Politically Correct Warfare
By Arnold Ahlert
What's worse than war? Politically correct war. PC warfare is the moronic attempt to make mankind's last resort a socially acceptable enterprise — while tying it to an effective public relations campaign. Such pernicious notions manifest themselves in bizarre ways, such as "community outreach" in Afghanistan, the reading of Miranda rights by the FBI to suspects captured on a battlefield, and the Rules Of Engagement, which require soldiers to ponder legal guidelines even as they engage in life-threatening encounters with the enemy. If the latest dust-up between Israeli commandos and "peace" activists is any indication, PC warfare is a disaster.
Only those Israelis infested with the virus of PC warfare could have come up with a "plan" by which commandos, armed primarily with paint ball guns would rappel down a rope — one by one — onto a deck full of hostiles. The Israelis claim they were "surprised" by the level of violence those commandos encountered. How is this possible?
When one's military strategy is tainted by political correctness, all things are possible.
It is actually possible to believe that a group of "humanitarians" with known affiliations to al Qaeda, who have stated publicly that they are going to break down Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, and are determined to provoke an international incident — would meekly surrender. It's actually possible to believe that Israel's determination to board their ship in an "unthreatening manner" would be viewed by the world as a "reasonable" or "humane" method of conducting a military maneuver. It is actually possible to believe that conducting such a maneuver in international waters wouldn't be exploited by Israel's enemies for the purpose of making moral equivalence between a nation fighting for its survival, and those yearning for its destruction.
PC warfare is the result of two major factors: technological advances and ideological bankruptcy. Because we can now produce firepower with pinpoint accuracy, Western elitists have apparently decided that the minimization — or outright elimination — of "collateral" damage is the first priority when considering a military operation. While such a sentiment seems noble at first glance, it reveals a simple truth: such reticence makes war last longer. We've been in Afghanistan for nine years with no end in sight. Why? Because we no longer have a clear military objective there — unless one considers "bringing civilization" to one of the most uncivilized societies on the planet to be a job for our fighting forces.
In addition to that, if one considers that the most demoralizing aspect of any war is inflicting enough casualties on enemy forces to break their will, the idea that we will refuse to fire on terrorists who use innocent victims as shields will produce many possible outcomes. But only one of those outcomes is absolutely certain:
Terrorists will continue to engage in this repulsive — but highly successful — practice.
Again, no one wants to see innocent civilians killed, but how long would al Qaeda or the Taliban continue using innocents as shields if it became clear that such a tactic were no longer effective? How long would mosques double as armories or fortresses if we were less "sensitive" to the religious feelings — of our enemies? At some point, a "noble" intention which both exacerbates and prolongs despicable behavior must be recognized for what it is: a "feel-good" stop-gap measure. One with no long-term benefits.
It used to be said "war is hell." A more accurate description today might be "war is purgatory." Political correctness demands that reason must prevail, even though war is conducted precisely because reasoning, aka diplomacy, has failed. We used to understand this. When America was threatened during WWll, we didn't wring our collective hands wondering "why Japan and Germany hated us." Such politically correct self-flagellation would have been dismissed as the absurd nonsense it truly is. We didn't drop atomic bombs on Japan to prolong WWll, but to shorten it. We didn't do it to increase casualties but reduce them, in the long run.
This is where the West has lost its way. An interconnected globe with a 24 hour news cycle may demand short-term thinking, but basing military strategy on day-to-day world opinion is a fool's errand. It is exactly why we will let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon: another centrifuge here, another economic sanction there, and on one gets really excited. But an all-out military effort to prevent a bunch of megalomaniacal fanatics from going nuclear is a bridge too far. One of the first considerations South Korea made with regard to North Korea torpedoing a ship killing 46 of its sailors was what effect retaliation would have on its stock market.
Better not to cause a market "correction" based on self-defense, I guess.
Of all the countries in the world, Israel is the most vulnerable to PC warfare. it is a country completely surrounded by its mortal enemies in a world that invariably gives those enemies the benefit of the doubt whenever there is conflict. Only a country besotted by PC warfare strategies could have been blind to what would happen when they attempted to enforce the blockade of Gaza in the most "enlightened" way possible. Even in 2006, when Hezbollah in Lebanon provided Israelis with a golden opportunity to inflict long-term or possibly permanent damage to one of its mortal enemies, they were brow-beaten into leaving the job unfinished.
Short-term result? An end to hostilities. Long-term result? Hezbollah has re-armed and another war is highly likely this summer.
We're no better. Despite our current involvement in two wars, the most "pressing" issues for our military are whether or not to eliminate the "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding gay soldiers — and the proposed creation of a new medal for "courageous restraint," a citation which would be given to soldiers for holding fire in a war zone. Neither of these agendas has the remotest relationship to anything that would advance the military's primary mission: winning a war.
Or is it? Ever since Vietnam, "victory" has become a dirty word. In fact for much of the American left, any American defeat on the battlefield is to be celebrated as a comeuppance for our imperialism. That the left's "victory" in Vietnam resulted in three million dead Asians is still swept under the rug. Our technological advantages, such as the use of predator drones, is "unfair." The refusal to conduct war ruthlessly and efficiently is "high-minded." Decisive victory is "so last century" — despite the fact that decisive victory has proven to be the most enduring success for maintaining peace. German and Japan are solid world citizens. North Korea? An historic stalemate, and a festering wound to this day.
PC warfare's biggest liability concerns the treatment of our own soldiers. In any sane prosecution of warfare, our men and women in harm's way would be priority number one in terms of their safety, their protection — and their success. It's easy to be noble about warfare — until you're the first Israeli rappelling down a rope with a paint ball gun in your hand to prevent a bunch of elitist tut-tutters from getting their panties in twist. It's easy to speak in abstract generalities until you're an American soldier forced to withhold fire against a terrorist firing at you because a bunch of Pentagon lawyers — far away from the fighting — have decided that's the "best course of action."
What in the world can any decent soldier be thinking when he is told to fight with one hand tied behind his back? How do you go house-to-house in a combat zone knowing you can be prosecuted if a split second decision to save your own life is deemed to be "incorrect?" How do you go back out in the field when three of your SEAL brethren are forced to stand trial for punching a terrorist thug in the gut?
The West is holding itself hostage to the utter bankruptcy of political correctness. Even worse, we're doing so against an enemy whose ruthlessness goes right to the top of the historical charts. If terrorists can get a nuke into New York City, they'll detonate it without a second thought. If Iran gets a nuke, or enough arms flow into Gaza and Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah will give it their best shot to annihilate Israel. Everything we define as "enlightened" our enemies define as "weakness."
It it the stated ambition of Islamic fanatics to take over the world by any means necessary, even if millions of people die in the process.
Try stopping that with paint ball guns, openly-gay soldiers, "courageous restraint," world opinion — or "politically correct" warfare.
Monday, June 7, 2010