Monday, July 26, 2010

Support our warriors … or bring them home!

By John Sykes

For quite some time I have been worried about the Afghan situation. As a USMC First Lt. who served in Vietnam and briefly as a Career Agent with the CIA, it’s hard for me to watch what’s happening.

Once again, we find ourselves waging a war with the liberal press at home rather than on the battlefield. And once again the combination of that defeatist press with a weak and inexperienced Commander-In-Chief seriously endangers our warriors.

I was no general but it doesn’t take a general to come to some conclusions.

First, you don’t tell the enemy that you are going to leave, to retreat, much less when. He’s just going to lie back, rarely expose himself, and pick you to pieces. This defies all the elements of operational security and secrecy. Sun Tzu is still rolling over in his grave.

Second, you don’t tell the enemy that you won’t shoot him if he hides amidst civilians and shamelessly uses them as armor. This rule of engagement handcuffs our warriors and forces them to expose themselves, to take risks that will cause many of our casualties. Furthermore, you don’t tell those same warriors that you are going to give them medals for not shooting back. The warriors I’ve known would scoff at and refuse that medal. Unfortunately, to win wars, you have to shoot people.

Third, You don’t show the enemy or your own troops that you can’t maintain operational secrecy and security by allowing the theft and publication of many thousands of secret documents. No one can tell a warrior’s family which one of those thefts killed their warrior but I assure you that deaths will result. Those who provided these documents need to be hunted down and tried for treason and/or murder.

Lastly, injuries and death will be caused by a press that doesn’t seem to care if they support the enemy by giving them moral support. Tokyo Rose was a mild irritant when compared to a domestic media that appears to champion defeat and despair rather than victory and courage.

As I close, I need to scream that I hate war. It’s dirty. It’s dangerous. It’s frightening. I don’t believe I’ve met many warriors who would say anything different. But I do believe that those warriors would tell us to support them with wise leadership, sound tactics, reasonable rules of engagement,  and the will to win. If we can’t do that, we need to bring them home now!

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Related cartoons

I’m not in a mood to post cartoons. Right now I have a hard time finding anything funny about this! I am including a couple of images that I find particularly evocative.

USMC-sad-KheSahn-vietnam  USMC-hilltop-vietnam
Afghanistan Khe Sahn Eerie Viet Nam Service