It is an understatement that our nation’s rules of engagement have been onerous and has handcuffed our ability to prevail in our mission – whatever the heck our “mission” has been - in the Islamic Middle East.
A major part of the problem is we have not identified the enemy. We have not defined the enemy. When you don’t know who the enemy is, it makes sense that you don’t fire until fired upon. But don’t you think that in many instances that “rule of engagement” causes our response to be a bit too late? That has been the cause of the death of dozens of our soldiers in many “insider” attacks by supposed “allied” Muslims.
In Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, whereever our forces operate amidst Muslim populations, we can’t tell the enemy from the ally. The mistake we make is assuming most are allies. But how can we know? We have taken the Islamic ideology off the table as a means of knowing motive. The means are legion; the opportunities are ripe. The average Muslim’s belief system and culture provides the motive: kill the infidel. Knives, scimitars, guns, and explosives are everywhere. Our foolish integration with and trust of the Muslim natives is commonplace.
Heck, even in the United States, surveys reveal that 25% of Muslims here believe their faith justifies killing the infidel – “jihad in the cause of Allah”, they call it. And that assumes that the other 75% are telling the truth, which is highly doubtful, given Islam’s doctrine of taqiyya.
What do we suppose the percent of Muslims in Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan believe their faith justifies killing the infidel? My guess is pretty damned close to 100%.
We act like fools with our rules of engagement. We believe we can manipulate the natives into working toward our ideals when their ideals are 180 degrees opposite ours.
So as not to offend our pretend, make-believe “allies” we are ultra-careful to avoid firing on the wrong vehicle, droning the wrong driver, bombing the wrong house, destroying the wrong oil field or tanker.
Looking back to wars we actually won, we had no problem with collateral damage. Why not? Because we knew the civilian populations supported the powers that waged their wars against us.The most recent generations, born since the 80’s, wince at the idea of actually hurting anyone in war. They have not experienced desperation and real threat.
That is problem number 2: Since World War II we have engaged in wars where we did not, as a nation, sense an existential threat. Only a threat of our very existence as a nation can motivate us to do whatever it takes to win a war. And to win a war, we need to ignore collateral damage. In fact, the more collateral damage we cause, the more likely the enemy will relent and succumb. That has been the case in wars throughout millenia of history.
Problem number 1 and problem number 2 are interrelated in our present circumstance regarding Islam.
If we understood the Islamic belief system, its political ideology, it goals, objectives, and methods, and those who possess allegiance (or faith or commitment) to that ideology as the enemy, we would appreciate the fact that there is an real threat to our nation, our culture, our freedoms, and our very existence.
Only after we accept the reality that Islam and those who insist on identifying with that belief system are a real theat will we be convinced that “collateral damage” is not just OK, but essential to achieve a clear victory.
Once we reach that point in understanding the enemy, our objective in winning will be clear, and our rules of engagement will evaporate. We will be free to do whatever it takes to demonstrate to both the enemy’s civilian population and their leaders that their homes, vehicles, businesses, as well as their “whack-a-mole” military units and infrastructure are essential and just targets.
Until we reach that point in understanding the enemy, we have NO BUSINESS committing our soldiers and resources to fighting ghosts in Islamic lands.