Saturday, March 26, 2011

Misunderstanding the fundamentals about warfare

Thursday, (3/24/11) I was driving to work and listening to Hannity on the radio. An interviewee who was a President Obama supporter was speaking. I did not catch the name, but something he said was very important. The discussion was about our intervention in Libya. He was very respectful overall but he did say that most of the listeners (Conservatives) did not understand how President Obama was preventing World War III. He went on to say that today, we are not seeing the US flag being burned like we were after our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The conversation went on to specifics about Libya.

What I find most interesting about this is how he recognized the overall size of the conflict. We are looking at World War III and at least he understands this. What I don’t get is how we are now avoiding this confrontation. True, we are not seeing the open hostility to the US in the form of flag burning like we were a few years ago. What I don’t agree with this interviewee is how our current President has changed all of these people’s minds.

Do you know of anyone who has changed his or her mind about the Israeli-Palestinian issue? This is like changing your mind about abortion. I made up my mind about abortion in 1972, just like I made up my mind about Israel and Palestine about the same time. When it comes to issues at the heart of violence like the Israeli-Palestinian issue and Islamic terrorism, people just do not switch sides. (Once again, think about the people who supported slavery) What they will do is expose themselves given the right set of circumstances. Like after 9/11. Another situation was after the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have studied warfare for more than 40 years. People do not change their mind about issues of this type just because the other side changes leaders. The south would not give up the slaves no matter who talked to them or what the other side did. One of the biggest problems we face today is identifying who our enemies are. After all, this is the terrorists best ally. The ability to hide. Anything that we can do to make them want to come out into the open is a very good thing. This interviewee seems to think that the issues at the cause of World War III are like some type of election. Given the right people, we can convince them that war is not a good option and that we have another that is better. History has demonstrated that all this does is push the confrontation off to another day. Another thing that this interviewee does not understand is that time is not on our side. It is only a matter of time before nuclear weapons or some other WMD is deployed. As far as I am concerned, that will be the beginning of World War III.

The war can be won today by using conventional weapons. But we must act today. Libya is only a sideshow. It is by no means the epicenter of the conflict. WMD are most likely not going to be deployed because of Libya, one way or another. WMD will more likely be deployed because of Pakistan, Iran or Israel*. This is why Afghanistan and Iraq are so much more important. Once WMD are deployed, conventional weapons can still be effective, although not nearly as much as they are today. The pressure to retaliate with the use of our own WMD will be immense. President Obama is not avoiding all of this. His actions are pressing toward it.
* Please note that I say BECAUSE of one of these countries. Israel and/or the US are the most likely targets. Pakistan and Iran are the most likely sources.

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