That little girl won our hearts during the Vietnam War by asking her father, “What if they gave a war and nobody showed up?” What a horror she’d have unleashed if her question had been, “What if they gave a war and only one side showed up?”
Well, here we are! Speak to me not of American air strikes against ISIS. If we’d fought World War II with the same ways, means and attitude that we’re deploying against ISIS today, we’d still be sending rafts after midnight with commandos, faces smudged with charcoal, to probe Nazi defenses along the Atlantic Wall.
I remember the happy sessions of our pre-teen “Curbstone-Congress” that convened under the streetlight after dinner. When we saw victory coming we debated what, if anything, could possibly hold our beautiful, triumphant, prosperous and intelligent America back. Well, another worldwide depression could descend. Floods and hurricanes could always result in setbacks. One boy had read about the threat of asteroids striking the earth. But we couldn’t even imagine a new Cold War against our “gallant Russian allies,” and for stomp-down sure none of us could foresee America fighting, winning and then giving victory away. How could our America, that rose up out of its isolationist slumber to destroy our powerful enemies after our Pacific fleet was laid waste at Pearl Harbor, possibly handcuff our warriors? How could we impose a suicide pact full of restrictions, limitations, taboos, no-no’s and “thou-shalt-nots,” trashing our military’s effectiveness? Typical nations act triumphalistic in victory; America is apologetic. Our ability to defend ourselves seems to be supervised by a panel of flint-faced moralists with one mission only, to make sure that enemy POWs always fare better than our American fighting men!
Let’s skip over what President Obama has done, failed to do and done wrong. My scribbling-betters have done a great job cataloging those disasters for history – and the midterm elections. Let’s jump right into what Einstein called a “thought experiment.” Pretend you are the high-and-inside voice of the commander in chief. You’ve got all of our great ones from The War around a conference table to beat their war-like ways out of them. There before you are George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, Halsey, Nimitz, Bradley, “Howlin’ Mad” Smith and Douglas MacArthur. “The president wants you all to read the complete text of the Geneva Conventions,” you begin. “If we can’t win the high ground in the field, we can at least win it morally. Do not attack enemy positions if under any circumstances civilians might thereupon be fired on. And word has gotten back to our Boss that there’s been talk among you of hitting the enemy inside Syria now that ISIS has re-registered the Syrian-Iraqi border as fiction. America recognizes Syria. And even though we find the Assad regime abhorrent, you are forbidden to even think about hitting ISIS there, no matter how many of their hard assets ISIS moves into Syria.”
I think Patton by now would have turned the conference table over and left the room. I almost overturned my little bowl of Brunswick stew when Obama was leading the nation in recoiling from the beheading of American James Foley. I thought it was pusillanimous even by Obama standards. I honestly thought he was just getting to the point, namely what America was going to do, when he promised we would be “relentless,” and then thanked everybody and left.
I had hopes the president would proceed something like this:
“ISIS warns us another American will be beheaded if our air strikes continue. Let ISIS hear and heed my words. Forget everything that’s gone before. What I say now is the new voice of America.
“I’m holding a list of 30 ISIS targets in Iraq AND SYRIA. If the American you threaten to behead is not turned over to a Kurdish checkpoint within 24 hours, one of these targets will become a smoking crater. If our hostage has not been released within another 24 hours, two more of those targets will be destroyed. If you still haven’t released the hostage, three more ISIS targets will be vaporized!”
We are slow learners, but good students. The sooner aggressors like ISIS are destroyed, the better things go. Hitler’s victims all patiently awaited their turn. On the other hand, in 1950 North Korea was immediately confronted by an international coalition, held to no-gain and is today the unhappiest country in the world.
“We’re marshaling our allies – your intended victims – Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. You’ve declared your intention to hit them. They’re going to hit you back. Only this time, they’re going to hit you back first. ISIS brags about seeing us in New York. I think first you’ll be seeing Jordanians, Egyptians, Saudis, Kuwaitis and Iraqis in Mosul.
“Thank God, ISIS, you’re as stupid as you are evil. In beheading James Foley you awoke a sleeping giant. Japanese Admiral Yamamoto said that while Japan was celebrating its victory at Pearl Harbor.
“If you fired a few imams preaching hate and took on a historian or two, you might have avoided that mistake.
“You very well might be seeing us over here – at Guantanamo.
“But not as fast as we’ll be seeing you over there!”
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