Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iraq Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

"They are saying the generals learned their lesson in the last war. There are going to be no wholesale slaughters. I ask how is victory possible except by wholesale slaughter,” Evelyn Waugh’s 1939 diary. The generals in WWII like in most wars, tend to be overly optimistic.

War, throughout history has been known to be hell. There is untold suffering for anyone facing combat although it is not a reason for surrendering our freedom in the face of evil.

Our nation assaulted an eight square mile uninhabitable volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. The brass planned on a 2 or 3 day battle but it lasted 36 days. Two thirds of all the armed forces invading the island were either wounded or killed. There were 25,856 casualties of the invading nation, including 7000 dead in a little over a month.

The enemy was unmerciful in its tactics. Religious indoctrination was used to motivate the troops to inhumane actions. There was no following the rules of war. Fanatical enemies blew themselves up with grenades to kill their adversaries. They targeted medical corpsmen to create more havoc and tortured their captured.

On the fourth day of the invasion the commanding officer risked the lives of soldiers by ordering them to place the American flag on top of the volcano. At the moment of flag raising, victory was declared. This was premature. Fierce deadly battles lasted for another 32 days with the last enemy holdout surrendering almost four years later.

As in all wars, this battle was fought with tactical mistakes. As always the military and the national press lied to the public. There was also death from friendly fire. All the horrors of war were experienced.

After accounting for these horrific facts Iwo Jima was a fantastic victory that was instrumental in winning WWII. Turning back from the challenges of this invasion would have extended the war probably ending in defeat of the U.S. A world dominated by Japan with the U.S. a second or third rated country would have been the likely outcome.

The ferociousness, mistakes and tragedy of this battle in WWII were not isolated to merely Iwo Jima but include the fighting that took place in the European and Asian theaters.

The set of circumstances described above sound very much like what we are experiencing today in Iraq.

Yes, our president and military have made many mistakes and the media continues to distort the truth about Iraq. An imminent pull out of Iraq cannot be justified by the difficulties and hardships which are part of any conflict.

It is true our country in the recent past has ignored attack upon attack on our national interests. The Hezzbola attack in Lebanon killing over 200 of our military forces, the downing of the Black Hawk helicopter in Mogadishu, the attack on the Cole, the first Twin Tower explosion in 1993 have showed our lack of desire to pay the price of war to insure peace. Our credibility as a world military power was becoming more and more suspect each day.

We had to take a military stand after 9/11 or risk an escalation of severity and number of incidents against our people. Only after American interests were under attack for many years and the unwillingness of other United Nations countries to take a stand after sixteen un-enforced resolutions, did we enter the war against terrorism. War cannot be taken lightly nor can we surrender.

We can accept the advice of the critics of this and all wars and “re-deploy.” Unfortunately they do not realize even though history has shown us over and over again that peace can only be maintained through strength. Our cost in men and treasure has been great. The mistakes, lies and horror of any war cannot intimidate us into turning our back on the valor of 3000 dead and tens of thousands of wounded soldiers.

Victory has never been and will never be without difficulty and mistakes. America has already paid too high a price to run away from being victorious. The moral scar of abandoning the Vietnamese and Cambodian people and our Vietnam era soldiers has traumatized our nation.

Regardless of the clever marketing euphemism used to make surrender seem more palatable, surrender is still defeat. The United States may get a short-term reprieve by abandoning our responsibilities although the negative consequences to our vital interests will be devastating.

Our choice is clear. We can surrender solidifying the world view of our being a paper tiger or we can do the things necessary for victory. A winner grabs victory and does not accept the inevitable suffering of defeat.



Post a Comment

<< Home