Monday, August 24, 2009

The Inhumanity of Being Humane to Terrorists

Most people who have gone to the movies think they know General Patton's famous speech to the Third Army. They think they know it but they don't, because the speech was too harsh and obscene for the eponymous film and was censored so that it could receive a PG rating. But war, real war, is not rated PG. It has no rating at all.

"When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea... My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts... I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that."

If you recoiled at this excerpt from Patton's uncensored speech, congratulations, you may safely consider yourself a child of the postmodern West. A West that no longer understands that war is an ugly thing, that it must be fought hard and relentlessly to achieve victory. The uncensored speech is just one of the many relics of World War II that would not pass muster today. While reporters pay tribute to the mythology of the "Greatest Generation", the actual war itself has long ago been smeared, tarred and feathered, from both the left and the right, who decry the firebombing of Tokyo, the bombing of Dresden, the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as monstrous war crimes. Unfortunately this historical revisionism did not begin last week, hardly had the shooting died down in occupied Berlin, than Communist sympathizers like John Dos Passos rushed in to declare that the military occupation was amoral and that the only way we could redeem ourselves was to withdraw as quickly as possible, while Nazi sympathizers like McCarthy did his best to lynch the military over the rough interrogations of SS officers who had massacred American troops at Malmedy.

One by one the major figures who had helped win the war, McArthur, Curtis LeMay, Patton, Sir Arthur Harris, were dismissed as terrible men with no concern for human life. In the modern moral lexicon, Hiroshima and Dresden came to seem as awful as Auschwitz, the Adreatine caves, Bromberg, Nanking, Iwo Jima, Katyn Forest and the Blitz. In the moral weakness that came after, the atrocities of the perpetrators of WW2 faded, while the measures used to force them to surrender were highlighted in stark colors. History, which is normally written by the winners, was instead written by the losers, and the men who understood how the war had to be fought and won became its villains. WW2 itself was celebrated but the men who commanded the operations that won it were viewed as butchers. And all too few stopped themselves to ask how a moral war could be won immorally.

And where has that gotten us now?

Almost exactly 60 years after Patton made his speech to the Third Army, the British Army found itself faced with militia attacks by the Mahdi Army in the Iraqi city of Basra. The army withdrew, dug itself into virtual foxholes and when asked about the requests of the Basra residents for help, a Major Ian Clooney replied with words almost as deathless as Patton's. "I can understand what the Iraqis are saying, but confronting violence with violence is not going to work."

Major Clooney's remarks are as important as Patton's, perhaps even more so, because they signify where the Western idea of arms is at now, as opposed to where it was some sixty years ago. We have gone from greasing the wheels of our tanks with their guts, to believing that confronting violence with violence is not going to work. And if violence is bad and never solves anything, then why bother having an army at all? A great many people are confused about that same subject as well. And that confusion is what has cost more lives than anything else.

The fundamental truth of war is that to win it, you must kill the enemy. You must crush them and break them in order to destroy their morale, shatter their ranks and end any threat that they pose. And if you are not willing to do that, then even if you possess greater strength and numbers, sooner or later you will lose the war, as yesterday's soldiers become tomorrow's insurgents, and the wars you thought you won are reborn as tomorrow's conflicts.

Can we do that today? What a silly question. There is not one single country fighting Islamic terrorism that can even define the problem as being Islam. Certainly not England or America, both of which insist that Islam is the Religion of Peace. Not Russia, which still believes it can use Muslim terrorists as pet cobras, or China, which is a good deal more nervous about its own violent Muslim Uyghurs, than about the non-violent Tibetans. Not Israel, not Australia, not Canada. No one.

Instead of pushing forward, we pull back. And when some of our men presume to push forward, we drag them out for trials, we wail about the inhumanity of being inhuman to terrorists and get down on our hands and knees to look around for the moral high ground we are so sure that we have lost. And just to be certain that we are being noble enough, we can drag out the CIA interrogators who helped break captured Al Queda terrorists into the spotlight and put them on trial, because they pushed them too hard. And while we can forgive downed airlines, burning towers and thousands of dead Americans-- putting bugs on a captured terrorist, that my friends is one thing we cannot forgive.

The CIA interrogators mind you did not behead captured terrorists, the way the terrorists beheaded their Western captives. They did not insert rubber balloons inside them and inflate them, as Hizbollah terrorists did to a CIA station chief in Beirut. They did not replicate Saddam Hussein's rape rooms, which he neglected to show off to Sean Penn or Dan Rather, when they paid their supportive visits to him. All they really did was extract that extra "ounce of sweat" which saved gallons of blood in the field.

