April 14, 2016
War Is Hell
Western civilization is immolating itself on the sword of political correctness. Our leaders fail to recognize the existential threat that we now face and are unwilling to take the decisive actions necessary to combat the threat of radical jihadist Islamists.
Leadership on both sides of the political spectrum refuse to identify how we might counter this threat. This is not necessarily a new type of threat that we have not experienced before. However, what is new is our refusal to properly utilize the tools at our disposal to combat this threat.
We often hear our leadership say that it is against our values as Americans to use some of these ruthless but effective tools. Gen. George S. Patton once said, “War is cruel, ruthless and brutal and it takes a cruel, ruthless and brutal man to fight it!” It was the implementation of this approach that ultimately secured victory in 1945.
Unfortunately, our nation does not presently possess Patton’s “cruel, ruthless and brutal man” in any senior leadership position in our government or military. Politicians and generals alike often state that it is against our long-held American values to target civilians or torture prisoners. However, our country’s history is replete with examples of our leadership doing what is necessary to win. We can only logically extrapolate that those who would refuse to fight hard war would be willing to sacrifice our lives and freedom on the altar of the absurd fallacies of American values crowd.
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During the wars against the Plains Indians in the late 1800s, the U.S. Army targeted villages after Indians had attacked and killed white settlers and raped women. In response, the Army sent in one of the greatest cavalry leaders in the old West: Col. Ranald McKenzie. His job was to kill Comanche Indians, and this he did with great efficiency. He relentlessly attacked Indian villages and destroyed their pony herds which were vitally important to the survival of these Indian communities. These starving and broken Comanche Indians retired to the reservation and were no longer a threat to the local citizens.
World War II has an abundance of examples of bombings of German and Japanese cities. The firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945 is estimated to be the single most destructive bombing raid in history. Approximately 100,000 Japanese citizens were killed during this attack.
Unfortunately, after World War II, the U.S. abandoned the concepts of total and hard war and adopted a more politically correct view of war. Subsequently we have never again won a war.
Now we are faced with brutal Islamic extremists who are willing to kill innocent civilians without remorse. President Obama naively refuses to even recognize the threat. Sun Tzu in his timeless essay The Art of War stated,
Know the enemy and know yourself; and in 100 battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant of both your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.
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While I was a young Marine in attendance at Infantry Training School there was an oracular sign hanging on the wall of the classroom that simply stated, “When civilized man can no longer stand the horrors of war and declares that he will no longer fight. Then he will surely be killed or enslaved by the uncivilized.” Have we reached that point? Are we no longer willing to do what needs to be done to secure victory?
April 7, 2016
By Lt. Col. Kent S Ralston USMC (Ret.)