By Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry, US Army (Ret.)
In the Middle-East a fundamental question that has yet to be asked and answered by the Obama Administration is, “Is the United States willing to pay whatever price is necessary to win the war it has chosen to fight with ISIS, ISIL, Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and any of their Muslim, terrorist off-shoots?”
If the answer is yes, then the US military’s rules of engagement today should be as flexible as they were in WW II. In those days our military forces were unshackled and turned loose to plan and execute any war strategy guaranteed to result in victory.
So if victory in the Middle-East is our goal today, we need to get real and adopt rules of engagement similar to those we adopted during WW II. Back then, unlike today, protecting American military lives was at the top of the menu and political correctness was at the bottom.
These days our troops can’t fire back at the enemy without first getting an approval of some kind from a higher headquarters. By the time they do get the approval, if they are fortunate enough to get it at all, the battle may be over and our troops dead. To make matters worse, our troops have to try to persuade the Arabs fighting alongside them to adopt the same tepid, self-defeating rules of engagement that neuter and hamstring our troops in their efforts to be victorious on the battlefield.
The Pentagon higher-ups and their spokesmen brag about launching a half dozen airstrikes in Syria and Iran and, in the process, perhaps killing one terrorist leader. In a real war our Navy, Air Force and Marine jets are accustomed to launching a hundred airstrikes before lunch.
During one of my tours of duty in Vietnam I spent a year commanding the 220th Army Aviation Reconnaissance Company. One of our jobs was marking ground targets for Marine and Air Force jets to bomb into oblivion. We didn’t play at war; we went for the juggler every time.
In the middle-east today there are two wars being fought simultaneously. One is a brutal, dirty, vicious, evil kind of war in which women are raped, children are fitted with explosive vests and detonated and entire families are beheaded. The other war is being waged by misguided, politically correct western governments who think terrorists deserve to be represented by our best criminal lawyers in civil courts.
Most Muslims and Muslim nations pretend they are peace loving moderates. The facts tell a different story. If they were really moderates, there would be continuous street demonstrations condemning the actions and violence of ISIL and the Islamic State. Instead, there is almost no condemnation of any kind. Instead they look the other way while savage, barbaric Muslim terrorists spread their evil across the middle-east. Saudi Arabia and a few of its Arab allies seem to be getting the message and are no longer just content to talk. They are starting to act out their resistance to these brutal, Stone Age barbarians.
This is probably because they have figured out that if ISIL and the Islamist State aren’t stopped, their evil will quickly boil over into nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Jordan. These nations would rather see war come to others than to themselves. For years they could rely on the United States to protect them, but they are confused now by the disinterest and indifference shown by their once always reliable American protector.
The Ebola medical crisis in Africa has been given a higher priority than hunting down and killing vicious Muslim terrorists. The health of our troops, who are totally unprepared to deal with infectious diseases, is being sacrificed on the altar of political opportunism. This disregard for the health and welfare of our troops and allies is scary. What does it portend for the future and for future relations?
Is our lawless federal government serious about protecting America’s citizens or is it just going through its rules of engagement? The great scholar and bestselling author, Thomas Sowell, sums it up this way, President Obama, “has different priorities than the protection of the American people and America’s interests as a nation.”
Radio talk show host and best-selling author Michael Savage maintains that, “Obama’s been engaged in a civil war from the day he seized the presidency … it’s a declaration of war against the country’s traditional values and freedoms.” It is also a war against the American people.
Has our nation become involved in a serious war led by an unserious president? Will his rules of engagement result in victory, or failure? If the answer is failure, then our soldiers are risking their lives fighting a battle for nothing other than the president’s vanity.
Jerry Curry is a retired Army Major General, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Carter administration; Acting Press Secretary to the Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration; and Administrator of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in the Bush Sr. administration.