But we don't believe that violence solves anything anymore. Not even threatened violence. That is why Osama bin Laden survived long enough to plan and executive the attacks of September the 11th. That is why he may still be alive today. Just as during WW2, German POW's received better treatment than African-American enlisted men-- so too today, Al Queda terrorists receive better treatment than the murdered Americans whose ashes are left to the landfills and to annual commemorations by a government unwilling to do everything possible to find and execute their killers.

There are volumes written on our inhumanity to the terrorists, few of those same people writing those volumes want to hear about the inhumanity of the terrorists toward us. And there is good reason for that. In order to fight for the rights of terrorists, one must also believe that their lives have the same worth as ours.

A leading animal rights activist was once famously asked if she was driving and saw a boy and an animal on the road, leaving her with the choice of swerving to hit one, in order to miss the other. She replied that she was unable to make the choice. They were both equal in her eyes. In the eyes of those who worry over being inhumane to terrorists, the boy and the terrorists are equal. They could not make the choice between one or the other. And this universalization lifts them beyond any allegiance to a country or a citizenry, only to a definition of common humanity that has no meaning in war.

A pig is not a dog and a boy. A terrorist is not a criminal or an American. To equate them all is to render all national allegiances null and void. And on those grounds to reject violence as a force that cannot solve anything, for in the eyes of the universalists, a terrorist has just as much right to live as we do. And for as long as and wherever such a view prevails, the war on Terror cannot be won, it can only be prolonged, as we dig into our foxholes and wait for the next attack against an enemy we dare not push, for fear of losing that shiny medal we pin to our chests, the highest civilian honor, the gleaming fool's gold, of the moral high ground. Until we can say that the life of a single one of our children is worth all the guns to the head and bugs on and bullets in the bodies of terrorists, we will go on losing this war.

Is it more inhumane to be inhumane or humane to terrorists? It is a question that too few enjoy asking because it sets out a clear choice. We can coddle the terrorists, or we can push them. We coddled them for years until 9/11 happened. Now we have gone back to coddling them again. But there will be more than only a moral price to pay for that, but a bill presented written in the blood of Americans. Because those who focus on the inhumanity of being inhumane to terrorists, choose instead to be inhumane to their country and their fellow citizens.


Sam said...

It is as I have told my students (Okinawan martial arts) for years:
You do not want to be in a "fight". A "fight" suggests you hit him, he hits you, one of you eventually falls down. Being hit is not fun. It is not what you want to do. What you want is to be in a "beat down" with you as the beater and him as the beatee, and only him getting hit.

As for speeches, you need to paraphrase Aldo Raine from Inglourious Basterds: We don't people in the terrorist coddling business, we need people in the terrorist killing business. And cousin, business needs to be a-booming.

As for Major Ian Clooney, perhaps somone should quote the section of Starship Troopers to him where Heinlein retort as to just what violence has in fact solved. I doubt he will be enlightened, but it will remove claiming ignorance for uttering something so absurd.

Gramfan said...

How true!
And now it seems the US wants to diminish the tragedy of 9/11.

I can't see a good outcome.

Everyone in the West will suffer for this, and also many others in oppressed countries all over the world who are waiting and wanting to be saved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article! I am sick of watching leftist foreigners coming to my country to harass the soldiers who put their lives on the line each day to stop terrorists from blowing us up. Some of these boys are now afraid to do their jobs because the "peace people" will help the enemy to prosecute them. The continued "be nice" mantra has allowed our neighbors to re-arm, re-train (Thank you USA!) and become assured that they will soon wipe us off the map. I object strongly to that! Their children are trained from birth to hate and long to die with a bomb strapped to their body. People who hate others more than they love their own children will never recognize human rights--No matter how many lefties don a kafiya! Sadly, by the time these idiots realize what they have fostered--well, that is a thought I do not want to entertain...maybe we need a few more Pattons.

Lemon said...

America has a president that represents them in morality and in compassion to those who hate us.
To have elected Obama was to validate the words and thinking of men like Jeremiah Wright, Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers.
These are the people Americans love today...the very people who hate and despise them.
So this is the result.

A Jew With A View said...


It's the same mentality that drives multiculturalism, this naive notion that all cultures are 'equal' and must therefore be equally respected.

It's nonsense. Repressive Saudi culture, to use but one example, is NOT 'equal' to American or Israeli or British democracy. It does not deserve our respect.

Ditto with the idea that all lives are 'equal'. They are not. The life and welfare of a terrorist is NOT equal to that of an innocent victim OF terrorism.

