Tuesday, December 7, 2010

History will repeat itself

If it is true that History does repeat itself, then we have much to learn. War and how war is fought has changed. It is time for America to change its thinking about war as well. On December 7, 1941 the situation was clear: Japan had declared war on the United States of America. In our history no one single event has so unified the American people. Over one thousand people lost their lives in a sudden and violent attack at Pearl Harbor. We were at war. Specifically, we were at war with Japan, all of it. Japan had declared war on the US; not in a public declaration from their government but by a violent and sudden strike from their naval and air forces. War with a country was obvious.

September 11, 2001 the situation was changed. Our country was again attacked. This time, as before, there was no declaration of war by a country against the United States. This time, however, the situation was different. The attack was not by the Afghan people, who we went to war with; or from the Iraqi people, who we went to war with in 2003. No, this attack came from a group of Islamic radicals; a specific group of people who called Afghanistan and Iraq home. The people of those countries did not declare war on the US and neither did their countries. While it may be true that these countries did not consider themselves allies with the US they were not our enemy; people from these counties were.

Our response, tragically, was similar to every conflict prior: attack the country, that would solve the problem. Friends, nearly 10 years have passed since that tragic and terrible attack on the Twin Towers that cost thousands of American lives. This time, it was a civilian target. Our military was not targeted, our very heart was. And while a swift and calculated response was called for, we, like an old relic from a time that has past, retaliated in a manor not consistent with the conflict we were in.

When will America learn? The world has shown us that nuclear war is obsolete, and yet we have more nuclear arms than any other country in the world. The world has also shown us that naval wars are obsolete, yet we have one of the most technologically advanced Navy in the world. The world has shown us that wars no longer have clear defined front lines as they did during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Yet we continue to fight as though we have a front line and resources that support it. The world has shown us that war has changed, yet we continue to wage war in the ways of days past. Until we learn that war has changed and adapt to the way war is being fought we will continue to face loss.

Operation Iraqi Freedom may be over, but make no mistake, we have not won. Moreover, we have not changed the situation in which our nation finds itself. We will continue to be threatened by radical groups who now have power independent of the country which they call home. Until we can change our view of who we are war at we will continue to be threatened. Our boarders will become weak and we will continue to send our forces to fight wars they cannot win. Our country will divide and we will war with ourselves. This day is coming, mark my words. We cannot continue to be a dinosaur in this modern age. It is time to change how we fight and who we fight.