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Jesus and Mordy
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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer]
war, you win or loose, live or die-- and the difference is
just an eyelash.”
-Gen. Douglas MacArthur
first said that war is hell was no doubt referring to conventional
war wherein uniformed armies fought each other and the Geneva
Conventions applied. It was hell not only for the soldiers
but, as well, for the civilians who were caught up in it. Hundreds
of thousands of innocent civilians were killed in air raids
and the fires which followed during WW II, regarded as collateral
casualties and accepted as part of the inevitable fallout of
wars, such as the ongoing war against terrorism, are no less
hellish. In this war, only our own combatants are clearly identified
as such by uniforms and insignia. The enemy wears civilian
clothes, hides in homes and places of worship and blends in
with women and children, some innocent and passive, others
less so. Indeed, he recruits many of them to do the fighting
and teaches them that it pleases Allah to blow themselves up
in the process of killing western infidels.
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]
civilians, having been largely shielded from the horrors of
war by the
world’s strongest and finest
military forces, have no accurate concept of what it is like
to actually fight such a war. Few can imagine what it is like
to conduct a patrol in a hostile neighborhood or village, knowing
that they may be in the gun sight of a terrorist’s rifle,
not knowing whether the figure who suddenly appears in a doorway,
window or alley is going to kill him and his buddies or is just
trying to stay out of the way.
These are the worse
kinds of wars for us to fight because we are at a huge disadvantage.
The enemy knows who we are and sees
us clearly. He will not hesitate before killing us and any innocent
civilians who have the misfortune to be in the way. We, on the
other hand, often don’t know who the enemy is and we must
always hesitate until we are reasonably certain. Moreover, we
must avoid harming innocent civilians, even though it may be
impossible to distinguish them from the terrorists, perhaps until
one of them detonates the bomb he or she may be carrying.
To fight these wretched wars, we send the cream of our youth,
fresh off the high school campuses. Many are too young to vote
or drink alcoholic beverages. Many are still forming values and
developing judgment skills. We teach them to be warriors and
then demand of them high standards of maturity, excellence and
judgment and the ability to make split second, life or death
decisions in door-to-door searches and patrols, surrounded by
people who, at best, barely tolerate our temporary presence and,
at worse hate us and wish to see us killed.
He who hesitates
may well be lost. But he who acts with too much alacrity to
defend himself and his buddies may be charged
with a war crime, especially if second-guessed by an embedded
reporter and photographer. Does anyone reading this care to volunteer
for such duty? The pay isn’t much but there are plenty
of travel opportunities, real life action adventures and good
medical coverage, which you will probably need.
They are all volunteers.
When they aren’t fighting, they
often volunteer to rebuild schools, hospitals and bridges. They
volunteer to befriend children, uprooted by violence. They volunteer
to respond to natural disasters. They are the most compassionate
warriors in the world. They are patriots and heroes, too. But
sometimes, under the terrible stresses of war, even heroes make
mistakes and overreact. It has happened in every war and will
undoubtedly happen again, which, of course doesn’t mean
that it’s right. It only means that war is hell on earth
and, like sausage-making, not pleasant to watch up close. For
those who screw up under these stressful circumstance, military
justice is harsh and, unlike civilian justice, relatively swift
and devoid of theatrics and frivolous defenses.
The Manual of the Judge Advocate General provides for grand jury-like investigations
designed to determine if the facts support trials by courts-martial.
crimes were indeed committed by our troops at Kalitha or elsewhere, military
investigations will report the evidence obtained and, if appropriate,
recommend trials by general courts-martial for violations of the Uniform
Code of Military Justice. A separate investigation should then
inquire into the
involvement of the chain of command.
and any resultant trials must not be influenced by anti-war
hysteria or by politically
motivated attempts to exploit this incident of
war as was done in the case of the events at Abu Gharaib.
It is distressing, though, to witness so many sources rushing
to judgment, voicing their outrage and demanding that heads roll,
even before the investigations had barely convened. Civilian
defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. They
are given every benefit of the doubt and mitigating circumstances
are taken under consideration. Any troops implicated in the reported
killings of civilians deserve no less.
many opponents of the war and the administration will exploit
this incident as an argument against the war and
the conduct of it. They are, of course, hoping that the buck
will not stop until it reaches Donald Rumsfeld’s desk or
perhaps even the president’s. The rush to judgment must
surely be demoralizing to our troops who are attempting to accomplish
a difficult mission in spite of a growing segment of the folks
back home who say they support the troops but oppose their mission.
That kind of support is hardly reassuring or conducive to good
morale. The overall effect is another moral victory for the enemy
who delights in watching America’s will to win this war
deteriorate almost daily. Less than five years after the air
attacks on New York and Washington, the Vietnam Syndrome appears
to have returned. CRO
2006 J. F. Kelly, Jr.