Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 14 Comments
Viewed from a purely military perspective, terrorist tactics may be devastating to a civilian population, but achieve next to nothing strategically. A suicide bomber detonating himself in a crowd accomplishes nothing except to spread terror.
Terrorism exploits not a military weakness, but a political one... so when terrorists are winning, don't blame the soldiers-- blame the politicians. Terrorist tactics are only effective against a well equipped and well trained army, when the goals and operating parameters set for it by politicians are so narrow and constrained as to cripple its ability to destroy the terrorist groups.
Yet when there are setbacks in a military campaign against terrorists, Generals are expected to reevaluate their tactics, but politicians are rarely asked to reevaluate the restrictions under which soldiers operate.
While terrorists operate with no restrictions on their tactics, but practical ones-- we live in an age in which putting women's underwear on the heads of terrorist suspects is considered a greater war crime by pundits and politicians than the original attacks of September 11.
Israeli soldiers who open fire to protect civilians must meet stringent rules of engagement requirements, or risk prison. This naturally has created situations in which civilians have died because soldiers avoided opening fire, and situations in which the soldiers themselves have been killed. Recently a critically injured IDF soldier from the Golani brigade is set to face trial for opening fire to protect Israeli civilians. And there have been even worse cases than that over the past few years.
Sadly this situation is not unusual. There are no shortage of left wing pressure groups on behalf of terrorists, and damn few speaking on behalf of soldiers in the field. Despite his slander of the Haditha Marines, Murtha kept his job. That's because slandering soldiers will win you plaudits from the media, just ask John Kerry. Defending them will get you branded an extremist.
When terrorists attack, even when they aim for soldiers, in truth they aim for the glass spines of politicians, whom they can always count on to bend when trouble comes. In politics there are always a shortage of Theodore Roosevelts and Churchills, and an excess of Murthas and Obamas. And that is what makes terrorism so successful, because you cannot terrorize men of courage and principle, but if you spread enough terror and make the cost of the battle high enough, you can always count on politicians to cut and run. It has worked for the terrorists time and time again, and it's still working for them today.
At home and abroad, politicians when confronted with Islamic terror, choose half-hearted measures and appeasement, rather than confronting and dealing with the threat. The weak link in the chain remains the political link, and it is the one terrorists have broken time and time again to achieve their victories. Bush's latest round of apologies for his post 9/11 speeches serves as just another reminder that it is not the soldier who fails in the War on Terror... but the politician.