Saturday, September 30, 2006

War IS Hell

While reading an article in Der Spiegel, I came across these sentences that jumped out at me: On one side are the Afghan guerrillas with their hit-and-run tactics: fast, mobile, with light equipment and a capability for self-sacrifice that beggars belief in the West. On the other is the ultra-modern army from the West, NATO and the United States. This force enjoys technological superiority. But there's a chink in its armor: its low tolerance of casualties. Military experts refer to this as asymmetrical warfare. Ya know, it's true! We, in the west, are obsessed with the numbers, instead of concentrating on the mission. I don't want to see our soldiers die. Shoot, I don't want to anyone die, it doesn't matter which side they're on, but truth be told, better them, than us! However, if our leaders aren't willing to send soldiers into battle knowing they might not make it back, then, yes, we do have a problem. All the advanced technology in the world isn't going to help us win the war on terrorism without the willingness of sacrifice. This article is about Afghanistan, but that observance could just as easily apply to Iraq, or anywhere else in the world this war eventually takes us. Then we have the problem of "collateral damage". Civilians are dying anyway, by the hand of the terrorists. Should we really worry so much? I honestly don't know. I hate hearing of women and children being killed by roadside bombs, suicide bombers, etc. These are people who are going about their daily business, knowing that at any moment, their lives could be ended by senseless violence. And we have a problem with a relatively small number of soldiers who have died in this war? I say relative, because when you do a comparison to other wars we've been involved in, the number of killed in action are VERY small. (As of today, after 3 1/2 years, the number of KIA is 2,158.) Let's face facts. People die. Whether it's in war, a car accident, falling off a ladder or in their beds, people are going to die. Personally, I'd prefer dying in my sleep, as I'm sure, most people would, but that's not a reality. The reality is, we are at war for the very survival of our civilization, and people are going to die.