Could someone please define "unfunded war?" Does that mean we have slave labor producing equipment and ammunition and unpaid conscripts doing the fighting?
People who want to quit the fight against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan for political leverage are using that phrase a lot and are setting the US up for more terror attacks in the future. Yet that phrase is an inaccurate piece of pure propaganda.
Was the Revolutionary War unfunded? Or any that followed, keeping our country secure and free? There is no such thing as an unfunded war in American history and if we didn't fight back after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – and continue that fight as long as terrorists exist – where would we be now, and where will we be in 2020?
I have been writing about war and politics in one venue or another for 30 years now, and I am seeing some very unsettling similarities between past actions that worked against democracy and freedom and those that are taking place now.
In the 1970s and 1980s the "Blame the Vietnam Veteran" game was all the rage. The media, working on behalf of the politicians they favored pushed hard on that cause when it was revealed that communist governments were slaughtering millions of Southeast Asians and no one could ignore the carnage.
So Vietnam vets – most of whom didn't even realize then that America had won every major battle in that war and pushed the communists right to the edge of surrender before Washington and the news media bailed out Hanoi – became the scapegoats.
From the very first word I typed about Vietnam my goal was to tell the truth of what I had seen and done, and to do everything in my power to right the wrongs that were being perpetrated on my fellow Vietnam veterans. When I wrote my first book, Masters of the Art, I didn't do it because I expected to get rich from it – and I didn't – I wrote it so there would be a truthful legacy for the Marines I served with and all others who fought in Vietnam to pass on to our children.
Now, here it is three decades later, we are engaged in the War on Terror and we again are dealing with a manipulative agenda-driven media, politicians who think nothing of using the war to further their careers, political meddling with the military, and total disregard for the troops.
We are fighting in two theaters with extremely hostile terrains where our enemies are using adjacent countries for support – Iran and Pakistan – while our troops are generally restricted from attacking those refuges – just like Laos and Cambodia in the Vietnam War. We also are fighting against ideological enemies who hide out in the indigenous populations, terrorizing the common people to gain their support, and using them for shields when our fighters get too close.
In the face of these political and tactical similarities we also have a government that is showing – perhaps deliberately – signs of weakness.
I have written that the first major mistake of the Vietnam War was President Richard Nixon's decision to announce troop withdrawals at exactly the time when we had the communist military leaders looking for an excuse to surrender after years of devastating losses. Nixon could have put an end to the war by showing strength and determination; instead he prolonged it and ultimately caused the betrayal of South Vietnam because he showed weakness and indecisiveness.
Today, President Barack Hussein Obama is following in Nixon's footsteps, overruling the advice of military commanders, withdrawing troops when they should be working to eliminate the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and exhibiting a reckless disregard for their safety and effectiveness.
After Vietnam fell in 1975 the media and political lies about how that happened and why were stunning in their duplicity, inaccuracy and viciousness. Even when the American public began to realize – after the Iranian hostages came home on Jan. 20, 1981 – that the Vietnam vets were getting a raw deal, the media changed course only slightly and labeled us as "victims" of a lost-from-the-start policy, ravaged by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, walking time bombs.
Once again, the same strategy is being applied to today's vets. The war has been labeled "unwinnable" by modern politicians, much as the Vietnam War received the same label from the late CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite – who later was revealed to be a communist sympathizer, which in effect means he was a communist – after the Tet Offensive of 1968 in which American and allied forces were overwhelmingly victorious.
The current atmosphere of political meddling goes all the way back to the invasion of Iraq which not only proved successful, but was a natural and obvious extension of the Bush Doctrine. Then President George W. Bush promised that not only would the terrorists who participated in and supported the attacks of 9-11 be hunted down, but so would any country or regime that harbored them.
When the Taliban was routed in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, some of its highest leaders, including Abu Al-Zarqawi, one of Osama Bin Laden's most trusted advisers and a member of his inner circle who was wounded fighting US forces, fled to Iraq. There, with the support of Saddam Hussein, they began rebuilding the terrorist empire, starting with training camps in the Iraqi desert.
Virtually the entirety of the US Congress supported Bush when he sought Congressional approval to invade Iraq, and many of his later critics openly averred that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction and would not hesitate to use them against the US. But when those weapons were found to have been removed from Iraq, some even as Americans were invading, the same politicos immediately began a torrent of abuse against Bush and his policies that nearly resulted in the withdrawal of troops in failure.
But a basic truth of war fighting is that the weapons used by your opponent should not be the primary reason to fight. Bush apparently understood this, stood firm and deviated from Nixon's example, increasing the numbers of troops rather than withdrawing.
The troops showed that with the proper numbers and support they can and will prevail. They did and now Iraq is attempting to build itself as a democratic – but still threatened – country.
But politics is interfering again as Obama has suddenly and inexplicably defied the military commanders and escalated the planned draw down to a level that not only is unsustainable but probably increases the danger to our troops as well. He either doesn't realize, or more likely, doesn’t care that the troop withdrawal on his political timetable not only endangers the under-strength troops who remain, but nullifies the sacrifices of thousands of Americans and Iraqis who died to defeat terrorism in that theater.
In Afghanistan Obama is misusing some of our most highly trained special operations troops to meet his political objectives. This was shown in the August 6 loss of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter loaded with more than three-dozen troops, most of them American special operations forces who were employed in an operation that should have required regular infantry.
All across American today people are being asked to remember the attacks of a decade ago and the thousands of American citizens who died that day. But after nearly 10 years of war, which would make the War on Terror our SECOND longest war if you don't count the century of westward expansion and non-stop wars with indigenous Americans, we are on the cusp of throwing away all that has been won and sacrificed in their memories.
We literally can't wait until next year's election to stop this. President Obama seems to have accepted that he is most likely a one-term president despite the all-out efforts of pollsters to portray his support as strong and sustainable, and he also seems to be going all out to undo everything that was accomplished in the past decade.
Obama is thumbing his nose at our system of government, waging war without Congressional or public approval, appointing bureaucrats to circumvent our Constitution, placing our troops in danger, weakening us militarily, financially and economically.
It is time for the US Congress to stand up, speak out and open a bipartisan investigation into his actions. If we want to truly honor the memories of those who have died in the War on Terror it is time for America's political leaders to act like Americans.
Sunday, September 11, 2011