Victor Davis Hanson
Creating new political systems on the ground is far more difficult than simply blasting away terrorist concentrations. Such engagement demands that American soldiers leave the relative safety of ships, tanks and planes to fight subsequent messy battles in streets and neighborhoods. Once that happens, the United States loses its intrinsic military advantages.
I think that anybody who thinks these things through, must realize that we cannot afford to fail in Iraq, and that those clamoring for withdrawal are like frightened livestock in a barn fire. Their judgment can't be trusted.
His piece sets out the problems simply and plainly and the solutions are just as simple and plain: We have to harden our resolve to fight without qualms and view our casualties with implacability. The Ottomans fought the West for hundreds of years before they finally realized that they were outmatched. The current Jihadis have dreams of world conquest based not on military power, but on unending oil money and sneak attacks. They will not go away until their visions of glory in martyrdom are dissipated. That won't happen so long as we dither about historically minuscule casualties and the number of civilians the insurgents are willing to murder.
Our fretting over the execution of Saddam Hussein must be comical to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, as does our agonizing over the deaths of our men and women in battle. The West must recover its warrior spirit, and I have one, very good way to do that
In the Book of Mormon, we read the story of Moroni, a military leader who arose, like Epaminondas of Thebes, to lead his people against a murderous foe, not for empire or conquest, but to put an end to attacks on themselves. It's a great and thrilling story, as is the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors, who volunteered to fight after their parents had buried their own weapons with an oath never to shed blood again as a sign of their conversion and repentence.
But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites.
And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.
Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country.
And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman [a prophet] should be their leader.
And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.. . .
[T]hey said unto [Helaman]: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will anot suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
I'm sure that this is not the way our troops have been trained, but I also know that there are many among them who conduct themselves with maturity and faith. We pray for such young people.