The Art of War

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When the word War is included in a sentence most of us take pause and immediately begin to question why is “War” the only answer. All of us should question this but we still have the onus to research the claims verses the facts and do our best to come to an objective consensus of the validity of the request.

First and foremost, war is an ugly thing; it is unforgiving and at times does not discriminate. It is brutal, terrifying, and has one purpose, to overwhelm the “enemy” with a barrage of contact from land, sea, and air. The US has been characterized as the strongest military on the planet although 8 years of strategic patience has not helped…

The reality is the human race has been at war with itself since the dawn of times; the ruler with the “best” Army wins for the dawn of time to present day. The sad, sad, irony is the control of the military has always been some sort of consortium of politicians that point the way from their desks while Soldiers are the pawns that are tasked with achieving the “desired outcome” through force and combat engagement.

I served my country for 22 years; I am proud of my service and always will be. With that said, one of the old Army slogans to entice people to enlist was; “See the World, Fun, Travel, Adventure, FTA)… some of us old Soldiers may have come up with a different slogan related to that but I will leave that alone…

I did see the world though, one tour in Korea, two in Germany, Somalia, Haiti, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegovina (3), Afghanistan, and Iraq (2). I carry no qualms about the places I have been as I was an Engineer and at the end of the day that was my job… We would always have specific training prior to deploying and one of my favorites was the media on the battlefield. This was because reporters would try and corner you and get you say something that they want to hear as opposed to what is the real deal. I bring this up because I have been engaged by the media multiple times in my career. It seems there was always one question that was always slipped in; “Do you believe you are doing the right thing”? My answer was; It’s not my job to question, it is my job to fight and win. Now before PN gets all twitter-pated; this is accomplished with; Rules of engagement, The Laws of War, and the Geneva Convention for which all Soldiers are well versed. The following are a couple of quotes from the great, General Norman Schwarzkopf which I hope provides a small insight into the mentality of a Soldier.

A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers.

Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.

In a recent interview, General Norman Schwarzkopf was asked if he thought there was room for forgiveness toward the people who have harbored and abetted the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on America. His answer..."I believe that forgiving them is God's function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting.”

It’s hard for “Civilians” that have never served to wrap their head around the mentality and courage it takes to go into battle; at face value it can seem kind of cold but the reality is pretty basic, if the choice is them or me, it is always going to be me… One selfish thing I do struggle with is the fact that out of all of my combat tours I can’t count anyone of them a “Win”. As a Soldier that has always been part of the dynamic, to win and live…
If I could point to one thing that has always hampered our military from winning it would be the catastrophic failure of our elected “leaders” to recognize the need to finish what we started. It seems that right when we are on the brink of finishing the mission Congress stops the advance. Just to put this into perspective:

Korean War: Douglas Macarthur was at the 38th Parallel; asked for permission to strike the decisive blow to overwhelm the enemy and potentially end the conflict. He was denied and he started to begin the incursion. He was reprimanded and to this day the Koreas are still technically at war.

Vietnam: I won’t elaborate much on this as I believe most of us understand the criminal failure of the government at that time. I will allude to the fact that many leaders were asking to hit them where they were coming from as opposed to getting to the” boundaries of the conflict and having to stand down.

Gulf War: General Norman Schwarzkopf was at the outskirts of Bagdad and asked to continue mission. As we all know our leaders said stand down even though there was an extremely high chance of removing Saddam from power. This had a lot to do with him retiring from the Army as he did not want to be part of an ideology of strategic patience.

Iraq/Afghanistan: People do a lot of blaming the Iraq war on Bush Jr. Think about this for a minute; if Saddam was removed from power during the first conflict, would we be where we are at today? I concede that I am dealing with eventualities but it should provide a pause and question our current doctrine of “Persistent Conflict”.

The elephant in the room is this: For both wars we overwhelmed the enemy through the air, ground, and sea. Ground was retaken and occupied to maintain the gains achieved. This is a basic concept of combat. Seize the area and allocate sufficient force to maintain it. Does this suck? YES, does it increase the potential for the loss of life, yes however as Soldiers that is part of the inherent risk we take. Nobama was more worried about keeping a campaign promise when he pulled us out of Iraq as opposed to maintaining our gains, holding the ground we took, and giving time for the peace process to work. His failure to recognize the importance of this slapped every Soldier in the face that served and has dishonored the memory of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Personally, I attribute the rise of ISIS to Nobama’s lack of fortitude and courage to recognize the emerging threat for what it was.

Now we are experiencing what is known as mission creep. More and more Soldiers are in Iraq and it looks like Afghanistan needs more than just a couple of troops to decimate the Taliban. Notice I said decimate, continue to drop the Mother of all Bombs, take the fight to them and once again take back and occupy the ground we lost.

This is what it takes, the purpose of providing security and over watch is the cornerstone of allowing an emerging democracy to occur. It does not happen in a month, 6 months, a year; it takes whatever time it takes but some type of stability needs to present in order for the process to work.

Now, is it our problem? Why should we commit out troops to an another country? Are American lives worth it? First and foremost, nothing is worth losing one of Americas Heroes however; history has shown that an isolationist ideology ultimately ends up with us in the mix anyway.

Please don’t misconstrue that my personal ideology is to carpet bomb them and let God sort them out. I will say though that Congress owes our Military and their Families a lot more than what the current status quo is. If we are going to fight, let us fight, let us do what we do. Have a plan and an end state. Let us have our Win…

“No one prays for peace more than the American Soldier”

Latest Activity: May 09, 2017 at 4:14 PM

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