LC & IB Kit asks some very uncomfortable questions in this post, a post sure to raise some hackles and cause quite a bit of hand-wringing and furor.
Go read it all. We aren’t going anywhere. We’ll still be here when you get back.
Back again? Alright then.
Have we become too soft, too desperate in our desire to sanitize the war to actually, you know, WIN it? Have we become suicidal in our demand that our side never get their hands dirty in a war against an enemy so deranged, so completely devoid of humanity that we have never encountered anything like it?
Kit has a point. Kit has quite a few of them, as a matter of fact, and the questions she raises are questions that we need to ask ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. Because if we don’t, if we don’t settle once and for all the question whether we’re in this war to win, knowing full well that winning it can’t be done without icky stuff happening along the way, if we don’t do that and instead continue to insist that our troops commit suicide by figthing a war that we won’t allow them to FIGHT, then we really ought to grow up and decide that we don’t have the stomach for war anymore.
War is Hell. That’s why we shouldn’t engage in one lightly. That’s also why we should fight it uncompromisingly and to the fullest if we DO decide to engage, because it’ll end it and its attendant hellishness much sooner if we do.
So I have to ask my own self as well, considering my earlier thoughts on Haditha: Have I become too soft, too unrealistic in what I demand of those fine soldiers risking their asses while I sit safely at home, snug under the blanket of safety that they’re paying for with their blood?
I’d love to answer “no” quite categorically, but I’m not sure that I can.
How can our troops be expected to be victorious in battle against an enemy that routinely uses women and children as shields if we castigate and punish them every time one of the involuntary shields get hurt? Are we really demanding that our troops let themselves be slaughtered rather than risk the life of one single innocent?
If so, then we’ve completely forgotten everything that history has ever taught us about war.
We need to make a decision to either shit or get the fuck off the pot and, if the former, to realize and accept that it’s going to get ugly before it’s over.
Does that mean that we should not care when civilians get caught in the crossfire and ugly things happen as a result?
Of course not. That would be insane to suggest. We do care, we should care, we must care, but that doesn’t mean that we have to refuse to let our soldiers do the job we sent them to do, just to prove how much we care.
We have, as a nation, decided to send some of the finest, most well-equipped and thoroughly trained killing machines into harm’s way on our behalf.
We have no right to act all self-righteous when ugly things happen as a result.
Those who would send our troops into battle with both arms tied behind their backs ought to put on a uniform and go relieve them instead of posturing and preening from their armchairs.
If you have a “clean” and “ethical” way of winning a war against monsters, defeating the most inhuman scum that we ever fought without getting your hands bloody then, by all means, go show the rest of us how it’s done. It’d be very educational, since it hasn’t been done in all of human history.
As to myself, I’ll take Kit’s words to heart and start applying them to my judgment of how the war is fought and, just as importantly, how it should and must be fought, at least if we want to win.
And if we don’t want to win, then let’s at least be honest and bring the boys home.
Me, I’m all in favor of winning.