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article is provided courtesy of DefenseWatch,
the official magazine for Soldiers For The
Truth (SFTT), a grass-roots educational organization
started by a small group of concerned veterans
and citizens to inform the public, the Congress,
and the media on the decline in readiness
of our armed forces. Inspired by the outspoken
idealism of retired Colonel
David Hackworth, SFTT aims to give our
service people, veterans, and retirees a clear
voice with the media, Congress, the public
and their services.
A few weeks ago, one very brave officer took a battle action that
saved American lives and simultaneously demonstrated what may be the
only way in many circumstances to obtain tactical intelligence on
the insurgents in Iraq.
Did he face a battalion of enemy guerillas alone? Did he run through
an artillery barrage to save a wounded soldier? No. Something infinitely
more dangerous: He defied the U.S. Army's own legion of spineless
lawyers and the gutless commanders who acquiesce to their edicts.
Lt. Col. Alan B. West, an African American - which makes him doubly
politically incorrect, and therefore certain to face harsh handling
by the Pentagon's PC Police - fired his weapon near the head of an
Iraqi policeman, feigning a threat but not actually threatening the
suspect's life. Why did he do this? To obtain vital, on-the-ground
intelligence that prevented an ambush of West's troops and resulted
in the capture of its intended perpetrators.
This should not even rise to the level of debate, but since so many
armchair philosophers, safely ensconced in their warm, comfortable
libraries, self-righteously decry West's action, it appears debate
In earlier days, troops on the ground took whatever action necessary
to gain tactical advantage. This sometimes meant getting rough with
enemy prisoners to obtain essential intelligence. They were justified
in doing so, both to save American servicemen's lives and shorten
the war. They were relatively confident their actions would not be
reported on the nightly news, partially because their commanders were
more likely to look the other way, and partially because they did
not face the instant communications capability and utter lack of loyalty
of the news media today.
What are we so afraid of? The most frequently heard objection to our
use of these tactics is the protest: "But then we will be just like
them (the enemy)." This is the pinnacle of absurdity.
War II, when Hitler first used Blitzkrieg tactics to storm across
Europe, the world was outraged, shocked! Yet we adopted similar tactics
almost immediately. When he bombed London the world was horrified,
shocked! Yet the British responded in kind with relentless nightly
carpet-bombing of German cities, resulting in far greater civilian
casualties than Hitler ever dreamed of.
No one blinked an eye.
In the European Theatre, the United States chose daylight precision
bombing instead. It spared the German population some of the devastation
wrought by the British, but at a high cost in American airmen's lives.
Were we driven by some grand humanitarian passion to avoid civilian
casualties at the risk of American lives? Absurd!
We believed that destroying Germany's industrial
infrastructure was key to halting their war-making capability. And
the best way to do that was with daytime pinpoint bombing of industrial
targets, which was only possible because of the American-made Norden
Did we follow that recipe in Japan? No. We chose instead to conduct
nighttime incendiary carpet-bombing raids on Japanese cities that
caused more civilian casualties than both atomic bombs. Was this done
out of some sadistic desire for revenge? Absurd!
It was because Japan had dispersed its war production facilities to
small shops throughout its cities to deny us easy bombing targets.
Since Japanese cities were largely constructed of wood, incendiary
bombs targeting the entire city were the best way to attack Japan's
war-making capability. Ultimately it took the atomic bomb to convince
them to surrender, saving in the process the millions of lives, both
American and Japanese, which an invasion would have cost.
Did we ever hear anyone protest that such brutal tactics would make
us "just like them"? Absurd!
They would have been laughed out of their boots. We were fighting
for our survival! Our sole aim throughout was to bring that war to
a victorious end with as little bloodshed as possible. And we succeeded
because we were willing to do whatever necessary to achieve that end.
There was never a question that we would become "just like them."
In fact, we avoided being "just like them" by beating them on the
battlefield. Instead, they became just like us - a good thing, though
it doubtless annoys the French.
All those American leftists, who insist that we don't deserve to win
if we can't do it with both hands tied behind our backs, are the same
as the scumbags who cheered the North Vietnamese for torturing American
POWs during the Vietnam
War. The use of torture, mass murder, or any other form of brutality
has never been objectionable to these people when conducted by lovable
communist guerillas or some other equally odious group with whom they
If the Left is so worried about us becoming "just like them," how
come they don't have a problem with the behavior of "them"? By their
twisted logic, becoming "just like them" would be a good thing! The
North Vietnamese broke every international law on the books. Where
are the Nuremburg Trials for them? How about the North
Koreans? The Chinese? The Russians? All are guilty of unspeakable
Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, we are once
again in a battle for our survival. The War on Terror is not optional.
The attacks on 9/11
were the international terrorist movement's shot across the bow, and
we ignore it at our mortal peril. You can sit in your easy chair and
whine about our tactics. You can join the Democrats and cynically
use the Bush administration's mistakes as leverage for your own political
Either way, if the terrorists have their way, you will be just as
If we allow our soldiers to be hamstrung by back-office cowards who
care more about their dainty images than the lives of their soldiers,
then we are just as morally corrupt as the Islamic fundamentalists
claim. We will have ceded certain victory to any enemy, great or small.
Without the ability to ferret them out, our vaunted military becomes
All the insurgents need do is keep up the ambushes until our losses
become politically unpalatable. Then our political system will inevitably
force the current administration to call for a pullout or replace
it with a new administration that will.
The officers and bureaucrats who are gunning for Lt. Col. West should
be forced to walk point on the streets of Tikrit. They'll either become
quick converts or quick casualties - thereby doing us a favor by culling
the gene pool of the mindless, pusillanimous idiots that they are.
Our nation needs more men like Lt. Col. Alan B. West.