Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The War: The Spirit of America

The Marines are asking for donations so they can challenge the anti-American propaganga in Iraq:

Help U.S. Marines Equip TV Stations in Iraq

Support an alternative information source in the "Sunni Triangle."

News broadcasts in Iraq can be biased, inaccurate and incomplete - to put it mildly. Your contribution will create a television alternative owned and operated by Iraqis. This will provide better information, counter efforts to provoke and help reduce tensions.

$1,950 purchases a PC for editing video and programming
$538 buys a digital video camcorder
$109 provides a multi-region DVD player

Any amount helps! [Spirit of America]
Maj. Gen. James Mattis then makes the following statement:

It is essential to success of the Marine Corps' mission in Iraq that the Iraqi people understand our sincerest desires to help them rebuild their country and lay the foundation for a viable and free democratic society.

Your (Spirit of America) gifts will reduce adversarial relationships and bridge cultural gaps. You have significantly impacted our ability to do good and, I fervently hope reduce the potential for combat.
So according to Mattis, the Iraqi people are simply poorly informed and culturally misunderstood. Yet the Iraqi people have never been bothered by patently false and misleading information before (consider the spectacle of the Saddam’s information minister). The only thing the Iraqi people have shown themselves to respect is brute force. And in this regard, the US must be willing to supply it in spades.

Imagine if the Union army took Mattis’ stance toward the South during the American Civil War. Imagine if Sherman’s Atlanta campaign, instead of crushing the will of the Southern rebels to fight the war, focused on performing acts of “compassion” for the South, so the Confederates would see that the Union was only interested in “a viable and free democratic society.” Then imagine not living in America as it exists today, because under such tactics, the Confederacy would never have been defeated.

I am reminded of Sherman’s response to the Mayor of Atlanta demanding Sherman spare Atlanta after he had ordered civilians to flee the city:

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.
Maj. Gen. Mattis would do well to focus his mission on destroying the intransigent pride of the Iraqi insurgents. As I was taught when I was a Marine, Marines today must locate, close with and destroy the enemy, not coddle him. It will not be a new TV network that prevents Marines from being killed in Iraq. It will be the sure knowledge that any act of force committed by those acting against the United States will result in individual ruin. Lincoln, Grant and Sherman knew it when they fount the South. It is high time our leaders accept the same lesson.

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