Sunday, September 04, 2005

ARE WE TOO SOFT for a new kind of war?, asks Victor Davis Hanson:
Not long ago Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla, an authentic American hero, was shot three times and wounded in Mosul, Iraq, as he led his men into a terrorist enclave.
The jihadist who shot him survived and was given first-rate American medical care for his wounds. It turns out the terrorist was captured earlier in December 2004, on suspicion of being involved in a deadly suicide attack on an American base. Then he was turned over to the Iraqis, sent to the notorious Abu Ghraib jail and released. Once free, he returned to killing Americans and his rendezvous with Col. Kurilla.
For bickering Americans back home, Abu Ghraib is a "Stalag," but for the terrorists it's apparently a rest stop before resuming their hunt for Americans.
This recent incident once more reflects how confused we are in the West over the proper way to obtain the needed ends. While we worry we have gone too far in our harshness, our enemies are convinced our softness has us too far gone to win this war.
This fight is quite different from past conflicts. The jihadists have no uniforms. Their first, not last, resort is terrorism. They know they cannot win unless they murder and demoralize civilians, preferably in the U.S., as we saw September 11, 2001.
But there is another difference that involves us and not just the enemy. In the past, a poorer and less sophisticated United States largely embraced a tragic vision of dealing with the world as it was rather than what we hoped it might be.
Our forbears believed they did not have to be perfect to be good. To them, war, like poverty and depression, was another of the tragedies of the human experience where there were no good choices -- the least ghastly being victory at all costs.
So this war against Islamic fascism is a perfect storm of sorts, involving an enemy that uses stealth and counts on Western society's own liberty and magnanimity to destroy itself at the pinnacle of its affluence and sensitivity.
Keep on reading.

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