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V Is For ‘Vacuous’

27 June 2011 @ 10:19

So have we degenerated in but a half-a-century: we’ve gone from Winston Churchill defying The Third Reich with the V For Victory sign to abandoning the very thought of achieving anything close to the ancient understanding of what Victory is.

Andrew McCarthy’s latest column for NRO is a must read (1) for understanding where we went wrong in Afghanistan and (2) grasping the futility of our policy in the War Against Islam [or, as the politically correct fools on both sides of the isle call it, 'The War On Terror' — I ask again: how can you make war on a thing?].

As to the former, Mr. McCarthy writes [worth quoting at length]:

…Victory, under our chosen strategy, can never be achieved. That is why Obama, Gen. David Petreaeus, and COIN [ie: Counter Insurgency] enthusiasts everywhere resist mention of the V-word.“Victory” has been downgraded to “success,” but even success is not much discussed — and that is because, as conceived, success is a pipedream too. The idea is that we stay and hold the Taliban et al. at bay until we have finally trained enough Afghan soldiers and police officers to fight the Taliban for us. Because once we win over their hearts and minds, the theory goes, these Afghans will believe they are actually fighting the Taliban for themselves — fighting “their war,” not ours, as the heady plan was explained by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former theater commander and Kennedy School fellow who now teaches international relations at Yale. It’s all very cerebral, psychological, and sophisticated, the kind of war professors could love.

There’s just one problem with it. Okay, there’s a ton of problems, but let’s get to the big one: If we acknowledge that sharia is a valid reason not to send an American Muslim to fight against his fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, what on earth makes us think the Afghan Muslims are going to fight their fellow Afghan Muslims in furtherance of American national-security interests?

The sharia objection Private Abdo [a Mohammedin soldier in the U.S. Army just granted conscientious objector status] successfully posed to his deployment is not frivolous. To the contrary, from the perspective of a devout Muslim, it is ironclad. The animating theme of Islamic law is the supremacy of Islam and the imperative that it reign over the earth, that Muslims overcome non-Muslims. Consequently, infidel forces are generally regarded with hostility in Islamic countries (particularly if they are pursuing their own, rather than Islamic, interests). This is why politicians in the new Afghan and Iraqi “democracies” get such mileage out of America-bashing. Their populations, which are nearly 100 percent Islamic, despise America. In these places, the very thought of Muslims helping non-Muslims make war against Muslims is anathema.

Reliance of the Traveller, the classic manual of Islamic law accepted throughout the ummah, instructs believers that there is nothing “more heinous in Allah’s sight” than “the killing of a believer.” How, you may ask, are we to convince Afghans that when we kill Taliban operatives we’re not killing believers, and that when they kill them for us, they won’t be killing believers either? Here, our Beltway solons get downright Jesuitical, maintaining that these Taliban characters are not really Muslims but, yes, “violent extremists” who have perverted Islam. But behold: Even in the West Wing faculty lounge, they don’t really buy this fairy tale. That’s why such pains were taken to give Osama bin Laden a fastidiously Muslim funeral, during which American naval personnel actually prayed for Allah to pardon him and grant him every blessing of paradise before feeding him to the sharks.

Like the army secretary, the administration was just following sharia, under which bin Laden was a Muslim, through and through. As the Prophet Mohammed decreed, any man “who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah” is a Muslim. Mass-murder is not disqualifying.

Under sharia, believers may not join non-Muslims in killing Muslims, even if those Muslims, like the Taliban, are not particularly popular. According to Reliance of the Traveller, it is unlawful to shed the blood of a Muslim “unless he be one of three: a married adulterer, someone killed in retaliation for killing another, or someone who abandons his religion and the Muslim community.”

