Americans: We still don’t get it
In 1776, General George Washington wrote, “The reflections upon my situation and that of this army produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in.”
Now, here we are in August of 2005 and Washington’s words ring true today. When it comes to the War on Terror, too many American are “wrapped in sleep.” And “few people know the predicament we are in.”
Fast forward to the end of the Cold War (World War III) and the beginning of the War on Terror (World War IV). Despite the carnage of September 11, 2001, and despite all of the terrorist attacks against Americans abroad and even the first attack on the World Trade Center, too many Americans just don’t get it. Too many American do not realize that we, as a civilization, are likely in greater danger today than in the worst days of the Cold War.
While no nation on earth can defeat us in a conventional war and no nation-state on earth dares to attack us with nuclear or non-conventional weapons, we are easy pickings for an artfully-waged guerilla war. And that is what Colonel David Hunt, US Army (Ret.) is trying to tell us in his They Just Don’t Get It: How Washington Is Still Compromising Your Safety and What You Can Do About It.
Beginning with the overall failed presidency of Jimmy Carter, Colonel Hunt spares none of the administrations to follow in his dynamite critique of our failure to recognize a guerrilla war when we see it and to use guerrilla strategy and tactics to defeat it.
While Colonel Hunt praises President George W. Bush for his post-9/11 use of US Special Forces and CIA operatives on horseback to join with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and for his use of mechanized forces to rout the forces guarding Saddam Hussein, Colonel Hunt is not all pleased with our failure to kill Osama bin Laden or with our failure to put down the insurgency in Iraq.
Despite the efforts of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to get our generals and admirals to stop thinking about meeting the Soviets at the Fulda Gap or re-fighting the Battle of Midway, and start thinking in terms of a lean, mean highly-mobile force capable of dealing with low-level warfare, not much progress has been made.
When roadside bombs became the guerrilla’s weapons of choice in Iraq, we chose to ride around in increasingly armored vehicles that became the targets of increasingly powerful roadside bombs. We should get our soldiers back on foot making contact with the Iraqis – doing community policing, if you will.
Instead of using our Army Special Forces and our Navy SEAL teams that performed so well in both Afghanistan and in Iraq, they have been pulled into strategic reserve. Colonel Hunt says that while those superb soldiers and sailors are looking good in their weight rooms, they aren’t being used as they should.
What Bismarck said about laws and sausages can be applied to guerrilla warfare. But his former “spook” isn’t sure Americans have the stomach for the guerrilla tactics we need to employ.
What if we task our special operations folks to set up a Venus fly trap operation -- a brothel to attract enemy agents so they can be assassinated – in bed? What if we task our troops to lie in hiding while placing a laser target designator on an al Qaeda meeting place surrounded by the usual grouping of “innocent” civilians the terrorists use to “protect” such meetings?
Some will say, “If we sink to their level, then we are no better than they are.” Wrong. They seek the total destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization. We just want to be left alone. Unfortunately, the anti-war crowd is “wrapped in sleep,” and they don’t understand “the predicament we are in.”
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2005. William Hamilton.