“Peace is purchased through strength. It’s not purchased through weakness or unilateral retreats.” -Benjamin Netanyahu
With the news of America re-inserting itself in Iraq through airstrikes, we also have word that ISIS (Radical Islamic Terrorists) is changing tactics in order to counter the United States. The UN has now stated that genocide is possible at any time.
Several hundred miles away, the Israeli government and Hamas (Radical Islamic Terrorists) have seemingly had a volley of bombings and other military attacks between intermittent cease fires aimed at ending the violence over the past couple of months.
This post is not aimed to talk about these two instances, or any other particular instance at that. It is, however, intended to discuss something that has been on my mind and pressed in my heart while watching all of these events unfold on the news.
It may seem a bit brutal, but it’s the truth as I see it.
I recall standing on a runway in Taqaddum, Iraq, in October 2005. It was a cool night and the sky was clear. As I loaded on to the C-130 cargo plane to be taken out of Iraq, I was overwhelmed with a feeling I will never forget. It was a feeling of gratitude for the men and women who never made the trip home that I was about to take; a feeling of loss for the families that would never hold their loved one again; a feeling of relief that I wasn’t one of them; a feeling of guilt for the feeling of relief I had. After 47 convoy missions, after being under fire more times than I can count on my ten fingers, after loading the wounded and dying on helicopters and in to hospital emergency rooms, after receiving the command to “lock and load” my rifle more than 90 times, after all of this – I was going home.
I say this not out of pride or for bragging purposes, but to make clear that what you are about to read is not written by some professor in a suit sitting in an ivory tower; not by a historian who has read a whole lot about what he hasn’t experienced; and not by some politician who knows nothing of the reality of war when he stands in front of a microphone saying we need to leave the battlefield… then go back then go back.
With all that out of the way – here goes:
The nasty little secret about war? It’s a horrible business.
There are no winners in war; only those who hold out on submission the longest.
When you read of men dying on the battlefield, it’s not glorious. Chances are they were in complete medical shock and had no clue what was going on or they were screaming for their mother at the top of their lungs in blood curdling anguish.
This act, war, is not meant for the pansy-toed, light footed individual. It’s rough, it’s mean, it’s vicious, and it’s relentless. Your stomach may turn, you may have the natural fear any man would, but you still have to proceed with the mission and placing emotions aside.
Chances are that politics aside, the “victor” of war is the one with the most resolve. The one who feels they have the most to lose. The one who feels their cause is most just.
There is a lot more I could point out about war – the bullet points could go on for miles, but it is the last point I noted that I want to concentrate on.
We can avoid it if we want; we can say what we will about our enemy and their capabilities. But the fact is this: whether it’s al Quaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Iran, or Syria, what we are really fighting is Radical Islam – and the more we deny the real threat the more we are sitting around while they are strengthened and emboldened.
This enemy is a group of people who say they want to decimate another culture as a whole. They state they want a Caliphate. With many other goals that involve force and violence, this enemy is willing to decapitate their enemy, cut children in half, brainwash seven year old children in to thinking holding decapitated heads is honorable, and are willing to allow their own people (the very ones they say they are fighting for) be killed for political gain. The reality is not much is going to stop them. Not much except total destruction.
But that’s the thing. Right now we have a federal government that thinks creating fuzzy lines in the sand or dropping a few bombs is going to do the trick. It’s not. If we are going to do anything, it must be everything. If we are not going to go all out, then let’s at least admit so and do nothing.
If we are going to act to help the Iraqis being massacred, then we need to do so with full force. ISIS (or any other Radical Islamic group) doesn’t understand diplomacy. What they are seeking is an Islamic State; is not diplomatic or understanding, and it is not tolerant or compromising. And they won’t stop in Iraq or Syria.
As we watch what is going on on the other side of the world we need to ask ourselves what we are willing to do (or not do) and what sort of resolve we have; what we are willing to fight for; and more so, what we are willing to lose American lives for. But here’s the thing: In an age where the most important thing in life seems to be fast food, reality TV and social media, I fear the answer to those questions is less honorable than those before us would be proud of.
Whatever that answer is, we need to find it and stop the ballet dance with an enemy that is determined to tango… let’s dance or get off the dance floor.