Wait a second, you say: If sharia permits retaliatory killing, can’t Muslims help us against these assassins from al-Qaeda and Taliban? No, with exceptions that are not relevant to this discussion, only when the murder victims are Muslims is retaliatory killing permitted. Muslims who kill non-Muslims are expressly protected. Moreover, non-Muslim forces in Islamic countries are deemed “occupiers,” the term the detestable Afghan president Hamid Karzai has taken to calling American troops. Occupiers (like any non-Muslims who fight and kill Muslims) are seen as oppressors and enemies of Allah. The Koran sternly warns Muslims not to take such non-Muslims as friends or protectors (e.g., Suras 4:139, 60:01), and most certainly not to take up their cause against fellow Muslims. As Sura 4:144 puts it, “O, ye who believe, take not for friends Unbelievers rather than Believers: do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves?”

Futility, thy name is U.S. Policy. Perfumed Prince Generals with degrees from institutions that are under control of the Left and immature golden children produced in the same hothouses of ideology should never be allowed to direct or lead.

As to the latter point:

The problem is that COIN and nation-building, if they are to have a prayer, cannot succeed until after the enemy has been defeated. What wins hearts and minds is not showing how virtuous and decent we are — especially in a confrontation between civilizations with very different ideas about virtue and decency. Hearts and minds are won when the enemy’s will is broken. COIN and nation-building worked in postwar Germany and Japan because complete victory was achieved first. As Jed Babbin recounts, it did not work in Vietnam, where, as in the War on Terror, the enemy was never conquered and its state sponsors were permitted to fuel the fighting with impunity.

Victory is not a step that can be skipped. Its stark absence cannot be disguised by miniaturizing the enemy, by pretending it is an aberrant fringe of violent extremists. The Taliban enjoys broad popular support — or, at least, sympathy — because the Afghan public is more aligned with its beliefs than with ours. That makes the population the enemy. There is a reason why so many U.S. and allied troops are being attacked and killed in sneak attacks by the Afghan recruits they are trying to train. There is a reason why the Obama administration is negotiating with the Taliban — conceding that the Taliban won’t be defeated and must be accommodated — even as Americans are told that battling the Taliban is the reason our young men and women must remain in harm’s way.

It is madness.

It is also the way to ultimate defeat and downfall. Once a nation loses it’s understanding of and belief in the necessity of waging war to victory, it’s enemies have won because they know all they have to do it nibble around the edges and be patient. Eventually, enough of what makes us a power in the world will be eaten away that the whole structure will crumble. The United States, most especially under Obama, but also thanks to Clinton and Bush II, is like a typical highway bridge in America: neglected for so many years as funds were diverted to more fatuous projects [like welfare and teacher's saleries], it is one rumbling eighteen-wheeler away from collapsing and falling in the river.

Could This Be One Explanation?

  1. M. Thompson permalink
    27 June 2011 @ 14:09 14:09

    Last month, I asked a friend online who is in theater what our objective was.

    She didn’t have an answer. That seems to be part of the problem; there is no statement of what our objective is over there. It’s a leadership failure on the part of both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama.

  2. M. Thompson permalink
    27 June 2011 @ 14:25 14:25

    A correction to my previous comment: the lack of a stated objective is a leadership failure starting with Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, and continuing down the chain of command.

  3. 28 June 2011 @ 05:44 05:44

    M. Thompson – I agree, but I would walk it back further. The whole concept of military operations other than war (MOOTW) became a large part of the National Security Strategy under the Clinton administration, but it is the logical result of decades of incremental shift away from what the Founders had in mind regarding war.

    As presidents have departed from the constitutional practice of asking Congress to declare war (We have not fought a declared war since WWII.) The very nature and purpose of wars have shifted. Now, rather than wars to defend our interests and our existence, we fight kinetic military actions to – well, to do whatever it is we’re doing in Libya.

    This, very conveniently, plays readily into the plans of those who have never believed in maintaining a robust defense, as redefining war allows them to use the Department of Defense (which I maintain should still be called the War Department)as a distributor of humanitarian aid and a proving ground for social engineering.

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