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A Strong Will to Win
How do we fight a PC war on terror?...
[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 8/2/05
the rules of the game are once agreed upon, rarely does
either party violate them.”
-Georges Le Chartier
Americans and Sport
in sports is important, we tell our children, not only for
healthful exercise but to learn teamwork and sportsmanship.
There are rules that must be followed and we must learn to
accept setbacks and even losses with grace and dignity. Everyone
hates a sore loser. It is more important how we play the game
than whether or not we win. Winning is not everything.
grew up with the notion that everyone ought to play by the
rules, or at least we should. In the Vietnam conflict, the
enemy used children and elderly civilians to kill our soldiers
and ignored the Geneva Conventions. Our uniformed combatants
were tortured, not just humiliated. We tried to play by the
rules but we failed to win the war.
wars, unlike sports, it is less important how you play the
game than whether or not you win.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
is, in fact, everything because the consequences of losing
are simply unthinkable.
But it is damnably difficult for many Americans to accept this.
It just seems downright un-American. We believe in the rule of
law and in a system of rules and we expect everyone else to play
by them. Although we are continually shocked and appalled when
they don’t, we, nevertheless, insist that our people do.
We strive to maintain the moral high ground at any cost.
Thus, we speak of bringing terrorists to justice, a justice
they themselves neither respect nor practice. Whether or not
they are in compliance with or covered by the Geneva Conventions,
our politicians insist that we apply them. We grant relatively
open access to our society which terrorists eagerly exploit to
do us harm. We consider this openness a virtue while our enemy
sees it as a weakness. Our domestic critics insist that captured
terrorists be treated better than we treat our own recruits and
brand as torture valid interrogation methods designed to obtain
critical intelligence which could save lives.
We are engaged today in a crucial worldwide struggle with Islamic
fundamentalism. It is a struggle between people who value freedom
and choice and people who believe that those values and freedoms
are depraved and evil, that our only options are conversion or
death and that Allah is on their side. It is a battle between
those who pursue scientific progress and those who condemn it;
between those who believe in freedom of worship and separation
of religion and state and those who believe that there is only
one religion and that it must dictate all affairs of state. It
is a battle between the forces of tolerance and mutual respect
and those of intolerance and hatred.
In this classic struggle between the forces of good and evil,
defeat is unthinkable. It is simply not good enough to lose honorably
but to avoid that, we have to change some rules. This is not
a cricket or polo match. Besides, rules are pointless if only
one side observes them.
attacks in London have heightened security concerns here and
us to review our own measures designed to guard
against terrorist attack. Our surface transportation systems,
schools, hospitals, hotels, convention sites, sports and entertainment
facilities and churches remain particularly vulnerable. More
aggressive, proactive measures to identify and thwart terrorists
are clearly required as are stronger measures to secure our borders
against the daily inflow of illegal persons and material. A tamper-proof
national identity card is likewise needed. Should (most experts
say “when”) another major terrorist attack occurs
in this country, there will be an inevitable public clamor for
these measures and more, plus a demand for the scalps of those
officials who failed to anticipate the need for them. We should
not have to wait for the next disaster to finally accept the
reality that the rules must change.
Yet we remain locked in endless controversy over largely exaggerated
issues of privacy and personal freedom posed by more aggressive
screening measures, national ID cards and border security. Selective
screening of travelers based upon intelligence, past behavior
and the application of probability and statistics are decried
as racial profiling. A national ID card is seen as evidence of
Big Brother intruding into our lives and effective efforts to
control our own borders are condemned as evidence of xenophobia.
Political correctness reigns and it may, in the end, do us all
in while we spare the sensitivities of a relative few.
Our dedicated enemy, the terrorist, despises us and our values,
institutions and freedoms. He will use these and any other measures,
fair or foul, in attempting to destroy us. It will be small comfort,
if he succeeds, that we played the game fairly and abided by
all the rules. tOR
2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.