Mugging Ourselves: Perceived US Cowardice Fuels Terrorism
The subtitle for this article could be something like, "Why Do You Think We Are Getting So Much Terrorism?"
The increased frequency with which Middle Eastern terrorists target Americans and U.S. installations is due in part to the terrorists' continued perception that America acts cowardly when under attack, according to former Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey.
Only professors, diplomats, and high government officials do not know as absolute fact what Mr. Woolsey said. Mr. Woolsey cited important examples:
With President Jimmy Carter trying to negotiate the hostages' release in 1979 and 1980, the reaction of the average American was to "tie yellow ribbons around trees," Woolsey said. A few years later, when Hezbollah terrorists blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Americans "ran," he added.
Throughout the 1980s, as Americans like Leon Klinghoffer on the cruise ship Achille Lauro were killed and others were kidnapped in Lebanon, "what did the Americans do? They sent the lawyers," Woolsey said.
The George H. W. Bush administration in 1991, after ending combat in the first Persian Gulf War, encouraged [Iraqi] Kurds and Shia to rebel, then stopped and "watched the Kurds and Shia be massacred" by forces loyal to Saddam Hussein, who had been left in power, Woolsey said.
American cowardice was also perceived when the United States pulled out of Somalia in 1993 after American soldiers on a humanitarian mission were ambushed by terrorists in Mogadishu, according to Woolsey. The incident in Somalia, he said, helped solidify the view among terrorists, that "if bloodied, [the United States] will run."
Sadly, he is right when he said, "What's new is not the war. What's new is not our being attacked. What's new is we noticed. We finally decided after 9-11 that we would be at war too." (Emphasis mine)
But, there is something missing from his remarks, and that is the same missing vital element in the USA today.
We have too little will-to-win. Always in the past, we did just what the Democrats praise: We waited to be attacked. However, before we went self-sacrificial, e.g., in WWII, we responded with ferocity and drive to win, and we won. Since WWII, we have been responding with ever-increasing spinelessness and militant disregard of the gathering storms. Then something like 11 September 2001 comes along. We awoke, but we still responded with no will-to-win. Nevermind the rhetoric and the ostensible patriotism. We have lacked the will-to-win from Korea to now.
We need disproportionate action. When any one of these vermin countries or vermin group acts up, we ought to drop the hammer on them so damned hard that the planet earth vibrates for months. The response should be immediate and enormously greater than the events or incidents necessitating the response. And it should always be without warning.
In the contemporary version of the movie The Untouchables, the character played by Sean Connery tells Elliot Ness how to deal with organized crime. He said words to the effect that whenever the criminals take out one of the anti-crime fighters, the anti-crime crowd should take out ten of the criminals, etc. I.e., the correct response is no proportionate response.
Had we razed the Sunni Triangle in Iraq as part of our invasion strategy, destroying it and its inhabitants in mega-lots as total war, we would have broken the will of the "insurgents" and scared the jihadi rabble from crossing into Iraq from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Had these judgment-devoid jihadis come into Iraq anyway, we should have made EXTREME examples of the feeder-countries of Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran for every single incident until these incidents stopped. Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran should have been cowering in the corners figuratively. And I mean "extreme," such as obliterating sites and facilities of high value to those running those countries without warning and without mercy. And do not get hung on on the false notion of innocent civilians. In aggressor nations, the only innocent citizens are those actively fighting as resistance. The rest passively accept, thus endorse, the behavior of the aggressor nation.
The Iraq war would have been over a long time ago, with many fewer coalition casualties had we not tried to fight a self-sacrificial style of war as we have fought all since WWII. Those who run these wars are one generation of fools after another.
No bully messes with someone who will give better than he got. And, do nor forget the famous principle of Dr. Phil McGraw, the television psychologist: We teach people how to treat us. Mr. Woolsey is right on target. We have been teaching these sand savage bullies that we are low-hanging fruit.
The safety of the citizens of the United States of America should be the only consideration in these matters. To put it more crudely, we count--they don't. If and when they decide to adopt rights-based republican governments, then they start counting. Of course, then they cease to be aggressor nations.