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Bluster and bombs don't win wars
Posted By David Hackworth On 02/18/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
When Trent Lott was in his early 20s, dying age during the Vietnam War, do you think the man ever led a rifle platoon across a bullet-swept field in southeast Asia? No way. He was too busy leading cheers at Old Miss!
Now the Republican Senate leader foams at the mouth with war talk and wants the United States to bomb Iraq into a sandy waffle. He has become the ultimate cheerleader of death and destruction.
The White House from Clinton to his chief of staff to his national security advisor all are members of the same we-never-served-our-country-in-the-trenches club. In fact, most senior White House advisors belong to the same cozy anti-war elite. But baby, look at them now.
I reckon there’s no one more dangerous than a fiftyish draft dodger turned Hawk. And that applies to Newt Gingrich and most of the congressional baby boomers now chanting bomb, bomb, bomb as well.
Only 9 percent of today’s members of Congress have seen combat duty. Nor does a single one have a son or a daughter on a ship, in an aircraft or in a foxhole in the Gulf. They learned well from the Vietnam War that the ruling class makes the policy, but doesn’t execute it down where the bullets fly and the young die.
The war they evaded has spooky parallels with the war that they want now:
Lott and his war chorus should chill out and spend an evening reading Sun Tzu to understand his bottom line: “The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or ruin.”
When I was a little boy growing up in Ocean Park, California, I learned, and then relearned the hard way to never get into a fight that I couldn’t win. After a few good lickings, I finally worked out that if the guy hassling me was bigger and badder, I either ran like hell or equalized things by picking up a stick and taking him out.
But after no-winners in Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia, it still doesn’t seem to me that Clinton’s Pentagon has learned that lesson. They’re about to get us into a fight with Saddam that’s shaping up to be another loser.
From what experienced fighter/bomber jocks and very sharp intel sources tell me, there’s no way that airpower alone will cause Saddam to change his ways. Smart bombs will not blow up all of his Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), even if we had thousands of them — which we don’t — because we don’t have a clue where all these insidious weapons are.
He could have barrels of his various recipes of death stowed all over the desert, in hospital basements, in mosques or under the teeters-totters of every orphanage in that ancient land. Finding all of his stash would be as impossible as trying to get a fix on all the cocaine in LA.
Stormin’ Norman and his Desert Storm air commander, General Horner are both saying: PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Sure, Saddam has got to go, but let’s do it the smart way. Call up the reserves, train up and get Desert Storm sharp and ready again, establish the necessary infrastructure in Kuwait and build up the huge supply apparatus to support a 200 – 300,000 man force. It will take at least a year to do all this, but when we’re ready – - on our terms — we attack and complete what we should have finished up in February ’91.
What the hell, Monica’s War can wait. What’s another year if we do the job right this time around and finally fix Saddam so he can’t pull our chain every time he gets a wild hair up his ass?
And besides, what’s the rush? Saddam’s had WMD since the 1980s. Bill may not be around to see the job get done – rumor has it he’s asking Castro for exile status – but whoever’s in charge will know that we did the job following the trusted 5 P’s my platoon sergeant taught me over 50 years ago: PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE.
Keep five yards and have a good week.
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