lead you to defeat.
“War is Hell,” Sherman once said. It still is, and always will be. Live with it, or go hide someplace and hope the victorious enemy won’t find you and cut your head off, a form of political incorrectness that doesn’t bother them one bit.
©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.