Friday, October 22, 2004

Ever Wonder Why Kerry and His Ilk Makes Your Skin Crawl?

Gerard Van der Leun has the answer, over at American Digest.

He opens with scripture eerily prophetic in regard to our present situation:

While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are the servants of corruption:
for of whom a man is overcome,
of the same is he brought in bondage.
-- The Second Epistle of Peter 2:19

...and what follows is devastating.

Read it. Pass it on.

I cannot come close to Mr. Van der Leun where prose or analysis is concerned. I agree with his conclusions one hundred percent.

The barbarians cannot win this war. We can lose it, though. We surely could. And electing Kerry - or allowing the Democrats AS THEY ARE NOW LED any majority in any branch of government could well be a killing blow.

Abraham Lincoln was right:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

The issue he was addressing in 1858 was slavery. I believe the choice we make this November will affect our futures on a scale not seen since our Civil War.

Eleven days to go.


WichitaBoy said...

I think it's important to realize, first and foremost, that wars are psychological operations. You don't defeat your enemy by killing him, unless you're willing to commit genocide, you defeat him by convincing him he is defeated. Consider: How does a war end? There are no rules. There is no referee. There is no objective way to know that a war has ended. The bell doesn't go off. Therefore a war ends when and only when the defeated party agrees that it has been defeated. It follows that the ultimate purpose of war is not killing but rather to convince the enemy that he is defeated.

In a more innocent time like the Civil War there were certain gentlemanly rules each side observed. Each side went onto the battlefield, slaughtered the other side in a well-defined way, and then shook hands at the end and helped each other clean up the dead bodies. At night they might even sing together across the lines. The point in those days was to see who had been "whupped" on the battlefield and the other party was the agreed-upon winner.

Today's enemies aren't playing by our rules. But they know quite well how to manipulate our system. Like the Vietnamese, they cannot win on the ground by "whupping" us. But they can win by defeating us mentally, by convincing us that resistance is futile. Many of us are already defeated mentally before the game even begins, before the first attack. Many of us can't wait to surrender. Kerry is within that group.

The question for the rest of us is how we are going to overcome the defeatism that resides within our own ranks. That is the only path to victory.

TmjUtah said...

Wichita -

All wars are decided by destroying the ability of the enemy to resist. We face a huge problem in our conflict with Islamic fundamentalism. They are united in a common goal - jihad is a deeply personal undertaking independant of tribe or nation state - that transcends corporal self-interest. Once you hit and pass the metaphysical wall no cost is too high, no depravity too low, to continue to resist.

They have their way of life. Were it not for the fact that their way of life is exactly why they are such a lethal threat we'd be more than happy to let them live in the desert and party in northern Europe or Thailand...but the drive to see us dead makes that impossible.

To their foot soldiers the conflict isn't foucused on survivable, physical victory. Even more troubling is that their leadership is on rails as far as force of will is concerned.

There aren't any avenues for a pyschological victory in the short term. None. We climbed over the bodies of about seven million dead Japanese and Germans to end World War II. That was the price to get to the leadership in two countries. The level of destruction we inflicted on the populations of those countries allowed us reshape the political landscape of Germany and the culture of Japan. It worked...but the cost (measured in the bodies of core believers) had to be exacted first.

I believe you are a little too gracious in your portrayal of the conduct of combat during the civil war. There was surely a fervent wish to frame the conflict as a chivalrous endeavor by large numbers of people on both sides of the line prior to the beginning of real combat. That lasted until Shiloh or thereabouts. I was raised a Texan; my only biological ancestors on this continent were on the run from the Union cavalry somewhere in the Dakotas during the civil war. The European branch of my family tree arrived here after 1870.

The transition to total war began in the West with Grant's Vicksburg campaign. Grant was a pretty simple guy - he looked at the orders of battle and the tremendous disparity of logistical resources between the Union and the South and resolved to bleed the confederacy into submission. That Sherman was under his command was the precursor to the perfect storm of total war. Sherman's extended experience in the prewar south gave him a fundamental understanding of the mind of his enemy. He agreed with Grant that there could be no lasting negotiated peace with the Southerners because of the culture.In one of his letters to Grant he set the number of cotton aristocrats that might have to be killed outright to bring about victory as somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty or forty THOUSAND...above and beyond the poor private farmers, shopkeeper's sons, and frontiersmen that actually made up the private ranks of the army. Grant resolved to kill the rebels where he found them and Sherman was cut loose to destroy their supply lines - to threaten their homes, too.

