I must say that I think the American military endures the single biggest disadvantage of any military throughout history. This disadvantage puts our brave men and women at an increased risk in wartime. It cripples our missions at times and slows the overall pace of our military advancement. This disadvantage is not known by most of our enemies. The enemies of freedom and justice exploit this disadvantage to its fullest. Even enemies who aren’t military relish in this facet of our disadvantage. They use sneak attacks on our civilian population to inflict casualties and financial destruction and because of this disadvantage we suffer even more.
You may be asking yourself, what disadvantage could our military, the mightiest military, the bravest military, the most technologically-advanced military, the most well-trained military possibly be suffering from? The answer is simple… the value of human life.
Is there anyone who doubts our military could’ve laid waste to Iraq in a matter of hours? Does anyone question our ability to wipe Baghdad off the map in a matter of minutes? Is there a soul in this world that thinks our military could be stopped if we pressed forward without regard to the sanctity of human life?
We got terrible news this weekend about POWs being captured and possibly mistreated in Iraq and we ached for them and their families. Do you think Saddam has given a second thought to any Iraqi captured by the coalition? There are two reasons that madman doesn’t worry about the Iraqi POWs…. first, he doesn’t value human life (unless it’s his or his sons) and second, even if he did value life as we do, he knows that our military will do everything in its power to treat the POWs humanely, giving them food, water, clothing and shelter until the conflict is over. I’ve heard stories of Iraqi POWs in 1991 who were less excited about returning to their homeland and Saddam’s rule than they were to just sit put in the POW camps of the American military. That really says a lot.
Our soldiers are taught to do everything they can to minimize collateral damage and avoid harm to civilians. Our enemies know this and this weekend we saw Iraqi soldiers out of uniform mingling among other civilians, or those gesturing a surrender, only to turn on our soldiers violently. They took advantage of our willingness to look at helping people first, engaging them second. Do you not see the similarities in this weekend’s events and the terror brought to our soil on September 11th? They take advantage of our freedoms, our liberties and our value of human life in order to inflict the most damage on us as a people.
Our war on terror moves slowly and precisely. While we maintain the ability to rid this planet of entire civilizations in the push of a button, we refrain from intentionally doing so out of respect for life. Unfortunately, our enemies have no such restraint.
You’re kidding yourself if you think that bin Laden, Hussein, Jong Il or any of these other madmen, if given access to the ability to wipe a civilization off the planet, would show some restraint and not push the button in a heartbeat. It is an unfortunate balance that we should give more of our own lives in this battle to insure the lives of others are protected. But that is what we’re about. This is America…. love it or by God, leave it.