Guns and Gear

How’d You Lose The Wars, Daddy?

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Paul Avallone, Author Tattoo Zoo

In the wreckage of two wars gone from bad to worse, President Obama in the past few weeks has unceremoniously increased American troop strength in both. An additional fifteen hundred GIs in Iraq, and one thousand in Afghanistan. In the same period, retired three-star general Daniel Bolger came out with a book, appropriately called Why We Lost, arguing that it is he and his peer generals who are responsible for losing the wars. And the icing on the cake, the third shoe to drop: The Senate has released its report condemning the CIA for its early-years’ use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” that, implies the report, amount to criminal torture.

Oh please! Enough!

The national media and the D.C. establishment have paid scant attention to the troop increases, have shown a mild interest in General Bolger’s mea culpa, and have gone absolutely hog-wild bananas over the “torture.” And guess what? News Flash: Americans don’t care.

That’s right, we average-Joe Americans who don’t make our living from D.C. political drama would rather tune into NFL games, The Voice, Twitter and Facebook than be forced to listen to “The ISIS are coming!” (troop increases), “He lost it/No, she lost it!” (culpability for defeat), and “Criminal waterboarder, you!” (all that torture). We don’t care, and it’s not because we’re too stupid to even realize that we should. Rather, we’re tuned out because, shy of taking to the streets to loot and burn Quickie Marts, and except for the bare murmur each of us has every few years at election time, we know that nothing we think or say or do much matters and will change anything.

We know that for a military power of our magnitude to spend thirteen years at war against a 7th century ragamuffin rabble and lose makes no sense, least of all any common sense.

We know that “He said/She said” is arguing on the head of a pin, with both sides failing to recognize or act upon what to us is the common sense truth that war means War—yes, big W. As in, W. As in, vicious, bloody, morally terrifying, waged with the serious purpose of breaking the enemy to your will. Destroying and killing the enemy until his will is not just broken but shattered into a quadrillion pieces.

We know that when we capture warriors of an army (uniformed or not) who killed three thousand of us then do not torture them to gain the intelligence to destroy the entire army, that is worse than an absence of common sense; it is insanity masquerading as holier-than-thou high morality. It is a false enlightenment that is incredibly counterintuitive to common sense.

Again, please! Enough!

Sanity compels us not to care, otherwise our heads would explode. Sanity compels us to look away and block our ears, if only because we are utterly powerless to affect any of it.

We know, common sense—without relying on hundred-million-dollar PhD-laden studies and accompanying leaden historical treatises and sanctimonious congressional committees and sub-committees and sub-sub-committees—that both wars were won in the initial invasions/assaults and lost in the following decade of hearts-and-minds nation-building.

We know, common sense, that it’s writ in our DNA that to win a War one must vanquish the enemy. That’s our instinct, our gut, yet we are lectured and shamed by an educated ruling elite (of the literati academia, the media, and politics) intent on making us feel guilty for that core belief as being primitive and savage, and we are incessantly preached to that we are a nation far risen out of the primordial swamp. We are sermonized that we are an enlightened, secular and (ironically) profoundly moral nation and that our wars (small w) should be fought and won with Kumbaya.

We know, common sense, that Wars have always been fought by men (as in, males), for a reason: Because men are physically stronger, emotionally more aggressive and spiritually less adverse and scarred by blood. Again, it’s in the DNA—that chemical double helix that can be derided and pooh-poohed but cannot be altered. It’s in the Y chromosome that can be disparaged and ignored but cannot be made an X.

We know, common sense, that Mister Rogers will tell you anything and everything for a smile and an hello, that Mother Teresa will give all of herself for nothing, and that Haji al Qaeda will give you his name and those of his buddies only under painful physical duress on the brink of death.

We know, common sense, that when another determines to kill you and refuses to acknowledge any civilized rules of warfare, that to fight him under your own absurdly restrictive (yet enlightened and moralistic) rules of engagement is to engage in war with a small w, unseriously. It is to engage in war with the hope, not the determination, to win.

We know, common sense, that “All you need is love” is catchy when the Beatles sing it and laughable to an enemy serious enough to fly commercial airplanes into office towers.

We know, common sense, that when one’s nation goes to War, the imperative must be to win, and the nation has an obligation to its citizens fighting to wage the War fire-with-fire, an eye-for-an-eye.

And we know that none of the above matters. That our cultural and political leaders reject all of the above as intellectually and morally dated, repugnant, false. It is those leaders who govern us today, and we allow them to fight our wars with a small w, and we don’t pay attention or care because it is less than 1% of us who have to actually do the fighting as soldiers (and that 1% just happen to want to be soldiers and want to fight in wars, small w or big).

Today’s wars are expanded little by little, futilely, and strategists argue the culpability for the past and coming defeats, and senators condemn patriots as torturers, while our homeland has not been attacked head-on with another 9-11 for these thirteen years, which allows us our apathy and nonchalance . . . . and we shrug and turn back to the cute-cat video playing on our smart phones.

It’s a luxury we have today that we don’t even have to wonder, come the days we are attacked here again, worse than before, whether or not we will have the common sense strength of will to lead first to the guillotine today’s leaders who have been so assuredly and sanctimoniously wrong.

It is man’s nature to survive, it’s in our DNA, and it is my belief that, come that future enemy attack, common sense will win out and we, America, will become serious and engage a determined enemy not in war but in War.

And, yes, I may no longer be the physically young Green Beret of years past, but I’ll help hunt down those for whom the guillotine should be stood up.

Paul Avallone spent three-plus years in Afghanistan as a Green Beret then an embedded civilian journalist. In the early years of the war, his Special Forces team utilized for its survival and for actionable intelligence enhanced interrogation techniques. The second edition of his novel of the Afghan War, Tattoo Zoo, will be released December 16th.