Even with the crushing final campaigns of 1865, the southern aristocracy survived. Ten years of reconstruction didn't heal the wounds of the war;in many cases reconstruction actually exacerbated some of the prejudices and hatreds that the war was fought to resolve. That's in a society that shared a common cultural heritage; what we face in the Arab and SW Asia arc is a challenge made orders of magnitude more diffucult by xenophobia, population numbers, and distance.

The bet placed on the table in front of the Bush Doctrine is that representative democracy will perpetuate itself after some unknowable interval and thus knock the 'root causes' of terrorism off the table. It's the Sherman approach but without total war of annihalation. Yet. We must remove the underpinnings of the opponents' will to fight but would rather not kill each and every one of them. It could easily come to that, though. It surely could.

Only time will tell if free societies can rise in the face of highly motivated individuals ready to die rather than be free. My wedding parable holds true: It only takes one drunk uncle with a shotgun to screw up the reception, much the same way that five or ten percent of a population being criminal can make any city unlivable.

WichitaBoy said...

All good points.

The truth is, I don't really mind having to kill each and every one of them, if it comes to that. As Bedford Forrest said, "War means fighting. And fighting means killing." That's the bottom line. I agree with Sherman's famous letter to Atlanta (even though I have ancestors who suffered at Sherman's hands) that those who start war should not be overly surprised to have war brought back to their own homes, and I believe we should steadfastly apply such a policy to any and all countries which choose to wage war on us through proxy terrorists today.

However, my main worry at the current juncture is the truly impressive body of useful fools here and in Europe who both betrayed us in Vietnam and who now are openly calling for the assassination of President Bush, while they show their true beliefs about free speech by intimidating Sinclair and burning swastikas into the lawns of Bush supporters.

I continue to have nightmarish visions of Senators in old Rome debating about which Roman general was responsible for the latest Roman defeat, while the real enemy marched ever closer to the Eternal City itself. Could that be us?

TmjUtah said...

Wichita -

I don't think I'm being a starry-eyed optimist about this election when I say that Bush will win, and by enough of a margin to escape much of the preplanned post-election disruptions by the Democrats.

The single greatest obstacle standing in the way of effective progress in the war against Islamofascism is the artificial inertia favoring the receding Left in this country. Without the internet, talk radio, and especially blogs, the decline of the socialist movement in this country would be hard to prove.

The charge that Bush failed to plan for the peace in Iraq disregards any consideration for the variables that surface in any war. That Bush has planned, and brilliantly so, for this election, should be fairly obvious to any objective observer. He declined to expend time or money on Kerry until after the conventions (Bush's first chance to put his positions out without undue media filtering) and has since been content to let Kerry's own inadequacies rise to the surface on their own.

Winning this election has been a crucial part of the War on Terror strategic plan since before the end of the Afghanistan campaign. You do what you have to do NOW to be able to achieve other objectives THEN...and if our punditry class has chosen not to accent that reality, instead choosing to frame the contest for the presidency as an end objective in itself (which it surely is on Kerry's and his followers' part), we have to remember that they assign importance based on their need to package stories.

Imagine the insult they will feel when Bush's future memoirs mention the 2004 election's importance in terms of being able to coninue the offensive that eventually transformed a quarter of the world from murderous religous despotism into representative democracy, and not as a personal triumph.

I look for some serious adjustments to our tactical posture in Iraq immediately after the election. By concentrating on Iraq's internal situation and not interfering with the influx of foreign fighters for almost eighteen months we've allowed the Iranians and others to establish patterns of travel and behaviour. You can learn a lot in eighteen months - stuff that will be immensely useful later. This has not come without a cost, especially in the Sunni triangle and Baghdad. All wars have costs. The exchange, to our benefit, has been the absence of public diplomatic tension between the administration and the various regimes supplying and fomenting the insurgents. Media routinely mentions Iranian, Egyptian, Saudi, Syrian, etc, etc fighters among the dead in Iraq but the administration declines to make noise about it. It's an issue best addressed without the added fog of electioneering and I think we'll see that start early in November.

The end objective of this war is to drain the swamp. That will require the defeat of the old regimes in multiple countries. Whether we have to physically excise them or merely keep the pressure on via aggressive defense of the nations already on track for self government is an unknown. The final result will be the result of freed nations' successes and how badly their neighbors desire to emulate them.