American troops by the thousands are searching an area south of Baghdad for three of their brothers-in-arms who are presumed to have been captured by terrorist forces during an ambush this weekend.

Meanwhile, news has surfaced that American troops, after meeting with Pakistanis on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, were themselves ambushed by Pakistani forces and there have been American casualties.

These incidents show once again that the War on Terror knows no boundaries or artificial borders, and regardless of the constant din from Congress it is not going to be over any time soon. If anything, these incidents should remind Americans and our representatives in Congress that the terrorists are spread across many countries, and are ideologically inspired.

I firmly believe as I have said in that past that we will be in a shooting war for at least 20 years, and that in each of these 20 years the numbers of terrorists killed by our forces will have to far outnumber our losses. So far this has been the case, but it is difficult to envision our successes continuing with the constant carping from Congress.

Even at the end of a generation of fighting, we should consider ourselves successful only if we have convinced the upcoming generation of potential terrorists that their cause is hopeless, and thus they refrain from further terrorist attacks. That will give us time to use more diplomatic means to convince the unborn generation that a world at peace is a far better place for all of us than a world at constant war.

Despite what we hear on the news daily, we are primarily engaged in fighting terrorists in Iraq, even though one of their tactics is to encourage violence between factions of the Muslim religion to make it appear that the country is in an all out civil war. A terrorist group was responsible for the ambush that killed five or our soldiers and resulted in the missing troops, and you can be sure that terrorists are responsible for the attack on our troops on the Pakistani border.

Our relationship with Pakistan seems tenuous at best, with the president publicly on our side, but also having to answer to many in his country who are at least tacitly siding with the Muslim extremists.

I wouldn't be surprised if the the attack on the Pakistan border was coordinated by the terrorist leaders to coincide with fighting in Iraq, in an effort to further demoralize our Congress and hasten the calls for surrender. I'm not sure exactly how retreating in Iraq where we haven't been beaten by anyone, where in fact, we have been eminently successful in thwarting all attempts by the terrorists to dominate there, will bring an end to the fighting.

I believe it will simply embolden the terrorists to make further attacks on us at home, and it certainly won't change anything worldwide except to make us again appear weak, uncertain, tenuous, and lacking in determination.

If we are to make any headway in this war we need to be firm, overwhelming in our response to attacks, and resolute. But I have concerns, and I am not alone.

What follows came to me in several emails from fellow veterans in recent weeks, regarding an ambush against US Marines in Afghanistan in March.

It is essentially opinion, based on a real event, but the important thing to remember is that many Americans share this opinion.

Author unknown

We are so losing this war.

Here is an example. It has to do with a Marine Corps Special Forces company. In the first place, there shouldn't be one. Marines don't come in different flavors. They're all Marines ... an elite fighting force by their very nature. The concept of the Marine Corps is that everyone is in the Special Forces.

But that didn't satisfy Donald Rumsfeld. So the most dangerous secretary of defense since Robert McNamara forced the Marine Corps to change its organizational structure and core mission so that he could have some more gee-whiz Spec Ops toys. And thus was born the Marine Corps Special Operations Company.

There are now four of them. And the first one went into combat in January. Six weeks later it was relieved of combat duty and given the ultimate disgrace of being pulled from the theater. That's why we're losing the war. Because of idiot moves just like that.

Here's what happened. Somebody forgot to tell the Marines that they weren't allowed to fight back. They somehow missed the briefing in which American forces were told their only mission on the modern battlefield is passing out candy to kids, feeding stray dogs and working on their cultural-sensitivity lessons. Somehow, these Marines thought they were actually supposed to fight a war.

And so it was that on the 5th of March they found themselves, all 120 of them, on a convoy in Afghanistan. It was a Taliban town and they were the freaks on display. And, right on schedule, the Taliban launched an ambush - a fairly sophisticated ambush. It commenced with an explosives-laden minivan ramming into the convoy, making one heck of a loud noise, and it followed up with a crap-load of Third Worlders firing a whole bunch of AKs at the Marines. It was shooting at fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

Unfortunately, they had not yet had the cultural-respect lesson that would have taught them that, in the event of a deadly ambush, American forces are supposed to immediately apologize, toss candy to the kids, promise to build a school and throw their weapons down.

Instead, these Marines fought back. They didn't know they were supposed to be cannon fodder. They thought they were United States Marines in a combat zone. So they fought back. They fought their way out of the ambush.

The company commander kept his men together, they maintained combat cohesiveness, they returned fire and, doggone it, if they didn't win. They won because they shot back.

The buildings in which the Taliban welcome-wagon crew was hiding got shot up pretty good. Now, this was in a town,and the Taliban picked the spot - a spot that was in the middle of a residential area. They did this because they're a bunch of castrati who hide behind women and children.

They did this because the asinine top-down rules of engagement the brass force on our troops essentially forbid them from shooting their guns if there's the slightest chance that anyone will get hurt. But the Marines didn't get the memo that said they were supposed to be patsies. So they shot their way out, and got on down the road, Marines and equipment intact.

Which, of course, ticked off the Afghanis, who were deeply offended that infidels would actually discharge their weapons. So the locals complained and it went all the way up to Afghanistan's president, and he expressed outrage to the Americans.

Seems like a guy who was put in power by the force of American arms wouldn't bite the hand that props him up quite so often. But he complained to the three-star general guy and the general immediately began kissing Afghani keester and selling out U.S. Marines.

The general decided that the Marines had really damaged the relationship Americans had with the local savages and so the entire company was pulled out of Afghanistan. Relieved of combat duty. And, get this, there's going to be an investigation. The Pentagon boys haven't been this turned on since Abu Ghraib.

In the War To Destroy The American Fighting Man, they've found some more scapegoats. And they've shown exactly why this country can't fight its way out of a paper bag anymore. We've taken Frank Burns as the model for the American general corps and turned combat into a game of JAG gotcha.

If the enemy shooting at your front doesn't get you, the comrade shooting at your back will. They've got it worked out so one way you go to Arlington and the other way you go to Leavenworth. And that's ridiculous.