My father was 16 when the joined the Army by lying about his age. He was in Pearl City when the harbor was bombed, and hopped islands across the Pacific with his artillery unit until the war ended in victory on two fronts.
The war was waged with determination, skill, industry, sacrifice, pride and eventually the most destructive weapon ever used in war.
My generation was tasked with stopping the falling dominoes of communism. Politicians dictated strategy, technology and even targets. That war ended with the April 30, 1975, big bug out.
This past week at the National Defense University, President Obama basically declared a unilateral end to the “global war on terror.”
In a 7,000-word speech that covered reducing drone strikes, closing Gitmo and reciting a litany of terrorist attacks, Obama said:
“We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the wellspring of extremism, a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.
“So the next element of our strategy involves addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism — from North Africa to South Asia. As we’ve learned this past decade, this is a vast and complex undertaking. We must be humble in our expectation that we can quickly resolve deep-rooted problems like poverty and sectarian hatred.”
Osama bin Laden was the son of a billionaire Saudi construction magnate. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were well educated and well off.
Sectarian hatred, not Islamic hatred? He said “the United States is not at war with Islam.”
He went on to say:
“Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”
Claiming the “best analogy to the current conflict is the Cold War, which lasted more than 40 years from the Truman Doctrine through the fall of the Soviet Union,” he seemed to forget the never ending war on poverty and war on drugs. He also neglected the point that while a few Islamic terrorists have been killed they have not “fallen,” as Fort Hood, Benghazi, Boston and London attest. Meanwhile, Islamist dominoes are falling from Libya to Egypt to Syria with one despotic regime being replaced by another equally as despotic and hateful of America.
In Vietnam they called it winning the hearts and minds, but nonetheless Obama calls for:
“For what we spent in a month in Iraq at the height of the war, we could be training security forces in Libya, maintaining peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors, feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists. That has to be part of our strategy.”
It worked so well before.
Obama seems oblivious to the potential for terrorists to use chemical weapons from Syria or nukes from Iran or North Korea.
Maybe we should just call this Obama’s big bug out. Give them all lawyers and Miranda rights and televise the trials.
On a day on which we pay homage to the veterans of past wars, perhaps we should pay heed to what they did that worked and what failed.