Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Through Our Enemy's Eyes

Know your enemy.

It's taught at the US Army Intelligence Center. It's practiced daily in the field .. out there where the combat divisions, brigades, and battalions do their work defending us.

They train to know our enemy to the best of their ability. (And OBTW, it's just as important to know what we don't know about our enemy).

They learn his capabilities through studying his culture, organization and equipment, strategy and doctrine, tactics and techniques. From these they try to discover his intent .. What makes him tick? What's he up to? How will he act in any given situation? How will he react to a given action? How will he counteract our actions?

That second part, his intent, is the most difficult. It requires getting inside his head, trying to think as he thinks .. see the situation as he would see it, as opposed to thinking and seeing as an American would.

Predicting what an enemy will do is high art. To achieve any degree of success requires thorough study and solid intelligence. Some enemies, such as the North Koreans, are only predictable to the extent that they will almost always do the unpredictable.

I was sitting here today revisiting something I've thought about many times since September 11, 2001.

What did we look like to the enemy that attacked us? What did he think he learned about us in the years preceeding 9/11?

We're an open society. Intelligence collection by our enemies is never very hard. Yes, we have secrets, but there are thousands of open source documents .. and there is the internet and our media. More than enough information to make an assessment of our history, culture, organization, equipment, strategy, tactics .. and our will.

So, prior to 9/11, what did we look like to al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden?

Through Our Enemy's Eyes

America was soft, decadent, naive .. and sorely lacking in willpower.

America lacked the will to follow through in most wars and conflicts since World War II. This lack of resolve resulted in a stalemate in Korea, a defeat in Vietnam, a defeat in Iran, a defeat in Lebanon, a defeat in Somalia, a stalemate in Iraq.

1. With the exception of the Cold War, America has failed to follow through in most wars and conflicts since World War II .. America did not finish the job .. did not have the will to finish the job.

Korean War - a stalemate at the 38th parallel after 3 years of intense fighting. Did not have the national will to confront China. Truman stopped MacArthur at the Yalu.

Vietnam War - a defeat after 10 years of war. The American military won every major battle, but lost the war at home: lack of national will and lack of national unity -- due in large measure to the antiwar Left and the media. Did not have the national will to fight an all-out war in Southeast Asia.

Operation Desert One - The disasterous hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980 demonstrated that the American military was still weak and had not recovered from its defeat in Vietnam.

Operation Desert Storm - The American military that routed the Iraqi army was highly trained, maybe the best military force ever fielded. Yet the Americans lacked the national will to finish the job .. to take the fight to Baghdad. The Americans watched as the Shi'ites in the southern part of Iraq rose up against Saddam's regime, only to be brutally crushed.

Operation Restore Hope - In Somalia, the Americans ran when confronted with the deaths of their Rangers. America did not have the will to finish the job.

2. America does not have the will to confront international terrorism. With the exception of a few isolated cases, America retreated or took no action in the face of terrorism.

1983 - Marines slaughtered in Beirut, Lebanon. The Americans packed up and went home after lobbing a few rounds from their naval ships.

1993 - The first World Trade Center bombing elicited no response other than a criminal investigation. America was not serious about confronting terrorism. America lacked the will.

1996 - The truck bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 American military people .. again another criminal investigation. The Americans are soft. Their soldiers are slaughtered and their response is a grand jury.

1998 - The destruction of the American Embassies in Africa elicited only a half-hearted military response. The Americans are soft. They do not have the stomach to confront terrorist organizations.

2000 - The bombing of the USS Cole .. yet another criminal investigation. No military response. The Americans are soft. No will.

3. America is politically, culturally, and morally naive and decadent.

Americans don't like their military. They foolishly cut it time and time again. Their army went from 780,000 in 1990 to less than 450,000 by 1997. From 18 army divisions to 10. They cut their navy from 600 ships to less than 300. They cut their air wings by half.

The American political Left and Right can be played against one another.

The Left appears to be the dominant political group. The doves are on the Left. The American media are on the Left. Anti-Israel activism is on the Left. The Left can be allies and dupes in the struggle ahead.

Americans do not take the long view. The farthest they think into the future is a decade or two, instead of centuries. It causes them to misunderstand and underestimate groups that do look beyond a couple of generations.

Americans prefer MTV to God.

Americans can't keep their women under control.

Americans prefer Hollywood to holiness.

Americans are the children of Satan.

Americans are the root of all evil.

They perceived weakness on our part and launched their Islamofascist crusade.

It lasted a long time without significant consequence to the terrorists. They attacked us at will -- at times and places of their choosing.

Then al-Qaeda and their allies miscalculated badly. They slaughtered thousands on that September day in 2001 thinking that the war would continue on their terms.

They did not count on the resolve of President Bush and the resolve of the American people led by such a leader.

We no longer look so soft.

Who among us would want to go back to the pre-9/11 days when our enemies thought we were chumps?

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance" -- John Kerry, October 10, 2004

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