Rantings of a Drunken Vet: Winning the War on Terror
Say what you will about the lack of connection between Iraq and 9/11, let me start by saying that if you think Iraq has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, you are a RETARD. Iraq is no doubt a battle front in the War on Terror.
That being said, I want to comment on the troop surge President Bush had proposed. I support it, because my opinion is that it is a huge step in the right direction. There's a war going on there, and the more troops we have in country, the better. It doesn't take a math major to figure out a simple concept like strength in numbers.
However, I don't think that will be enough. We need a change in strategy. Well, for that matter, we need a strategy to start with.
Years ago, in a military history class, I was taught that there are three strategies in war: annihilation, attrition, and exhaustion. Look them up...I lack the intelligence to properly articulate the concepts. I recommend the writings of John Keegan and Colonel Harry Summers.
SO...Which one have we been pursuing in Iraq and Afghanistan?
"Winning the hearts and minds" is an extremely new concept in warfare. So let me ask: Can anyone name one historical example of when this has worked?
To an extent, America tried it in Vietnam, with little result. We're trying it again in the War on Terror. I pray and hope it doesn't turn into failed experiment number 2. I would rather stick to the three strategies that have been proven successful.
You could make an argument that the Roman Empire successfully won hearts and minds, but my response is that they only pursued this after accomplishing annihilation on the battlefield.
A personal story to shed some light on my perspective...
In the spring of '05, my platoon raided a village in the Andar district of Afghanistan. We didn't take action against any people, because the people in this particular village were compliant with us. BUT, raiding is a still a very intrusive process. Even when there is no forceful opposition, it involves kicking in (or blowing up, if a boot isn't good enough) a few doors, among other things.
We got done with that village and we set up our RON site (new name for patrol base) nearby so we could keep observation on the village. That's when the village elders came out and started whining. "You broke this and that and this, whaaaaaaa!" the interpreter translated.
That's when CA went into action. CA, or civil affairs, is the branch of the Army the rest of us love to hate. Their entire job is to make friends with the enemy. Our CA guys started unloading from their truck full of food, clothing, blankets, school supplies, you name it.
One CA guy had the nerve to apologize to the elder in front of us..."We're sorry we broke your stuff."
I heard him say it and I was fuming, but before I could explode, my squad leader, a stocky Staff Sergeant wise beyond his years, spoke up, "I'M NOT F@#$ING SORRY!" I don't know if the translator passed it on, but I shut my mouth because everything I had to say had been said, better than I could have said it.
We had fed and clothed the enemy, trying the win their hearts and minds. That was our policy. The very people who wanted us dead were having a nice dinner on us that night.
And trust me, a nice dinner wasn't going to change their mind about wanting to kill us.
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