Do we still have the will to win?
Posted: August 5, 2006, 1:00 a.m. Eastern
Whether we like it or not, we are at war. And we are not prepared. There are plenty of bombs and bullets in our arsenals, and there is plenty of high-priced, technology-driven machinery. But the most important ingredient for victory is sadly lacking – the will to win.
Far too many Americans still deny that the United States is under attack. Far too many Americans would rather believe that the problems in the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere, are the result of U.S. foreign policy, rather than the result of an emboldened enemy dedicated to our destruction.
Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, al-Qaida, and countless other groups of Islamic fanatics share one goal: to kill the infidels who stand between them and Islamic rule.What the enemy lacks in armaments, is more than compensated for by their dedication and determination. They are prepared to use any weapon, any tactic, any means, to inflict damage on the United States, and its allies. They have no reluctance at all to explode innocent women and children, even their own, if it will gain some public relations advantage. And they are good at what they do.
Far too many Americans, on the other hand, are more concerned about ''getting out of Iraq,'' than recognizing that we are at war. Sensitive to approaching elections, politicians are torn between getting re-elected, and defending the country. The enemy knows us well and is exploiting the U.S. anti-war sentiment by filling TV screens with the horrors of war.
The war that is now underway has been boiling for decades. Years of ''opening shots'' were ignored, or met with ridiculously unimpressive responses, until September 11. Even then, the anti-war crowd organized more quickly than did the forces for defense.
This war will not end with a cease-fire in Lebanon, nor even a victory in Iraq. There will be no victory in the war until the Islamic fanatics are sent to meet their ''virgins,'' or are driven back into their caves, cut off from their funding and access to the media.
This task will be far more difficult than has been imagined. The governments of Iran and Syria will have to be replaced – one way or another. Scores of terrorist organizations and cells will have to be identified and destroyed, some in countries not yet identified. This effort will take years, not months. It will take a determination not yet acquired by the majority of Americans.
Anti-war talking heads are beginning to say that the Iraqi conflict will soon be longer than World War II – with little or no indication that victory is near. Had America gone into Iraq with the same determination that launched its entry into World War II, the fighting might well be over, but the casualties – on both sides – would be substantially higher, and the land would be laid bare.
Israel appears to be sufficiently determined to crush Hezbollah that it is not restrained by the fear of collateral damage. But much of the world condemns Israel for ''disproportionate'' response, and overlooks the fact that Hezbollah invaded Israel, killed her citizens, and kidnaped her soldiers, in an attack that mirrored an earlier attack by Hamas on the Gaza border.
Does anyone seriously think that these two events were spontaneous, in view of the pending U.N. resolution calling on Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment program? What a masterful way to redirect the world media from Iran's nuclear program – just start a mini-war between Israel and anyone. Iran has succeeded in re-focusing the world media on Israel's destruction of innocent civilians, while it continues to enrich its uranium and defy the United Nations.
The United Nations, of course, is useless. It can no more stop Iran's enrichment program, than it prevented Hezbollah from taking control of Southern Lebanon during the last 28 years of so-called monitoring. The current drum-beating by the U.N. over the Israel-Lebanon battle is almost irrelevant. In the end, the United States will have to do whatever gets done. If there is not sufficient determination among the people, then government can do very little, and the Islamic fanatics will continue to spread their terror and influence.
If Americans will consider what is at stake, and muster the same degree of determination that defeated Hitler, and every other challenge, this threat to freedom can also be defeated. Make no mistake: this threat must be defeated. Cease-fires, negotiations, and endless U.N. resolutions only postpone the inevitable. This enemy must be defeated. Anything less than a sweeping, total victory only kicks the can down the road, for another administration, or another generation to confront.
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.