Obama et al don't seem to understand or care that in the eyes of the Islamic world, 'tolerance' is seen as *weakness*.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the toy soldiers collection Churchill had and thinking: THANK G-D, in his times they didn't try to push boys to play with dolls like the 60's generation did with their children. The west has social engineerd a whole generation of "sensitive" men who have lost their genetic compasses. From that came a generation of professors who taught postmodernism and deconstructionism, from that developed PC (i.e. political correctness) where everyone is the same, men and women, wiccan and monotheist, murderers and their victims. Now why would we be surprised when people are confused who is the perpetrator and who is the victim? The killer of Lockerbie is "dying of cancer", we should be compassionate, the terrorists in Guantanamo don't have such a great life as the killers in mainland America, lynch the CIA men, castrate their powers, so after that no one will even dare try to save America.
Our Jewish sources said it the best: BE KIND TO THE CRUEL YOU WILL BE CRUEL TO THE KIND.
Anyhow nothing makes sense today obfuscation is the reality

Keli Ata said...

I think much of the popularity of Inglorious Basterds is that Americans have grown sick to death of coddling terrorists whether they're in a Nazi uniform or wearing a kafiyah. At the theatre I went to, people cheered the scene towards the end when Hitler and his henchmen are killed.

And after seeing the one Nazi at the beginning shoot up an innocent family in hiding under the floor boards of a French house nobody cared what was done to the Nazis, including literally beating their heads in and scalping them.

Jew with a View--I think Obama knows full well that coddling terrorists is a sign of weakness. It's doubtful he wants to be the alpha dog in this. Muslims and liberals are using his terrorist-friendly policies for the moment in order to gain power, though I am sure Obama is sympathetic to their cause.

Great article, Sultan.

Yochana said...

Brilliant read. The next big slap in the face is when obama allows mr. terrorist to take up residence in Jersey. Makes me wish the Jersey Devil were real and we could send him as a house guest. : )

Sultan Knish said...

At some point common sense may kick in, just as people became sick of coddling criminals, and tough on crime became a sure fire way to get elected

Sultan Knish said...

At this rate, it looks like Khadaffi will be the Jersey Devil

Sam said...

Khadaffi and the Scottish Injustice Minister remind me of the story of the scorpion and frog (or turtle).
Scorpion: Please let my scorpion buddy come back home.
Frog: I would Mr. Scorpion, but you will throw him a party, and that would be wrong.
Scorpion: I promise I won't throw him a party or blame you for his action.
Frog: Well, if you are sure. Because if you do hold a party and blame me it will end my career, and I will never be able to do you any favors ever again.
Scorpion: Trust me, I promise!
(Frog releases scorpion buddy, Scorpion throws a party and blames the frog.)
Frog: You said you wouldn't do that! Now my career is over, and I can never do anything to help you again. Why would you do that to yourself?
Scorpion: It is in my nature to act like that. You knew I was scorpion when you agreed to help me.
(Frog drowns in negative public feedback, while Scorpion orders more executions at hom to improve morale.)

Lemon said...

How dare you insult the Jersey Devil on your cheap blog!
Who in the world do you think you are?
I am not going to let this nasty devil remark go unchallenged.
We are proud of our Devil and don't need you to make disparaging remarks about him in public.
You will be hearing from our mutual lawyer, Vinne Boombotz, who likes me better than he does you,in the morning!

Keli Ata said...

And an upstate New Yorker asks--what or who in the world is the Jersey Devil??

Lemon said...

A creature that lurks in the Pine Barrens looking to devour Upstate New Yorkers who have no clue who he is! ;)
It is a flying creature said to inhabit the NJ Pine Barrens.

Khaddafi is much worse than our beloved Devil and far far uglier.

But back to the topic:
This tendency in America to love one's enemies almost to a sickenly scary level has gone completely over the edge.

Odilo said...

I'm somewhat surprised at your invocation of Patton, considering his increasing respect and admiration for Germans ("The only decent people left in Europe") after their surrender, to say nothing of his burning contempt for Jews in the displaced persons camps ("Jews, who are lower than animals").

Sultan Knish said...

I don't admire Patton, I'm pointing out that he was correct about the priorities of wartime. Patton was overtly anti-semitic at times, but he was also overtly anti a lot of things from time to time, and anti-semitism among US generals was quite common back then, especially when you consider that the protocols used to be studied as an actual text. At least Patton's anti-semitism was up front compared to a Marshall or an Eisenhower.

Moriah said...

I have a 98 year old friend who is a survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. We look at the news together. She can't stand Obama. She balls up her wrinkled little fist, shakes it toward heaven and asks, "Where are all the men, where is our Churchill? It's good I will not live so long."

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