Are we trying to win peoples’ hearts and minds or are we freeing them from terror? Hugh Hewitt at Townhall.com has written regarding the failure of our leaders to lead to victory in the War on Terror.
With my english language news limited to CNN World and BBC World these weeks in Italy, I must report that BBC has much better reporting, better anchors, better stories, and they’re only half as liberal as CNN. However, on both stations, when it comes to reporting on the War on Terror, the tenor, if not the content, is the same. While BBC appears to be loyal to the British troops and portrays them them as people with a valid and important view of the war and its’ aims as well as a heart for the people they’re fighting amongst. To CNN the soldiers are red-neck rowdies intent on blowing things, and people, apart. But if listening only to the tone of the reporting, without understanding words, a listener to either channel would come to think the reporter is some baleful expert, perpetually depressed, with an over-inflated view of their own importance and a severely pessimistic perspective on the course of events.
A theme that is stated and repeated over and over again regardless the surrounding story is that we are not making progress winning the hearts and minds of the people whose homes we are fighting around. Ponder this: Is our goal to foster warm fuzzies with the people over there? “Oh it’s terrible they all died, but at least we’d won their hearts and minds.” Or is it instead to free them from a bondage which they readily admit to suffering and desire to be free of, and to give the whole world freedom from a particularly virulent and vociferous form of terror?
Consider past wars, wars we actually won, as well as the one we lost. World War 2 was fought with untold destruction of land, history, structures, people, and their lives. When great evil is battled, terrible things happen. War, indeed, is hell. There is a price to evil. Innocent people suffer and die and each loss is unspeakably horrible. In World War 2 there were resistance fighters who chose that life of very nearly certain death, living free or dying trying. In this current war it has been said that in countries such as Afghanistan, the people have always sided with whichever side appears to be winning. We cannot expect similar resistance fighters to side with us unless it is clear we are over-running the enemy and defeating them on their ground. Were it not for the global aspirations of the entities inciting terror breeding in these regions, I’d be hard pressed to find a rationale for continuing this war. But the enemy has made it clear their aims, violent and complete subjugation of the entire world to their extreme and evil ideology and theology.
The purpose of war is to destroy, that army which succeeds in first destroying the will of the opposers is the side which wins. Because of this, an idealist is the strongest enemy, as they trust and believe in things beyond the physical and temporal, larger than himself and his enemy. Destroying his hope and vision or destroying him physically is the only way to win against him. We are here embarked on a quest to destroy the spirit, and if necessary the body, of those who have tried, are now trying, and will not cease until they have succeeded in destroying ours. Much good has and will be lost, some wounds will never heal and some wrongs will never be righted. This is the price of freedom. Is it a just price? Perhaps if the price were being extracted from us here safe behind the walls of the seas in America in a more visible way we would value what is being accomplished. But like spoiled children whose parents have paid their way through life, we do not value the end goal and stupidly rail on those who do understand and have paid the price. To quote from that firebrand of our own American Revolution, our own War for Independence, Samuel Adams:
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.