Diana West and John Bernard have been among the too few people noting that the American counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in the Middle East doesn’t work
. The Three Cups of Tea embarrassment
and the latest Islamic murders of American Servicemen
are only the most recent examples of the problems with COIN.
Artwork by Bosch Fawstin, 2011: http://fawstin.blogspot.com/
The United States needs to end COIN and our denial of the Islamic War on the West. And then the U.S. should fight to win. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen previously said that we cannot kill our way to victory but I respectfully disagree. In fact, killing the enemy is the only way we’ll achieve victory. The Sri Lankan government was the latest armed force to prove this eternal truth.
John J. Xenakis wrote an excellent article on the Sri Lankan war against the Tamil Tigers at Big Peace on April 23; I highly recommend it. The Sri Lankan government had fought a 25- to 40-year old war (depending on how you define the start date) with the Tamil Tigers and by 2008 or so it had realized that “peace talks” and giving concessions do not bring about peace, but instead bring about perpetual poverty, violence, warfare, suffering, and misery. So Sri Lanka decided to wage unfettered warfare on the Tigers (ignoring calls from the international community to stop winning) and achieved complete victory in 2009 (which included the Tigers admitting defeat). Problems still remain but many of these problems appear to be created by the international community and so-called human rights groups attempting to reverse the Sri Lankan government’s victory through claims of war crimes and human rights abuses. (Read what Mr. Xenakis wrote about “war crimes” in his Big Peace article and you will find my thoughts on the matter as well.)
The Sri Lankan war bears striking similarities to our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—improvised explosive devices and all. In fact, the Muslims we fight today possibly picked up many of their tactics and strategy from the Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lankan government also had to face the issue of whether it would fight back aggressively against the Tigers even after doing so in the past meant sometimes creating more terrorists / insurgents. Michael Burleigh noted this challenge in The Daily Mail when he wrote, “The crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers proves you CAN beat terror”:
He was as ruthless as he was intelligent. In 1983, after the Tigers killed 13 government soldiers with a landmine, Prabhakaran noted how the Sinhalese backlash involving pogroms and riots against the Tamils boosted the Tigers’ support.
As a result, he deliberately carried out attacks on the army in order to provoke their heavy-handed reprisals - which, in turn, gave him more recruits.
Had the Sri Lankan government followed the current U.S. COIN doctrine it would have eliminated the option of victory. Then it would have negotiated with the Tamil Tigers while also handicapping its armed forces in order to protect the population. But it didn’t do that. Instead, the Sri Lankan government fought back aggressively against the Tigers until it completely defeated them. Burleigh noted the significance of this:
Although Sri Lanka may seem remote, there are vital policy lessons in this story. For one thing, it shows that there is no golden rule telling us that peace can be achieved only through negotiation with terrorists.
Even a group as ruthless as the Tigers can be defeated, especially if its leadership is crushed.
So am I suggesting that the U.S. fight back against the Islamic War on the West just as the Sri Lankan government did against the Tamil Tigers? Yes. We should have fought this way from the beginning. Had we done so, Afghanistan would be more desolate than it already is, bin Laden would have been dead a long time ago, al-Qaeda would be no more, and Iraq would be a smoking pile of nothing. We would have plundered both lands to get the resources we wanted (including the oil which we never got) and then left the few survivors with the warning that if we had to return things would be even worse.
If one thinks what I’m suggesting is cruel (even after considering the Sri Lankan victory) then I recommend reading Thomas Sowell’s “Pacifists versus Peace” and “Pretty Talk and Ugly Realities”. These columns show the horror of so-called pacifism and explain that if we would fight wars with the goal of overwhelming victory we would have less suffering and fewer wars. J. Robert Smith’s “Do Americans Really Want Humanitarian Wars?” also explains why “humane” wars are not humane at all.
But I realize there is little chance of the U.S. fighting back against the Islamic War on the West in an all-out war. Hence, I’ll be satisfied if we at least institute a partial fight back against it . . . and completely end nation building and COIN. Therefore, I support the lily pad strategy that Paul Valley espouses. It may not include everything I would like to see, but it definitely includes part of would I like to see—and that’s something I can endorse.