CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
General William T. Sherman said it: "War is hell." He was right. He knew just how hellish it was, having inflicted his own brand of hell on earth on his foes.
We are now engaged in a new kind of war from the kind Sherman, Pershing, Eisenhower and MacArthur and a host of other American warriors fought. They battled against nation states - against an enemy they could see. We're now fighting a war against enemies we can't see. Their enemies were concentrated on specific battlegrounds, either on their own territory or those of others; ours are spread out all across the globe, some even here in our homeland.
We are fighting terrorist guerilla fighters hidden in every nook and cranny on the globe. Guerilla warfare is brutish under any circumstances, but it is particularly fierce when it is waged indiscriminately against civilians and civilian targets, as it was on 9/11.
Most guerilla wars are waged against governments and their armed forces. When the guerillas are fighting tyranny, as they were against Nazi forces in World War II France or the Philippines, we call them "freedom fighters." When they go after the innocent civilian population of a free nation we rightly call them terrorists.
The response of nations attacked by guerilla warfare is often as brutal as the the terrorists they are fighting, and that response is often self-defeating when it provokes the civilian population to both hate and rise up against the occupiers.
During the Franco-Prussian war the Germans suffered so much from French partisans, or "francs-tireurs," as they called them, that Field Marshall von Moltke ordered the shooting of all prisoners not fully uniformed and led by regular officers. For that he earned the undying hatred for all things German that festered and finally erupted once again in World War II.
We are facing that kind of dilemma in Falluja in Iraq where the all-out attack on that city although required militarily could be a political disaster, cost the U.S. the support of millions of friendly or neutral Iraqis and even provoke an all-out war against our forces.
But Iraq is only a part of the world war in which we are now engaged, and we are very much in danger of forgetting that vital fact. Long before 9/11 a large segment of the world's Islamic population fell under the spell of fundamentalist Islamic fanatics. They declared war against the West and launched a jihad to accomplish what they have been failing to achieve since the 7th century - the destruction of Western Civilization. 9/11 was part of the offensive. There has been much more, both before and after September 11, 2001 and there will be even more.
As Herb Meyer has noted in his blockbuster video "The Siege of Western Civilization," while the West has progressed continually towards the pinnacle of success it has reached, Islam remains rooted in the 7th century, ignoring the rights the West holds precious - individual and religious freedom, the equality of women, economic liberty, the rule of law and a code of morals that guided mankind for centuries.
Ralph Kinney Bennett was even more blunt: "The fact is all the terrorist acts against us that he mentioned are the 'work' of a religion, Islam, which, in whatever distorted form it may have twisted itself, informs, motivates and justifies the terrorists. It is Islam that has spawned loathsome offspring like Osama bin Laden. It is Islam that greeted the most horrific acts of the terrorists with a notable silence broken only by a few ineffectual expressions of mild heartburn from an Imam or two over terrorist technique. ... One pauses at the prospect that ambush good -- burning and dismemberment not so good' is the best one of the world's three great monotheistic religions can come up with re the hate-crazed ghouls of Falluja. If Islam's outrage at bin Laden's hijacking of the faith has been expressed,it has been decidedly sotto voce."
It pays to keep in mind all those Mosques being used as sanctuaries by the terrorist insurgents in Iraq. In Falluja the thugs are shooting at our Marines from the minarets. Where are the Muslim worshippers of these Mosques. The thugs could not use them if their congregations were not allowing them to use them as fortresses.
Thanks to the Crusades Islam's attempts to conquer the Western world and its civilization failed and they have never forgiven the West, which in a craven effort to mollify Muslims treats the crusades which preserved our civilization as a sorry chapter in our history. But like it or not, we are now engaged in a new crusade to save Western civilization - that's what the war against terrorism is all about. Iraq is just one battle in the war which will not end until we have driven fanatical Islam back into the sanctuaries where it has been hiding and seething with resentment for centuries.
There are a legion of fools running amok these days trying to convince us that Islam has been provoked into attacking us by the poverty and misery that exists among its adherents who are in their sorry state because of exploitation by the West. That's garbage.The poverty and misery is the result of Islam's centuries-long refusal to join the modern world and bring its material benefits to its people.
We had better get this straight once and for all: this is a war for the survival of Western Civilization and we are facing an enemy determined to destroy everything we hold dear. It's a different kind of war and it's going to last a long time. We had better get used to that idea and understand we are in it for the long haul. There simply is no alternative.
War is hell, but losing a war is worse.
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