Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Victory: The Conquest of the Enemy - or His Unconditional Surrender

Try to picture this scenario.

You stand still while I draw a circle on the ground around you. Now, here are the rules for this game.

If I want to hit you, I can throw rocks at you from outside the circle, or I can step inside the circle, punch you in the mouth, and then jump outside the circle. You, unfortunately, can only hit me back when I am inside the circle, not when I am in my “safe haven” outside the circle. You can throw a few rocks at me when I’m outside the circle, but all I have to do is to move or hide to avoid getting hit.

This, my friends, is Afghanistan. We are in the circle. The insurgents can enter the country to attack us, and then run to safety into Pakistan (or Iran). We can fly some drones over them and fire a few missiles, but all they need to do to survive is stay out of sight. We have all the rules; the bad guys have none.

This was also Vietnam. While our soldiers were “imprisoned” within the borders of South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese moved at will through neighboring Laos and Cambodia. They had their “safe havens” where they trained, resupplied, and “relaxed”. No fear of being attacked by us – except in 1970 when we briefly kicked their rear ends in Cambodia before politics forced us to return to the "walls" of South Vietnam.

In fact, we waged a bloody war against North Vietnam – inside South Vietnam, but we never mounted a land invasion of the north. We bombed their bridges, factories, and military facilities, but they simply rebuilt them. We waged a long, “half war” in Vietnam; we are at risk of waging another such war in Afghanistan.

When the Al Qaeda animals attacked us, we went after them. President Bush said you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. There shouldn’t have been one square inch of ground on the face of the earth where these bastards could hide from us. Yet we drove them into Pakistan, thus creating a brand new safe haven to use as a base for creating new terrorists.

Now we are withdrawing from the Afghan countryside, moving our troops back to protect the population centers because we don’t have enough soldiers to secure the entire country. If we will simply look back in history at the French colonial experience in Indochina (Vietnam), we will see that France chose to primarily secure the cities and population centers. That strategy allowed the Viet Minh (the forerunners of the Viet Cong) to infest the countryside at will.

The Viet Minh, as you may know, dealt the French a devastating defeat at Dien Bien Phu and drove them out of Indochina with their tails between their legs.

If we have any chance to succeed in Afghanistan, it will require that we listen to our military commanders. We must give them the resources they need to protect both the cities and the countryside. We must also convince Pakistan that they must save their own country from the Islamic fundamentalist plague. The best way to do that is to join forces with us in a massive ground offensive in the tribal areas. Once we wipe out the terrorists and their bases, we will leave, and Pakistan can establish law and order in these mountain strongholds.

There is only one way to fight the war in Afghanistan. We must fight it to win. Victory, by surrender or by conquest, is the only way to defeat any enemy…

Charles M. Grist
Also check out: - The website for the book about the C.O.B.R.A. Team - My Team's website.

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